Indigenous leaders to gather in support

Photo: UBCIC

Hereditary chiefs opposed to a natural gas pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. are holding a gathering of solidarity on Wednesday that is expected to attract Indigenous leaders from across the province.

Chief Judy Wilson, secretary treasurer of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said she was planning to attend the meeting and other members of the group had already flown to Smithers.

“I’m heading up there to support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the people, the clans, in their fight to protect their land,” Wilson said.

She said the difficulty that the hereditary chiefs have had in getting their authority recognized by industry and government is familiar.

Elected band councils are based on a colonial model of governance, she said. Under the tradition of her Secwepemc First Nation in the B.C. Interior, title belongs to all of the people within the nation.

“Collectively, people hold title for our nation,” she said.

Coastal GasLink says it has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations bands along the pipeline route to LNG Canada’s $40-billion export facility in Kitimat, B.C.

But the project has come until scrutiny because five hereditary clan chiefs within the Wet’suwet’en say the project has no authority without their consent.

While elected band councils are administrators of their reserves, the hereditary chiefs say they are in charge of the 22,000 square kilometres comprising Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, including land the pipeline would run through.

Members of the First Nation and supporters were arrested last week at a checkpoint erected to block the company from accessing a road it needs to do pre-construction work on the project, sparking protests Canada-wide.

On Thursday, the hereditary chiefs reached at deal with RCMP, agreeing that members would abide by a temporary court injunction by allowing the company and its contractors access across a bridge further down the road, so long as another anti-pipeline camp is allowed to remain intact.

Hereditary Chief Na’Moks told reporters that the chiefs reached the agreement to ensure the safety of those remaining at the Unist’ot’en camp, but remain “adamantly opposed” to the project.

The interim court injunction will be in place until the defendants, including residents and supporters of the Unist’ot’en camp, file a response in court Jan. 31.

A Facebook page for the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en territory posted an alert on Sunday calling for rolling actions across the country.

It referred to the 1997 Delgamuuk’w case, fought by the Wet’suwet’en and the Gitsxan First Nations, in which the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that Aboriginal title constituted an ancestral right protected by the constitution.

“As the Unist’ot’en camp says, ‘This fight is far from over. We paved the way with the Delgamuuk’w court case and the time has come for Delgamuuk’w II,’ ” the statement says.

The ruling in the Delgamuuk’w case had an impact on other court decisions, affecting Aboriginal rights and title, including the court’s recognition of the Tsilhqot’in nation’s aboriginal title lands.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Indigenous convoy slows Ontario highway traffic in solidarity with B.C. pipeline protest

The eight-car convoy left from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne early Friday morning, with hopes of reaching the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont. (Stephanie Brown/CBC)

‘We’re standing strong with our brothers and sisters out west,’ said one participant.

A convoy of vehicles slowed traffic on a stretch of Canada’s busiest highway Friday morning in Ontario in a show of solidarity with an anti-pipeline protest in British Columbia.

Eight westbound vehicles rolled down Highway 401 near Cornwall, Ont., at about 50 km/h during the early rush hour. Provincial police cruisers formed a buffer around the convoy and surrounding traffic.

The vehicles are carrying people from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne, about 86 kilometres southeast of Ottawa, and the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, just south of Montreal.

Brandon Bigtree, who was driving one of the vehicles, said the demonstration was to show support for protesters at the Unist’ot’en camp — the site of a fortified checkpoint preventing people set to work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project from accessing the Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Wet’suwet’en and police have agreed to allow the company access to do pre-construction work as specified in an interim injunction order for the time being, following arrests on Monday.

“We’re standing strong with our brothers and sisters out west. What’s going on out there isn’t right,” Bigtree said.

He said Indigenous communities across the country feel the federal government and provinces are failing them.

“We just need to let [the federal government] know that we’re all united.”

Those in the convoy from the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne are also trying to raise awareness about local governance issues. Some in the community are frustrated with how the elected band council has handled  negotiations over a 130-year-old land grievance along the banks of the St. Lawrence River. They are advocating for the nation’s hereditary leadership to play a larger role in the process.

The convoy hopes to make it to ​the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., today.

CBC News · Posted: Jan 11, 2019

[SOURCE]

RCMP Roadblock Lifted Allowing Access to Unist’ot’en Camp

Image – Unist’ot’en Camp Facebook page

Hereditary chiefs expected to give update on talks with RCMP when media reach camp 

  • RCMP roadblock lifted, allowing supporters and media access to Unist’ot’en camp.

