Tyendinaga Mohawks begin actions for Missing/Murdered Women
By Luke Hendry, The Intelligencer, February 28, 2014 (via Red Power Media)
First Nations protesters on Friday vowed further demonstrations in the week ahead as they called for a federal inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.
“You’ll see us this week,” said protester Dan Doreen of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
Asked whether that would include more protests this weekend, he smiled broadly and repeated, “You’ll see us.”
Ontario Provincial Police closed Wyman Road, east of Shannonville, late Friday afternoon as fewer than 10 protesters sat around a bonfire near the intersection of Wyman Road and Highway 401.
“We have closed Wyman Road between Highway 2 and Callaghan Road,” said OPP Sgt. Kristine Rae.
“Highway 401 is still open.
“There’s about six people around a fire on the shoulder of Wyman south of Highway 401,” she said just after 5 p.m.
“Right now it’s very peaceful. They’re not on the road, they’re in the ditch.
“We have had people attempting to talk to them. That’s about all I can say.”
Police later met with the protesters
Heavy OPP presence has been reported along Highway 401, especially at on- and off-ramps.
Police cruisers idled on the shoulder and median of Canada’s busiest highway during the evening.
But the protesters extinguished their fire and left the scene at about 8 p.m., police said.
Asked whether police would close the highway amid protests, Rae replied, “It really depends on the actions of people down there. At this point, no.”
The Wyman closure, meanwhile, was “just a safety precaution,” she said.
Police were seen meeting with protesters.
The protest focuses on the lack of an inquiry into why hundreds of First Nations women have vanished or been killed in the last several decades.
Tyendinaga activist Shawn Brant has been quoted as calling for a federal inquiry into the issue.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper published online Thursday, Brant pledged to take undisclosed action to push for that inquiry.
“It is our opinion that all diplomatic means to convince you of the need for an inquiry have failed,” he wrote in the letter, which appeared on firstperspective.ca, a First Nations news website.
“Further, the tears and sadness of the families left behind have not moved you to any position of compassion,” he continued.
“We have therefore resolved that we will take whatever and further actions that are deemed necessary, to compel you to call a national inquiry into the crisis of murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls,” Brant wrote.
His letter cited a report indicating “some 824 First Nations women have now been identified as having been murdered or gone missing, with a majority of those cases documented as having occurred in the past 15 years.”
Both protesters and police spoke of peaceful protests.
“We’re here to keep the peace,” said one protester. “Anything else is on them (police).”
The group refused an interview request.
“Missing and murdered women. That’s all that has to be said,” Doreen said. “There’s nothing to report here right now.”
Asked whether there would be more protests this weekend, he smiled broadly.
“You’ll see us.”
The OPP issued press releases Thursday and Friday to say officers “respect peaceful, lawful protest” and are “continuing to monitor the area and will be using a measured response that considers the safety of the public, protestors and the police.
“Anyone involved in criminal activity will be held accountable,” it read.
Rae said police were prepared for further protests. She advised travellers to check the OPP eastern region Twitter feed at http://www.twitter.com/opp_er and reports by local media.
Posted on March 1, 2014, in Indigenous Women and tagged missing/murdered aboriginal women, native blockades, native protests, Shawn Brant, stolen sisters, Tyendinaga Mohawks, violence against Indigenous women. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.