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Contemporary Indigenous Issues and Resistance

Lac La Ronge Indian Band Members Protest Election Disqualification

Some band members were disqualified from running in the upcoming Lac La Ronge Indian Band election due to unpaid debts. (Supplied by Shay McKenzie)

Band members running for chief and council positions were removed due to unpaid debts to the band

CBC News Posted: Mar 21, 2017

Protesters gathered in front of the Lac la Ronge Indian Band office on Monday calling for band members who were disqualified from running to be re-instated as candidates in this month’s upcoming band election.

Former candidates running for the positions of chief and council were removed due to unpaid debts to the band, such as rent costs.

According to band documents provided to CBC, one disqualified candidate owed $16,678.83 in rent arrears. Another owed $3,100.

One disqualified candidate, Henry McKenzie, claims the debts date back 10 years or more. McKenzie also said he held office as a councillor before and that other disqualified candidates had also run for office in prior elections.

The members were disqualified from candidacy due to a clause in the band’s election regulations which states “conflict of interest means that the candidate has no debt and remaining unpaid to the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, including Band entities, businesses and corporations to which the Band is a majority shareholder.”

The former candidates were notified of their removal from the ballots on Feb. 17, stemming from a band council resolution issued on Feb. 13. The band was giving them until March 10 to pay up.

Band members allege they did not have enough time to offer a challenge to the disqualifications. (Supplied by Shay McKenzie)

The letter cited a section of the band’s election act which states that additions or changes to the band’s election must be “delivered to all families in which one or more Electors reside” three months prior to their adoption to allow time for a written challenge.

If no challenges are received, then the changes can be approved through a resolution, such as the one passed on Feb. 13.

According to the band’s website, Lac la Ronge’s Election Act was revised last October.

A letter addressed to the band’s electoral officer, Milton Burns, alleges there was not enough time given for the disqualified members to respond.

Burns was unavailable for comment. Tammy Cook-Searson, one of five candidates for the seat of chief and current incumbent, could not be reached for comment.

The band’s election is March 31.


Woman, 60, Arrested at Logging Road Blockade: OPP

A 60-year-old woman charged with mischief for her participation in blockade

Red Power Media | Mar 22  2017

SUDBURY, Ont. — On March 20, 2017, members from the Sudbury Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with the assistance of the Provincial Liaison Team (PLT) attended Camp 700 Road in Moncrieff Township in relation to a logging road blockade. As a result of their investigation, one person was taken into custody.

Barbara RONSON, 60 years old of Cartier, Ontario, has been charged with mischief and failing to comply with conditions of an undertaking

The accused is scheduled to appear in Provincial Court of Justice in Sudbury, Ontario on April 5,2017.



Dakota Access Pipeline Vandalism Highlights Sabotage Risks

In this Feb. 13, 2017, aerial file photo shows the site where the final phase of the Dakota Access pipeline will take place with boring equipment routing the pipeline underground and across Lake Oahe to connect with the existing pipeline in Emmons County near Cannon Ball, N.D. (Tom Stromme/The Bismarck Tribune via AP, File)

Pipeline sabotage happens more frequently in Canada than the U.S.

(AP) 03/22/17 – The developer of the Dakota Access pipeline has reported “recent co-ordinated physical attacks” on the much-protested line, just as it’s almost ready to carry oil.

Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners didn’t give details, but experts say Dakota Access and the rest of the nearly 3 million miles of pipeline that deliver natural gas and petroleum in the U.S. are vulnerable to acts of sabotage.

It’s a threat that ETP takes seriously enough that it has asked a court to shield details such as spill response plans and features of the four-state pipeline that the company fears could be used against it by activists or terrorists.

Here is a look at some pipeline security issues:


Authorities in South Dakota and Iowa confirmed Tuesday that someone apparently used a torch to burn a hole through empty sections of the pipeline at aboveground shut-off valve sites.

Mahaska County Sheriff Russell Van Renterghem said the culprit in Iowa appeared to have gotten under a fence around the facility, but Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Brown said the site in South Dakota wasn’t fenced.

The Iowa incident was discovered March 13 and the South Dakota incident Friday.

A burned hole was discovered in a pipeline at an above-ground valve site in Iowa. KWQC News

Pipeline operators are asked to report security breaches to the National Response Center. Data on the centre’s website show no reports from ETP this month.

The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline runs 1,200 miles through the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois.


Because pipelines mainly run underground, aboveground shut-off valves are natural targets, according to Jay O’Hara, a spokesman for the environmental group Climate Direct Action. That group targeted valves on pipelines in October in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Washington state, though the pipeline companies said activists didn’t succeed because none of the sites were operating when the attacks happened.

Explosives, firearms and heavy machinery also have been used to try to sabotage pipelines.

Securing pipelines is difficult because they often travel long distances through remote and even uninhabited territory, said Kelly Sundberg, a professor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta, who studies energy infrastructure security and environmental crime.


Sundberg said “it’s stupid and dangerous” to tamper with pipeline shut-off valves.

Modern oil pipelines are “incredibly sophisticated” systems that move huge volumes of petrochemicals at high pressures, he said. Simply closing a valve can cause the pressure upstream to increase quickly, creating a significant risk of a spill that endangers the environment and anyone in the area where the pipe suddenly bursts, he said.

In response to the October incidents, federal regulators issued a bulletin warning that tampering with pipeline valves “can have significant consequences such as death, injury, and economic and environmental harm.”

