Archive for October, 2007

Native activist granted bail

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on October 31, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Native activist granted bail

October 31, 2007
Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
BRANTFORD (Oct 31, 2007)

A native activist facing robbery, assault and mischief charges was released yesterday after his father pledged another $10,000 in bail money in addition to $35,000 his friends and family put up last week.

The total bail package included $10,000 in cash that a group of supporters in the Haudenosaunee Six Nations had raised through potluck dinners to secure Skyler Williams’ release.

The 24-year-old Six Nations resident had been in custody at the Barton Street jail and Brantford detention centre since Sept. 19 when a heavily armed OPP riot squad removed him and eight other protesters from the Stirling Woods development in Caledonia.

He was charged with mischief and assaulting police to resist arrest after the raid and was already facing outstanding charges of assault and robbery in connection with an attack on two CHCH News television cameramen at the Canadian Tire parking lot in Caledonia on June 9, 2006.

At the time, he also had outstanding breach of probation charges in Brantford and Cornwall.

He was the only Stirling Woods protester denied bail when he appeared before a justice of the peace in Cayuga court last month.

But Superior Court Justice Gerard Taylor conducted a mandatory bail review of the case last Friday and agreed to release him on all the Haldimand County charges. His father, William Williams, had pledged $20,000, and his wife, Stacey Skye, $5,000, in addition to the $10,000 raised by the community.

Taylor said he had grave concerns about whether the accused would obey his bail conditions because he had flouted court orders in the past.

But Taylor was willing to take a chance on releasing him because the community had rallied and had pledged to keep him in line under its own Haudenosaunee laws and traditions.

Williams wasn’t immediately released, however, and spent the next four days in custody awaiting a bail hearing in Brantford on the breach of probation charge.

Assistant Crown attorney Larry Brock agreed to release him after Williams’ father took the witness box and pledged another $10,000.

While awaiting his trial, the younger Williams will be on stringent terms similar to house arrest.

He is to make his next appearance in Cayuga court with the eight other Stirling Woods defendants on Nov. 7.

Skyler’s bail review today

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on October 27, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Friday October 26, 2007

RE: SKYLER’S BAIL REVIEW TODAY

Sarah Dover is Skyler William’s legal representative. She presented a lot of Haudenosaunee history in court today, explained about our matriarchal society, our laws, customs and made it clear it is distinctly different from Canadian Society. She did an excellent job.

Skyler was granted bail today after having $10,000 certified cheque payable to the “Minister of Finance”. Skyler’s father had to pledge $20, 000 and Skyler’s wife Stacey had to pledge $5, 000.

There were other stipulations as well, of course to limit his movement on his own territory.

BUT, he had a breach in Brantford court that will be dealt with on Tuesday, so he is being held at Hamilton Barton St. Jail until tuesday at which time he will be released.

His safety is still at risk. We are hoping nothing will happen to Skyler during the rest of his stay at Barton St. Jail.

On behalf of Skyler’s family, we want to thank EVERYONE who so hastily sent letters and emails of support for Skyler. You have NO idea how much that means us and to know we still have so much support out there. niawen.

janie

six nations

Incarcerated Six Nations Man Threatened by Institutional Staff

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on October 27, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday October 25, 2007

Incarcerated Six Nations Man Threatened by Institutional Staff
by Janie Jamieson
Six Nations

Skylar Williams, a Mohawk Wolf from Six Nations has been held without bail at the Hamilton Barton St. Jail since the illegal arrests at Stirling Street September 19, 2007. Today we held a rally for him outside the jail where he has been in the “hole” for two days.

We have reason to believe if Skyler is harmed in anyway, we know he is the target of planned and deliberate threats and violence by jail institution staff members.

A few days ago Skylar woke up to find the plumbing in his cell on range 5 was backed up. He notified institution staff on his range. He was accused by staff of backing up the plumbing. The mess was left. Skylar asked for a drink of water, he was told by staff to drink from the toilet. Skylar responded, “there’s sh*t” in there. The institution staff’s paid professional advise to Skylar was to “take the sh*t out and then have a drink.” Skylar refused and notified his lawyer of the situation. At this point Skyler was without clean water for approximately 18 hours.

