Archive for the Coast Salish Territory Category

Cheam argues indigenous sovereignty in court

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Resistance, Sto:lo Nation on May 26, 2010 by wiinimkiikaa

Cheam blockade with members of the West Coast Warrior Society, April 2000

Cheam argues indigenous sovereignty in court

by Oshipeya
March 12, 2010

On March 9, 2010, several indigenous people from the Cheam reserve of the Pilalt/Sto:lo people appeared in court in Chilliwack, British Columbia, to face charges related to defiance of government fishing regulations and to present evidence of their sovereign indigenous right to fish. Several people from Vancouver, indigenous and supporters, travelled to Chilliwack to show support and build solidarity, which the Cheam people said they appreciated.

One person from Cheam was taken into custody in the court room in the morning on another fishing charge and was to be released on probation and conditional discharge afterwards.

Evidence was presented by a Cheam member, without the presence of a lawyer, of indigenous traditions, family ties and teachings handed down through the generations regarding fishing in the area. The immensely destructive impact of residential schools on indigenous traditions was also presented.

A solidarity message from people of the Katzie reserve and information on their salmon sovereignty blockade of the Golden Ears Bridge on February 13 as part of the anti-Olympic convergence was also shared with the Cheam people at the courthouse and was well received.

The judge put the trial over to May 25, setting aside three days for evidence to be presented by Cheam members. More support and solidarity then is requested.

A short background pamphlet on the Cheam struggle can be found here:

http://12thandclark.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/cheamreportback.pdf

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Katzie Coast Salish Blockade of Golden Ears Bridge

Posted in Coast Salish Territory on February 15, 2010 by wiinimkiikaa

Members of Coast Salish Katzie First Nation, supporters block Golden Ears Bridge

Anti-2010 Olympics Convergence, Coast Salish Territories, (Vancouver, B.C.)

Video: http://www.youtube.com/salmonsovereignty

Contact: salmonsovereignty(at)hotmail.com

Feb. 13, 2010, as part of the Anti-Olympics Convergence in Vancouver B.C., members of Coast Salish Katzie First Nation and supporters blocked the Golden Ears Bridge.

The Bridge spans the Frazer River between Pitt Meadows and Langley, and is adjacent to Katzie 1 and Katzie 2 Reserves. It is about a half hour drive outside of Vancouver.

The bridge opened on June 16, 2009. It is owned by Translink, who say, “it will have major long-term impacts on the region, improving travel times and promoting economic activity.” Clearly disregarding the negative impacts on Indigenous people.

Construction of the bridge desecrated a 3000 year old burial ground. It’s massive pilings in the river disrupt currents, and the ability of local Katzie fishers to fish. Situated at the mouth of the Frazer River, the bridge effects already threatened habitat for Salmon and Indigenous fishing communities all up the Fraser River.

Statement by a participant in the action:

“My people have been told when to fish and how big our net can be since our book of rules (Indian act) in 1896. My family has been arrested for fishing when they were not allowed.”

“The bridge affects my family in many ways. For thousands of years my family has been fishing on the Fraser River. The exact same spot where they built the Golden Ears Bridge is where my father, my grandfather and so on, is where we were taught to fish. The exact same spot we have been fishing is where there is a 6 lane bridge.”

“That bridge has caused hurt and pain with me and my family. The bridge is built on my people’s sacred burial grounds. That bridge has destroyed the river far beyond Katzie’s boundaries. Because of the bridge I’m forced to change my teachings and ways of fishing. That bridge has destroyed the natural path for the salmon to continue up the river for indigenous people to eat to survive. Dredging gravel out of the river to build bridges and highways for the Olympics is destroying the delicate ecosystem and putting declining fish stocks at further risk.”

These people worked on the site where the bridge is now built – they asked to be anonymous because they would lose their jobs:

“We dug up history of our ancestors – human remains, arrow heads and beads. They gave us a choice: either we dig up our peoples history or they were going to send non-native people to do it. We were forced and no options from our community!”

–Anonymous hired archeologist worker.

After the remains were found, members of Katzie First Nations people were paid to build tiny coffins and bury the bones where they were found. Many of the workers thought this meant they wouldn’t build the bridge at that spot.

“So many bones were found, in fetal position, and scattered bones were found These are my people; these bones are my grandfathers and grandmothers. After we had a ceremony to bury the bones in small coffins we made, they went ahead and built the bridge anyway right over top of our sacred burial ground.”

–Anonymous Katzie First Nations worker.

**Part of the media strategy of this action was to avoid the use of mainstream corporate media and utilize alternative media and personal networks. Please post this to your site and/or forward this message along to your contact lists. Tnx.

