Tsawataineuk First Nation (TFN), Kingcome Inlet, B.C.
On June 27, 2005 in Vancouver the Burrard Street Bridge was blocked off at both ends at around 2 PM by members of the VPD (Vancouver Police Department), and the ERT. The Police have not released a statement.
Two friends from the West Coast Warrior Society and a driver were surrounded by the VPD, and ERT with sub machine guns and assault rifles and taken into custody but later released without being charged as all necessary documents (except bows and arrows) were in order for possession of outdoor equipment and hunting riffles.
One of our friends dislocated his shoulder and sprained his wrists during the apprehension and requested medical attention which was not given to him.
As well as the $23 000 worth of OITT equipment, a laptop, cell phones and brief case were taken and not returned upon their release.
OITT or Outdoor Indigenous Traditional Training is part of recommendations commissioned by our Nation after phase one of our Holden Creek Heritage Camp Study (“Blockade”) in which we were compelled to stop International Forest Products from logging old growth cedar in our Sacred Valley between the Broughton Archipelago and Kingcome Inlet. The other recommendations are to finalize our Heritage policy, seek funding for our own Land Use Vision and further archaeological inventories in Holden Creek.
Our two friends of the West Coast Warrior Society, David Dennis, and James Sakej Ward are security advisors and trainers working with us to facilitate OITT, which is endorsed by the authority of our Hereditary Chiefs, elders and members under our jurisdiction and laws of the land.
OITT, is a coarse we are offering to not just our Village members but also our off reserve members who have not grown up in our natural environment.
It will provide teachings from our grass roots hunters and fishers to provide, protect and enhance our traditional roles and way of life.
As this incident was not justified and all documents were in order, and the equipment purchased from a public retail outdoor surplus store, we expect an apology, an explanation and the return of all Items unjustly confiscated. We as first nations must not tolerate terrorism and intimidation on our own lands, as we respect common law we expect foreigners to respect our laws, customs and jurisdiction.
We ask that the RCMP not try to spin this as “hostile indianism” to justify other injustices or future injustice, as we just want freedom and peace within our lands.
Tsawataineuk First Nation
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.