Skyler’s lawyer then notified another institutional staff member with a higher ranking position. The plumbing was fixed. Skyler left his cell but at lockdown upon his return, Skyler discovered the plumbing was mysteriously backed up again. The higher ranking institutional staff attempted to solve the problem by moving Skyler to another cell.

After this incident Skyler was approached by an institutional staff member and taken to a room with two other staff. At this point Skyler was told by the one of the staff that that particular staff member referred to himself as being “GOD” at Barton St. Jail. He then threatened Skyler by telling him if he and his lawyer didn’t stop causing sh*$ for him, he was going to “fu*$” Skyler up. He also said he would have it arranged so Skyler’s lawyer would have no access to him.

This staff member went on to inform Skyler of his plan to “fu*$” him up. (There were 2 other staff present when this threat occurred.) According to the staff member Skyler’s fate is supposed to happen in three steps…

1. Skyler would be given a “misconduct” by the institutional staff.

2. Skyler would then be sent to the “hole” for 3 days.

3. After Skyler was done in the “hole” he would immediately be sent to the range 3 of the jail.

Range 3 is where the men who are waiting to be tried for rape, murder and other serious crimes are held. Some of these men have already been convicted of such crimes and are waiting to be shipped off to federal institutions.

This is where men who have nothing left to lose are sent. In this range the inmates do special favours for the institutional staff for as little as an extra meal or coffee. It’s a place where you simply do not “rat” on the institutional staff. Inmates are pitted against one another. It’s also a place where Skyler was told, there are men as big as 321 pounds that could really “fu*$” him up. (The jail staff asked Skyler how much he weighed just to verify Skyler would be quite smaller and at greater risk of being injured if sent to Range 3.)

Skyler was also told by the institutional staff the last guy they had “fu*$ed” up had to crawl to the jail cell door covered in blood. Skyler was told there were men in Range 3 “waiting” for his arrival. Skyler was advised by this paid government employee to “quit his bitc*ing” and “to take his lumps.”

Skyler’s lawyer spoke with the high ranking institutional staff and was told by him the only thing he could do to guarantee Skyler’s safety was to put him in isolation where he would be under 24 hour video surveillance, however Skyler would have to give up the staff members’ names who were threatening him.

Skyler’s lawyer has already filed a motion for “habeus corpus” to have Skyler physically present in court tomorrow for his bail review.

Skyler’s cell mate contacted his family this morning and informed them in the last 24 hours Skyler has been given a “MISCONDUCT” by staff and has been placed in “the hole” for 3 days.

The instituional staff member has kept his promise to threaten Skyler’s life and safety. This staff member’s plan is gone passed the first two stages.

Something needs to be done immediately to guarantee Skyler’s safety and security. If there is interference in Skylers safety and security or if his life is put at risk we believe it would be the direct result of mistreatment at the discretion of institutional staff. We believe they are abusing their authority to ensure Skyler’s life and well being is put at risk. We believe their attempts at intimidating Skyler are deliberate and being somewhat overlooked by senior institutional staff.

Let’s hope Skyler will gets out of Barton St. Jail safely with his life. His bail review is at the Cayuga Courthouse tomorrow at 9:00am.

Please forward immediately.

niawen, skennen

Janie Jamieson
Six Nations

——————————————————————————————-

Accused native says he won’t submit to court

The Hamilton Spectator
CAYUGA (Oct 18, 2007)

A native activist arrested at a Caledonia building site last month has challenged the court’s authority to try him on criminal charges, including counts of mischief, assault police and robbery.

Skyler Williams, 24, is among a number of Six Nations Haudenosaunee people currently before the courts who believe Canadian criminal law doesn’t apply to them because they belong to a sovereign nation with its own laws and customs.

Irwin Ronald Gibson, 38, who faces robbery and assault charges in connection with an attack on two television cameramen, is the only person so far, however, to file a formal constitutional challenge. His case is still in the early stages but could affect other persons like Williams.

