Boy charged in arson that gutted B.C. lieutenant-governor’s home

Posted in Repression, Sto:lo Nation on February 5, 2009 by wiinimkiikaa

Boy charged in arson that gutted B.C. lieutenant-governor’s home

Thursday, February 5, 2009
CBC News [British Columbia]

A 13-year-old boy has been charged with arson, breaking and entering, and theft following a fire last weekend at the private home of B.C. Lt.-Gov. Steven Point, police said Thursday.

The RCMP arrested the boy, from a First Nations community in Chilliwack, B.C., on Wednesday evening, Cpl. Peter Thiessen said.

The arrest was made after members of the community assisted police in their investigation, Thiessen said.

Police are still investigating the motive for the arson but said it’s not political.

“There is no political component to this.… There are some other possible motives that come into play, but at this point, it would be premature to comment on that,” Thiessen told CBC News in a telephone interview.

Point and his family were not at their home on the Sto:lo First Nation reserve near Chilliwack when the arson took place Sunday morning.

No one was injured in the fire.

The RCMP have since increased security for Point and his family.

The fire caused considerable heat and smoke damage in the home and little was salvageable, although the structure was intact, police said at the time.

Point, a lawyer, former provincial court judge and former grand chief of the Sto:lo Tribal Council, was appointed British Columbia’s first aboriginal lieutenant-governor in September 2007.

Before his appointment, Point was head of the B.C. Treaty Commission.

Point has four children and 11 grandchildren.

Six Nations land protectors stop work on Brantford housing project

Posted in Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on January 23, 2009 by wiinimkiikaa

Protesters stop work on housing project

Posted By SUSAN GAMBLE, BRANTFORD EXPOSITOR STAFF [Ontario]
Friday, January 23, 2009

Workers will be off the job today at the Empire Homes housing development on Conklin Road after native protesters halted the project.

A representative of Empire Homes said the company voluntarily shut down work at the site Thursday and will remain off work today.

Mary Morrello, of Empire Communities, downplayed Thursday’s protest, saying the company is holding talks with native representatives.

“We are totally onside with the aboriginals and understand their plight 100 per cent but we also have a clean title to the lands, so there’s a bigger issue here than us,” she said.

“We wish we could help them but the issue is so big, it’s beyond us.”

Morrello said that, despite some of the catcalls from construction workers Thursday morning, the protest was peaceful.

“The workers were upset because this is their livelihood but the construction superintendent has spoken to the tradespeople. We just want peace.”

Construction workers yelled at about 15 to 20 protesters as a dozen police officers tried to form a line between the two groups.

About 50 to 60 Empire workers left the site, said protester Gene Johns.

“They’re not supposed to be digging here,” said Johns. “This is the third time we’ve been here and they won’t listen.”

Johns said he represents the Six Nations Confederacy and the community.

Saskatchewan: Native teen escapes cop car, freezes to death

Posted in Cree Nation, Repression, Resistance on January 13, 2009 by wiinimkiikaa

Beauval mayor criticizes RCMP handling of teen’s escape
Calls Mounties’ reaction ‘on the edge of incompetence’

Tuesday, January 13, 2009
CBC News [Saskatchewan]

The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] should have notified people sooner about the escape of teenager in custody who was later found frozen to death, the mayor of a northern Saskatchewan town says.

“I would call it on the edge of incompetence,” Beauval Mayor Alex Maurice said.

The 19-year-old from the Canoe Lake First Nation in the province’s northwest was arrested early Saturday morning after RCMP received a complaint of an intoxicated person.

According to police, the man was taken to the detachment in Beauval and when the arresting officer left the man alone for a minute in the back of the car, the man ran off.

Temperatures were well below freezing at the time.

The RCMP said they immediately searched for more than an hour. They then switched gears and started knocking on doors, but there was no sign of the man.

Members of the Canoe Lake First Nation formed a search party the next day and found the body of the man — an apparent victim of the cold — on a snowmobile trail seven kilometres from town.

The man’s name hasn’t been released.

An autopsy has been ordered. It’s not believed there was foul play, police said.

Maurice said RCMP should have notified locals sooner. The man’s family didn’t find out he had been missing for over 12 hours, he said.

