Secwepemc gather for 20 year anniversary gathering of RCMP siege of Ts’Peten
by Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp, Sept 15, 2015
We are back in range. On the 20 year commemoration of the Ts’peten Standoff, the protectors, the defenders return to remind and remember. These are our war heroes, these are our war stories, we must hear them, we must listen to them, we must pass on these things to our next generations.
20 years ago, 18 Land Protectors faced a premeditated military and police assault.
20 years ago, the federal government deployed the Canadian military on a shoot to kill order.
20 years ago, 18 body bags were brought 37 km into the back country on the dust and dirt roads. The RCMP announced this publicly through the Canadian media.
20 years ago, 77,000 bullets were not enough, 3 APCs (armoured personnel carriers) mounted with 50 caliber machine guns were not enough, eye in the sky satellite, helicopter and airplane surveillance, was not enough to kill 18 of our warriors.
We arrive at the campsite Friday. It’s a long road. Wolverine points to where in the water shots were fired as Ts’peten defenders swam for cover, one shot through the arm, he points to where land mines were exploding under the vehicles of the Defenders, where bullets were fired so fast and so furiously, whole trees were cut down in the attacking. We set up camp, we light our fire, we sing and drum and council late into the night.
The next day, the women go on a long walk across the fields, cattle are decimating the area, Ke7e Flo recounts how her teenage son was caught in a gunfight, running from around and behind cover to make sure others were safe, the whistle of bullets flying past his ears, through his hair. We look for shells in the fields, holes in the trees. We look for where the cattle were setting off land mines while the camp was surrounded by police.
We hold our commemoration ceremony, our honouring. These are sacred places, these are the war stories, this is the history of this country still trying to prove its legitimacy by any means necessary. This is still unceded, unsurrendered territory. No treaty, no deeds. This is what we were, this is what we are defending. The water, the women, the ceremony, the future generations.
Posted on September 15, 2015, in Defending Territory and tagged Gustafsen Lake, Indigenous armed resistance, RCMP, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Secwepemc, ts'Peten. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.