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Police Raid Native Youth Movement

Ytzhak | 26.07.2003 21:34 | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Globalisation | World

On April 8th, 2003, RCMP - Emergency Response Teams raided four homes and two workplaces of Native Youth Movement, Westcoast Warrior Society members involved in defending Aboriginal Title and Rights in Skwelkwek’welt territories (aka British Columbia's interior).

Vancouver Independent Media Center

Original article is at

Police Raid Native Youth Movement
by No One Is Illegal - Montreal • Monday April 21, 2003 at 02:47 PM



Sun Peaks Ski Resort is built on Secwepemc land. This land, known to Secwepemc as Skwelkwekwelt, has provided hundreds of generations with everything needed to nourish their bodies and spirits. Each time Sun Peaks Resort has expanded, it has caused irreparable damage to the land, watersheds, vegetation & wildlife in the area, seriously impacting the Secwepemc's ability to survive.

Since purchasing Sun Peaks Resort in 1992, the Japanese holding company, Nippon Cable, and it's partner in crime, Delta Hotels, have expanded on-site accommodation from 100 beds to 4,000. In 1997, the BC government approved a $70 million development plan, allowing Sun Peaks & Delta to continue to expand their resort to 20,000 beds and put ski runs on the previously undisturbed Mt. Morrisey. The Secwepemc attended stakeholder meetings and clearly said "no" to more development.

Land and Water BC, however, clearly disregarded their voices and granted new leases to Sun Peaks & Delta to facilitate expansion. These leases were granted through BCs severely outdated Land Act which does not recognize Aboriginal Title. It is business as usual, despite their legal obligations, on the old colonial frontier. The state-party protects commercial, over Indigenous interests, and in June 2001, Land and Water BC obtained a court injunction to forcibly remove Secwepemc from their homelands.

Not including the latest RCMP attacks, there have been 54 arrests of Secwepemc peoples and supporters. Charges range from criminal contempt, mischief, intimidation and obstruction of a police officer, to intimidation by blocking a road, resisting arrest, and breach of bail conditions. While forced to pay exorbitant legal defense fees, and/or be incarcerated, the BC government, RCMP, Sun Peaks employees, local residents and tourists have all committed crimes against Secwepemc people with total impunity.

The Secwepemc people set up the Skwelkwekwelt Protection Center at the entrance of Sun Peaks Ski Resort in order to protect their Aboriginal Title & Rights, and ensure the accommodation of Aboriginal interests in the area. In response to their resistance, five Skwelkwekwelt Protection Centers, two traditional cedar bark homes, a hunting cabin, two sacred sweat lodges, and one cordwood house--home to a young Secwepemc family--have all been bulldozed or burnt down. None of these acts of racial hatred have been investigated by the state.

The outright destruction of Secwepemc sacred sweat lodges, and desecration of sacred objects violates Secwepemc freedom of religion. The Sun Peaks employees who committed these acts were not only not prosecuted, but also publicly celebrated the heinous acts that they had committed.

As Aboriginal Title is a collective proprietary interest in traditional territories, the Skwelwekwelt Protection Center and cordwood home were authorized to be built on the basis Aboriginal Title permits. Those requesting permits did not want to be confined to their reserve where dire social and economic conditions prevail, including inadequate housing for all band members. When the homes were ordered destroyed by the provincial government and demolished by Sun Peaks workers on December 10th, 2002, the family's right to housing was violated.

On January 10, 2003 a BC provincial judge found four Secwepemc elders-Irene Billy, Charlie Willard, Segweses, and George Manuel Junior, not guilty for their refusal to obey a court injunction obtained by the Sun Peaks Resort to tear down the Skwelkwekwelt Protection Center. The judge found that the Crown could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Secwepemc defenders intentions were "criminal". This case sets an important precedent for other cases of Aboriginal people defending their lands.

The mounting of a public pressure campaign to stop the criminalization of Indigenous People protecting their Title and Rights is very important at this time. Like the COINTELPRO operations of the 1970's, the Canadian government is now seeking to destroy Indigenous freedom movements through disruption and crass arrests and charges against all those involved. It is time for all those opposed to the Canadian colonial system and corporate globalization to support, through concrete solidarity actions, the rights of the Secwepemc people fighting state & corporate interests in British Columbia.

