Archive for September, 2007

Kahnawake Mohawks walk in support of Six Nations

Posted in Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on September 24, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Mohawks walk in support of Six Nations

KAHNAWAKE MOHAWK “ROTISKENEKETEH” PEACEFULLY WALK ACROSS CPR TRACKS IN SUPPORT OF 6 NATIONS DEFENDERS OF THE LAND

Mohawk Nation News

Sept. 20, 2007. Message from Rotiskeneketeh, “We will be walking peacefully on the CPR tracks from the “border” of Kahnawake at St. Constant off Highway 132 at the intersection of Highway 30. From there we will walk to the Train Bridge over the tunnel in the village of Kahnawake .”

“We are standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Six Nations who have just been kidnapped by the foreigners forces of the Ontario Provincial Police, Hamilton City Police and the RCMP. Ontario and Canada have walked away from the “talks”. This has always been an international matter of colonial Canada invading the Indigenous sovereign people of Six Nations.”

“Our people have been victimized by attacks from colonial government agencies. This use of force must stop. They must obey international law. We are standing together in support of all of our Six Nations Territories .”

“Defending our land is not criminal.”

Contact: Janie at 519-732-9828 and B.L.T. 514-816-9533.

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Supporters at the Cayuga courthouse shield native protesters from reporters and photographers as they leave the building after bail hearings yesterday.

Three suspects wanted in beating
Eight native protesters released on bail

September 21, 2007
John Burman and Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Sep 21, 2007)

Arrest warrants have been issued for three suspects wanted in an attack on a builder during the native occupation of the Stirling Woods development last week.

Builder Sam Gualtieri, 52, suffered serious facial injuries and possible brain damage Sept. 13 when he confronted protesters inside a house he’s building for his daughter.

OPP Constable Paula Wright said late yesterday Haldimand detectives, with help from the OPP intelligence bureau and Six Nations Police, have identified three suspects and issued warrants for their arrest.

Richard Smoke, 18, is wanted for aggravated assault and break and enter.

Byron Powless, 18, is wanted for assault and break and enter. A 15-year-old youth who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act is wanted for assault, uttering threats and break and enter.

Gualtieri was released from Hamilton General Hospital Tuesday but still requires tests to determine if he suffered brain damage.

Joe Gualtieri said earlier his brother was confronted by at least three males when he went into the house at about 4 p.m. He believes a stair rail may have been used in the assault. Native protesters who were at the site that day have said the youths Gualtieri encountered were trying to defend themselves.

The OPP have asked anyone who knows where the suspects are to contact Haldimand OPP at 905-772- 3322, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave an anonymous tip online at www[dot]helpsolvecrime[dot]com.

Earlier yesterday, eight of nine protesters arrested at the Caledonia building site Wednesday were released on bail, including an American who was allegedly carrying brass knuckles.

Ronald Cook, 31, of Akwasasne, New York, who has been living in Canada and involved in the occupation of Douglas Creek Estates, was released on $2,500 bail.

He faces charges of mischief by interfering with the lawful use of property and possession of a prohibited weapon in relation to a pair of brass knuckles.

While on bail, he has to keep out of Haldimand county, except to attend court, and is prohibited from having any firearms, ammunition or explosives and must keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

Skyler Williams, 24, of Ohsweken, was charged with mischief and assaulting police to resist arrest during a massive police sweep of the Stirling Woods site Wednesday afternoon.

About 50 officers in riot gear, which included shields and batons, were brought in to clear the building site of a small pocket of protesters who had refused to leave.

Williams was picked up on an outstanding warrant for allegedly assaulting a CH television cameraman in the Canadian Tire parking lot in Caledonia in June, 2006. He will appear for a bail hearing Monday.

Sheranne MacNaughton, 24, of Hagersville, and Teresa Jamieson, 41, of Ohsweken, were both charged with mischief and assaulting police to resist arrest. They were released on $1,000 and $500 bail respectively.

Francine Doxtator, 47, of no fixed address; Stephen Powless, 42, of Ohsweken; and June Jamieson-Maracle, 42, also of Ohsweken, were all charged with mischief and released on $5,000 bail.

Gregory Powless, 18, of Ohsweken, was charged with mischief and released on $1,000 bail.