Wearing handcuffs and speaking from the prisoner’s box, Williams signalled his intentions in a prepared statement yesterday.

“The authority of the court to exercise jurisdiction over any Haudenosaunee person or Haudenosaunee land is currently being challenged with the governments of Ontario and Canada,” he stated.

While expressing respect for Canadian law, he stressed he wasn’t submitting to the jurisdiction of the court.

“I want to be clear,” he told the justice of the peace, “nothing that I may say or do … should be taken to mean I’m submitting to the jurisdiction of the Canadian courts.

“The respect, the courtesy and trustworthiness I offer to this court stems from my duty under my law to be honest and uphold the treaties (between Canada and his traditional government).”

Williams was one of nine persons arrested and charged when a heavily armed police tactical team removed a pocket of protesters from the Stirling Woods building site on Sept. 19.

He was charged with assaulting police to resist arrest and mischief in connection with the Stirling Woods raid. He also faces separate counts of robbery and assault in connection with an attack on two television cameramen in the Canadian Tire parking lot in Caledonia on June 9, 2006. He has been denied bail on these charges and was in Cayuga court for a routine appearance yesterday.

The eight other protesters charged at Stirling Woods were all granted bail and were in the courtroom when he read his statement. They applauded when Williams finished. Two young women were wearing traditional buckskin garb and carrying a large wooden sign that read “Prisoner of War.”

Williams and the other eight accused were all ordered to return to court on Nov. 7.

The others are:

Ronald Cook, 31, of Akwasasne, N.Y., charged with mischief and possession of a prohibited weapon.

Sheranne MacNaughton, 24, of Hagersville; and Teresa Jamieson, 41, of Ohsweken, both charged with mischief and assaulting police to resist arrest.

Francine Doxtator, 47, no fixed address; Stephen Powless, 42, of Ohsweken; Gregory Powless, 18, of Ohsweken; and June Jamieson-Maracle, of Ohsweken, all charged with mischief.

A 16-year-old girl was also charged with mischief but can’t be identified because she’s a young offender.

Last week, Toronto lawyer Stephen Ford — who represents Gibson in his constitutional challenge — tried to convince Superior Court Justice Alan Whitten to stop his client’s case from going to a preliminary hearing.

He argued that Ontario court justices, who normally preside over preliminary hearings, don’t have the jurisdiction to hear constitutional challenges. He submitted that a separate hearing should be held solely to thrash out issues such as sovereignty and jurisdiction.

In a written decision, Whitten has since ruled that he can raise the constitutional challenge during the preliminary hearing. Gibson was also ordered to return to court on Nov. 7.

Williams, who has been in custody since Sept. 19, will come up for an automatic bail review on Oct. 26.

Six Nations: Please Support Others

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

Please Support Others

Wednesday October 24, 2007 @ Onondaga Language School
@ 2678 5th Line @ Six Nations Territory

Spaghetti Supper (by donation)
and Yard Sale

From 5:00pm – 7:00pm

With approximately 15 of our people being either detained, out on bail and arrested, charged and going through the court process, we are in need of financial support.

We appreciate any all support you are able to contribute.

niawen .

Also, we need support in commemorating the Haldimand Deed with two of our men who are being held without bail.

Albert Douglas and Skyler Williams are being unlawfully detained

@ the Hamilton Barton St. Jail @ 165 Barton St. East
in Hamilton, Ontario.

We are gathering to remind these men they are not alone. They have much community support.

We will be there from 10:00am – 11:30am on

Thursday, October 25, 2007

223 years.

Support at the Cayuga Courthouse is requested on the following days:

October 25 (young man accused of assault),

October 26 (Skyler’s Bail Review),

October 31 (Ronnie Gibson – Jurisdictinal Challenge)

and November 7, 2007 (Albert Douglas and the 9 arrested re: Sept. 19 RCMP, OPP raid).

