Indigenous Artists and Writers Collective

Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Mohawk Communities “Drug Raid” Exposes Police Control

In Uncategorized on June 18, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Just over a week after a report was released (First Nations Under Surveillance) on how the Harper government has been using INAC to “manage potential First Nation unrest” since 2006, a native community named as a “hot spot” for “aboriginal unrest” was raided by no less than 500 members of the “Aboriginal Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (A-CFSEU). The day before the raid, the Mohawks of Kanehsata:ke sent a warning letter to the municipality of Oka over a mining deal signed earlier in the month with Augyva Mining Resources. Coincidence? Not in these times.

In the summer of 1990, similar breaches of the community’s sovereignty over its own territory provoked a “crisis” when the town of Oka planned development of a golf course in the Pines, where generations of Mohawk people lay buried. For so many of us, that summer was a turning point in our own journeys of decolonization as Indian people. Much like the American Indian Movement was for the generation before us, the sight of our people rising up and fighting back reminded us not only of our own power, but also reawakened a sense of dignity and resolute pride, as we watched people just like us stare down armed perpetrators of state violence.

Sent on June 13th and printed on the community’s letterhead, the letter ends by counselling the residents and mayor of Oka: “We therefore urge you to meet with our representatives as soon as possible to avoid any future conflict and promote a relationship based upon peaceful co-existence.”

A day later, there is a massive police raid resulting in the arrests of 55 people, which means that there had been allotted approximately 9 officers per person, a show of force far stronger than actually required. Such overblown tactics, so neatly covered by mainstream media as a drug bust sanctioned by the chief and band council, make it apparent that the operation was intended to show the people of Kanehsata:ke and Akwesasne (and all of us who were watching) the repression we will face if we step out of line.

That was clearly the message of the June 14th raid on these communities, reinforced by the soundbites of native people who see state violence crackdowns as the solution to drug use and addiction on reserves.

We can all see if we look down the generations, an unbroken line of violence against our people that has been carried out, sometimes justifying their actions by saying “they were selling drugs”, sometimes by saying “they were dancing the Ghost Dance”. Often enough, genocidal policies like residential schools, mass “adoptions” of native kids into white families and forcible sterilization and rape of native women and girls were carried out with no justification at all.

To justify state violence against our own people reinforces the idea that we are powerless to protect and defend ourselves. Have we forgotten our own power so much that we believe that the police are there to help us solve the problems they themselves are helping to create? Do we not have within our own communities the power to confront those who are pushing drugs as a means of making a living? In reality, the police themselves are often the ones in control of these drug rings and profit off them, or use them to control the people. We have seen this to be true in our own lives, sometimes in our own families.

We also know that there is a program of targeted state violence against our communities, and that INAC, just like the Indian Agents of our parents and grandparents’ generation, is a tool used by the Canadian government to assimilate us and make us “Canadians” or, we resist—to break us down and exterminate us. We are only desirable in Canada as warriors if we are conquered warriors or “peaceful warriors” who would never dare raise arms against our oppressors, no matter what the cost to our own lives. Meanwhile, if Canadian soldiers said the same thing, they would be discharged immediately.

Why is it that the only acceptable violence is that which is committed by the powerful against the powerless? Why should it acceptable to us that the RCMP, SQ and goon squads like the Kanehsatake Police be allowed to use violence to protect us against our own people, in a community which has been identified by the RCMP and CSIS as a “hot spot” for native unrest, at the very site of the “Oka crisis”? Were some of those police officers who stormed the reserve on June 14th the same ones who had been there in 1990? How many of them bragged to each other about their success in “taming” a community whose resistance galvanized an era of native uprising?

A spokesperson for the police raid stated the intention of the raid clearly, and it had nothing to do with stopping drug use in our communities: “We have disrupted (Kanesatake and Akwesasne ‘s) capacity to use aboriginal territories for its activities … we can catch them, no matter where they are.” An RCMP also commented, ironically, that the raid showed that Kanesata:ke “residents delivered a clear message (that) violence and intimidation will not be tolerated.”

Can the violence and intimidation of fifty five native people, no matter their alleged crimes, possibly come anywhere close to the violence and intimidation of the police and the military, not just in 1990 but for the last 500 years? Do they just expect us to tolerate their brutal, ongoing intimidation and violence, but leap at every chance to cooperate with them against our own people?

This show of force should not be held up as a trophy for cooperation, when we know that the reason our people are numbing themselves with alcohol and drugs is because of these attacks on our communities: attacks on our spirituality, our language, the desecration of the sacred and our way of life have made us afraid of the very source of our own power, the power that these attacks are intended to destroy.

This is why we must always continue to resist all attacks on us made by the government and corporations, especially those they tell us are for our own good. The same thing has been said for generations to us. It is being said all over right now to every original person unwilling to cooperate in their own and others’ desecration.

It was said to the people at Oka in 1990. It was said to the mothers, fathers and grandparents of children who were taken away to residential school. It will likely be said to you the next time you stand in front of a judge, or in a classroom, or in a jail or detention centre. Didn’t they tell us then that it was “for our own good”, that things would go easier for us if we just cooperated—their show of force always reinforcing the underlying message that we were no match for them. Better just to fall in line.

But if that is true, then why does the government and corporations who oppress and exploit us “for our own good” tremble every time we threaten to blockade a railway, bridge or highway? As the First Nations Under Surveillance report says:

One insight emerges strongly here: most threatening of all to security and government forces is coordinated First Nations action. This can be seen clearly from the reports. At one point in the 2007 INAC to RCMP briefing, concern is expressed about a First Nations conference because, “The 2006 Numbered Treaty Conference proposed a ‘national’ movement of independent actions to express discontent.” Also that “a large concern in 2007 was the potential for a broad national coordinated series of local and regional political actions by First Nations.”