If people had known, a search party could have been organized sooner, he said.

“I don’t think he was a dangerous offender or anything, and in the middle of winter, common sense should have prevailed on the part of the RCMP,” Maurice said.

Maurice accused the RCMP of ignoring local trackers who believed the man had walked out of town.

“Within an hour and a half, these Canoe Lake elders and the people who did the search party, within an hour and a half of starting the search party, they found him frozen to death,” he said.

An outside police force will be brought in to oversee the investigation.

Beauval is about 450 kilometres north of Saskatoon.

Manitoba prison trashed in riot

Posted in Repression, Resistance on January 12, 2009 by wiinimkiikaa

Gangs clash in Manitoba prison riot

Jan 12, 2009
THE CANADIAN PRESS

WINNIPEG – Long-simmering tensions between two criminal gangs were behind a riot at a federal medium-security prison in Manitoba, says the Winnipeg Free Press.

The melee Saturday night seriously injured four inmates and damaged a living unit that houses 100 prisoners at Stony Mountain Institute.

The Free Press reports that inmates – some wearing masks – set fires, stabbed their fellows and threw garbage cans at corrections officers, who battled back with pepper spray and displayed their shotguns.

It took almost six hours to bring the rioting inmates under control.

The Free Press quotes sources as saying the mood at Stony Mountain had been tense since New Year’s Eve when corrections officers seized 36 prison-made knives. The penitentiary was locked down for two days at that time.

The sources say the main prison rivalry is between the Manitoba Warriors and the Native Syndicate.

On Saturday, a penitentiary intelligence officer received word something was planned for the prison’s recreational hall, so extra officers were sent in as a precaution, a prison source told the Free Press.

But the planned confrontation was only partly averted. One group of inmates managed to seize control of a kiosk that regulates access to all the cells on one of the living units. That led to a battle with corrections officers who attempted to regain control of the situation.

“Staff had to withdraw. The unit was overrun by inmates,” the source said. “Staff had to use a huge amount of pepper spray. There were fires going and some of the inmates had their faces covered (with balaclavas). They were throwing garbage cans.”

Prison officials have declined to discuss many details of what happened.

But Stony Mountain spokesman Guy Langlois did say Sunday that after gaining control of the living unit, the inmates barricaded themselves inside and blocked off the main entry as well as the emergency exit.

The institution then called in its emergency response team, a unit specially trained to control riots and other disturbances, he said.

The prison, about 25 kilometres north of Winnipeg, is expected to remain in lockdown for at least a few days.

No staff members were hurt. Langlois said the prisoners in hospital appeared to have been stabbed or beaten.

“They’re trying to call this an incident, but it’s a riot,” a penitentiary source said. “The place is trashed.”

5 Arrested in Cayuga Blocking Police Escort of Garbage onto Native Land

Posted in Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on December 15, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

5 Arrested in Cayuga Blocking Police Escort of Garbage onto Native Land

OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) determined to escort garbage into the Edwards Street Landfill, but even after arrest of 4 supporters, Six Nations activists refuse to remove blockade. OPP violently arrest Six Nations man leaving the site.

December 11, 2008

CAYUGA, ONTARIO, CANADA – For almost five years, community members from the small town of Cayuga have been fighting to close down and to clean up the Edward Street Landfill. Haldimand Against Landfill Transfers (HALT) was formed in 2004 to prevent one of Ontario’s worst contaminated sites, from becoming an active landfill again. After having spent four years in and out of courts, petitioning and dealing with government bureaucracy, HALT approached the Six Nations’ Haudenosaunee Men’s Council to work together on this issue. Cayuga is adjacent to the Six Nations reservation and is located on Haudenosaunee land. It was last November that representatives from Six Nations and HALT turned around dump trucks, resulting in the closure of the site for the winter. This past Monday, despite flagrant noncompliance with Ministry of Environment (MOE) regulations, the dump’s operating owners tried to bring garbage into the dump for the first time in twelve months.

Monday morning, thirty activists—with groups coming from London, Kitchener-Waterloo (KW), Guelph, and Hamilton—converged at the corner of Brooks Road and Highway 3 in Cayuga, to stand with representatives from HALT and Six Nations.