Our new Bank Account Numbers are:

BMO Ohsweken Branch Transit # 37522

Legal Fund 3014-873

and Site Fund 3014-929

Signatories are Josephine Sandy

Donna Powless and Janie Jamieson

Cheques can be made payable to either the Six Nations Reclamation Legal Fund or the Six Nations Reclamation Site Fund

c/o Janie Jamieson RR#1 Ohsweken , ON.
N0A 1M0

For more info e-mail DubbleJ71[at]aol[dot]com

or call (905) 768-8590

We are also discussing the possibility of having fundraisers and giving updates in other territories. If you territory is able to support this initiative please contact Janie.

niawen , skennen

Mohawk faces 12 years in jail for CN protest

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

Mohawk faces 12 years in jail for CN protest
Sue Collis, wife of Mohawk activist Shawn Brant, brings facts and context to McGill students

By Martin Lukacs
The McGill Daily [Montreal, Canada]
Oct 22, 2007

Sue Collis accused the Canadian government of criminalizing her husband, Mohawk activist Shawn Brant, for his involvement in CN Railway blockades, in a talk she gave at McGill Thursday.

After spending two months in pre-trial custody, Brant faces nine charges, including six “mischief” charges from two blockades outside the Tyendinaga community near Kingston, Ontario, the second of which took place on the aboriginal National Day of Action on June 29.

“They want to make an example of him,” Collis said. “Shawn acted as a spokesperson for the community of Tyendinaga, and not only did he give a voice to the suffering that exists [in native communities], but he compelled Canadians to look with a new clarity…at the legacy of the Canadian government.”

When the trial begins in January 2009, the Crown prosecution will seek a minimum sentence of 12 years. Until then, Brant’s bail conditions include curfew, a ban on travel outside Ontario, and a ban from attending any protest. Along with two members of Tyendinaga, Brant is also the subject of a CN Rail lawsuit for damages from the rail stoppage.

“[The railway blockades] find their origins in issues of poverty and suicides on reserves, poisoned drinking water, and the mess that is the land claims [process],” Collis said.

The actions, Collis said, were precipitated by the development of a 140-home sub-division, set to begin construction in November 2006, which Tyendinaga Mohawks asserted was on a parcel of land that is rightfully theirs.

In 1995, Tyendinaga filed a specific claim for the Culberston Tract, a 923-acre parcel near their territory. In 2003, as part of the land claims negotiations, the Federal Government acknowledged that the Culbertson Tract had never been surrendered, but rather than return the land, wanted Tyendinaga to take a cash buy-out.

Meanwhile, the Ontario Ministry of the Natural Resources continued to issue a provincial license to Thurlow Aggregates, a company that was removing thousands of tons of gravel from a quarry within the Culberston Tract.

“Essentially, the very land that was being talked about was being slipped out the back door, through this quarry,” Collis said.

In response, the Tyendinaga community members gave notice to the quarry’s owner in January that he had 60 days to shut down operations. In March, they occupied the quarry and announced that a campaign of railway or highway blockades would commence if the quarry’s license was not revoked.

On April 20, Tyendinaga community members blockaded the CN railway for 30 hours, after which Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Commissioner Julian Fantino ordered Shawn Brant’s arrest. He was released, but then arrested again after the blockade of the CN railway and highway 401 on June 29.

Railing for justice

For the mischief charges, Brant’s lawyer Peter Rosenthal said they would use a recognized defence known as the “colour of right.”

“If you have an honest belief in a factual situation, it would legally and criminally justify your actions,” Rosenthal said. “We will argue that Shawn Brant had an honest belief that it was Mohawk land, and so he had a right to put a bus on the train tracks.”

For the civil suit, Rosenthal said there are strong defence arguments because of precedents of ill-treatment and bad faith negotiations by the government.

“We will be alleging that given the history of CN’s treatment of native peoples, and the federal and provincial government’s treatment of indigenous peoples, such as the licensing of the quarry, those historical facts justify, criminally and socially, the actions [of Shawn Brant].”

Rosenthal questioned the motivation behind the lawsuit.

“I think they’re not going to specify [the sum] until the trial, but it’s in the millions. You have to ask, why are they bothering?” he asks.