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http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/sites/mediacoop.ca/files2/mc/VMC_broadsheet6.pdf

Solidarity with Tyendinaga and Six Nations

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on May 1, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) attacked the Mohawk people at the Tyendinaga/Deseronto reclaimed quarry on Friday, April 25, 2008, arresting as many as 10 people and pointing guns. Solidarity blockades, actions and demonstrations took place in Six Nations/Caledonia, Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Guelph, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver over the following four days. On April 26, the OPP threatened to remove by force the blockade of the Highway 6 bypass at Six Nations/Caledonia, but reinforcements that arrived from the reserve convinced the cops otherwise. The OPP backed-off from the Tyendinaga/Deseronto quarry on April 29 and the blockade of the Highway 6 bypass at Six Nations/Caledonia was brought down.

Members of the Mohawk Warriors man a road block set up on HWY 2 in Deseronto Sunday afternoon. Photo by Bill Tremblay, April 28, 2008

Solidarity action in Vancouver blocks major trucking route for three hours, April 28, 2008

APTN Covering Vancouver/Tyendinaga Solidarity

Six Nations spokesperson speaks on April 27th blockade of Highway 6 in Solidarity with the Mohawks of Tyendenaga

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Indigenous People and supporters living on Coast Salish Territory Block Major Truck Route in Support of Tyendinaga Mohawks and Six Nations: OPP BACKS OFF!

On April 28th, 2008, about 70 people, mainly Indigenous people from across Turtle Island gathered at China Creek Park on Coast Salish Territory. Elders armed with medicines and drums led the people while Warriors flew Mohawk Warrior Flags on the parameters of the march. Mothers and fathers, children and youth, Elders and Warriors chanting “OPP out of Tyendinaga” and “OPP out of Six Nations” marched from Clark and Broadway to Clark and 12th Avenue where they blockaded the entire intersection for two and a half hours in rush hour traffic from 3pm-530pm.

The blockade was in response to an incident on April 25th, where Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) surrounded the quarries in Tyendinaga, demanding the surrender of the Mohawks. Guns were drawn and violence ensued on the part of the police. News broadcasts failed to report that a young man had both his arms broken by police and that guns were pointed Mohawk children. This was following the OPP’s swarm of Mohawk Territory earlier last week; the OPP’s answer to the halting of construction of a development site that encroaches into Mohawk territory that a group of Warriors had reclaimed.

On April 27th six Indigenous People protecting their Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory were imprisoned, bringing the total number of Indigenous people in Ontario jails for defending their land to 13. Ontario has thus chosen to imprison Indigenous people rather than honour their rightful title to their land. At the centre of the dispute is the Culbertson Tract, land that rightfully belongs to the Mohawks of Tyendinaga. Community members have been occupying a gravel quarry site for over a year.

On Monday April 28th, SWAT teams amassed on the Deseronto and Slash Roads, bordering the Tyendinaga quarry reclamation site. Community spokesperson Jason Maracle was told by the OPP to pull people out of the quarry because they were going in.

In support of the Tyendinaga Mohawks a blockade of Highway 6 was taken by people of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, whom have also faced several arrests, violations and oppression via the KLANadian government for protecting their lands.

On April 28th, the same day the SWAT team surrounded the Mohawks, Indigenous people on Coast Salish Territory, on the west Coast of Turtle Island, also took a stand as a show of Unity for our Brothers and Sisters back east and as a show of force to the KLANadian government to withdraw their police forces out of Tyendinaga and Six Nations Territories. Clark Street and 12th Avenue was blockaded in the midst of full out rush hour traffic.

The location, known as the Clark-Knight Corridor Whole Route was chosen for its role as the City’s primary goods (stolen and exploited from Indigenous lands) movement arterial; blocking it would therefore mean disrupting economic development in KLANada. The 3,000 trucks using the corridor each day make Clark-Knight the most important truck route in the City. The corridor also links the Vancouver Port and industrial areas on the north side of the City with industrial areas in south Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Surrey, and beyond via Highways 91 and 99. The Port of Vancouver is KLANada’s biggest port and trades $43 billion in goods stolen from Indigenous lands with more than 90 trading economies annually. In addition, trucking is Canada’s dominant freight mode, accounting for an estimated 70 percent of domestic shipments by value.

