Once upon a time on Six Nations…

UPDATED 2122 EST Dec 15/07

t-shirt_free-caledonia-now_sep22-07.jpgThis post was inspired by a comment from a Six Nations man named Donny who took time to write in to offer his hopes that his community and Caledonia were not so far apart that things could not be healed. (see Mark Watson, Caledonia – The dangers of ignoring Civil Rights)

Donny mentioned that he and the organizer of the Dec 1/07 protest that turned violent, Doug Fleming, attended school together. He didn’t mind Doug’s initial protests away from the smokeshacks (ie. in front of the police station :-)) but he didn’t think the Dec 1st demonstration was helpful because Doug should have known it would lead to confrontation.

I wrote back to explain that residents were only confronting the injustices created by native criminals and the OPP who protect them. While writing my reply, I created an imaginary – reverse – scenario based on the Dec 01/07 events where the roles of the residents and the Six Nations people were reversed.

I hope it helps just one native person understand why WE are so passionate about our struggle against Two Tier Justice and why we want the RCMP to take over the investigation.

Once upon a time on Six Nations (an imaginary story)…

Imagine that a group of Six Nations people are peacefully demonstrating at a newstand that was illegally built by a non-native person from Caledonia on Six Nations land from which the owner was selling cigarettes to native kids.

A group of non-native residents rush out to meet them and attack the Six Nations people.

The first native is attacked and his flag desecrated, but the man does not retaliate. An OPP sergeant tells the victim, however, to “Back off!” when he asks that the residents who attacked him be arrested.

Not long afterwards, the same OPP sergeant picks out a native man standing quietly on the road drinking a Tim Hortons coffee with other native people around him. The native man is not yelling. Not fighting. Just watching from a distance and drinking his coffee. The sergeant arrests the native coffee drinker, charges him with ‘Obstructing Police’ and takes him away. He goes quietly without resisting or swearing at the officers.

A resident blocks the road with his truck, but is never arrested during or after the protest.

A native blocks the road with his truck. He is later arrested and charged with ‘Mischief.’

A Six Nations activist who suggests that other natives block the road with vehicles is later charged with ‘Counselling Mischief’ even though the first native man rejects the suggestion, and no crime is actually committed.

One resident – a woman – pushes the Six Nations activist and falsely screams that the activist pushed her. He does not retaliate. Other residents attack the innocent native activist and punch him in the head from behind. He still does not retaliate.

Twenty minutes later, the leader of the residents begins screaming obscenities in the native activist’s face. The activist does not retaliate, but looks away and puts his hands in his pockets to show that he is no threat to the leader of the residents swearing at him.

The leader of the residents then attacks the native activist from behind and grabs him by the neck while another resident – a second woman – grabs onto to the activist with both arms to try to keep him from getting away.

Other residents swarm the native activist while he’s on the ground, kicking and punching him as residents yell, “Get him! Get him. Get the fat fuck” and “Kill him. Kill him.” He – once again – does not retaliate. He is taken to the hospital, as is another native man who suffers a brain injury when a police officer throws him to the ground as he is videotaping the assault.

Throughout the day, as some of the police officers try hard to prevent violence against the peaceful native protesters, they themselves are sworn at and assaulted by violent residents, but the police never arrest the residents – not one.  Thirteen days later, a police officer testifies in court that not one of the officers has filed a complaint of assault against any of the residents for the assaults against them.

As the police refuse to arrest anyone – other than the peaceful, quiet, coffee drinking native man – the situation escalates, but no back-up comes. In previous protests there were hundreds of officers to prevent violence. This time, there were about 18.

The day after the attack, before any investigation had even begun, let alone completed, the Commissioner of the OPP blames the violence on the peaceful native demonstrators for “taunting and provoking” the residents, and vows he will bring the native victims ‘to justice.’

The Six Nations people, two of whom went to hospital due to the unprovoked violence against them, start to wonder if the OPP deliberately set up the situation so their activists could be attacked, and then blamed for the violence against them in order to discredit them and their cause.

Days later the people of Six Nations read that the Mayor of Haldimand is outraged by the (completely false) ‘news’ that two Caledonia women were attacked by natives. She declares that we will not have our women attacked!

Thirteen days later…

  • the woman resident who incited the violence has not been arrested despite filing a false report with police and assaulting the native activist.
  • the second woman who held onto the native activist’s arm while the swarm of residents attacked him has not been charged.
  • The resident who first blocked the road has not been arrested.
  • Not one resident who attacked and swore at police has been arrested.
  • The OPP refuse to release the native activist charged with the minor crime of ‘counselling mischief’ unless he agrees not to come back to Caledonia, and not to speak to his associates both of whom have never committed crime in Caledonia. 

Donny, that’s what happened to us on December 1st – only in reverse. Now, you tell me how any part of that is OK? If residents and police had done to Six Nations people on Dec 01/07 what do you think they would feel about the outrages committed against them that day, and how do you think they would have reacted? 

Injustice is evil no matter who it’s perpetrated upon, and no matter who the perpetrators are. I wish Six Nations people would join with us in calling for an end to the disgusting violence and racist hate and lies that were on display Dec 01/07. Unfortunately, some in your community seem to have a vested interest in keeping the hate and violence very much alive.

The evidence

To see the stories and video evidence to back up what I’m saying, please see CALEDONIA VIOLENCE in the top menu and (especially if you’re short on time and you want a quick overview with direct links): CANACE calls for RCMP to take over investigation after Fantino blames victims of Caledonia violence

Let’s work together for all people – native and non-native

I hope that the two communities aren’t that far apart. But, as I said earlier, there are people in yours that seem to believe that they can commit any injustice, no matter how great, to further the cause of Six Nations and/or their own personal or financial agendas. I have said many times that I do not believe they speak for all native peoples, and I pray that’s true. I hope you’ll help me prove it.