Mark Hallman, a public relations officer for CN Rail, said that the company’s civil law suit relates to damages from the blockades. Hallman says that they lost $100-million in the value of goods, but would not reveal the sum CN would be seeking in the lawsuit.

Despite the lawsuit, Hallman indicated they are interested in good relations with native communities.

“We have a policy of long-standing support for First Nations,” Hallman said. He pointed to their aboriginal program, which includes awards for native students, and a letter sent in 2006 to ex-Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice, encouraging the government to speed up to settle land claims. Hallman said the company would not disclose the letter.

Canadians not on board

The Tyendinaga Support Committee in Toronto has called for the Attorney General of Ontario to drop the criminal charges, for CN Rail to abandon its lawsuit, and for the federal and provincial governments to return all lands that rightfully belong to the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte. The office of the Attorney General of Ontario did not respond to The Daily’s request for an interview.

Collis mentioned an Angus Reid Poll conducted in July that showed 71 per cent of Canadians believe the federal government should speed up the resolution of land claims.

“Whether Canadians agreed or not [with the tactics], they recognized there was a problem. A lot of people have said Canada is going down the path towards a ticking-time bomb,” Collis said, citing a Canadian Senate report published in December 2006. Entitled “Negotiation or Confrontation: It’s Canada’s Choice,” the report argues that if the federal government doesn’t quickly resolve the grievances of indigenous communities and settle land claims, more occupations and blockades can be expected.

“There’s a recognition that things like railways and highways like the 401 fall on Indian land,” Collis said. “There’s a power in that if people choose to use it. I’m sure there’s considerable concern about that.”

Development must stop on our land

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

Natives protest city site; ‘Development must stop on our land’

By John Paul Zronik
Brantford Expositor
Saturday, October 20, 2007

Members of Six Nations staged a 12-hour protest Friday at Henry Street and Wayne Gretzky Parkway, halting construction of a $40-million commercial development.

The peaceful protest was in reaction to a provincial statement made Thursday that a new Six Nations development institute has no right to charge fees or demand permits for construction on lands within the Haldimand Tract, the six miles on either side of the Grand River at one time granted to Six Nations.

“The provincial government has made statements that constitute a direct assault on our people,” said Six Nations spokeswoman Ruby Montour. “The statements made (by the province) go right to the core of our existence, our land.

“To be very clear, development must stop on our land. We will not go away and we will not be silenced.”

First Gulf Development Corp., based in Mississauga, is planning a 267,000-square-foot commercial centre on the 24-acre site. The protesters say the land belongs to Six Nations.

About a dozen natives arrived at 6:30 a.m., blocking the site entrance to stop workers from driving in. They erected Six Nations flags and signs that read “Six Nations Land” and “Your Lease is Up.” City police monitored the site during the protest, which ended at about 6 p.m.

The First Gulf development was also the site of a Six Nations protest in March, when natives asked for a delay in work until the company met with the Six Nations Confederacy.

The position put forward by the province on Thursday said Six Nations has no right to stop developments in the Haldimand Tract, but that mechanisms to consult with Six Nations about land use need to be further developed.

“Consultation does not mean a veto over development,” the provincial statement said. “Nor does consultation require developers to pay licensing fees or taxes to the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI).”

The development institute was recently created by the Confederacy as a mechanism for native approval of development taking place within the Haldimand Tract. The Confederacy has said developers will be granted construction approvals if they consent to enter agreements deemed necessary by the HDI, including the payment of development fees.

In an interview Friday, Murray Coolican, principle representative for Ontario in land claims negotiations with Six Nations, repeated the government’s position that the HDI has no authority to stop development or charge development fees.

But he said the HDI could serve a useful purpose in providing a mechanism for dialogue between Six Nations, municipalities and the province.

“The role that HDI can play is to provide an entry point for municipalities and the provincial government to consult the broader Six Nations community about development issues,” Coolican said. “I certainly hope we can get a consultation process that works for all.”