What the INAC and RCMP briefings show is that there needs to be unity on the ground with coordinated political actions between First Nations Peoples in order to protect, defend and advance First Nation pre-existing sovereignty, and First Nation Aboriginal and Treaty rights to lands and resources. Divide and conquer tactics can only be met with new strategies of alliance-building, and by bringing the leadership back down to the land.”


Clearly, they fear what they cannot control. And since neither the land or the people of the land were made to be controlled and cannot be controlled, they will fear the land and they will fear us and will use every means in their power, including using our own people (especially the wounded, lost and sick) to justify taking more control over us using police, proprety and poisons.

Wake up! More police (or more police cooperation) will not stop us from using drugs and alcohol and it won’t stop the dealers and pushers either. It won’t stop us from joining gangs. It won’t stop us from being sexually, physically or emotionally abused, or abusive. More police (or more police cooperation) will not stop suicide. More police will not find missing women or bring peace to the murdered and disappeared. More police will only bring us more police.

We are and have everything we need, we just have to start being it and doing it like we did before there were any police to make us think we need them. We don’t need police. We need the land and the water, and each other.

It is not just organizations like Defenders of the Land which are gathering native people together to protect what we all need to survive, as Judy Rebick mistakenly assumed in her recent article, as though we have not been defending the land for half a millenia. No organization could ever encompass 500 civilizations’ 500 years of resistance. We are each of us: the born, the unborn and the dead, beads strung across all our homelands, breaking apart colonial borders, speaking through walls: a terrifying sound to those who seek to control and silence us.

The white man does not understand the Indian for the reason that he does not understand  America. He is too far removed from its formative processes. The roots of the tree of his life have not yet grasped the rock and soil. The white man is still troubled with primitive fears; he still has in his consciousness the perils of this frontier continent, some of its fastnesses not yet having yielded to his questing footsteps and inquiring eyes. The man from Europe is still a foreigner and an alien. But in the Indian the spirit of the land is still vested; it will be until other men are able to divine and meet its rhythms….Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild’ animals and ‘savage’ people. To us it was beautiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery.”

-Chief Luther Standing Bear (Oglala Sioux), 1933.

Our instincts kicked in and we said the women have to go to the front, because it’s our obligation to do that, to protect the land, to protect our Mother. And I can remember looking at the faces of the S.W.A.T. team and they were all scared. They were like young babies who had never met something so strong; who had never met a spirit, because we were fighting something without a spirit. There was no thought to it; they were like robots.”

-Katsi’tsákwas (Mohawk Nation), 1990.

LOCKED DOWN: Protest halts Snowbowl destruction on San Francisco Peaks

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2011 at 10:18 pm
Originally Posted in:, June 16th 2011.
Author: Brenda Norrell



New photos posted Thursday night:
French translation of this article:

Protest Halts Snowbowl Pipeline Development Thursday

Six people were arrested and one taken to the hospital for heat exposure after they locked themselves to heavy machinery to protect sacred San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl development. Five adults and one juvenile were arrested. Another juvenile was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center for excessive heat exposure.

Native Americans are protesting pipeline construction to the Snowbowl ski resort, which would carry sewage water for snowmaking. Native American medicine men gather herbs for healing on the mountain. Since time immemorial, the mountain has been sacred to 13 area American Indian Nations.

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said that a woman who was unchained in the closed area was issued a citation for third degree trespass and released. Two 16-year-old juveniles face one count of third degree trespass. Nadia del Callego, 27, faces one count of third degree trespass and one count of contributing to delinquency of a minor. Kristopher Barney, 22, Evan Hawbaker, 22, and Elizabeth Lavely, 28, face one count of third degree trespass. Hailey Sherwood, 20, faces one count of third degree trespass, one count of contributing to delinquency of a minor and once count of endangerment.

Hopi Radio KUYI provided this report from the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office: “Summit Firefighters cut the chains and locking devices off of each protester. As one juvenile was being freed she began to pass out and was immediately accessed by medics and was subsequently transported to Flagstaff Medical Center for excessive heat exposure. Five adults and one juvenile were arrested and transported to the Juvenile Detention Center or the Coconino County Detention Facility.”

Activists are protecting sacred San Francisco Peaks from Snowbowl pipeline construction, which would carry sewage water for snow. Native medicine men gather herbs for healing on the mountain, sacred to 13 area Indian Nations.

Photos: Rally Thursday afternoon in support of the Snowbowl action.


Here’s the statement of the defenders, before they locked themselves to heavy machinery and were arrested today:

Thursday morning, June 16, 2011
Contact: Beth Lavely
Tel: 928.254.1064


Today we take direct action to stop further desecration and destruction of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. We stand with our ancestors, with allies and with those who also choose to embrace diverse tactics to safeguard Indigenous People’s cultural survival, our community’s health, and this sensitive mountain ecosystem.

On May 25th 2011, sanctioned by the US Forest Service, owners of Arizona Snowbowl began further destruction and desecration of the Holy San Francisco Peaks. Snowbowl’s hired work crews have laid over a mile and a half of the planned 14.8 mile wastewater pipeline. They have cut a six foot wide and six foot deep gash into the Holy Mountain.

Although a current legal battle is under appeal, Snowbowl owners have chosen to undermine judicial process by rushing to construct the pipeline. Not only do they disregard culture, environment, and our children’s health, they have proven that they are criminals beyond reproach.

Four weeks of desecration has already occurred. Too much has already been taken. Today, tomorrow and for a healthy future, we say “enough!”

As we take action, we look to the East and see Bear Butte facing desecration, Mt. Taylor facing further uranium mining; to the South, Mt.

Graham desecrated, South Mountain threatened, the US/Mexico border severing Indigenous communities from sacred places; to the West, inspiring resistance at Sogorea Te, Moana Keya facing desecration; to the North, Mt. Tenabo, Grand Canyon, Black Mesa, and so many more… our homelands and our culture under assault.