Action generated by the "No One is Illegal Campaign" - Montreal - 514.409.2049




Geoff Plant Attorney General of BC PO Box 9044 STN PROV GOVT Victoria BC V8W 9E2 Phone: 250 387-1866 Fax: 250 387-6411 email:

Solicitor General of Canada, Wayne Easter House of Commons Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6 Phone: (613) 991-2924 Fax: (613) 952-2240 email:

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice & Attorney General of Canada 284 Wellington Street Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H8 Phone: 613-992-4621 Fax: 613- 990 7255 Email:

Premier Gordon Campbell Government of BC Legislative Building Victoria, BC Canada Tel: 1-250-387-1715 Fax: 1-250-387-0087 email:

Jean Chretien, Prime Minister House of Commons Ottawa, ON Canada



I am sending this letter to protest the Canadian government's continued harassment and criminalization of the Native Youth Movement - Westcoast Warrior Society, and the Secwepemc Peoples involved in defending their Aboriginal Title and Rights in Skwelkwek'welt territories. They have been targeted for their use of their own land and for speaking out against Sun Peaks Resort Corporation and the British Columbia government who continue to expropriate and destroy what was once a vibrant and abundant ecosystem. We stand opposed to the Canadian colonial system and support the Secwepemc people fighting state and corporate interests in British Columbia.

Sun Peaks Resort is built in Secwepemc territories, land which has never been ceded, sold, released nor surrendered. The BC government therefore has no authority over Secwepemc Peoples, Skwelkwek'welt territories, or the resources within them. That power is maintained through the criminalization of the exercise of Aboriginal Title and Rights, and forcible removal of Indigenous Peoples from their traditional territories, constitutes genocide under International Laws to which Canada is a signatory.

As you are well aware, the development of Sun Peaks resorts has continued without participation of those with Title to the land. In 1997, the BC government approved a $70 million development plan, allowing Sun Peaks to continue to expand their resort to 20,000 beds and put ski runs on the previously undisturbed Mt. Morrisey. The Secwepemc attended stakeholder meetings and clearly said "no" to more development. Land and Water BC, however, clearly disregarded their voices and granted new leases to Sun Peaks to facilitate expansion, and in June 2001, obtained a court injunction to forcibly remove Secwepemc from their lands.

Despite recognition of inherent land rights of Aboriginal People as Aboriginal Title in Delgamuukw, and despite the Haida decision that requires provincial and private interests to consult, obtain consent, and accommodate Aboriginal interests prior to pursuing development on Aboriginal territories, First Nations communities are being forced one-by-one to prove their Title and Rights within the courts, when Canada and the provinces could simply abide by the principal of Title itself. We find this forcing of Indigenous communities into the courts, draining huge portions of their time and budgets, a vexatious action on the part of Canadian authorities.

This is true as well when Canada forces those protecting Aboriginal Title and Rights to defend themselves criminally. There is ample jurisprudence showing lack of "criminal intent" in cases of Canadian laws being broken in order to stop infractions of Aboriginal Title and Rights. At this point it is clear that police targeting of Indigenous freedom fighters is nothing more than blatant retaliation for failure to sever and/or extinguish Indigenous ties to the land. We view the RCMP raids as part of a coordinated effort to silence and harass those willing to challenge Canada & BC's illegal expropriation of their territories. Canada should be ashamed. Each court battle takes food directly out of the mouths of children, diminishes housing, health care and education for future generations.

We stand in support of the Secwepemc people's struggle, and make the following demands in solidarity with their courageous and tireless determination:

1) We demand all charges be dropped against Secwepemc Peoples and their supporters, and that political prisoners be released, as Canada has no jurisdiction in Skwelkwekwelt territories.

2) We demand all acts of racial hatred perpetuated against Indigenous Peoples in Skwelkwekwelt - by police, state officials and public at large - be thoroughly investigated, and tried criminally.

3) We demand Canada and the provinces rescind, amend, or nullify racially discriminatory policies in order to comply with Section 35 of the Constitution that enshrines Aboriginal land, treaty, and inherent rights, and to comply with high court decisions in favor of Aboriginal Title and Rights.

4) We demand the governments of Canada and BC respect their own colonial laws and stop the illegal police harassment and abuse of Secwepemc people asserting their Aboriginal rights and title to Skwelkwekwelt territory.


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  1. The New World Order continues its attacks — dh