According to CBC News, RCMP have opened their roadblock on a remote forest road in northern B.C., allowing access to a camp that has been the focal point of a First Nations protest against a natural gas pipeline.

Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs reached an agreement with the RCMP that includes opening the area that had been off limits to supporters and the media since Monday.

14 arrested after RCMP breach Gitdumt’en checkpoint

RCMP have confirmed they arrested 14 people at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint.

On Monday the RCMP announced they were going to enforce a court injunction to allow Coastal GasLink access to the road and bridge near Houston, B.C.

The RCMP followed through at approximately 2:51 p.m. when several members of the Tactical and Emergency Response Teams forcefully breached the Gitdumt’en camp’s checkpoint.

When police went over top of the barricade there was a scuffle between the advancing RCMP and the first line of Gitdumt’en clan members.

Journalists say the land defenders who were protecting their territory were not armed.

Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., filed for an injunction against Unist’ot’en Camp last month.

According to Vice News, the barricade was built by organizers from the Gitdumt’en clan, one of five Wet’suwet’en clans, with the goal of protecting the Unist’ot’en camp from being raided, further up the road.

The Unist’ot’en camp established in 2010 was set up by members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation with support of Hereditary chiefs to prevent Coast GasLink workers from gaining access.

Monday’s arrests took place at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road for various offences, including alleged violations of an injunction order against the blockade, reports the National Observer.

Fourteen land defenders, including Molly Wickam, a spokesperson for the camp, were taken into police custody and the blockade dismantled.

RCMP say they entered the blockade, after a meeting with a number of hereditary chiefs and Coast GasLink failed to resolve the issue without police involvement.

Unist’ot’en camp now awaits an RCMP raid after the injunction was enforced at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint.

In a statement, RCMP addressed what police called “erroneous” reports that RCMP jammed communications in the area, and that the military was present during the police enforcement operation.

“We would like to clarify that both of these allegations are incorrect,” the statement says. “The area is extremely remote and even police had limited access to communication.”

A news release issued Sunday on behalf of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says all five Wet’suwet’en clans, including the Gitdumt’en, oppose the construction of oil and gas pipelines in their territory.

An elder arrested on Monday has already been released. The remainder of the arrestees were taken to Prince George to stand before a Justice of the Peace.

CSIS gathered info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: Watchdog

Demonstrators protest Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver. In its February 2014 complaint to the CSIS watchdog, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association alleged the spy service had overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to the now-defunct project. (Reuters)

Demonstrators protest Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver. (Reuters)

Committee concluded fears of CSIS surveillance were unjustified

Canada’s spy service collected some information about peaceful anti-petroleum groups, but only incidentally in the process of investigating legitimate threats to projects such as oil pipelines, says a long-secret federal watchdog report.

The newly disclosed report from the Security Intelligence Review Committee acknowledges concerns about a “chilling effect,” stemming from a belief that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service was spying on environmental organizations.

Advocacy and environmental groups Leadnow, the Dogwood Initiative and the Council of Canadians are mentioned in the thousands of pages of CSIS operational reports examined by the review committee.

But after analyzing evidence and testimony, the committee concluded the fears of CSIS surveillance were unjustified.

The heavily censored review committee report, completed last year and kept under wraps, is only now being made public because of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association’s challenge of the findings in the Federal Court of Canada.

In its February 2014 complaint to the CSIS watchdog, the association alleged the spy service had overstepped its legal authority by monitoring environmentalists opposed to Enbridge’s now-defunct Northern Gateway pipeline proposal.

It also accused CSIS of sharing this information with the National Energy Board and petroleum industry companies, deterring people from expressing their opinions and associating with environmental groups.

The review committee’s dismissal of the complaint has been known since September 2017, but a confidentiality order by the committee prevented the civil liberties association from releasing the report. As the association fights to overturn the dismissal, redacted versions of the detailed findings and related documents are being added to the public court record.

Info collected fell within CSIS mandate: review

The association, which became concerned about CSIS activities through media reports, told the committee of a chilling effect for civil society groups from the spy service’s information-gathering as well as comments by then-national resources minister Joe Oliver denouncing “environmental and other radical groups.”

A CSIS witness testified the spy service “is not in the business of investigating environmentalists because they are advocating for an environmental cause, period.”

Still, another CSIS witness spoke of the need for “domain awareness” to identify “potential triggers and flashpoints” — in part to ensure the service is aware of what is happening should a threat arise, the report says.

