An act of terrorism was committed against my people

Attacks by so-called "non-native" fishermen were incited and protected by the RCMP and the Canadian state and part of its "divide-and-rule" strategy says JAMES WARD of Esgenoopotitj (Burnt Church)

ESGENOOPOTITJ (4 October 2001) -- SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER16, an act of war was committed against my people. An act of war that was initiated by non-native fishermen with the silent sanction of the RCMP, DFO and Canadian Government. Approximately fifty large non-native vessels conducted a hostile incursion into Burnt Church waters with the intent of .... physically destroying our way of life. The non-natives brought weapons and fired on native fishermen, who were just checking their traps, as soon as the non-natives arrived in our waters. They fired at land where children anxiously watched their fathers, brothers or uncles go out to defend their people. The non-natives tried to run over the little dories used by the Mikmaq.

This act of genocidal terrorism is part of an ongoing campaign of Canadian state-directed and forced assimilation waged against the indigenous peoples of these lands.

Canada practices genocide

Canadians have been conditioned to believe that genocide is just the systematic campaign of hunting a particular race and herding them off to sites of execution such as the case for Jewish genocide, for a military to kill, rape and to forcibly evict a particular race from their lands as in the "ethnic cleansing" of Bosnia. Canadians fail to realize that the United Nations accepted definition of genocide includes the systematic targeting for eradication of cultural and social institutions that are defining characteristics for that ethnic group. For instance, to destroy a people's way of life, like hunting and fishing traditions, is a form of genocide because that particular people are being destroyed as a people. The very cultural characteristic that helps define them as a distinct society is being targeted for extinguishment. The Mikmaq people have been fighting against the genocide that the Canadian government has waged since its inception.

Terrorism is the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives.

The unlawful use of violence conducted by the non-native fishermen to coerce my people to capitulate and assimilate into their system is a blaring example of terrorism.

The campaign of daily daily death threats and repeated hostile incursions into our waters is terrorism.

Non-natives exercising crime against humanity

Will these non-native fishermen be investigated, let alone charged, for
crimes against humanity (for perpetrating genocide) or for terrorism? Will they even be charged for attempted murder? Absolutely not. The RCMP sanctions these acts by allowing, time and time again, for them to happen.

In the last three years since the Sup[re Court of Canada Marshall decision the non-native fishermen have come into our waters with hostile intentions multiple times. More than half the time the RCMP escorted them in under the guise of a "peaceful protest". Every single time the non-natives came in they committed acts of violence and/or property damage. Yet the RCMP continues to play ignorant.

In this last instance the RCMP waited for the non-natives at the edge of our bay and moved out of their way to allow them to pass. The RCMP did nothing to stop the non-natives.

The RCMP adopted the usual role of just watching natives to conduct the "criminal act" of defending themselves, while turning a blind eye to the criminal activity of the aggressors.

After the act of war was conducted against my people, the RCMP district commander, Kevin Vickers, failed in a racist attempt to protect the non-natives and criminalize the Mikmaq by stating that only Burnt Church fired shots and the non-natives did not. Mikmaq amateur video proved otherwise.

These attacks on my people can not be tolerated. The Mikmaq people have been exercising an almost inexhaustible supply of patiences and the warriors have conducted themselves with incredible restraint. Since the law enforcement agencies have clearly proven, once again, that they are the enemy and not the protectors, then the Mikmaq people have no choice but to aggressively defend themselves and their children by force if force is used against them.

James Ward
Burnt Church

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Copyright New Media Services Inc. 2004. The views expressed herein are the writers' own and do not necessarily reflect those of shunpiking magazine or New Media Publications.