Archive for December, 2007

Saskatoon police shootings of 2 native people raise race relations questions

Posted in Repression on December 31, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Saskatoon police shootings of 2 native people raise race relations questions

Fri Dec 28, 2007
By The Canadian Press

SASKATOON – Two shootings of aboriginal people by Saskatoon police officers in less than a week have raised questions again about the force’s commitment to improving its historically troubled relations with First Nations.

Police Chief Clive Weighill promised Friday that the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations’ special investigative unit will have full access to the investigations of both incidents. FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph welcomed the co-operation but also said he has concerns and questions about what happened.

Weighill told a news conference that in the latest incident, police received a 911 call from a distraught female just before 3 p.m. Thursday. A short time later, a caller from a neighbourhood southwest of the downtown reported seeing a woman in the street armed with knives.

“Two constables attended the scene and were immediately confronted by an agitated and aggressive female armed with a knife in each hand,” he said.

“The officers attempted to defuse the situation by repeatedly directing the woman to drop the weapon. The woman continued to advance towards one of the officers, at which point the constable discharged her firearm,” Weighill said.

A third officer then arrived on the scene and the woman was physically subdued to remove at least one of the knives still in her hand, Weighill said.

Still aggressive, the woman was handcuffed, he said. An ambulance was called.

The 35-year-old woman, whose name was not released, suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was listed Friday in serious but stable condition in hospital. Criminal charges against her are being considered, Weighill said.

Early last Saturday, two officers shot and killed Dwayne Charles Dustyhorn, 38, a man they said was threatening their colleague with two knives.

The RCMP have been called in to investigate both shootings.

The FSIN’s special investigations unit – formed after an inquiry into the case of an aboriginal teenager who froze to death on Saskatoon’s outskirts – will focus on a few areas, Joseph said in an interview.

“Whether all options were considered, what the circumstances are and whether these police officers had any previous experience in dealing with aggressive situations and whether the situation called for lethal force,” he said.

“We will be very much involved and making sure the investigation is done in the best possible way.”

Weighill called the two shootings isolated incidents, but said he’s concerned that officers have faced life-threatening situations twice in one week.

“As the chief of police, I am concerned with the risks faced by our officers on a daily basis,” the chief said.

Most of these incidents can be defused without harm to the aggressor or the police, he noted.

“There are, however, unfortunate incidents such as these, where officers must make a split-second decision to protect themselves, their partner and the public.”

While Joseph said he hopes the latest incidents don’t strain relations between the Saskatoon police and the aboriginal community, he acknowledged that there have been tensions in the past.

“We have a long-standing history as First Nations people in Canada and in Saskatchewan where there’s a lot of mistrust with police agencies,” Joseph said.

A race relations report released by the Saskatoon Police Commission in March 2006 identified a need for aboriginal liaison officers, diversity training, and ongoing training for anger management and dispute resolution.

The decision to do the study grew out of a provincial inquiry into the freezing death of 17-year-old Neil Stonechild in 1990.

His case became the flashpoint for an inquiry after two more aboriginal men were found frozen to death beyond Saskatoon’s city limits in January 2000. Another man, Darrell Night, then came forward with his story about being dumped by two police officers in the same area.

Two constables, Bradley Senger and Larry Hartwig, were fired after the Stonechild inquiry but never charged criminally. Two others, Ken Munson and Dan Hatchen, were found guilty of unlawful confinement in Night’s case and spent time in jail.

In September, the province’s Court of Appeal reserved its decision on a bid by Senger and Hartwig to get their jobs back. They’ve always denied they had Stonechild in their police cruiser on the night he died.

Questions remain in the wake of the inquiry about whether aboriginal people are being treated fairly by the justice system, Joseph said.

“It’s very troubling and what can we do to prevent this? What can we do to ensure that justice prevails for all citizens of Saskatchewan, which is everyone’s human right?”

He said he’s not sure substantial changes have been made to police procedures and he’s concerned that the top jobs at the police department, including that of the chief, have changed hands a few times in the last few years.

“We have done a lot of work as a province to try and alleviate the tension that was there. It was at an all-time low in 2000,” he said.

“I think the dialogue needs to continue with First Nations leadership in terms of establishing the proper processes to prevent tragedies like what’s occurred in the past few days in Saskatoon,” he said.

-By Lisa Arrowsmith in Edmonton.

Advertisements

Four Charged in Smoke Shop Protest

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

FOUR CHARGED IN SMOKE SHOP PROTEST

The Canadian Press
December 24, 2007

Ontario Provincial Police have charged four more people in connection with a violent protest over an aboriginal smoke shop in Caledonia earlier this month.