We thought that the USDA, heads of the Forest Service, had meant it when they initiated nationwide listening sessions to protect sacred places. If the process was meaningful, we would not have to take action today.

More than 13 Indigenous Nations hold the Peaks Holy. The question has been asked yet we hear no response, “what part of sacred don’t you understand?”

For hundreds of years resistance to colonialism, slavery, and destruction of Mother Earth has existed and continues here in what we now call Arizona.

The United States recently moved to join the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, evidently the US has not currently observed and acted upon this declaration, otherwise we would not be taking action today. This document informs our action, we also assert that UNDRIP supports the basis for our action.

Article 11, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.

“Article 11, 2: States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.”

“Article 12, 1: Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.”

“Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.”

For nearly 4 decades, resistance to desecration and destruction of the Peaks has been sustained. Prayer vigils, petitions, lobbying, protests, and many diverse tactics have been embraced. Historic court battles have been fought.

We continue today resisting Snowbowl’s plan to spray millions of gallons of wastewater snow, which is filled with cancer causing and other harmful contaminants, as well as clear-cut over 30,000 trees. The Peaks are a pristine and beautiful place, a fragile ecosystem, and home to rare and endangered species of plants and animals.

Our action is a prayer.

We invite those of you who could not join us today and who believe in the protection of culture, the environment and community health to resist destruction and desecration of the Peaks:

– Join us and others in physically stopping all Snowbowl development!
– Honor and defend Indigenous Peoples’ inherent right to protect Sacred Places
– Resist colonialism and capitalism! Embrace diverse tactics to end Snowbowl’s and all corporate greed
– Demand USDA end Snowbowl’s Special Use Permit
– Demand that the City of Flagstaff Mayor and Council find a way out of their contract to sell wastewater to Snowbowl
– Demand that Arizona Department of Environmental Quality change its permission allowing wastewater to be used for snowmaking.



Run for Freedom for Leonard Peltier and all Prisoners of Conscience

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2011 at 7:21 pm


Originally Posted in: Facebook (Footprints for Peace)!/event.php?eid=186253508069787


Sunday, June 26 at 6:00pm – July 8 at 2:00pm

Covington KY to Washington DC via Lewisburg PA


On June 26th at 6:00pm we will gather at 1225 North Bend Road Cincinnati Ohio 45224 and have a short orientation and get to know each other followed by a pot luck dinner and a showing of Incident at Oglala the Leonard Peltier Story.

The run will start on the morning of June 27th at Chief Little Turtle Statue Located on River Side Drive in Covington KY at 9:00 am. From there we will travel through Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania…, Maryland and DC.

On July 3rd we will arrive in Lewisburg PA where Leonard Peltier is being held and on July 4th we will hold a non-violent vigil being co-organized by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offence Committee (LPDOC) in front of the prison for Leonard Peltier’s Independence day.

Then we will continue on to Washington DC arriving on July 7th then on the morning of July 8th we will meet with
The Longest Walk Three – Reversing Diabetes and finish these
two events together.

Please consider joining us for a step, a day, a week or the entire event. Everyone is invited to participate in this event runners, walkers and cyclist

Can’t join us but would like to help? Consider organizing an overnight for the group, distributing our fliers,

or making a donation to this event.



In Uncategorized on June 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Originally Posted on: Facebook (note) June 7th 2011


For Immediate Release:


Clock Likely Set to 4:30 pm Today on Dene Suline Peace Camp

Community members prepare for potential standoff with police.



Tuesday, June 7th, 2011 (Cold Lake, Alberta) The clock on the Dene Suline peace camp north of Cold Lake seems to have been set. Members of the peace camp are believed to have till today at 4:30 pm to dismantle their tipis, tents and remove their campfires and vacate the peace protection camp at Berry Point at English Bay in Cold Lake, Alberta.


“This land holds historical and spiritual significance for the Dene Suline people. This is the area where we hold ceremony, where we gather berries and traditional medicines, it holds the grave sites of my ancestors and archaeological artefacts that date back over 4,000 years. That is worth far more than an RV park,” said Dene Suline and peace camp member Carrie Lawrence. “We have erected this peace camp to ensure we can continue to practice our spiritual, cultural and treaty rights. Right’s are more important than RV’s.


This is the fourth week of the peace and protection camp to stop the destruction of the Dene Suline’s sacred burial grounds at English Bay near Cold Lake, Alberta (Berry Point).


“We call on the Government of Alberta to respect the rights and requests of the Dene Suline people,” asserted Lawrence. “Many of us are willing to risk arrest to peacefully protect our traditional territory and the rights of the Dene Suline people but we wish the government would just listen to reason and put this RV camp somewhere else.”


Police are expected to move into the camp when the order expires at 4:30 on Tuesday, June 7th.


For more information, please contact:

Carrie Lawrence – 587-201-1434

First Nations Under Surveillance: Harper Government Prepares for First Nations “Unrest”

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2011 at 7:26 am

Originally Posted on: Media Co-Op, June 7th, 2011.

Authors: Russell Diabo and Shiri Pasternak


Internal documents from Indian Affairs and the RCMP show that shortly after forming government in January of 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper had the federal government tighten up on gathering and sharing intelligence on First Nations to anticipate and manage potential First Nation unrest across Canada.

Information obtained by Access to Information requests reveals that almost immediately upon taking power in 2006, the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) was given the lead role to spy on First Nations. The goal was to identify the First Nation leaders, participants and outside supporters of First Nation occupations and protests, and to closely monitor their actions.

To accomplish this task, INAC established a “Hot Spot Reporting System.” These weekly reports highlight all those communities across the country that engage in direct action to protect their lands and communities. They include Tobique First Nation, Tsartlip First Nation, the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) First Nation, Six Nations, Grassy Narrows, Stz’uminous First Nation, the Likhts’amsiyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Gitxaala First Nation, Wagmatcook First Nation, Innu of Labrador, Pikangikum First Nation, and many more. They include bands from the coast of Vancouver Island to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

What we see in these documents – from the hot spot reports themselves, to the intelligence-sharing between government and security forces – is a closely monitored population of First Nations, who clearly are causing a panic at the highest levels of Canadian bureaucracy and political office.

