UPDATED 2122 EST Dec 15/07
This 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.
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
Co-founder, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality
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.
- VoiceofCanada feature: Caledonia Violence
- CaledoniaWakeUpCall feature: ‘Remember Us’ March, Oct 8, 2007
- Mediation & negotiation with natives? Yes. With sociopaths? No.