The charges include assault and public mischief and the accused will appear in court in late January and early February.

On Dec. 1, provincial police had to summon reinforcements to quell a disturbance at a disputed “smoke shack.”

The clash, which erupted after protesters alleged natives were selling cigarettes illegally, turned violent and two men were injured. The protest was over a shop that some contend is on land not owned by Six Nations.

Six Nations officials say the land is theirs, as it falls into a claim for the roadbed of Plank Road.

The claim is one of several being discussed at talks between Six Nations and the provincial and federal governments.

The land is not currently part of the reserve, and as such is currently under the jurisdiction of Haldimand County and the provincial police. The smoke shop is about a kilometre away from the former Douglas Creek Estates, which Six Nations protesters have occupied since February, 2006.

At one point during the hour-long incident, police formed a line to separate about 100 protesters from the natives that had gathered.

Ron Gibson, 42, of Ohsweken, Ont., is charged with mischief and Steve Powless, 42, also of Ohsweken, is charged with assault. Camille Powless, 41, of Six Nations, is charged with public mischief. All three will appear in provincial court Jan. 30 in Cayuga. Ruth-anne Chapman, 53, of Caledonia, is charged with assault and is to appear in provincial court in Cayuga Feb. 6.

Makah whalers plead not guilty to tribal charges

Posted in Makah Nation, Repression on December 18, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Whalers plead not guilty to tribal charges

By Jim Casey, Peninsula Daily News
Dec 12, 2007

NEAH BAY – The five members of the Makah tribe accused of illegally killing a whale will go to trial in tribal court Jan. 22.

They also face trial March 18 in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

The five – Frankie Gonzales, Wayne Johnson, Andrew Noel, Parker and William Secor Sr., all of Neah Bay – each pleaded not guilty to three counts in tribal court on Tuesday.

They are free without bail pending both trials.

All the charges stem from the Sept. 8 shooting of a gray whale in the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sail Rock east of Neah Bay.

The whale sank and never resurfaced, but the tribe’s marine mammal biologist says it probably died of internal bleeding from gunshot wounds.

In tribal court, the charges are:

– Violating the tribe’s Gray Whale Management Plan.

– Violations of state and federal laws.

– Reckless endangerment. The hunters fired high-powered rifles over water at the whale.

The tribal charges carry a combined maximum penalty of one year in the tribe’s jail in Neah Bay and a $5,000 fine.

The tribal court also has the power to suspend the defendants’ treaty rights for up to three years.

The federal charges, all misdemeanors, allege two violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act:

– Conspiracy to hunt a whale.

– Harassing and killing the whale.

A third count alleges whaling in violation of the federal Whaling Convention Act.

Each count carries a maximum fine of $100,000, a one-year prison term and a year of parole.

The Makah Tribal Council announced the day after the hunt that it intended to prosecute the five.

The tribal charges were filed on Nov. 23.

One consequence of the killing is the further delay of an environmental impact statement from the National Marine Fisheries Service that enforces the marine mammal act.

The statement is necessary if the fisheries service is to grant the Makah’s request to resume whaling, a right granted them in the 1855 Treaty of Neah Bay.

The last legal hunt was in May 1999, when the Makah killed one gray whale after the whales were removed from the list of endangered species.

The tribe had ceased whaling in the 1920s after non-native commercial hunters nearly extirpated gray whales in the Pacific Ocean.

Fifth person charged in smoke shop melee

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on December 18, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Fifth person charged in smoke shop melee

December 11, 2007
John Burman
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Dec 11, 2007)

Haldimand OPP have charged a fifth person in connection with a violent disturbance at a native smoke shop Dec. 1 near the former Douglas Creek Estates subdivision.

Douglas Fleming, 45, of Caledonia, one of the organizers of the protest at the shop, has been charged with mischief. He is to appear in court in Cayuga on Jan. 23.

Gary McHale, 45, of Newmarket, a vocal opponent of the OPP’s handling of the Caledonia situation, has been charged.

Prominent native activist Clyde Powless, 40, is charged with assault and mischief. Kyle Hagan, 36, of Caledonia, is charged with obstructing police. Jesse Porter of Ohsweken is charged with mischief.

Organizers of the demonstration at the smoke shop contend it is on land not owned by Six Nations. Six Nations say the land is theirs, as it falls into a claim for the road bed of Plank Road (Argyle Street), which they say was never legally surrendered to the government.

——————————————————————————————

Violence erupts at Caledonia protest

Protester Gary McHale and another person injured; OPP says charges are pending and every legal remedy will be sought ‘to end this madness.’

December 03, 2007
Dana Brown
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Dec 3, 2007)

The OPP say charges are pending after a protest rally over a native-operated smoke shop erupted into violence.

