Blog Archives

Meet the Man Who Fled Canada and Was Granted Asylum in the US

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James “OJ” Pitawanakwat

By Sarah Berman, Vice.com, April 17, 2016

James “OJ” Pitawanakwat hasn’t returned to the Anishinaabe community on Manitoulin Island where he grew up in nearly two decades. He can’t, because in Canada there’s an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

Over the phone from his home on Saginaw Chippewa reservation in Michigan, Pitawanakwat tells me he feels a swell of pride thinking about the actions he took in the summer of 1995—actions that led to his arrest and conviction on mischief and weapons charges. Read the rest of this entry

Gustafsen Lake warrior granted political asylum in US wants return home to Canada

TsPeten James Pitawanakwat 1

James Pitawanakwat during the 1995 siege at Ts’Peten/Gustafsen Lake, BC.

by Jorge Barrera, APTN National News, January 15, 2016
A Wikwemikong man who was given political asylum in the U.S. following the 1995 Gustafsen Lake armed standoff in British Columbia wants to return to Canada.

James “OJ” Pitawanakwat, 44, has lived in the U.S. since August 1998 when he crossed the border while on day parole in Canada.

The U.S. Federal Court for the District of Oregon denied Canada’s extradition request for Pitawanakwat in November 2000 on grounds his actions in B.C. were “of a political character” and qualified for an exemption under the extradition treaty between Canada and the U.S. Read the rest of this entry