Fear of Aboriginal “Hotspots”

In 2006, INAC gave the name “hot spots” to those First Nations conflicts of “growing concern” due to “unrest” and increasing “militancy.” In a briefing presentation that INAC gave the RCMP that year, they identified certain communities as hotspots: Caledonia, Ontario (Douglas Creek Estates occupation); Belleville, Ontario (Montreal/Toronto Rail Blockade in sympathy to Caledonia); Brantford, Ontario (Grand River Conservation Authority Lands); Desoronto, Ontario (Occupation of Quarry); Grassy Narrows (Blockade of Trans Canada Hwy by environmentalists); and Maniwaki, Quebec (Blockade of Route 117).

But the “hot spot binder” prepared each week by INAC officials closely monitors any and all action taking place across the country and names dozens more communities as sources of potential unrest. A particular concern of the federal government is that these “hotspots” are unpredictable protests because they are led by what the federal government labels as “splinter groups” of “Aboriginal Extremists.”  As INAC describes in the same presentation to the RCMP:

Incidents led by splinter groups are arguably harder to manage as they exist outside negotiation processes to resolve recognized grievances with duly elected leaders. We seek to avoid giving standing to such splinter groups so as not to debase the legally recognized government. Incidents are also complicated by external groups such as Warrior Societies or non-Aboriginal counter-protest groups.

Telling in the INAC statement above is that the identified protests are “outside of negotiation processes” with elected councils. Canada is clearly spooked by the spectre of First Nations demanding Crown recognition of Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination, as well as Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, beyond the narrow confines of Crown land claims and self-government policies. These so-called “splinter” groups also threaten the status quo by demanding their own First Nation leaders, staff and advisors to pull out of the compromising negotiations.

Also telling here is the cozy cooperative relationship between INAC and the RCMP. The INAC briefing to the RCMP is almost indistinguishable from a presentation one would expect to see from security forces, rather than from a government ministry. Contrary to their claims, Indian Affairs is not an institution of reconciliation and negotiation, but rather appears to be a management office to control the costs of Native unrest, and they are willing to work closely with law enforcement to accomplish this task.

In addition to the hotspot reporting, the Deputy Ministers of Public Safety Emergency Preparedness Canada and INAC directed that a summer operational plan be prepared in 2006 to deal with Aboriginal occupations and protests. A progress report on the operational plan reveals the blueprint for security integration on First Nations issues.

The “Standing Information Sharing Forum,” for example, is Chaired by the RCMP and includes as its members the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Department of Fisheries, Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transportation Canada, and involves weekly conference calls and continuous information dissemination by INAC to its partners.

Harper is moving towards a security paradigm familiar since the War on Terror was launched in 2001. The inclusion of Transportation Canada at the Information Sharing Forum should also alert us to the commercial threat of blockades to the free trade agenda.

Aboriginal people who are defending their lands are now treated on a spectrum from criminals to terrorists. On either side, under Harper, an intensification of intelligence gathering and surveillance procedures now govern the new regime.

Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy

It is also clear from INAC’s presentation to the RCMP that they are particularly worried about the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. They mention “Warrior Societies” and an “illicit agenda,” referring at several points to concerns around smuggling. The federal government deems the tobacco/cigarette trade as “illicit” because Canada is not getting paid taxes by the Mohawks who are operating the businesses.

However, the 1995 federal Aboriginal Self-Government policy, which was developed unilaterally by the federal government, does not allow for sharing jurisdiction with First Nations for real powers over trade and commerce matters.  The federal self-government policy only allows small business operations on-reserve. Historically, the federal government has used the Indian Act to control and manage on-reserve economic development so there was no real competition with surrounding non-Indian businesses and towns. On the prairies, First Nations agriculture was undermined and led to the failure of farming on-reserve because of complaints from non-Indians. This policy of non-competition is still the reality today.

The federal government is particularly concerned about the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy actions at Caledonia, as the INAC 2006 report describes it: “Caledonia was and remains a significant event in risk management.

The RCMP agree. In a 2007 report to CSIS, they state: “Caledonia continues to serve as a beacon on land claims and Aboriginal rights issues across Canada.

Canada is extremely worried about First Nations taking back lands and resources outside the scope of their one-sided land claims and self-government “negotiation processes,” as was done at Kanenhstaton/Caledonia.

In order to contain the situation, the Crown governments have dispatched hard-nosed, experienced negotiators who have presented unmovable positions from the Harper government, which is likely why there hasn’t been any negotiated resolution of the situation at Kanenhstaton/Caledonia to this date. The Crown government obviously remain worried more lands will be “occupied” by the Six Nations “extremist” “splinter groups.”

Ever since the 1990 stand-off in Kanesatake and Kahnawake, the federal government, the security and police agencies, and the Canadian army have been worried about a repeat of coordinated First Nation political actions across Canada.

The 2007 National Day Of Action 

Specific information about policing First Nations was obtained in a series of Access to Information requests about the AFN National Day of Action that took place on June 29th, 2007. A 2007 RCMP brief to CSIS lays out a number of concerns regarding the National Day of Action.

First of all, the RCMP is mainly concerned about protecting their men and women in uniform, both from the perspective of First Nations confronting the police on front lines, and from the perspective of negative public sentiment for their potential handling of the event: “The often disparate and fractured nature of these events can lead the police to become the proverbial ‘meat in the sandwich’ and the subject of negative public sentiment.

The RCMP also show concern that a lack of coordination, or “a fractured and inconsistent approach” by police forces, could “galvanize Nations throughout Canada.” Is this to say that violence instigated by police could lead to solidarity actions by First Nations across the country? Or that perceived weakness in policing could lead other First Nations to take a stand? Either way, in response, cooperation between departments, security forces, and ministries are deemed to be necessary to provide a strong united front against First Nations protest.