“The reason there are young people here from communities across the region is because we have a responsibility to prevent the provincial government, the courts, and their enforcement – the OPP, from enabling the destruction of communities’ land and trampling on their right to protect it,” said Alex Hundert from the KW activist group AW@L.

Once the blockade had ended, a vehicle leaving the site, carrying three people from Six Nations, was pulled over by a large string of police cruisers, and one man was violently arrested. At bail-court the next morning, the Crown prosecutor admitted that the accused man from Six Nations only “passively resisted,” but still, more than a dozen officers were involved in the assault. He was ripped from the car, thrown to the ground then kicked and tasered repeatedly. He was arrested for “failure to appear” charges stemming from an incident at the Douglas Creek Reclamation site in 2006—the original charges have already been dropped. All five arrested men were released on bail Tuesday morning.

Jody Orr, a HALT representative, said that she was “distressed by what happened on Monday. We have a situation where there is evidence that the receiver is still not in compliance,” however “we have the MOE giving the receiver a week to bring in garbage while he is still in violation of the COA, and it puts the OPP in a position where they have to enforce an injunction against protesters who are protesting the illegal dumping of garbage.” Orr said she was also “really concerned in terms of what i heard about the level of force that was used.”

According to HALT’s website, on October 16 of this year, “the same day that Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, posted the Zero Waste Policy paper on the Environmental Bill of Rights website, HALT and others involved in the Edwards Landfill issue in Cayuga received an email that waste would be coming to the Edwards Landfill site.” HALT has shown that the Landfill does not comply with the MOE’s Certificate of Approval (COA). Still, garbage is being allowed into the site. As a result, HALT, Six Nations and supporters decided to be ready with the blockade.

On Monday after the arrests, once it became obvious that representatives from Six Nations were not going to stop preventing the garbage truck from passing (all other vehicles were permitted to travel freely), the truck company owner ordered the truck to leave the site and return home. Earlier in the morning, the driver had expressed interest in leaving the scene, however OPP ordered him to stay. Police said that they were intent in seeing that the injunction against the blockade would be enforced. Even after arresting four supporters, the OPP were not able to remove the Six Nations activists blocking the road.

Over the past year and more, HALT has been involved in complicated legal proceedings with the site’s operators and the MOE. Since 2004, those efforts have cost over $100,000. For more information about those proceedings, ongoing developments, and the environmental impact at the site, visit HALT’s website, http://www.haltthedump.ca.
###

Contacts:
Cayuga – Jody Orr, HALT, info[at]halthtedump.ca, http://www.haltthedump.ca,
Kitchener-Waterloo – Alex Hundert, alex[at]peaceculture.org, http://www.peaceculture.org

Barriere Lake Algonquin a ‘Political Prisoner’

Posted in Algonquin Nation, Repression on December 15, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Blockade leader says he’s a ‘political prisoner’

JOE FRIESEN
Globe and Mail, December 15, 2008

Speaking from a jail cell, deposed native leader Benjamin Nottaway says he is a political prisoner, targeted for his outspoken opposition to the governments of Canada and Quebec.

He is the latest casualty of a power struggle that has included allegations of a political coup, fire bombings and several interventions by riot police.

It reads like a tale ripped from the headlines of a war-torn dictatorship. Instead, it’s the story of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, a Quebec community of 450 people three hours north of Ottawa.

Mr. Nottaway, imprisoned for 45 days for leading a highway blockade, says that although he misses his children, he is being treated with respect in jail, where fellow inmates refer to him deferentially as the “chief.” But the question of who actually is the chief of Barriere Lake is far from clear.

Mr. Nottaway alleges that he was deposed by an ambitious group of plotters led by Casey Ratt, who launched what Nottaway supporters call an “administrative coup d’état” this year and installed themselves as the band government.

He calls Mr. Ratt a “puppet” and a “government agent,” propped up by officials in Ottawa and Quebec City who see him as a soft touch when it comes to defending aboriginal land title and resource rights.

Mr. Ratt laughs at these suggestions, and says there is no leadership crisis in Barriere Lake, save for the grumblings of those who have lost their grip on power and have enlisted non-native activists to push their case in the news media.