Two people, including controversial figure Gary McHale, were injured during the melee on Saturday morning.

McHale suffered a bruised rib, black eye and head and feet injuries.

The protest was over a smoke shack that has recently opened at the end of Argyle Street South, where the road meets Highway 6.

“We went out with every intention of having a peaceful protest,” said organizer Doug Fleming.

Fleming contends the smoke shack is on land not owned by Six Nations.

Six Nations say the land is theirs, as it falls into a claim for the roadbed of Plank Road.

The claim is one of several currently being discussed at ongoing negotiations between the provincial and federal governments and Six Nations.

Fleming has also sold cigarettes out of the back of his pickup truck to protest other smoke shops that are on band council owned land. The land is not currently part of the reserve, and as such, is currently under the jurisdiction of Haldimand County and the OPP.

The smoke shop which was contested on Saturday is about a kilometre away from the former Douglas Creek Estates, which Six Nations protesters have occupied since February 2006.

At one point during the more than hour-long incident, OPP formed a line to separate about 100 protesters from the natives that had gathered.

In a strongly worded press release, OPP said the protesters were “taunting and provoking those present.”

OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino said in the statement that the force “will seek every legal remedy possible to end this madness and to bring them (protesters) to justice.”

It’s unclear what sparked the physical confrontations during the event, although McHale said he was attacked twice.

Fleming said that at some point “there was some disagreement and people got pushing and shoving.”

Protest organizers and natives alternately blocked the road during the incident, with Six Nations ultimately blocking Argyle Street South with a hydro tower just past 6th Line.

“If you are going to present us with a clear and present danger then we will take precautions so that nothing does happen like that fight,” said Brian Skye, one of the heads of security at the former Douglas Creek site.

OPP also blocked a section of the road and turned traffic back about a kilometre away from the blockade.

Skye said the road, which he says Six Nations have jurisdiction over, was blocked, in part, for safety reasons.

He said when things like this happen, it’s a “nuisance” to key negotiations, but that Six Nations reclaimed the land a long time ago and intend to maintain that stance.

The hydro tower was removed at 4 p.m., as promised.

On Saturday, OPP Sergeant Dave Rektor said charges are pending, but did not indicate whether it was for protesters or Six Nations.

“There’s always a big issue for some of these people … call it what you will it’s somebody trying to push their own personal agenda to speed things up,” Rektor said.

McHale said yesterday that after he left hospital, he went to an OPP station, where he was told he had been accused of assault.

He said the second man injured was treated at hospital and has since been released.

OPP did not return calls for comment yesterday.

Police have asked that anyone with pictures or video of the incident contact OPP at [phone number removed from article by Wii’nimkiikaa].

Statement by Graham Family

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Tutchone Nation on December 18, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

December 8, 2007
Statement by Graham Family

The Canadian Supreme Court of Canada has denied the extradition appeal made by John Graham. On Thursday morning, John was moved from the North Fraser Pre-trial Centre in Port Coquitlam BC, to Rapid City South Dakota, where he has been indicted for first degree murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. Her body was found in 1976, in South Dakota.

On December 1, 2003, John was arrested in Vancouver, for indictments for the first degree murder of Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash. In January 2004 he began living under house arrest in Vancouver during his legal struggle against the extradition. In 2005 the BC Supreme court approved John’s extradition to South Dakota, based on positive identification of his photos, despite discrepancies in his height, weight and race. The Canadian/US Extradition Treaty does not challenge the evidence provided by the country seeking extradition. Despite the fact that 3 of the 4 testimonies the US provided proved faulty, this was not taken into consideration by the Canadian court. The fact that the US has no legal jurisdiction over indigenous nations, especially one currently occupied by British Columbia, was never brought up in court.

On June 26 2007, the BC Supreme Court dismissed his appeal and John Graham turned himself in. He was transferred to North Fraser Pretrial, a high security facility where he waited for the appeal decision on the Supreme Court of Canada. We, his family, were granted one hour daily visits separated by glass. While in the pretrial center he was treated as though he’d already been convicted. He was not allowed to receive any books or put up pictures.

We were not contacted when John was transferred from North Fraser Pretrial to the airport and extradited to Rapid City SD. We were lead to believe the John Graham would receive a personal message and be able to set up a visit with the family before extradition. The family was not able to see John before he was taken away. We were not allowed to say our good byes or even give him his personal belongings.

His first court appearance was held December 7, 2007 in Rapid City, South Dakota. John is now being held in the Pennington County Jail, where it will take a week to get settled and have account and phone card to phone his family. John Murphy was the appointed lawyer at the hearing and John Graham pleaded Not Guilty.