The RCMP also caution that, “Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal extremists often see these events as an opportunity to escalate or agitate the conflict.” By inference, we can guess that they may be referring to groups unaffiliated with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), unwilling to negotiate under Crown policies, or prepared to engage in tactics not sanctioned by the official leadership, such as property destruction and armed conflict. Non-Aboriginal groups are also cited here as potentially threatening, giving credence to recent targeting of G20 “ringleaders” who feel their Indigenous solidarity work has made them targets of the Crown and police forces.

Cost is a serious concern to the RCMP, as well. Not only is the price tag for policing these nation-wide events “exorbitant,” and therefore can lead to rash policing decisions to use force in order to bring a quick end to conflicts, but the economic risks of blockades are themselves potentially catastrophic. As the RCMP warn, “The recent CN strike represents the extent in which a national railway blockade could effect the economy of Canada.

The RCMP also express this curious concern: “The police role may be complicated by the conventional and sometimes political view that there is a clear distinction between policy and police operations.” Clearly, where the distinction slips between police and policy roles, the RCMP become simply Indian Agents, carrying out the colonial work of the department. Given the information disclosed here, this distinction is impossible to maintain. Where police intimidate and arrest Indigenous peoples on their own lands, there is no law on the police’s side.

There is also a considerable public relations issue at stake here. The RCMP displayed concern at the potential fall-out of a number of “perception” problems that could befall the forces:

Perception of a two-tiered approach to enforcement can generate significant criticism and motivate non-Aboriginal activists.

An intense and protracted event may lead to long-standing erosion of relationships for the police and the community – they are usually always the victims.

Because there are limitations on what the police can negotiate and success often depends on others, the role of the police can become frustrating.

The RCMP realize to some extent that they must choose between First Nations approval of their policing tactics and the wrath of a public convinced that blockades are criminal, rather than political acts. The police, however, contrary to their assertions, are not the victims here. They are just the dupes in a much older game of cowboys and Indians.

The above RCMP statements show that even with all of the federal financial and managerial control over First Nation Chiefs and Leaders, except, apparently for the former AFN National Chief, Phil Fontaine, the Chiefs and Leaders were still not entirely trusted by the federal government and that a large concern in 2007 was the potential for a broad national coordinated series of local and regional political actions by First Nations.

One insight emerges strongly here: most threatening of all to security and government forces is coordinated First Nations action. This can be seen clearly from the reports. At one point in the 2007 INAC to RCMP briefing, concern is expressed about a First Nations conference because, “The 2006 Numbered Treaty Conference proposed a ‘national’ movement of independent actions to express discontent.

Their fear is palpable where they follow the trajectory of the Day of Action. It was first proposed by Chief Terrance Nelson at the Assembly of First Nations’ general assembly, where the motion carried. The nation-wide event was later confirmed in a personal meeting between the RCMP Commissioner and then-National Chief Phil Fontaine. “Mr. Fontaine expressed his concern over the sense of frustration that seems to exist among First Nation leaders and the growing resolve to support a June 29th blockade,” a memo states.

The growing unrest, of course, cannot be resolved through greater coordination of security and government forces. First Nation frustration with this strategy will only continue to mount.

Crown Reward-Punishment System Divides Leaders and People

If coordinated action gets the goods, special attention must be paid to the government’s particular interest in “splinter” groups.

Under Canada’s colonial system, the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty, self-determination, Aboriginal and Treaty rights has historically been undermined by First Nations who cooperated with the Crown government turning in those First Nations who were resisting the Crown’s colonial system.

Over time this evolved into the Crown dividing First Nations into the “progressive” Indian Bands and the backward or “traditional” Indian Bands. The federal government through the various Indian Affairs departments, developed an approach to reward the “progressive” Indians and punish the “traditional” Indians.

This federal reward-punishment approach still exists, though the “Indian Agents” have been replaced by the Band Councils who now deliver Crown programs and services to their community members. The Band Councils and other First Nation organizations’ formula-funding are controlled by a system of legislation, policies, terms and conditions – all designed, controlled and managed largely by the federal Crown bureaucracy and politicians in Ottawa.

The First Nations Chiefs and Leaders who become more known and prominent are largely the individuals who have been trained and supported by federal bureaucrats. These individuals become known for their seeming ability to get federal capital dollars to build new houses, schools and other community infrastructure, or additional program dollars for enhancing Band programs.

However, the point is, none of these individuals would have gotten anywhere without federal support to advance their political careers. This is the reward system at work. For those Chiefs and Leaders who don not cooperate with the federal government, they can be ignored and/or stalled on funding requests. In some circumstances the federal government will even support “splinter groups” to take out the offending Chief or Leader. A current prominent example of this is the Algonquins of Barriere Lake in Western Quebec, but this also occurred historically at the Six Nations Grand River Territory.

The INAC and RCMP documents make it clear that while the Canadian State Security Apparatus is concerned about “splinter groups,” they also are somewhat concerned about Chiefs and Leaders from Indian Act Band Councils and First Nation establishment organizations like AFN and their Provincial/Territorial Organizations becoming Aboriginal “extremists.”

What the INAC and RCMP briefings show is that there needs to be unity on the ground with coordinated political actions between First Nations Peoples in order to protect, defend and advance First Nation pre-existing sovereignty, and First Nation Aboriginal and Treaty rights to lands and resources. Divide and conquer tactics can only be met with new strategies of alliance-building, and by bringing the leadership back down to the land.


An earlier version of this article appeared in the First Nations Strategic Bulletin.


Reno Sparks Indian beaten in Nevada hate crime

In Uncategorized on June 8, 2011 at 7:22 am

Originally Posted on: Censored News, June 6 2011.