He says he came to power in January after a three-month leadership review, which he launched because he was upset that Mr. Nottaway’s group had closed the band school, a move he perceived as motivated by their own political aims.

“It’s no good for our kids to use them as political pawns,” Mr. Ratt says. “A lot of people didn’t agree with those tactics.”

After Mr. Ratt was declared chief, his opponents said he had hijacked the traditional selection process and tried to push him off the reserve. His house burned down in suspicious circumstances, he says, as did the band office.

“But I’m still in the community,” he says. “It’s a steady struggle.”

Barriere Lake does not elect leaders according to the one-member, one-vote system set out in the Indian Act, but instead uses a selection system led by a council of elders. The federal government says it has no role in adjudicating that system, but has acknowledged the election of Mr. Ratt’s group and says it will conduct business with his council.

After several escalating protests against Mr. Ratt’s government, the Nottaway group blockaded Highway 117 twice in recent months. In October, riot police were sent in by the provincial police force and were accused of using violent tactics to disperse the protesters. In November, Mr. Nottaway and four other prominent political opponents of Mr. Ratt were arrested by riot police for staging another highway blockade, which they called a tactic of last resort. They were asking the federal government to appoint an independent observer to oversee a new leadership selection.

“When I was in court my lawyer told me, ‘The Crown wants you to suffer, they want you to feel the pain.’ They asked for 12 months, but I got 45 days,” Mr. Nottaway says. “I’m a political prisoner, and they know that. It’s all politically motivated.”

The people of Barriere Lake have never signed a treaty with Canada, and they say they have never received a fair share, or had a say, in the resource revenue extracted from their traditional territory, which they estimate at $100-million a year. For its part, the community suffers crippling unemployment and is not connected to the power grid, so it runs on diesel generators.

Mr. Ratt says he wants to put the power struggle behind him and work toward finding both short- and long-term solutions for his community.

Mr. Nottaway says he can’t allow the band to be led by a chief he considers illegitimate. His goal is to see a 1991 trilateral agreement on resource management honoured by the province and the federal government.

“The government imposed a minority faction on our community,” he says. “That’s not what we want and we’re never going to accept it. Even though I’m in here, we’re not going to stop fighting.”

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http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com

Six Nations warrior pleads guilty to assault on news cameraman

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on November 10, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Protester admits to assault on CH worker

November 08, 2008
Barbara Brown
The Hamilton Spectator

A Six Nations protester has admitted roughing up a CHCH news cameraman during a scuffle in a Canadian Tire parking lot over the contentious Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia.

Ronald Erwin Gibson, 38, pleaded guilty yesterday to assault causing bodily harm to Nick Garbutt and possessing a stolen videotape belonging to another cameraman, Ken MacKay.

The charges stem from an incident on the morning of June 9, 2006 when Gibson and a group of men approached MacKay as he was shooting video of native protesters who had surrounded a van in the parking lot, located on Argyle Street not far from the 40-hectare parcel of land at the centre of the dispute.

On Feb. 28 that year, native protesters reclaimed the land being developed by Henco Industries Ltd. for a residential development known as Douglas Creek Estates.

The protesters erected blockades and claimed the land belonged to the aboriginal people of Six Nations. The reclamation resulted in an OPP raid on April 20, 2006, in which 20 people were arrested.

Within hours, the site was occupied in even greater numbers and the blockades expanded. The site is now called Kanonhstaton and remains occupied by Six Nations.

Crown prosecutor Mitchell Hoffman told Ontario Court Justice Kathryn Hawke the group with Gibson was intent on preventing the cameramen from filming the incident involving the van.

“At that time, Ron Gibson was observed by police officers and civilians punching Nick Garbutt in the head. Gibson and others kicked and punched Garbutt several times in the face and head as Garbutt lay on the ground,” said Hoffman.

He said a camera and tripod were forcibly taken from MacKay by one of the men with Gibson. The TV station eventually got the equipment back but not the videotape.

“Gibson advised police that he ended up burning the CH tape,” said Hoffman.

Garbutt was taken to hospital and required two staples to close a gash to his head.

Defence lawyer Stephen Ford requested a special background report that is tailored to rehabilitation programs for aboriginal people be prepared before sentencing on March 31, 2009.