Burns Lake Band members evicted from their blockade by RCMP

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 7, 2013

RCMP at Burns Lake Indian Band offices, April 7 2013.

RCMP at Burns Lake Indian Band offices, April 7 2013.

On day 14 of a non-violent protest held at the Burns Lake Band office, approximately 50 or more riot police, many with shotguns drawn evicted three adults and one 12 year old child. 92 percent of the eligible voters on-reserve had signed a petition in support of the protest despite claims to the contrary by the INAC chief councillor, Albert Gerow. The protest has garnered very little media attention and support over the last few weeks but band members maintained a 24 hour presence at the office, locking out the staff and council until their requests for information and consultation were answered. The impoverished community wants to know where all of the money from the community goes. Ryan Tibbetts who was manning the protest this morning stated, “I was overwhelmed and very frightened because I had my 12 year old son there playing Xbox. All of a sudden there were cops squeezing through the door with the two councillors. I was quite shocked because they came unannounced. The police had their cameras rolling while they allowed Gerow to read out the letter that basically said we were trespassing and if we didn’t leave they would call the cops. The funny part was they already had 50 or more armed police with them. Some had their guns drawn and they were hiding all over the place. When I went to point to show my son the police were there they drew their guns on me. It was a peaceful blockade. What I don’t understand is why they need the riot police to get four of us out of our own band office. We have spoke daily with the RCMP over the course of this protest and continually asked what the RCMP’s role was in this process, as peace keepers or negotiators. Chief Albert Gerow and Dan George have never responded to any of our attempts to communicate, including formal letters of mediation from our lawyer.”

Councillor Ron Charlie has been advocating for his community over the past few months in attempts to figure out what is going on with the band’s finances and suspected deals made with pipeline companies against the communities wishes. He state that attempts for assistance from INAC were ignored and was told this was an internal issue for the band members to figure out. Councillor Charlie had hired a personal lawyer to help wit the case. “All three councillors are required for a quorum but all of these decisions happened without my input or involvement. I have no idea what is going on. There were legal processes happening as we speak and I believe it was a little over the top to have the riot police involved. All I’ve wanted from this is transparency and accountability from the other two councillors. We just want truth in this matter and after this I see we need the involvement of our hereditary chiefs to take over the mediation of this. Transparency is the main thing we need for the well-being of our community. This is not the first time police have been used against our community for speaking up against this council, but this is extremely excessive, violent force to use against your own people. If this is allowed to silence band members while we are trying to follow process and left without recourse, it can happen anywhere. My family and I have been threatened by this council to stop our actions but we will not be silenced.”

All four individuals present at the protest at the time of the bust willingly left the building. Meanwhile, the RCMP taped off the entire building and parking lot as a crime scene, however no charges were laid. The small band and the local community are very shaken up by the extreme measures taken by Chief Gerow and the RCMP. RCMP has been brought in from other jurisdictions, including over 30 squad cars and a convoy of unmarked cars to assist the local law enforcement. Luckily, nobody was hurt in the altercation.

For More Information:

Contact:

Councillor Ron Charlie

Burns Lake Band

250-552-4476

Facebook: Respect Project – BLB

http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/newsrelease/17034

Posted on April 8, 2013, in Indian Act Indians and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I hope they are still standing their ground in their request for
    information!! Who is following this, where?

  2. I’m a band member and have to say that this group has done nothing but instilled hatred with their own people, their children and the community. If you interview the protestors you’ll find out that none of them have even tried to look for another job. They were corrupt, they were never accountable, they signed major projects without the members consent. so therefore, they are only using these reasons for their protest when what they really want is to just get back in. They want the power and the money by sitting in the band office doing nothing. Our preent Chief and Council have done a lot just in the two and half years they have been in. Theres only one Chief and two Councilor’s so how can their be three to make a quorum. Don’t beleive what you hear. I know the whole story, Iv’e lived here long enough to see how corrupt they were. But now we have a new gas bar, numerous projects, a nd money coming in to employ eliglle band members. all these band members who are protesting and complaining have four to five bedroom houses to themselves. I see them as the luckiest band members in B.C. I don’t agree with children protesting and being taught hatred at such young ages. I would never allow my child to be in a protest becasue protests lead to riots. More importantly they’ve casued so much hatred between band members. THATS NOT DEMPCRCY, THAT’S DICTATORSHIP. I resent the fact that they used ” the Idol No More.” to get other’s sympathy.

  3. Hereditary Chief Kahkakew Yawassanay

    Typical of INAC elected councillors to use the RCMP to enforce their false authority…and it is the memberships that must accept reposnsibility to put an end to this ridiculous european system of governance and reinstate the clans . Clanmothers and clan chiefs as the inherent and legal authority…elected and appointed councillors assume they have almost limitless power but reality is they are puppets abd part of the ongoing genocide enforced by all levels of immigrant governments backed upby their security and armed forces when requested..they would not hesistate to kill us.

  1. Pingback: A look back: Indigenous resistance in 2013 | Climate Connections

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