Ontario Police Raid Grassy Narrows Camp: 17 Arrests Reported
Ontario Police Raid Earth Justice Gathering and Grassy Narrows Blockade
by Zoe Blunt
Ontario Provincial Police have reportedly arrested 17 people at Grassy Narrows in retaliation for Thursday’s peaceful blockade of the Trans-Canada Highway near Kenora, Ontario. The blockade by Rainforest Action Network activists and Grassy Narrows First Nations people drew worldwide attention to the decade-long fight to stop clearcut destruction at Grassy Narrows
The latest reports say more than fifty police officers have blocked access roads to and from the camp. Police set up a highway checkpoint Friday and began arresting native and non-native people involved in Thursday’s action. .
The barricade on the Trans-Canada Highway Thursday included activists locked down to cement barrels and a Weyerhaueser logging truck, and one who perched at the top of a 10-meter tripod. The protests succeeded in blocking logging trucks from operations in Grassy Narrows for most of the day and evening. Police made no arrests at the time and did not attempt to remove the barricade, which was dismantled voluntarily around 10 pm Thursday.
An anonymous report on Infoshop.org states that police are trying to arrest specific individuals, but they are citing and releasing any non-native protestors they find “trying to screen out the organizers and the ones that did the direct action stuff.”
A press release from Rainforest Action Network and Forest Ethics says police are singling out indigenous activists for special treatment. “White arrestees have been cited and released on mischief charges, while Natives and other people of colour have been taken to jail and interrogated before release and charged.” http://www.firstperspective.ca
Six Nations warriors involved in a standoff over development on traditional territory near Caledonia, Ontario traveled to Grassy Narrows at the invitation of the Anishinabe Nation. Now they find themselves targeted by Ontario police.
Brian Skye is a citizen of the Cayuga Nation Wolf Clan of the Six Nations Confederacy and one of those invited to the Earth Justice Gathering: He accuses police of “entering the Grassy Narrows reserve without permission, violating the community's sovereignty and legal juridiction over their reserve lands.”
Skye adds that “Grassy Narrows Band councilors seized an OPP police cruiser over jurisdictional issues and later released it.”
"The act of war perpetrated by the OPP in taking members of our delegation hostage and holding them ransom (bail) is an act of terrorism on the First Nations peoples of North America. The ramifications of this aggressive, violent instigation will be reciprocated swiftly and justly, as it is the obligation of all First Nations to do so.”
Background about Grassy Narrows and Rainforest Action Network: http://www.freegrassy.org
More about Thursday’s action: http://people.tribe.net/zoe_blunt
For immediate release. July 15, 2006
Six Nations Warriors Arrested in Grassy Narrows
OPP Violate Native Jursidiction over Reserve Lands in an Aggressive Action
OPP officers raided Grassy Narrows blockade site yesterday arresting Six Nations people who had come to participate in a gathering as guests of the Grassy Narrows community. 5 Six Nations people were detained, 4 were charged. The OPP are targeting Six Nations people and people of colour.
Police cruisers also entered the Grassy Narrows reserve without permission, violating the community's sovereignty and legal jursidiction over their reserve lands. Grassy Narrows Band councilors seized an OPP police cruiser over jurisdictional issues and later released it. The Six Nations delegation had come to meet with the communikty of Grassy Narrows and participate in the Earth Justice Gathering-an opportunity for First Nations and supporters to meet, and strategize about protecting the Boreal Forest and Indigenous sovereignty.
"It is hoped that the safety and security of all First Nations people is first and foremost in the mind of the Canadian Government and their agencies..." said Brian Skye, a citizen of the Cayuga Nation Wolf Clan of the Six Nations Confederacy, and a member of the delegation that was
invited to Grassy Narrows Earth Justice. For if anyone is put under further duress, injured, or if a fatality is caused, they must take responsibility for their acts of racism, colonialism and genocide."
"The act of war perpetrated by the OPP in taking members of our delegation hostage and holding them ransom (bail) is an act of terrorism on the First Nations peoples of North America. The ramifications of this agressive, violent instigation will be reciprocated swiftly and justly, as it is the obligation of all First Nations to do so.
"Traditoinally the Six Nations have an historical agreement that we stand with our arms linked together with the Anishinabe Nations, as they are our neighbors, understanding that they are linked with their neighbors. Because of the attacks perpetrated upon our people this unity across North
America which has held for centuries is being reaffirmed."
"This is a clear act of police intimidation - an attempt to suppress legitimate dissent and stifle the growing movement for indigenous rights through force without addressing the serious grievances at the root of this issue, nor their political implications, " said David Sone, an organizer for the Rainforest Action Network. "Arresting Native people as they assert their rights is a clear act of rasism. The government must deal with the root issue of fundmental human rights in an honorable way, on a Nation to Nation basis, not with force. Police should not be used to supress the inherent rights (of) First Nations or to interfere in legitamite political disputes."
Contacts: Judy da Silva (firstname.lastname@example.org) 807-925-9941, Messages can be left at: 647-883-598