Author: Brenda Norrell

Reno Sparks Indian man beaten by skinheads, then victim was jailed by police in Fernley, Nevada, bordertown

A Reno Sparks Indian man, Johnny Bonta, and his family were attacked by neo nazi skinheads at a Fernley, Nevada, convenience store, east of Reno. Family members were beaten with a crowbar and baseball bats, and stabbed. The neo nazis tried to cut off Bonta’s braid. The victim, Bonta, was then arrested because of the white assailants connection with police. Bonta was denied medical treatment in jail. Listen to his wife tell what happened. The police will not reveal where the family car is, with their documents in it. Fernley is a bordertown located between the Indian Nations of Pyramid Lake Paiute and Fallon.

Hate Crime Nevada Indian Bordertow

(click above audio link)

Harper Dégage! Beat Back the Tory Attack! POC and Natives Contingent

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 3:46 am

Originally Posted, June 2011

Author: No One Is Illegal Ottawa and Agitate! Queer People of Color and Indigenous People

People of Colour and First Nations contingent

We are calling on Indigenous peoples from all nations and people of colour to march together in an anti-colonization contingent during the June 10th rally and march to the Conservative Party national convention.

As First Nations people, we continue to see Canada as an occupying force on our lands. Broken treaties and racist attitudes have meant that our people are much more likely to end up in a jail cell than in a school room. Our water is poisoned while our lands are still being stolen and destroyed in a quest for oil and resources. Our people live on the streets, live in poverty and live with the ghosts of residential schools. Despite a bogus apology from Stephen Harper for residential schools, we continue to see racist politicians elected to public office. This month, Julian Fantino was elected to Parliament. This is the same Julian Fantino who threatened our Iroquois brothers and sisters in Tyendinaga and viciously attacked our homeless brothers and sisters on the streets of Toronto. The reasons for us to be worried about this government are endless.

As people of colour, we are valuable when it comes to election time when our bodies are used as photo-ops for ethnic votes, but we know, based on our daily experiences, these are insincere, futile attempts to win our support. Every day, our neighbourhoods are frequent targets of racial profiling and police brutality. Stephen Harper want to increase the number of prisons to lock up even more indigenous people and people of colour as the Conservatives continue to deny or strip away social, health, and women’s services. Our communities endure detainment and deportation. We are told we are not “queer enough” or that our experiences of violence are not credible to racist, sexist adjudicators that sit on Immigration and Refugee Boards. The Conservatives tell us that we, immigrants, are “jumping the queue,” forgetting that many of their ancestors migrated from Europe and stole this land from Indigenous peoples using violent means. The Conservatives promote Islamophobic sentiments to justify imperialist military occupation in Afghanistan that has killed and displaced millions. Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party continue to give unwavering support to Israel even though its government ignores international law and outcry against its treatment of Palestinians and their homeland. The reasons for us to be worried about this Conservative majority government are infinite.

Our communities have often fought side by side in the struggle for freedom, equality, justice and dignity. On issues of land, our positions are the same: from Palestine to Turtle Island, give back the stolen land. On issues of racism, our communities are allied: stop racist scapegoating! On issues of resistance, we are still united, now more than ever!

We are calling for a contingent in the rally and march against the Conservative majority government in Ottawa on June 10th. Bring flags, banners and symbols of resistance.

In love and rage,

No One Is Illegal Ottawa and Agitate! Queer People of Colour and Indigenous People


Returning to Safed in shackles

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 2:11 am

Originally Found on: The Electronic Intifada, May 31st 2011.

Author: Budour Youssef Hassan


Israeli forces confront Palestinian youth in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya on Nakba day, 15 May 2011.

Much attention has been paid to the marches of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria to the borders with occupied Palestine, as well as the courageous protests at the Qalandiya checkpoint in the occupied West Bank and in Gaza. But Palestinians inside what is known as the green line, Israel’s internationally-recognized armistice line with the occupied West Bank and Gaza, marched on 15 May as well. We converged on the borders with Lebanon in a symbolic protest of the apartheid regime that has confiscated our lands, discriminated against us and attempted to strip us of our national identity.

The day started with apprehension. The bus which was supposed to arrive from the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqib to Jerusalem was stopped by Israeli security forces on its way and three of the passengers were detained by Israeli police. An hour later, we were forced to go with another driver from Jerusalem toward the Lebanese border town of Maroun al-Ras.

On our long journey to the north, we were frantically following updates from Qalandiya, Gaza, Maroun al-Ras and the village of Majdal Shams, in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. For the 25 passengers on the bus, it was a mix of anxiety, pride toward the incredible courage displayed by the young Palestinian revolutionaries, and hope. Very few of us actually believed that we would be able to make it to the borders and that we would be able to welcome our returning Palestinian sisters and brothers back home. But we wanted to send a clear message to the Israeli occupation that we are here to stay and that the Palestinian struggle for freedom, dignity and justice is resolute.

As we arrived in the checkpoint near the destroyed village of Birim, protesters who came from Haifa and Nazareth were either arrested or forced to leave after being violently dispersed by the Israeli border police. We were not allowed by the “security” forces to reach the borders as they declared it a closed military area. So we decided to hold our protest and chant at the checkpoint.

Armed with the power of our just cause and our loud voices, we chanted for 25 minutes in solidarity with our comrades in Maroun al-Ras, Majdal Shams, Gaza and the West Bank, and vocalized that even after 63 years, we haven’t forgotten the catastrophe of 1948 and we have not given up on the rights of Palestinian refugees to return.

The Israeli police had enough of us and ordered us to leave. We did not oblige and carried on our chants. Meissa Irshaid, an attorney with the Public Committee against Torture in Israel, tried to explain to the deputy commander of the Galilee district, Kobi Bachar, that our standing near the checkpoint did not violate any law. But just as she was speaking with him, Bachar smacked her viciously in her face and then the police started kicking us, firing tear gas at us and arresting more protesters.