A 16-year-old girl, who was also charged with mischief, has been released in the custody of her father and didn’t have to put up any bail money.

Apart from Williams, all the accused persons were ordered to return to court on Oct.17 and must keep out of Caledonia or remain at least 1,600 metres away from Stirling Woods as part of their bail conditions. They’ve also been prohibited from owning any weapons, ammunition or explosives.

Defence lawyer Stephen Ford, who represented all the persons released yesterday, said his clients felt the allegations read against them in court yesterday were “unfounded.”

Justice of the peace Paul Welsh imposed a gag prohibiting the media reporting the content of a Crown synopsis which outlined the allegations against the accused.

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OPP probing earlier cases in Caledonia

September 21, 2007
John Burman
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Sep 21, 2007)

No one has come forward to claim the $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of vandals who burned the hydro transformer at the height of tension between natives and Caledonia townsfolk last May.

The OPP say the $300,000 transformer fire — in which someone drove a pickup truck through a locked gate and set the vehicle ablaze near the equipment — is still an open investigation.

No arrests have been made and police are still appealing to the public for information.

“Suspects have not been identified, the investigation is still open and we are appealing for anyone with information (in these incidents) to please come forward,” Haldimand OPP Constable Paula Wright said yesterday.

Other Douglas Creek related incidents that have not led to charges include:

* The burning in May of a wooden bridge over the RaiLink Canada rail line north and east of the occupied site.

* A security guard watching the substation after that was hauled from his vehicle and the car burned by vandals.

* In December the owners of a home on Argyle Street West behind the protesters’ barricade, saw someone running out of their home.

They later found it had been ransacked and graffiti scrawled on the wall.

The OPP has arrested and charged five of six persons in incidents involving a stolen U.S. Border Patrol vehicle, an assault on a television crew and a confrontation between natives on Arygle Street and an elderly couple one weekend in June.

These five persons are still before the courts. The sixth person has not been arrested. Albert Douglas, 30, of Six Nations, is wanted for the attempted murder of a police officer.

The natives were given the land in 1784 by the British Crown and say they never surrendered it, but Ottawa says the vast majority of it was sold by the 1850s.

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OPP arrest nine at Caledonia re-occupation

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on September 19, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Five articles on the police raid against Six Nations of the Grand River Territory

1. CKRZ Six Nations reserve radio news report

2. Police end occupation (Hamilton Spectator)

3. Police arrest nine at native protest site in Caledonia (Brantford Expositor)

4. What has been happening here on Six Nations? (Jacqueline House of Six Nations)

5. Two Six Nations Youth Defend Themselves from Five Thugs (Mohawk Nation News)

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[OPP arrest nine at Caledonia re-occupation]

CKRZ NEWS [Six Nations of the Grand River Territory]
20 SEPT 07

Ontario Provincial Police have released the names of eight of the nine people arrested on disputed Six Nations territory in Caledonia yesterday. The one person that was not named was a 17-year-old female from Six Nations. Everyone else was 18 or older and all were from this area except a 31-year-old man who is from Akwesasne. All are charged with mischief. One man also faces a weapons charge, and a woman is also charged with assaulting police. All nine were to have appeared in a Cayuga courthouse today. Police moved in on Six Nations residents that had been occupying the site where a bridge once stood linking the communities of Six Nations and Caledonia. Prior to the arrival of OPP, residents at the site said that they were being removed because construction workers at the nearby housing development felt they were being intimidated by their presence.

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riot-squad-caledonia.jpg

Police end occupation
Nine native protesters face criminal charges after arrests at Stirling site

September 20, 2007
Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Sep 20, 2007)

The last pocket of native protesters was cleared yesterday from a residential construction site where a house builder was severely beaten last week.

With neighbours watching and cheering from their back yards, about 50 OPP officers in riot gear marched in and arrested nine men and women who had defied their native elders by refusing to leave the Stirling Street development.

The operation went off without any major hitches and natives watching from the sidelines made no attempt to assist the protesters. It was in marked contrast to the abortive OPP raid at Douglas Creek Estates on April 20, 2006, when protesters with clubs and crude weapons chased off a heavily- armed police tactical team, injuring several officers.