Ultimately, the review committee concluded CSIS’s information collection fell within its mandate, and that the service did not investigate activities involving lawful advocacy, protest or dissent. The report indicates that any information on peaceful groups was gathered “in an ancillary manner, in the context of other lawful investigations.”

The report also says there was no “direct link” between CSIS and the chilling effect groups mentioned in testimony before the committee.

The civil liberties association considers some of the findings contradictory, pointing to the 441 CSIS operational reports deemed relevant to the committee’s inquiry, totalling over 2,200 pages.

For instance, one of the largely censored CSIS records, now disclosed through the court, says the reporting was further to “the Service’s efforts in assessing the threat environment and the potential for threat-related violence stemming from (redacted) protests/demonstrations.”

Another refers to the Dogwood Initiative as a “non-profit, Canadian environmental organization that was established in 1999 ‘to help communities and First Nations gain more control of the land and resources around them so they can be managed in a way that does not rob future generations for short-term corporate gain.”‘

The passages before and after the description are blacked out.

“It’s our view that these documents demonstrate that CSIS was keeping tabs on these groups, even if they weren’t formal targets,” said Paul Champ, a lawyer for the civil liberties association.

“But we maintain it’s unlawful to keep information on these groups in CSIS databanks when they are only guilty of exercising their democratic rights.”

The committee report says CSIS should review its holdings to ensure it is keeping only information that is strictly necessary, as spelled out in the law governing the spy service.

The report cites “clear evidence” CSIS took part in meetings with Natural Resources Canada and the private sector, including the petroleum industry, at the spy service’s headquarters, but says these briefings involved “national security matters.”

The committee also concludes CSIS did not share information concerning the environmental groups in question with the National Energy Board or non-governmental members of the petroleum business.

Even so, the perception of CSIS discussing security issues with the oil industry can “give rise to legitimate concern,” the committee report adds. “This needs to be addressed.”

The committee urges CSIS to widen the circle of its public security discussions to include environmental and other civil society groups.

By Jim Bronskill · The Canadian Press 

[SOURCE]

Indigenous protesters arrested at TRU Trans Mountain meeting

The protest on Monday led to three arrests by Kamloops RCMP and closure of the Campus Activity Centre at TRU.

Mayuk Manuel, Snutetkwe Manuel and Isha Jules arrested 

Kamloops RCMP arrested three people at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) on Monday morning and access to part of the campus was restricted as a result of a protest.

According to media reports, a Trans Mountain roundtable consultation meeting about the proposed pipeline expansion was taking place at TRU.

It is believed former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci and his team were meeting with local Indigenous groups when the protesters arrived.

Handprints in red paint could be seen outside TRU’s Campus Activity Centre, as well as splatters of paint on the pavement.

The RCMP confirmed the arrests but wouldn’t comment on what the protest was about.

However, those arrested have been identified in a social media post as Indigenous protesters opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

According to tweets by Kanahus Manuel, a spokesperson for the Tiny House Warriors, her twin sister Mayuk Manuel was one of those arrested along with Snutetkwe Manuel and Isha Jules.

An RCMP investigation into mischief and assault is underway.

In an statement, a TRU spokesperson said “the incident (and the protest) was related to a private event.”

As a precaution the university restricted access to the Campus Activity Centre until 4:30 p.m.

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said the Kamloops RCMP detachment was aware of the consultation meeting in advance and had formulated a plan for dealing with demonstrations if they took place.

The roundtable meetings are designed to determine how the consultation process will unfold.

To see the demonstration, check out the video below.

Video posted to Facebook by Snutetkwe Manuel

By Black Powder, RPM Staff

LNG subsidiary files for injunction against Unist’ot’en Camp

The Kitimat Liquified Natural Gas project at Bish Cove, Douglas Channel, south of Kitimat, B.C., would be the final destination for the Coastal GasLink pipeline. (CP)

A subsidiary energy company that would deliver natural gas to LNG Canada’s Kitimat plant has filed an application for an injunction against the Unist’ot’en Camp, south of Houston, B.C.

Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., filed an application for an injunction on Friday to gain access to the Morice River Bridge, which it claims is being blockaded by the Unist’ot’en Camp and stalling construction on the project.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline would deliver natural gas, starting in an area close to Dawson Creek, all the way to the proposed LNG Canada facility in Kitimat.

The Unist’ot’en Camp was constructed in 2010 to assert and “reoccupy” the land of the Wet’suwet’en people, on which several proposed pipelines would be constructed. The Unist’ot’en are a clan of the Wet’suwet’en people.