Maath Musleh, a Palestinian blogger at Palestine Youth Voice and freelance social media consultant, was one of eights activists who were detained in the prison in the northern city of Safed for a night and later put under house arrest for four days. “I just witnessed the first ten seconds of the attack, for then four soldiers attacked me and dragged me to the street,” Musleh said.

“A soldier stepped with his knee on my face. My eyes were looking at an old man laying still on the ground and hearing and smelling the gas bombs that have been fired at the peaceful demonstrators. As I was staring at the soldiers’ eyes, I saw fear. Fear of the strength of the [righteous]; fear of the strength of the Palestinian people whom they failed for 63 years to break,” he added.

Describing the night he spent at the Safed prison, Musleh said: “When I was locked in my cell in Safed prison, I endured the worst three aspects of being locked down in prison. Firstly, it was really hurtful to see some Palestinians working side by side with your enemy to oppress you; the judge who imposed the four-day house arrest on us was an Arab as were some of the prison guards.”

“Secondly, I was wondering if the movement beyond the walls of the prison was ongoing. I was engulfed with the fear that the people had laid down,” Musleh added. “Thirdly, I was overwhelmed by a feeling that someone out there has sacrificed more than I did. We lost dozens of martyrs that day. People lost their lives for their rights. I have lost nothing.”

Lawyer Meissa Irshaid, who was also detained for a night and put under house arrest for four days, summed up the heart-wrenching irony of the Nakba perfectly: “My family was among the families who were expelled from Safed in 1948. It is ironic that, 63 years later, I was forced to return to my hometown Safed in shackles.”

Budour Youssef Hassan, originally from Nazareth, is a Palestinian socialist activist and third-year law student at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Follow her on Twitter:

Wikileaks: Top six ways the US and Canada violated Indigenous rights

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 1:47 am

Originally Posted on: Censored New, June 4th 2011.

Author: Brenda Norrell


Here’s the top six ways that the United States and Canada, as revealed by Wikileaks, has worked against the rights of Indigenous Peoples, by engaging in espionage and the promotion of mining, while violating Indigenous autonomy, self determination and dignity.
1. The United States worked behind the scenes to fight the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In Ecuador, the US established a program to dissuade Ecuador from supporting the Declaration. In Iceland, the US Embassy said Iceland’s support was an “impediment” to US/Iceland relations at the UN. In Canada, the US said the US and Canada agreed the Declaration was headed for a “train wreck.”
2. The United States targeted and tracked Indigenous Peoples, community activists and leaders, especially in Chile, Peru and Ecuador. A cable reveals the US Embassy in Lima, Peru, identified Indigenous activists and tracked the involvement of Bolivian President Evo Morales, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Bolivia Ambassador Pablo Solon, prominent Mapuche and Quechua activists and community leaders. President Chavez and President Morales were consistently watched, and their actions analyzed. Indigenous activists opposing the dirty Tar Sands were spied on, and other Indigenous activists in Vancouver, prior to the Olympics.
3. The United States was part of a five country coalition to promote mining and fight against Indigenous activists in Peru. A core group of diplomats from U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, Switzerland and South Africa formed an alliance with mining companies to promote and protect mining interests globally.
4. Canada spied on Mohawks using illegal wiretaps. Before Wikileaks hit the headlines, it exposed in 2010 that Canada used unauthorized wiretaps on Mohawks.
Wikileaks: “During the preliminary inquiry to Shawn Brant’s trial, it came out that the Ontario Provincial Police, headed by Commissioner Julian Fantino, had been using wiretaps on more than a dozen different Mohawks without a judge’s authorization, an action almost unheard of recent history in Canada.”
4. The United States and Canada tracked Mohawks. In one of the largest collections of cables released so far that targeted Native people and named names, the US Embassies in Montreal and Toronto detailed Mohawk activities at the border and in their communities.
5. The arrogant and insulting tone of the US Embassies and disrespect for Indigenous leaders is pervasive in US diplomatic cables. The US Embassy in Guatemala stated that President of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, called Rigoberta Menchu a “fabrication” of an anthropologist and made other accusations. Menchu responded on a local radio station that Colom was a “liar.”
6. The collection of DNA and other data, makes it clear that US Ambassadors are spies abroad. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton states that the Intelligence Community relies on biographical information from US diplomats. In cables to Africa and Paraguay, Clinton asked US Embassy personnel to collect address books, e-mail passwords, fingerprints, iris scans and DNA.
“The intelligence community relies on State reporting officers for much of the biographical information collected worldwide,” Clinton said in a cable on April 16, 2009. Clinton said the biographical data should be sent to the INR (Bureau of Intelligence and Research) for dissemination to the Intelligence Community.
The cables, the aftermath
As for reactions, Mohawks are unimpressed with the cables and have little to say about either the content or the arrogant tone of the US Embassy.
John Kane, Mohawk host of the radio show Let’s Talk Native Pride, said, “I think one of the reasons you haven’t got much response from this is just as you have suggested; it’s no surprise. While some would be outraged to be treated this way or spoken of in such terms, we know what we are up against. We also know that 9-11 was an opportunity for both the US and Canada to put Native resistance on par with terrorism. No Department of Homeland Security or PATRIOT Act or Canadian Border Service or joint task force of US and Canadian alphabet soup will change the disposition of Mohawk Warriors.”
The US and Canada have tried to play word games to make people believe the two countries have now supported the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
When the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, four countries voted against it: the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Although the four countries eventually took action on it, the US and Canada gave only lip service and included language in an attempt to prevent the Declaration from being used in federal courts to ensure rights, including the right of free, prior and informed consent and the right to ancestral territories.
Indigenous rights were the focus as tens of thousands of Indigenous Peoples and grassroots people met in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and then Cancun, Mexico, to establish new climate standards for the protection of Mother Earth in 2010. Globally, efforts have increased to expose the scam of carbon credits, protect water rights and to protect forests, rivers and oceans.
Wikileaks exposure of the race for Arctic oil by numerous countries, has led to new efforts to protect the homeland of the Inuit.
During the last week of May 2011, the American Indian Movement was in Venezuela to support President Hugo Chavez. AIM thanked CITGO for heating assistance for poor families, as the US imposed new economic sanctions on Venezuela. Anishinabe First Nation Chief Terrance Nelson released a statement questioning if the US is targeting Chavez as its next “bogeyman.”
Chief Nelson also said that for Native people in the US and Canada, economic sanctions from the colonial governments are nothing new.
“As indigenous peoples in North America, our experience with the colonial governments has been continuous undeclared economic sanctions enacted against our people,” Chief Nelson said.