OPP Sergeant Dave Rektor said police were still processing the protesters last night and weren’t prepared to release their names or ages to the media. He didn’t know the specific charges they face, except that they would be criminal offences and possibly some non-criminal provincial offences such as trespassing. He said two officers suffered minor injuries during the arrests, which could form the basis for some of the criminal charges.

Rektor stressed, however, none of the people arrested was being charged in connection with the beating of Sam Gualtieri in a house on the site that he was building for his daughter and her fiance. Gualtieri, 52, suffered face and head injuries and spent almost a week in hospital before he was released yesterday.

The Six Nations Confederacy and the Six Nations elected band council have both condemned the violence and offered their prayers and sympathies to the Gualtieri family. Mohawk Chief Allen MacNaughton had described the assault as an “atrocity” and said the protesters had been occupying the site without the approval of the Confederacy.

Sam’s brother Joe Gualtieri, 46, said he noticed police amassing on the site yesterday morning when he went there with some bricklayers to work on his brother’s house.

For the first time since last Thursday, when all construction had stopped, other tradespeople had started trickling back in as well.

Even with the large police presence, Gualtieri said his bricklayers were apprehensive and were working much faster than usual.

They had noticed a handful of native protesters poking around a large mound of dirt on the east side of the development where there was a large banner accusing Canada of genocide against aboriginal people.

In the early afternoon, police started setting up checkpoints and roadblocks around the subdivision and told workers to leave for their own safety.

By about 2 p.m., a large number of vans and other specialized police vehicles, plus two canine units, rolled onto the site.

By about 2:30 p.m., there were about 100 officers on the site, including members of Hamilton police, and a large contingent of tactical officers in riot gear.

Gualtieri said he was impressed by the military precision of the operation as he watched the tactical officers suiting up and preparing to confront the protesters.

He added it was empowering to watch the baton-wielding officers tapping their shields in unison as they closed in on the protesters, who had refused to budge when a uniformed officer had asked them to leave a few minutes earlier.

Apart from residents in adjacent neighbourhoods, several dozen Six Nations residents watched the daytime spectacle from an embankment on the railway tracks that forms the western boundary of the survey.

Rektor said they never attempted to interfere with police as they carried off the protesters one by one over a period of about an hour and placed them in a secure transport van.

Confederacy spokesperson Hazel Hill said she was saddened and disheartened when she heard about the arrests.

She knew many of the protesters, who she said ranged in age from teenagers to persons in their 30s. Although the Confederacy has distanced itself from them, she said she understood the anger, frustration and passion of the protesters who were trying to protect their native lands.

She blamed both levels of government for allowing developments on lands that are still subject to land claims negotiations.

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Police arrest nine at native protest site in Caledonia

Posted By Michael-Allan Marion
Brantford Expositor
Thursday, September 20, 2007

A large OPP force took over a contested housing site in Caledonia on Wednesday and arrested nine native protesters who defied their elders by refusing to leave the Stirling Street development.

Residents watched and cheered from their homes as about 50 officers in riot gear, a tactical team and canine units marched into the Stirling Woods subdivision where home builder Sam Gualtieri was beaten unconscious last week.

Officers surrounded a group of protesters and gave them time to walk away from the site or face arrest, Const. Paula Wright told reporters near the site. Within minutes, nine men and women were taken away.

Police did not release the names of those arrested or the charges they face.

Sgt. Dave Rektor said police were still processing the protesters late Wednesday night and weren’t prepared to release their names or ages to the media

Rektor didn’t know the specific charges they would face, except that they would be criminal offences and possibly some non-criminal provincial offences, such as trespassing.

Two officers suffered minor injuries during the arrests, which could form the basis for some of the criminal charges, Rektor said.

None of the people arrested Wednesday was being charged in the connection with the beating of Gualtieri in a house on the site that he was building for his daughter, said Rektor

Elated

The beating victim’s brother, Joe Gualtieri, was elated by the police action.

“Like all people here are saying, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.’ We can’t say that enough. Why couldn’t this have happened months ago at the Douglas Creek Estates (which was first occupied by natives more than a year ago)?”

Gualtieri said he believes the police action was prompted by bad publicity surrounding last week’s violent attack against his brother, who suffered numerous injuries, including fractures to his nose and collar bone, and spent almost a week in hospital before he was released on Wednesday.