The April 28th blockade was not only symbolically effective, but also economically disruptive. Money and greed is the heart and heartbeat of KLANada, hence it was factored in that such an action would make KLANada listen. Further, some commuters on their way home from work and truck drivers moving [stolen Native] goods were forced to acknowledge that while they were inconvenienced for a few hours, Indigenous people from KLANada who have had their homelands invaded and occupied for over 150 years, have been inconvenienced much longer. Maybe the every ten-minute traffic report on car radios compelled people to ask why the OPP backed by the KLANadian government attacked Tyendinaga and question why Indigenous people are still fighting for their lands.

The blockade was effective. The goal was to impact the economy, create a public awareness of the issue, and show the KLANadian government and the public that Indigenous people are unified and ready to take action to protect our families and our lands when necessary.

Police have backed off of Tyendinaga and Six Nations. Tyendinaga is no longer surrounded by OPP and SWAT teams.

Through a solid grassroots effort, Indigenous people contributed to the pressure put on the KLANadian government and police to back off of Tyendinaga and Six Nations. However, as one Onondaga Woman explained, “We must keep in mind that the government continues to deny their responsibilities to our people and continue to be in denial of our rights to the land and that this situation is far from over”.

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 .

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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.

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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.

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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
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Information on John Graham’s defense:

http://www.grahamdefense.org

http://ourfreedom.wordpress.com

35 natives charged with breach of sockeye fishing ban

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression on August 23, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

35 natives charged with breach of sockeye fishing ban

MARK HUME
The Globe and Mail
August 21, 2007

VANCOUVER — Federal fisheries patrols on the lower Fraser River over the weekend led to charges against 35 people accused of fishing during a closed period.

Herb Redekopp, chief of enforcement for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on the lower Fraser, said the fishermen were all natives – mostly members of the Musqueam and Cheam bands – and they were using gillnets, trying to catch sockeye salmon during a shutdown that was imposed because stocks are at historic lows.

“Both Saturday and Sunday were very busy for us,” Mr. Redekopp said.

The federal government has closed the lower Fraser River to allow adequate numbers of sockeye to get upstream to spawning beds, and to allow a very limited catch by up-river bands for food and ceremonial purposes.

“We really stepped up enforcement this year. It’s a 40- or 50-year low [for sockeye numbers] … we need to get all of the fish through the lower Fraser and into the upper river,” Mr. Redekopp said.

Native leaders announced last week that they would be fishing on the lower river on the weekend despite the shutdown, because DFO had allowed a salmon sports fishery to continue until midnight Sunday.

Mr. Redekopp said the native anglers who were stopped on the river were co-operative and there were no confrontations.

“All the individuals we dealt with stopped fishing and left the river,” he said.

He said very few fish were caught, although he couldn’t provide numbers.

The 35 fishermen who were given notices to appear in court could face fines of up to $100,000 each if convicted.

Chief Ernest Campbell of the Musqueam band has said native fishermen will be arguing they had an aboriginal right to fish.

Mr. Redekopp said enforcement officers also kept a close eye on sports anglers over the weekend, who had to release any sockeye they caught, and no violations were noted.

“We did see some sockeye caught and released [by sports anglers] … we didn’t see anybody retaining sockeye, which was a pleasant surprise.”

Mr. Redekopp said that because sports fishermen this summer haven’t been able to keep any sockeye, the number of anglers on the water has dropped dramatically.

“Instead of 2,000 recreational anglers on the [gravel] bars … we now have between 100 and 300. The numbers are way down,” he said.

The sports fishing shutdown imposed Sunday applies to the Fraser River between Mission and Hope.

Recreational anglers above and below that area are still allowed to fish for species other than sockeye.

Mr. Redekopp said although enforcement officers have seen some sockeye being snagged by sports anglers, the numbers of fish taken were very low, and all were released.

“The vast majority of the first nation bands on the lower Fraser, and most anglers in the recreation fishing community, have been very conscientious about not catching sockeye,” Mr. Redekopp said. “The focus is on the few who are determined to fish on weak [sockeye] stocks, but we are really getting tremendous co-operation from the majority of fishermen.”

Over the weekend, federal Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn urged all user groups to work together to help conserve sockeye stocks.

Although 6.3 million sockeye were expected to return this year, only about 1.6 million did, raising concerns there might not be enough fish on the spawning beds this fall.

“Ultimately, the survival of sockeye will depend on all [fishing] groups,” Mr. Hearn said.

“Protest fisheries or illegal fishing, particularly this year, have the potential to do considerable harm to sockeye populations in B.C.,” he said, urging everyone to respect regulations.

Sit-in aims to oust chief

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Resistance on July 11, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Sit-in aims to oust chief
Natives plan to stay outside band offices until Stan Dixon resigns

Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SECHELT – Sechelt First Nation members barricaded the band offices Tuesday in an attempt to force the resignation of Chief Stan Dixon, who accepted the RCMP’s apology for pepper-spraying a crowd of people June 30.