The elders of the Yukon are praying for John’s safety, who is treated with respect and a safe return home.

We are in need of financial support to mount a legal defense in South Dakota, and support John and our family so that we can be there for him as much as possible. If you are able to offer donations or other support in Vancouver or Rapid City, please contact us at grahamdefense[at]hotmail[dot]com or http://www.grahamdefense.org .

——————————————————————————————-

Rally for Aboriginal Man Facing Murder Charge

Dec, 09 2007 – 12:30 AM

VANCOUVER/CKNW(AM980) – Family and supporters turned out in Vancouver on Saturday to rally against the extradition of a 52-year old native man wanted in South Dakota for the murder of a woman more than 30 years ago.

Singing and drumming marked the sombre rally for those who know and love John Graham.

Graham was one of two men charged with the first-degree murder of a fellow Indian Movement activist, Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, on the Pine Ridge Indian reserve in South Dakota in 1975.

Graham’s daughter Naneek tearfully pleaded for justice for her father, “We can’t let this happen again. My dad is innocent…he’s always maintained his innocence.”

Graham was escorted across the Canadian border on Friday and flown to South Dakota where he has been jailed to face trial.

——————————————————————————————-

Accused killer extradited to U.S.

The Province
Published: Sunday, December 09, 2007

Some 50 family members and friends of accused murderer John Graham protested his extradition to the U.S. yesterday at a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Graham is charged with the 1975 murder of American Indian Movement activist Anna Pictou Aquash in South Dakota. He was extradited after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear his appeal of earlier court rulings.

Graham appeared in court Friday in Rapid City, S.D., where he pleaded not guilty.

——————————————————————————————-

Security Note on Writing to John Graham at Pennington County Jail

Please be aware that any mail sent directly to John Graham at Pennington County Jail is more than likely read and copied by jail authorities and please take care regarding how this may affect his trial (date to be announced).

To write to John Graham, imprisoned at Pennington County Jail, address envelope as follows:

John Graham
307 St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
USA

To write or call the jail:

Pennington County Jail
307 St. Joseph Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 394-6116

To contact the sheriff’s office:

Don Holloway, Sheriff
Pennington County
Sheriff’s Office
300 Kansas City Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 394-6113

“In the past five years, there’s been a 29% increase in the number of inmates at the Pennington County Jail, 44% of which are Native American.”
– Pennington County Jail over capacity (Nov 28, 2007), KOTA Territory News

http://www.kotatv.com/global/story.asp?s=7423317&ClientType=Printable
——————————————————————————————-

Information on John Graham’s defense:

http://www.grahamdefense.org

http://ourfreedom.wordpress.com

Accused defiant in court

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on December 18, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Accused defiant in court

December 06, 2007
Dana Borcea
The Hamilton Spectator
CAYUGA (Dec 6, 2007)

A native man accused of trying to run over an OPP officer in Caledonia with a hijacked car repeated his rejection of the court’s jurisdiction during a brief appearance yesterday.

Albert Douglas read a prepared statement from the witness box condemning the court for interfering with the sovereign laws of his people whom he described as signatories of the original treaties with the British Crown.

He also accused the court of violating his rights “under its own laws” by not providing him with full disclosure of the Crown’s case against him in a timely manner.

Douglas, 31, of Ohsweken, has been in custody for two months and faces numerous charges.

Among them is an attempted murder charge that stems from the hijacking of a U.S. Border Patrol car. Protesters at the former Douglas Creek Estates swarmed the unmarked car and allegedly forced the two OPP officers and U.S. border agent out of the car. Witnesses said the vehicle then tried to back over one of the OPP officers who had collapsed on the street.

A Canada-wide warrant was issued for Douglas who was arrested during a routine traffic stop on Highway 401 in Morrisburg, Ont.

Douglas is also charged in connection with an attack on two CHCH News cameramen in 2006.

Ontario Court of Justice Judge Ann Watson asserted her authority in the matter yesterday.

“I do take jurisdiction over you at this time.”

Watson urged the accused to seek legal counsel. She also spelled out the choices before him now, including whether he would like a jury trial or one with a judge alone and whether he wanted a preliminary hearing. She warned that such decisions would be made for him if he did not choose.

About 35 supporters packed the small courtroom, at times heckling Watson with cries such as: “This is a farce” and “release him.”

His next appearance in the Cayuga courthouse is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Nine protesters arrested during an occupation of the Stirling Woods subdivision in Caledonia last September also had a scheduled hearing yesterday. The group, including two youths, was remanded out of custody until Jan. 2.

They face numerous charges, ranging from mischief to aggravated assault.