Skwelkwekwelt Update - September 11, 2004
Skwelkwekwelt Update - September 11, 2004
The Skwelkwekwelt Protection Center, along with various support groups, held a rally at Sun Peaks on August 29 to protest the on-going expansion of the Sun Peaks Ski Resort. On the same day, Secwepemc members and their invited guests began construction of what was to be a permanent structure. This structure was to:
" - monitor environmental damage at Skwelkwekwelt
" - inform visitors and investors of the on-going unsettled land issue in the area
" - assert and exercise our Secwepemc Title and Rights to our unceded lands by occupying our lands
" - educate our people, our guest, the public, and the courts of laws we stand on and the legal right to live on our lands
" - restore Secwepemc culture and language to our people (as taught by our traditional Elders)
When we began the occupation of our lands, we were immediately attacked by the Sun Peaks Ski Resort Corporation, bc government officials (acting under the illegal BC Land Act), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the court system, and certain Shuswap chiefs.
A chronology of events to date:
With no formal SNTC Chief's Resolution and Non-Secwepemc people identified as media contacts; 3 Identical Press releases, 1 on ordinary paper, 1 on Kamloops Indian Band Letterhead and 1 on Shuswap Nation Tribal Council Letterhead are issued with the support of at least 5 chiefs which condemns the rally and the invitation to Chief Stewart Phillip to attend.
Rally of approximately 200 people at Sun Peaks.
Construction of our building / residence begins.
Secwepemc Members are issued a Trespass Notice on land where building is constructed on unsurveyed "crown" land ( on the edge of the 16th fairway of the golf course).
The notice informs the people to leave by 8:00 p.m. but no one leaves the site.
Members of the Secwepemculecw Traditional Peoples Government attend the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council meeting to clarify which bands are
involved in the issuance of the press release. It was confirmed that 5 bands supported the press release - Adams Lake, Little Shuswap, Kamloops, Whispering Pines and North Thompson.
3 bands said they were unaware of or did not approve the press release Neskonlith, Bonaparte, and Speltsin.
After much discussion it was agreed to hold a meeting on September 16, 2004 to discuss the Skwelkwekwelt issue further. The meeting is to take place at Skwelkwekwelt.
A court injunction is granted to remove Secwepemc from their lands at Skwelkwekwelt.
The court injunction hearing is held in Vancouver Supreme Court. Secwepemc Nationals Arthur Manuel, Arnie Jack, and Janice Billy act as their own legal counsel.
As Exhibit "A", Jack enters an affidavit on behalf of himself, Janice Billy, Sawses, Sen Xexe7 T'e Spelqweqs.
The existing laws and statutes relied on in this affidavit were: Shuswap-Okanagan Declaration, Royal Proclamation of 1763, 1832 Blackdome Intertribal Agreement, BNA Section 91 ( 24 ), BNA Section 109, March 16, 1875 Duty of Disallowance ( Striking down British Columbia Lands Act, Convention for the Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, Nuremburg Principles, Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, Canadian Constitution Section 35 ( 1 ), Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ( Section 25 ), Supreme Court of Canada December 11, 1997 (Paragraph 144 and 145 ) and the Haida Decision.
Immediately after Secwepemc Elders testify, Judge Satanove reads her pre-written decision and unilaterally annexes 846 hectares of Traditional
Secwepemc Territory. She grants the injunction and enforcement order to remove Secwepemc from their lands at Skwelkwekwelt.
The August 28, 2004 press release issued by the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and/or Kamloops Indian Band is heavily relied upon the Crown lawyer, Sun Peaks lawyer, and Judge Satanove in her decision.
The RCMP serve the Provincial enforcement order to Secwepemc Nationals and their supporters at our Protection Center. With provincial legislation usurping Canadian Constitutional Law, everyone disposes of their order in the fire and refuse to leave the residence.
September 07, 2004
RCMP issue a press release stating talks are in progress between the first nations interest group located at Sun Peaks and local first nations representatives. Police at this time are not planning any action pending all communications being exhausted with the occupants at Sun Peaks & Police would prefer that the matter resolve itself and are hopeful that continued negotiation will resolve the issues at hand.
In Kelowna BC, a letter is hand-delivered to Minister of Indian Affairs and Federal Cabinet by Shuswap Chief Mike Retasket which requests the Canadian government to intervene in the Skwelkwekwelt issue.
At 4:09 pm, RCMP constable Brian Castle (Cassell ? ), visits the Protection Center and speaks to Janice Billy on the cellphone. 3 times he states on the phone "Janice, either you take this structure down or we will". Castle also states that "all previous press releases ( ie: September 07, 2004 ) issued by the RCMP are null and void". With Castle's (Cassell) statement implying that an RCMP attack on the Protection Center is imminent, immediate calls by the media to the RCMP result in the denial of any RCMP officer to the site at anytime that day. This is videotaped.
Arthur Manuel and Janice Billy call Inspector Randy Wilson to inform him of their concerns re: RCMP behavior toward the people. Mr. Manuel and Ms. Billy inform him of their extreme concern regarding past violent actions of the RCMP on their people.
An agreement is made which allows for Mr. Manuel and Ms. Billy to be contacted before any moves are made by the RCMP.
Another Tresspass Notice is issued for the Protection Center on the west side of Sun Peaks ski resort. The notice says to remove the center by 5:00 p.m. September 9.
Two RCMP officers (Terry Grimm and Kelly Auld) arrive at the Protection Center to ask when the people will be leaving. They are informed of the agreement between Inspector Randy Wilson and Arthur Manuel and that all communications will take place between these two parties.
Urgent Picket, Monday (Vancouver)
SUPPORT THE SKWELKWEK'WELT DEFENDERS!
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 13 @ NOON
BURRARD SKYTRAIN STATION
We will meet at Burrard Skytrain Station (on street level at the benches) and we will march one block to Department of Indian Affairs- BC Regional Office 1138 Melville Street.
The interlocutory injunction sought by Sun Peaks and granted by the BC Supreme court will likely be enforced soon, likely within the next 72 hours, by the RCMP. The Skwelkwek'welt camp defenders will face arrest, despite the fact that they are legally residing on their traditional territories.
Art Manuel writes "The court order is kind of a BC form of legitimate aparthied. It is clear that the Secwepemc peoples have legal and constitutional rights at Sun Peaks but they are being wilfully ignored bythe federal and provincial governments and by Sun Peaks. The failure of the federal policy to reconcile the differences between Secwepemc peoples, the province and Sun Peaks will more than likely lead to arrests, tonight, tomorrow or the day after. The RCMP will again be used as a political force to fill the gap for the Canadian government's outdated andinternationally condemned Indian Aboriginal Title extinguishment policy."
In the face of imminent arrest, the Secwepemc people need and call for our support and solidarity. We will be picketing at the Department of Indian Affairs, a colonial creation to "manage" the Indian question, responsible for a policy based on Extinguishment of Aborginal Title and Rights, that allows corporations like Sun Peaks to continue business-as-usual despite legally binding decisions like Delgamuukw and Haidi to honour Aboriginal Title.
(There are several key targets close-by for flyering:
Hotel Vancouver operated by Fairmont which manages Delta Hotels, Delta Hotels 550 West Hastings, Law Courts (800 Smithe).
* Some people were planning on meeting after the picket at Vancouver Art Gallery to coordinate that *)