Day 48-50 updates + photos: Bay Trail meets with Protect Glen Cove Committee, Spiritual Gathering to take place Saturday

In Uncategorized on June 5, 2011 at 1:41 am

Originally Posted on:, June 2nd 2011.

Author: Glen Cove


Today marks 50 days of standing strong. 50 days
of prayer, in honor of and protection of the ancestors at Sogorea Te.

At this time, we are re-issuing the urgent call for people to join us at Sogorea Te who are able to commit themselves to being present on the land for 3 days to a week or more, in support of the ongoing ceremony. Please contact us if you are in need of assistance with transportation.

Its been a busy week. An independent group of supporters has been organizing in solidarity with our work to prevent the desecration of Glen Cove. At 8:00am Tuesday morning, 60 people picketed outside the offices of the Bay Trail Project in downtown Oakland, demanding the withdrawal of all financial and political support for the proposed GVRD development plan. Bay Trail, a local non-profit, has contributed upwards of $200,000 to the Glen Cove park project and is directing the installation of new paved trails through the area. Click here for photos and a report-back from Tuesday by the Glen Cove Solidarity Working Group.

As a result of this solidarity action, executive directors of Bay Trail contacted the Protect Glen Cove Committee, asking for a meeting the following day. Bay Trail had previously declined the committee’s requests to meet.

At noon on Thursday, a productive meeting took place between Bay Trail directors/managers and the Protect Glen Cove Committee. The Bay Trail representatives listened closely and expressed serious concern about continuing with their project at Glen Cove as it currently stands. They are now reviewing options and will be contacting the committee early next week about their stance.

“Dennis” and Shane McAffee

Flyer for Salmon Dance.
Rain Reschedules!

Merle Whistler (Lakota)

On Tuesday afternoon, Shane McAffee (General Manager of GVRD) entered the grounds of Sogorea Te with a video camera and a smirk. McAffee was accompanied by a man who identified only as Dennis. They spent time looking at some of the most culturally sensitive areas and speaking rudely to participants in the spiritual encampment before leaving.

Caleen Sisk-Franco, Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu tribe, visited Sogorea Te Wednesday and spoke in a group circle about her people’s work of bringing the Salmon back to their traditional territory on the McCloud River. She explained that the salmon are an indicator of health for the oceans and the entire planet. “These rivers cannot live without the salmon, and if the salmon don’t survive, neither will the people.”

On their journey from the ocean, all the Salmon headed up the Sacramento River to Wintu territory must pass right by Sogorea Te, through the bottleneck of the Carquinez Strait. The Winnemem Wintu are planning to dance for the Salmon at Sogorea Te this coming Sunday, June 5 around 3:00, provided that it does not rain.

On Wednesday afternoon, Merle Whistler (Lakota) led a healing ceremony with all who were present around the sacred fire. In the evening, Jason Cerritos (Mono & Wukchumni) and Leonard and Dylan Pineflower (Yaqui/Apache) visited from the Central Valley. They joined in singing California songs with clappers and the Sogorea Te, AIM, and Leonard Peltier songs on the drum.

Wounded Knee DeOcampo (Miwok) and Fred Short (Ojibwa) spent all of Thursday visiting traditional spiritual leaders at rancherias and reservations throughout Northern California, bringing offerings and asking for support in protecting the sacred burial grounds of Sogorea Te. Out of these visits grew the inspiration for a spiritual gathering that will be taking place at Glen Cove on Saturday, June 11th.

A benefit concert with punk rock bands was held in San Francisco on Thursday evening. Money was raised for the Glen Cove emergency defense fund, and Michelle Steinberg, drummer of Somnolence and Protect Glen Cove Committee member, spoke to the crowd about the current situation at Sogorea Te and ways to show support.

The banner that was hung by supporters around 6pm on Monday above Interstate 80 in Berkeley still remains in place, as of Thursday night! It reads “Save Sacred Sites – Protect Glen Cove [.org]”


  • The Winnemem Wintu are planning to dance for the Salmon at Sogorea Te this coming Sunday, June 5 around 3:00, provided that it does not rain.
  • This weekend, folk guitarist/singer David Rovics is planning to visit and share songs at Sogorea Te. Specific time TBA.
  • A spiritual gathering will be held on Saturday, June 11th at Sogorea Te. All are welcome.
  • Firewood and food supplies are running low. Please donate if you can!
  • We are in urgent need of committed people who can stay on the land for 3 days to a week or longer, in support of the ongoing ceremony to protect and honor the ancestors. Please contact us if you are in need of assistance with transportation.

Latest Articles:

Current supply requests:

  • Snacks and ready-to-eat food
  • Non-additive cigarettes
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Mixed nuts and seeds / nut butters
  • Visitors!
  • Firewood
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Fresh vegetables & fruits
  • AAA batteries
  • Vegetable and Olive Oil

5/31 demo at Bay Trail offices in Oakland, organized by the Glen Cove Solidarity Working Group.

Pebbles on the north shore of Glen Cove

Merle Whistler, traditional Lakota Medicine Man

Ohlone, Pit River, Wintu and Mono songs being shared in prayer.

“All Cemeteries Are Sacred” banner

Looking out from Glen Cove at dusk


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