The Six Nations Confederacy and elected band council have both condemned the violence and offered prayers and sympathies to the Gualtieri family.

Joe Gualtieri said it was clear Wednesday that the police were about to take action against protesters still on the site, even after an agreement was reached on Monday with the Six Nations Confederacy to allow building to resume.

Through the morning, more and more police were becoming visible. Just before lunch, police told construction workers to leave the property. Shortly afterwards more undercover and uniformed offers showed up in a succession of vehicles.

“When we saw one (police) truck after another, we started cheering, and the neighbours started cheering,” said Gualtieri. “Finally, they (the police) were going to take action.”

He said he watched officers line up in riot gear bearing batons and shields. Neighbours were told to stay out of their backyards.

Gualtieri said he feels “empowered” by the police action.

“After a week of (native) flags, it was good to see some authority again.”

Neighbours along Stirling Street said they were happy with the police action, but still feared possible reprisals from natives.

“Great,” said one woman, who didn’t want to give her name, “but what is going to happen tonight if a whole bunch of natives come out?”

A few doors down, Jason Misner was worried about a native backlash.

“I hope it doesn’t come but you don’t know after what happened at the Douglas Creek Estates,” he said.

Misner was referring to a failed police raid at Douglas Creek site in April of last year when protesters with clubs and crude weapons chased off a heavily-armed police tactical team, injuring several officers.

“It’s a good thing that the OPP have finally stepped up and done something.”

The Caledonia arrests were welcome news to builder Mike Quattrociocchi, whose company Mayberry Homes has suffered native action against his attempt to build a housing project on Grand River Avenue in Brantford.

Although a confrontation was defused Tuesday at his property with the help of Confederacy leaders, Quattrociocchi said he still lives under the threat of reprisals or a reoccupation at any time.

“I had the first good sleep in weeks” Tuesday night, he said, but is still waiting for more trouble ahead.

He called the events in Caledonia an “encouraging” signal for all parties involved to reduce the potential for violent conflict and ensure proper law and order.

“This had to stop,” he said. “People on both sides were getting hurt. Let’s hope people get the right message.”

Confederacy spokeswoman Hazel Hill said she was saddened and disheartened when she heard about the arrests.

She knows many of the protesters, who she said range in age from teenagers to people in their 30s.

Although the Confederacy has distanced itself from them, Hill said she understands the anger, frustration and passion of protesters who were trying to protect their native lands.

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What has been happening here on Six Nations?

September 19, 2007

Scano

Tonight, my heart is heavy. However, I thought I would write a little of the past few days. First of all, there have been a few of us gathering on a daily basis discussing Unity for our people, to find a way to come together. We came up with an education march. We feel education is what is lacking and if we could learn to reach out to one another and share knowledge with one another, we can start building some gaps. There are two governing bodies; one is our customs through our traditions. We are born into this; therefore, are our inherent rights. The other has been illegally placed upon us to divide and conquer our existence. We are not saying or trying to convince anybody to believe where we are coming from, but to learn the truth of what has happened to us. We came up with doing three themes, the first one we did on Thursday September 13th, “Where We Were” which consists of who we are. The second we are doing October 19th will focus on, “Where We Are”. The third one we not have set a date but will target, “Where We Are Going”.

A few of us marched from Polytec into the front yard of the Band Administration Office where we placed our signs all over the front yard. We had a lot of support and quite a few people coming up to us and asking what we were doing and they felt it was a great idea. Other’s were giving us information such as the construction in Caledonia and another informed us that Elected Dave General was holding a private meeting of governance and it was his second gathering with other elected officials as far as Rochester New York, and some thought there was a parade of some sort. After spending a little time on the front lawn, we decided to take our sign and mobile ourselves taking us into Mr. General’s meeting where we held up our signs so the delegation can see them clearly. We were so nonchalant as we just stood there holding our signs. We did share the mike with Dave; after all, he was the entertainment. He and his elected buddies got to hear the Declaration of Independence for the first time. They got to here our concerns of how they are misusing our money, how they don’t care for our elders, how they are arms to the government and how they are a part of committing genocide on their own people.