Coolican said the province is not prepared to make private property any part of a land claims settlement with Six Nations. He said some owners are worried they will lose the title to their properties once a settlement is reached.

“Ontario’s position is that private property owners have title to their properties,” Coolican said.

The Confederacy says the province’s position will worsen relations between Six Nations and government.

“Ontario has chosen… to proceed in what can only be seen as an attempt to incite violence and raise doubt and more confusion in the minds of their own people and ours here at Six Nations,” a Confederacy press release said.

Montour said the province showed a lack of respect to Confederacy chiefs and the Six Nations people with its statement this week.

“They finally had a press conference and said how they felt about our land rights all along,” Montour said. “They’ve been doing underhanded things to us for a while.

“They took our land and they have no intention of giving it back – they’re just playing games.”

Protester Kelly Powless urged local residents to contact politicians to get action on the land claims issue.

“(Brant MPP) Dave Levac said he wants to work with Six Nations and be a partner with us,” Powless said. “Where is his position on this statement?

“I would like him to say that was an irresponsible statement for the province to make.”

Levac was out of the country Friday and unavailable for comment.

Powless said Six Nations is prepared to step up its land rights campaign in light of this week’s announcement by the province.

“They think we’re just going to get tired and go back to our reserve,” she said.

“That’s not going to happen.”

City Mayor Mike Hancock welcomed Thursday’s provincial announcement. “From the standpoint of cities, I think we welcome the clarity of the statement,” Hancock said. “We needed to know what the provincial position was.”

The mayor said Friday’s protest in the city wasn’t entirely unexpected.

“Given the current state of discussions, it doesn’t surprise me – especially in light of the provincial statement – that there may be some other actions going on,” he said.

On the specific target of Friday’s protest, First Gulf Development Corp., Montour said the company needs to consult with Six Nations about its project at Henry Street and Wayne Gretzky Parkway.

“They have to come to us – the HDI – and talk to us about what they plan to do here,” Montour said. “There’s been a lack of communication for a while now.”

First Gulf representatives did not respond Friday to an interview request.

Canadian natives still face prison discrimination

Posted in Repression on October 24, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Canadian natives still face prison discrimination

Tue Oct 23, 2007
By Jonathan Spicer

TORONTO (Reuters) – Officials have largely ignored the findings of a hard-hitting report into the treatment of aboriginals in Canadian jails, and conditions have worsened in some areas, a federal watchdog says.

Ed McIsaac, executive director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator, said there had been no improvement in conditions for native prisoners despite last year’s damning report, which said they routinely face discrimination.

“We continue to see the same gap that we reported last year between aboriginal and non-aboriginal offenders … and in some of the areas the gap may in fact be increasing,” McIsaac told Reuters. “We have seen virtually no change in terms of the outcomes.”

Aboriginals, including Indians, Metis and Inuit, now account for 20 percent of federal inmates, up from 18.5 percent last year. The groups represent just 3 percent of Canada’s population.

Last year’s report recommended that the prison service hire more natives, and appoint a deputy commissioner responsible for aboriginals. But McIsaac said the Correctional Service of Canada had not adopted the recommendations.

“We are saying you’ve got to run a system that is equitable, reasonable and fair, and to date the outcome does not indicate that,” he said.

McIsaac said natives are still over-represented at maximum security prisons, under-represented at minimum security facilities, and are less likely to be released early. Aboriginals, especially women, were “left at the short end of every stick.”

The correctional service refused requests for comment.

Last year, when the report was released, the service denied there was systemic discrimination against aboriginals. It said it was “making progress and we are doing this in a culturally sensitive and professional manner.”

Government statistics show that Canada’s aboriginals have lower incomes, shorter lives, and are more likely to come from single-parent homes than non-aboriginals. An estimated 40 percent live in poverty, compared with about 15 percent for the country as a whole.

“There’s racism within the prison system,” said Kenneth Young, a political advisor for the Assembly of First Nations. “The people who work there don’t care. They’ve become insulated with that attitude.”

McIsaac said this year’s report from the correctional investigator, likely to be introduced next month, will again highlight aboriginal issues.