In the application, Coastal GasLink’s proposed injunction would prohibit anyone from “physically preventing, impeding or restricting or in any way physically interfering” with access to the Morice River Bridge or the Morice West Forest Service Road, or coming within 10 metres of Coastal GasLink’s employees or vehicles in the area.

The application would also give police authority to arrest people breaching the injunction.

In a statement posted on its website, Coastal GasLink said that “this decision was not taken lightly” and is “a last resort and a necessary action in our efforts to safely gain access to the area.”

Coastal GasLink named Freda Huson and Warner Naziel, and referenced “others” involved in the bridge blockade, alleging that they were “preventing access” to the area. If the blockade stalled the project, the company claimed, there would be a “significant risk” that the project will miss the date of completion under the contract with LNG, which it claims added up to $24 million in contracts.

Karla Tait, an Unist’ot’en house group member, said in a statement that the two people named in the application were not hereditary chiefs and that the injunction ignored the group’s jurisdiction over the land, on which it operates a holistic healing lodge.

“The fact that this company can make a civil suit thinking that Freda Huson and Warner Naziel are the only ones standing in the way of their project is utterly ignorant and out of touch with all that we stand for as Unist’ot’en and as Indigenous people,” she said in the statement.

StarMetro Vancouver

[SOURCE]

Woman charged in connection with triple homicide near Oneida Nation

(Left to right) Michael Shane Jamieson, Melissa Trudy Miller, and Alan Grant Porter, are pictured in this composite image of photos released by Ontario Provincial Police on Nov 15, 2018. (Handout /OPP)

Six Nations woman charged with accessory to murder

An arrest has been made in connection to the murder of three people just outside the Oneida of the Thames First Nation in Ontario.

The deceased, Melissa Miller, Alan Porter and Michael Jamieson, were all members of Six Nations of the Grand River, a First Nations community near Brantford Ont.

They were found dead with a stolen grey 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck in a field around 10 a.m. on Nov. 4., in Middlesex County. Police would not say how the victims died.

According to media reports, Ontario Provincial Police, with the assistance of the Six Nations Police Service, arrested 36-year-old Kirsten Bomberry of Six Nations on Friday and charged her with three counts of accessory after the fact to murder.

Bomberry briefly appeared in court on Saturday and was remanded into custody.

The court case is expected to take place in London Ont and a publication ban is now in effect.

This is the first arrest in connection to the triple murder.

OPP say there will be periodic closures in Six Nations as their investigation continues, in area of 4th Line at Tuscarora Road and Onondaga Road.

The landfill in Six Nations will remain open but will only be accessible from Onondaga Road. The closures are expected to last for a several days.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police tip-line at ‪1-844-677-5050‬, or the Six Nations Police Service at ‪519-445-2811‬. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at ‪1-800-222-8477‬ (TIPS)

Connection to similar incident in 2017

CTV News reports, Miller was seven months pregnant with a boy at the time of her death.

Police say Miller and Porter were cousins and Porter and Jamieson were close friends.

Sources tell CTV that Miller was Douglas Hill’s common-law wife.

Hill another Six Nations man, was found dead in 2017, in Oneida Nation of the Thames territory, not far from the location of the triple murder. Four people were charged in connection with his case including a 17-year-old girl.

The charges were all dismissed last month.

By Black Powder, RPM Staff

400 years later, Natives who helped Pilgrims finally being heard

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(AP) – The seaside town where the Pilgrims came ashore in 1620 is gearing up for a 400th birthday bash, and everyone’s invited — especially the native people whose ancestors wound up losing their land and their lives.

Plymouth, Massachusetts, whose European settlers have come to symbolize American liberty and grit, marks its quadricentennial in 2020 with a trans-Atlantic commemoration that will put Native Americans’ unvarnished side of the story on full display.

“It’s history. It happened,” said Michele Pecoraro, executive director of Plymouth 400, Inc., a nonprofit group organizing yearlong events. “We’re not going to solve every problem and make everyone feel better. We just need to move the needle.”

Organizers are understandably cautious this time around. When the 350th anniversary of the Pilgrim landing was observed in 1970, state officials disinvited a leader of the Wampanoag Nation — the Native American tribe that helped the haggard newcomers survive their first bitter winter — after learning his speech would bemoan the disease, racism and oppression that followed the Pilgrims.

That triggered angry demonstrations from tribal members who staged a National Day of Mourning, a somber remembrance that indigenous New Englanders have observed on every Thanksgiving Day since.

This time, there’s pressure to get it right, said Jim Peters, a Wampanoag who directs the Massachusetts Commission on Indian Affairs.