About 50 band members then staged a sit-in outside the chained and padlocked administrative offices.

Signs reading: “Our elders are watching you” and “Stan isn’t our man” were placed around the site.

The protesters, who tucked into a barbecue lunch of hotdogs and hamburgers, said they will remain outside the offices until the chief quits.

About 25 people who work in the administrative offices were unable to get inside.

“That was the last straw on the back: that he accepted the apology without the consent of council and without consulting people who were pepper sprayed,” said protester Wesley Jeffries, a former councillor.

“He’s making decisions on his own. We need a chief to work for the people.”

The call for Dixon’s resignation came the morning after a regular band council meeting at which a video of the pepper-spray incident was shown.

Fourteen people — six of them children — were taken to hospital after police used pepper spray against a procession of 20 vehicles from the Sechelt Nation celebrating the victory of two teams in a youth soccer tourney.

Sechelt RCMP made a formal apology last week, saying police were trying to control nearby adults and hadn’t intended to spray any children.

On Tuesday, Dixon defended his decision, saying it was a start at reconciling the rift between the police and the band, and an investigation into the incident is more important.

Investigators from Vancouver were expected to head to Sechelt today to start the internal investigation.

Dixon said there is nothing in the band’s constitution that would require him to resign. He can only be thrown out, he said, if he has a criminal record, owes money to the band, is involved in an illicit love affair or is abusing drugs and alcohol.

Dixon’s three-year term as chief runs out next April.

“My integrity is intact,” he said. “I’m not going to bow down to a resignation for something that’s not my fault.” He said there are no plans to have police evict the protesters as some of the councillors are involved in the sit-in.

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“Members call for chief’s resignation”, Coast Reporter (July 13 – 19, 2007)

Vancouver Solidarity with Sechelt Nation

14 Sechelt Natives Pepper-Sprayed by Cops

Vancouver Solidarity with Sechelt Nation

Posted in Coast Salish Territory, Repression, Resistance on July 6, 2007 by wiinimkiikaa

Vancouver Solidarity with Sechelt Nation

By Wii’nimkiikaa
Friday, July 6, 2007

About 70 people demonstrated today at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory, against the recent Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attack on members of the Sechelt Nation. About half of those attending the demonstration were members of the Sechelt Nation and the soccer team who were pepper-sprayed while they celebrated on the reserve Monday night.

Rally participants held up posters for the event reading, “Stop RCMP Abuse”. Young members of the Sechelt Nation held up their soccer tournament trophies and wore their medals, while adults from the community spoke against the RCMP assault and the Sechelt band council chief’s hasty acceptance of an RCMP apology for the incident, before even consulting his community. Songs, drumming and the Unity/Warrior flag were also part of the rally.

About nine officers from the Vancouver Police Department engaged in surveillance of the demonstration from the sidelines, including bicycle and motorcycle cops.

14 Sechelt Natives Pepper-Sprayed by Cops

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OPEN LETTER TO THE RCMP

RCMP Headquarters
1200 Vanier Parkway
Ottawa, ON K1A 0R2

From local Indigenous groups active on Coast Salish Territory

July 5, 2007

We greatly condemn the RCMP’s vicious and sinister use of violence against a six-month-old baby in the Sechelt community in BC. While the baby’s face and scalp was severely burned from the RCMP’s use of pepper spray on him, the RCMP chose to claim that they were justified in the violence.

There is absolutely no justification in the deliberate administration of violence and bodily harm against a small baby. Further we also condemn the use of aggression the RCMP used against the Sechelt community members who were celebrating a youth soccer championship victory. It is clear in this case that the RCMP wanted to cause trouble and attacked members of the community, many whom were young people and moms, arbitrarily.

The situation points to the extremes the RCMP will go to attempt to assert irrational and arbitrary powers in our Indigenous communities. It is an example of why we need to stop depending on and giving legitimacy to racist, cruel and violent state oppressors like the RCMP. We stand in solidarity with the Sechelt people and support whatever actions they wish to take against the RCMP and in their community. We assert that the guilty RCMP officers and cohorts, who violently attacked a Sechelt baby, and other members of the community, should be removed from the force immediately. In addition, we feel that the RCMP should be banned from Indigenous communities permanently given the longitude of their abuses against our children, youth, Elders, women, and men.

Sincerely,

The International Indigenous Youth Conference Secretariat
Redwire Native Youth Media
The Indigenous Action Movement

We are watching you