I’ll leave you with the final words of my speech at the October 8/07 ‘Remember Us’ March (where we allowed Clyde Powless to speak, by the way! Ironically, he spoke of wanting peace and non-violence.):

“My hope is that one day people will come to Caledonia, not to study the destruction caused by those who would do evil to other human beings for their own selfish purposes, but to learn about your culture, about the damage that was done to it, and how Caledonians – native and non-native – came together as one in the dark days to peacefully proclaim Six Nations and the rest of Haldimand County as a sanctuary from that evil.” VoiceofCanada to native reader, Jan 12/07; ‘Natives are victims of Two Tier Justice’ speech, Oct 08/07

Thanks again for writing, Donny. Say hi to Doug if you see him first. Tell him to give you my number, and give me a call if you like. Regards, Mark

Mark Vandermaas, Editor
VoiceofCanada
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
www.canace.ca

P.S. To ‘CraZee,’ I haven’t forgotten the post I promised on ‘listening’ based on your comment. There have been some developments that might affect how I write the post, plus I’ve got some other stuff I need to get up first. If it’s not up in a week, drop me a reminder.  

References

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2 responses to “Once upon a time on Six Nations…

  1. Mark on December 1 as I stood at the front line in a peaceful protest I extendend my hand numerous times to the people facing me and asked why they were yelling at me we are neighbours we should be friends.

    I introduced myself numerous times and held my hand out in friendship. Some took my gesture shook my hand and talked as friends would talk. I even had the honour of meeting Ruby Montour and was having a very friendly and knowledge inspiring conversation with her.

    Unfortunately in each instance someone from the crowd interjected and drew those I was talking with to the back of the crowd.

    It seemed it was not the plan of the Native instigators to have any of the Natives chatting with us in a friendly manner.

    The Lady that provoked the attack on Gary and started the melee was not happy when she saw me talking in a friendly manner and interjected to break up our conversations.

    I feel she is a very bitter spiteful person and must be dealt with accordingly by the law because without her influence our peaceful protest might have had a much happier ending and could have mended some bridges between our two communities.

    It is time to put the blame where it belongs, tell the truth and deal with the violent native instigators with the law.

    I would like to meet Donny on a friendly basis and hope that we could sit together in Timmies over a coffee and discuss his community and ours as friends.

    If Ruby Montour is reading this site I would also welcome further dialogue with her as well since we were so rudely interrupted by the female instigator on December 1st. and I am sure I and we could have learned so much more about both our communities had we been allowed to talk as neighbours and friends.

    Jim Anderson/Fellow Interloper

    VoC REPLY (revised 2307 EST Dec 15/07): I’m so glad to hear you were making an effort to speak to the people who were there that day, even if many didn’t want to treat you like a fellow human being. I, too, would like to meet Donny and Ms. Montour. More knowledge is better than less knowledge.

    The thugs who slapped away your hand of friendship and showed disrespect to an elder speaking to you, and the police who acted unjustly against the perpetrators of violence have brought shame and dishonour to themselves and their respective groups. That is why both these groups must now tell lies to try to obfuscate the truth that is so clearly visible on videotape.

    I would love to meet someone, anyone from Six Nations who is prepared to help stop the violence and hate without demanding that non-natives give up their Charter rights. I keep asking, but all I’ve got so far is my hand slapped away and insults, not to mention quite a few discussions with those who would justify the unjustifiable crimes committed on the people of Caledonia as unavoidable casualties in their efforts to get the government to listen. Where are the peacemakers on Six Nations? Why are they so silent? Why do they allow the lies to be told to their people without speaking out? Are they afraid of the criminals, too? If so, I can’t blame them after Dec 1st. If the OPP are allowing such things to occur off the reservation, what is going on within it?

    We begged David General to speak out against the violence at our Oct 8/07 event. He refused. We allowed Clyde Powless to speak of peace and non-violence. Gary McHale reached out and shook his hand. I asked Powless to march with us to Stirling Street. He refused. I gave him my home number. He never called, and I didn’t meet him again until Dec 1st when he cowardly attacked the man who reached his hand out to him on that hill in October.

    I have so many questions and no one to ask them of. Yes, where are the peacemakers on Six Nations? I would like to meet you.

    Regards, Mark, fellow Interloper

  2. Watching the videos I was intrigued by the number of racist taunts and fallacious historical references hurled by natives…then that ridiculous revisionist racist spew that came from that young native girl confronting Gary was truly atrocious.

    There is an element on SN reserves…and particularly SN Caledonia that are a seething cadre of vile, racist extremists who spew a mantral-like repetitous propaganda line that rationalizes native racism with fabricated revisionist history…this is the source of SN fanaticism and they spread their vile self destructive misanthropic fanaticism to naïve young minds and to weak minded individuals who need something to hate as a justification for their own personal failures.

    Picking up on this fanaticism/racist orthodoxy is very alluring to those who have haa personal tradgedies or failings in their lives and they need a focal point to lay blame and the presumed justified hatred allows them to escape responsibility of their own self determination…it is an orthodoxy for losers and violent misanthropes and it plays to the cult of “victimhood”….which is where the physically and intellectually lazy park their support rather than make the effort to change their destiny with their own god given abilities.

    This radical native intolerance and revisionist racism is the basis of 2 tiered justice and it has created a cultural rift in the 2 adjacent communities which I don’t think will ever heal…..until the natives abandon this fanatic race based political orthodoxy.

    They can start by purging their leadership of such fanatics and purging negotiations of such people.

    VoC REPLY: Amen! Mark