“We’ll be able to tell some stories of what happened to us — to delve back into our history and talk about it,” Peters said. “Hopefully it will give us a chance to re-educate people and have a national discussion about how we should be treating each other.”

The commemoration known as Plymouth 400 will feature events throughout 2020, including a maritime salute in Plymouth Harbor in June, an embarkation festival in September, and a week of ceremonies around Thanksgiving.

The Mayflower II , a replica of the ship that carried the settlers from Europe to the New World four centuries ago, will sail to Boston in the spring. That autumn, it will head to Provincetown, at the outermost tip of Cape Cod, where the Pilgrims initially landed before continuing on to Plymouth.

Events also are planned in Britain and in the Netherlands, where the Pilgrims spent 11 years in exile before making their perilous sea crossing.

But the emphasis is on highlighting the often-ignored history of the Wampanoag and poking holes in the false narrative that Pilgrims and Indians coexisted in peace and harmony.

An interactive exhibit now making the rounds describes how the Wampanoag were cheated and enslaved, and in August 2020 tribal members will guide visitors on a walk through Plymouth to point out and consecrate spots where their ancestors once trod.

There are also plans to invite relatives of the late Wampanoag elder Wamsutta “Frank” James to publicly read that speech he wasn’t allowed to deliver in 1970 — an address that includes this passage: “We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end.”

Dusty Rhodes, who chairs a separate state commission working to ensure the commemoration has a global profile, said she hopes it all helps make amends for centuries of “mishandled and misrepresented” history.

“The Pilgrims were the first immigrants,” said Plymouth 400’s Pecoraro. “We’re in a place in this country where we need solidarity. We need to come together. We need to be talking about immigration and indigenous people.”

Plymouth, nicknamed “America’s Hometown,” is sure to draw a crush of 2020 presidential candidates who will use its monuments as campaign backdrops. With President Donald Trump, Queen Elizabeth II and other heads of state on the invitation list, state and federal authorities already are busy mapping out security plans.

Wampanoag tribal leader and activist Linda Coombs, who’s helped plan the commemoration, is skeptical that anything meaningful will change for her people.

“It’s a world stage, so we’ll have more visibility than we’ve had in the past,” she said. “We’ll see if it’s enough. It’ll be a measuring stick for all that has to come afterward.”

The Associated Press

[SOURCE]

Police identify victims of triple homicide near Oneida Nation

Bodkin Road was closed to traffic in the area where three bodies were found in Middlesex Centre, Ont. (CTV London)

Three members of Six Nations found dead

The discovery of three bodies just outside the Oneida of the Thames First Nation has turned into a triple homicide investigation.

The two men and one woman found dead on Sunday in Middlesex Centre, near Bodkin Road and Jones Drive, were from Six Nations of the Grand River, a First Nations community near Brantford Ont.

Police were called to the area at 10 a.m. Sunday after reports of a grey truck in a field.

The OPP would not say whether the bodies were found inside the truck, or outside.

Police confirmed the identities of the deceased as 37-year-old Melissa Trudy Miller, 33-year-old Alan Grant Porter and 32-year-old Michael Shane Jamieson.

On Wednesday, multiple OPP K-9 searches were done in the area where the truck and bodies were found.

While police revealed the names and ages of the victims, nothing was said about the cause of the deaths and few other details are known.

However police have zeroed in on the grey 2006 Chevrolet Silverado pickup and are asking members of the public who may have seen the truck in the area of Bodkin Road prior to 10 a.m. on Nov 4th to contact them.

Police have released a generic photo of a grey 2006 Chevrolet Silverado, similar to the one OPP say was located with the bodies.

According to Global News, though the grisly discovery wasn’t made on Oneida Nation land, its Chief, Jessica Hill, has been in contact with Six Nations.

“We’re sending our condolences to the community of Six Nations, to the families there” she said.

“We’re hoping the individuals responsible will be brought to justice.”

The OPP has set up a hotline for tips related to the homicide investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call a new police tipline at 1-844-677-5050, the Six Nations Police Service at 1519-445-2811 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Police have confirmed that the homicides are not being investigated in connection with any other cases.

Similar incident in 2017

The remains of 48-year-old Douglas Hill were found on Oneida land, in Aug 2017. He was last seen in Six Nations on June 24th. Hill’s death was considered a homicide.

The cause of his death has not been made public. Four people were charged in connection with the case including a 17-year-old girl. The charges were all dismissed last month.

No information is available as to why the prosecution ended.

By Black Power, RPM Staff