We then drove over to the development and enforced our stance; which is, no development on the Haldimand Proclamation as we are in a process of a resolution. Everything was fine until one of our young men started putting up our Hiawatha flag and the developer got hostile, so angry that he climbed up the scaffold cussing and then began throwing things such as the board with the cement mix on it and tried ripping down our flag. The developer then gave a press release and after about 10 minutes everyone left. Two and half hours later five men sit and watch waiting for the perfect opportunity to express their anger and hatred for what, a flag? The baseball bat that they carried was an assault weapon as they had every intention on using it to inflict pain. Instead, one of their own was hurt and by no means, do not put words into my mouth, as I am so relieved he is alright because this isn’t about hurting one another it is about respect. We have customs and we have laws and we need ours respected just the same as one wants there’s. We have shown this all of our lives for hundreds of years and now is the time to show the host the courtesy of having visitors. I also want to stress, there are two sides to a coin, and one does not override the other just because of the color of one’s skin.

With this note: I am calling on Marie Trainer of Haldimand County and hold her accountable as she is well aware of a “Notification Agreement” regarding; development, land, water, animals, and most importantly there is an emergency phase where she could have called all parties that are involved to the table, to try defuse the situation. In fact, I have tried to meet with her and talk so that Peace begins to roll off her tongue as it is significant to uphold the Treaty of Peace. The community of friends have requested to meet with her, only to be ignored. Again I hold Mayor Marie Trainer and the OPP accountable for the terror that has been inflicted upon our people as they continue to tarnish Her Honor by not helping to keep the peace by not helping to protect Her Majesty’s interest.

This day will be burned in our heads forever as we were forced to stand there and watch our people again being pepper sprayed, hand cuffed and thrown into jail when we have done nothing wrong. We just got thrown back to a time where we are being robbed and molested of our lands. What’s next – Residential schools? Oh yeah they have there puppet government working on that as our language was just cutback. Is it me or does it seem we are taking a step back into a dark history where our people were physically attacked and our children kidnapped?

P/S Thanks for modern technology for without camera’s and video’s, people might not believe what we are saying.

Also I send my best wishes to the family that is involved.

Nya weh
Always Jacqueline

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Two Six Nations Youth Defend Themselves from Five Thugs

Mohawk Nation News, September 15, 2007

On September 13th at around 4:00 pm. witnesses saw non-native men running out, picking up weapons and going back into the unfinished house. Inside they had ambushed two Indigenous youth. The kids’ backs were against the wall. They have a right to self-defense. The two youth had gone into the house. One went one way and the other went in another direction. That’s when the older Indigenous boy caught the non-native man beating his younger brother.

The OPP had stopped construction that morning at 9:00 am. Meetings were going on between the Six Nations and the “Crown” that afternoon about the land. Stirling construction was illegally building houses on Six Nations land.

Read the rest of the article at Mohawk Nation News

Five aboriginals guilty of illegal fishing

Posted in Repression, Secwepemc Nation on September 19, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Five aboriginals guilty of illegal fishing

The Canadian Press
September 19, 2007

Kamloops — Five members of a native band who claimed they had an aboriginal right to fish have been found guilty of illegal fishing.

Provincial Court Judge Bill Blair has ruled the group didn’t have an aboriginal right to fish for sockeye salmon along the Fraser River near Lillooet, B.C.

Florence and Barret Deneault, Dorothy Grant, Adeline Willard and Kristopher Young were charged under the Fisheries Act when they were caught in 2001 fishing without a licence.

Their lawyer argued in court that they had the right to fish because they are members of the High Bar First Nation and were fishing within the band’s territorial boundary.

The group will be back in court next month for sentencing.

B.C.’s native languages rapidly dying: linguists

Posted in Repression on September 19, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

B.C.’s native languages rapidly dying: linguists
Province one of world’s five worst spots for language extinction

Jonathan Woodward, Vancouver Sun; With files from Reuters
Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Indigenous languages are dying off at an alarming rate in British Columbia, prompting linguists to include the province on a list of the five worst global “hot spots” for language extinction.

Most fluent aboriginal speakers are aged 60 or older, and their languages will be lost forever when the last speaker dies, said David Harrison, co-director of the Enduring Voices project, which seeks to document and revitalize languages slipping towards oblivion.

“We’re going to lose an immense storehouse of knowledge,” Harrison said.

There are 6,992 recognized distinct languages worldwide.

On average, one language vanishes every two weeks, taking millennia of human knowledge and history with it, says Harrison, who works out of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

The Enduring Voices project, which is sponsored by National Geographic magazine, includes B.C. as part of the Northwest Pacific Plateau, along with parts of Oregon and Washington state.

The only hot spots where risk of language loss is more severe are northern Australia — where 153 languages face extinction — and a region of South America, where Spanish and Portuguese are smothering local tongues.

The study cited other examples as well, including Siberia, where government policies are forcing speakers of 23 languages to abandon their native tongues.

Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico, meanwhile, are seeing the legacy of children being punished for speaking their native tongues at government boarding schools.

In B.C., three languages have already become extinct because of colonization and pressures from widespread use of English, said Bill Poser, an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia who studies the Carrier language in Prince George.

Of the 36 remaining languages, 13 are spoken by fewer than 50 people each, Poser said.

One language, South Tsimshian, is spoken by only one person.

“Virtually none of these languages have speakers under the age of 15,” he said. “Once a language ceases to be learned by children, that’s it. When all of the speakers are over 60, you’re in big trouble.”

Only 15 of an estimated 3,600 Squamish people are fluent in their own language, and all of them are elderly, said Deborah Jacobs, an educator with the band.

“Our language embraces and wraps our identity, our future and our survival as a people,” she said. “It certainly is quite critical that it survive.”

Jacobs’s grandmother, at 97, is a fluent speaker, but Jacobs’s first language is English. Her father went to a residential school, and afterwards did not teach his children their native language, she said.

“I speak the language very much as a child would speak the language,” she said.

Jacobs is working to train teachers in the language, so a school can be set up to teach it to future generations. The process, she said, is a slow one, essentially a race against time to record the language of the elders before they die.

Much of the blame for language loss can be tied to residential schools, UBC linguistics Prof. Suzanne Gessner said. For decades, children were taken away from their families during the school year and educated in English. A compensation package designed to address the wrongs of residential schools did nothing to revitalize languages, she said — and last November, the federal government cut $160 million in funding for aboriginal languages.

“You need money, you need time, you need people trained,” Gessner said. “Efforts are being made, but we’re losing our languages.”

Police brace for spike in violence, scams fuelled by native compensation cash

Posted in Repression on September 19, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Police brace for spike in violence, scams fuelled by native compensation cash

Sep 17, 2007

OTTAWA (CP) — Nearly $2 billion in native residential schools compensation will be a mixed blessing, say frontline workers who fear major spikes in alcohol and drug use, family violence and exploitation.

Police forces are on alert across Canada as First Nations and nearby cities brace for the cash injection. About 80,000 former students can apply as of Wednesday for common experience payments – $10,000 for the first year they attended the once-mandatory network of church-run schools, and $3,000 for each subsequent year.

Cheques are expected to average $28,000 and will start arriving within a month.

RCMP Chief Supt. Doug Reti, head of national aboriginal policing services, believes most people will spend or invest the money wisely. But others will drink or shoot up payments that could also attract con artists bent on scamming the most vulnerable people, he fears.

“Most will deal with this extra money in a responsible way,” he stressed Monday. “But there’s always those people that are easily taken advantage of, and fall through the cracks.

“We have a high rate of addictions, a high rate of suicide. One of my biggest concerns is the raised level of abuse of alcohol, drugs … and the fallout from that type of thing.

“I know pretty well first-hand what that kind of injection of money can do in a community,” said Reti, who has worked with First Nations in five provinces.

About 150,000 students attended residential schools that operated in every province except New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island from the 1870s to the 1970s. While many former students say the schools offered a good education and discipline, Ottawa conceded almost 10 years ago that physical and sexual abuse was rampant.

A flood of lawsuits followed. The federal government offered basic compensation and an out-of-court process to staunch further litigation.

About 15,000 people are expected to use the alternative independent assessment process to pursue payments as high as $250,000 for the most serious physical and sexual harm.

More than 200 plaintiffs who opted out of the compensation deal have retained their right to sue in court.

Gina Wilson, assistant deputy minister for Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada, says a national working group has gathered frontline partners since 2006 to help First Nations ride the wave of compensation cheques.

“It’s the survivors’ money,” she said. “They’re entitled to that, and no one should tell them how to spend it. But on the other hand, communities can be prepared.”

Those raising awareness about the pitfalls of long-awaited payments must walk a fine line between concern and condescension, says Ed Bitternose of the Gordon First Nation north of Regina.

“In the early part of the 1990s we tried to give that support and advice. People just essentially told us to mind our own business.”

He was referring to how 230 people on the reserve received out-of-court settlements – most of them between $25,000 and $150,000 – for widespread sexual abuse suffered at the Gordon Residential School.

Many people fixed up their houses and yards, took trips and bought stocks. Others “got drunk for two weeks,” Bitternose said.

He hopes it will be different when about 800 of the 3,000 band members receive cheques under the final settlement.

“We try to make people aware… But those people receiving that kind of money, if they choose to do the drug, alcohol and violence scene, there’s really not much we can do to stop them other than call the police.”

Bitternose, 58, lived at the hilltop institution from the ages of nine to 16. He expects to receive $31,000 in common experience payments, and hopes for more through the new out-of-court process.

He’s among many people working to ready First Nations for an often unprecedented cash influx. They’re offering advice on everything from setting up bank accounts and investments, to avoiding the myriad high-interest “credit rebuilding” offers that compensation recipients can expect.

Anne Derrick, a provincial court judge in Nova Scotia, once represented more than 400 claimants who sued for abuse at three reform schools in the province. They received varying payments 10 years ago under a $33.5-million compensation program.

Financial, psychological and drug counselling were built into the program, Derrick said. Some recipients bought small houses and used the money as a kind of fresh start, she recalled.

Other clients “were very vulnerable. And quite frankly, probably more vulnerable than I fully appreciated.”

One young man made headlines after blowing $20,000 of his payment on a two-week cocaine bender.

“I certainly saw some tragic cases where the compensation ultimately didn’t bring the kind of benefits that … I and the other lawyers, people in government who were committed to the program, and the other survivors all hoped would be the case.”

Native protest stalls Brantford project

Posted in Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on September 6, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Native protest stalls Brantford project
Developer says governments should red flag disputed lands

John Burman
The Hamilton Spectator
BRANTFORD (Sep 5, 2007)

A small city developer fears he has lost his financing, tradespeople and suppliers for a $1.2-million, four-duplex development native protesters shut down yesterday.

Mayberry Homes owner Mike Quattrociocchi, a former Brantford city councillor, said several protesters climbed into a foundation hole being dug and sat down in front of a backhoe, effectively stopping work at 11 a.m.

They argued the land is the subject of a land claim.

Quattrociocchi called Brantford police and after an hour’s discussion, the native group left and Quattrociocchi promised only to finish a basement wall of one unit already started and then stop until the issue is resolved.

The developer says he is now completely frustrated because he thought he had done the right thing notifying the Confederacy of his plans six months ago.

He’s also angry the federal and provincial governments point fingers at each other and do nothing about the lack of warning flags on land titles for properties which are the subject of a land claim.

“I sent the secretary (Leroy Hill) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council a letter six months ago,” Quattrociocchi said yesterday.

“I expected they’d tell me when to talk to them and where.”

The months ticked by and Quattrociocchi heard nothing. He assumed because he demolished an existing building on the site at Grand River Avenue and Jarvis Street that the land where he wanted to build eight duplex units was not in contention.

Wanting to be sure, he delivered a second letter three weeks ago. He got no reply.

Last week, a few days after he’d started construction, Confederacy representatives visited the site and told him to shut down because the land is in dispute. He was told to go and speak with the Confederacy council.

When he got there Saturday, he found he was not on the agenda.

He says he was also told he should have dealt with the council committee which handles land claims, not the secretary. Quattrociocchi said the council would not confirm or deny receiving his earlier letters. He was told to come to next month’s council meeting.

“I stand to lose a lot,” he said yesterday. “I am disappointed in all levels of government over this.”

Confederacy spokesperson Janie Jamieson said the onus is on the provincial and federal governments to notify prospective developers of lands under dispute and procedures for notification and discussion with natives.

She also said the council does not have the resources to respond to queries in a hurry.