Sundberg also said that it’s ironic for people who say they’re concerned about the environment to take an action that could cause an environmental disaster.

But O’Hara said: “The hypocrisy really lies in the pipeline corporations who say their pipelines are safe, say leaks don’t happen. They blame activists who are trying to stop global cataclysm by taking action to point out what they do every day, which is leak and spill.”

Someone who targets a pipeline facility in the U.S. could face up to 20 years in prison.


No suspects have been identified in either state and no group has claimed responsibility

O’Hara told The Associated Press that Climate Direct Action wasn’t involved in any actions against the Dakota Access pipeline.

Attorneys for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes, which are leading the legal battle against the pipeline, said the tribes don’t condone acts of violence against pipeline property.


Not very often, Sundberg said. It happens more frequently in Canada than the U.S. It’s generally committed by people trying to make an environmental point. It would be “very scary” if terrorist groups tried it in North America, he said.

Some of the worst incidents in the U.S. were on the Trans Alaska Pipeline. Vandals blew up a section in 1978, spilling about 16,000 barrels of oil near Fairbanks. In 2001, a drunken man fired a hunting rifle into the pipeline near Livengood, causing more than 6,000 barrels to spray out.

Some of the most notable incidents in Canada happened in the 1990s and 2000s in Alberta and British Columbia. A series of bombings in 2008-09 targeted pipelines in British Columbia. Weibo Ludwig, an Alberta man who crusaded against the extraction of “sour gas” containing high amounts of hydrogen sulfide, was convicted in several of the 1990s acts of vandalism. He was arrested but never charged in the later attacks.

Pipeline sabotage happens with some regularity in war zones. Iraqi insurgents, Colombian rebels and Mexican guerrillas all have claimed responsibility for pipeline attacks in recent decades.

Guerrilla attack ruptures Colombia’s longest oil pipeline.

Dakota Access Pipeline To Start Moving Oil Despite Recent ‘Coordinated Attacks’

Environmental activists say they aren’t responsible for recent attacks

By Red Power Media | March 21, 2017

The company building the Dakota Access pipeline remains on track to start moving oil this week despite recent “co-ordinated physical attacks” along the line.

Environmental activists who tried to disrupt oil pipeline operations in four states said Tuesday that they aren’t responsible for any recent attacks on that pipeline.

The remarks came in response to allegations that Texas-based Dakota Access developer Energy Transfer Partners made in court documents late Monday. The company said there have been “recent coordinated physical attacks along the pipeline that pose threats to life, physical safety and the environment,” but did not say who was responsible for those alleged attacks.

Authorities in South Dakota on Tuesday confirmed an incident of vandalism in which someone burned a hole through an empty section of pipe.

South Dakota attorney general’s office spokeswoman Sara Rabern confirmed one incident of what she called “felony vandalism” southeast of Sioux Falls on Friday. Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Brown said it happened at an above-ground valve site that had no fencing or other security.

Brown said, it was possible the vandalism was done with a blowtorch.

No injuries were reported and no suspects were immediately identified, according to Brown. Local and state officials were investigating and also notified the FBI, he said.

Jay O’Hara with the Climate Disobedience Center told the AP that Climate Direct Action wasn’t involved in any attacks against the pipeline, and he wasn’t aware of anyone claiming responsibility.

In October, Climate Direct Action activists tried to shut valves on pipelines in North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Washington to show support for Dakota Access opponents. Other than that, “we have nothing in the works,” O’Hara said.

The Red Warrior Society, a pipeline protest group that advocated aggressive tactics such as confrontations with pipeline security and police in North Dakota last year, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes have battled the $3.8 billion pipeline in court for months, arguing it’s a threat to water and their right to practice their religion.

An appeals court on Saturday refused a request from the tribes for an emergency order to prevent oil from flowing through the pipeline.

The appeals court said the tribes hadn’t met “the stringent requirements” for such an order.

The pipeline runs 1,200 miles through the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois.

The company is wrapping up pipe work under Lake Oahe and had said oil could start flowing between Monday and Wednesday.

Associated Press

‘We Want The Violence to Stop’: Dozens Gather at Vigil for Jeanenne Fontaine

Lana Fontaine sat on a stool outside her largely burned-down home on Saturday evening at a vigil for her daughter, Jeanenne Fontaine, who died on Wednesday after being taken off life-support. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

Fontaine, 29, and Shania Chartrand, 21, were both shot, killed in Winnipeg this week

CBC News Posted: Mar 18, 2017

When Kimberley Kostiuk thinks about the two young Indigenous women who were shot in Winnipeg within 48 hours of each other, she is afraid for her own daughters.

“I have two young daughters that are that age. I worry for them all the time. You just don’t know … what’s going to be next. Two young women shot and killed in one week,” she said.

Shania Chartrand, 21, was shot late last Sunday night on the 200 block of Spence Street.

On Tuesday, Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, was found in her home after she was shot in the back of the head, according to her family, and the house was set on fire. She was rushed to hospital but died on Wednesday morning, after being taken off life-support.

A vigil for Fontaine took place on Saturday at 7 p.m. outside her home on the 400 block of Aberdeen Avenue.

“The whole community is sad. We are all sad. We are very scared,” Kostiuk said.

“We want the violence to stop. It’s enough, we are losing too many of our young women too soon. This shouldn’t be happening.”

Mourners came forward to offer Lana Fontaine condolences throughout the evening. (Austin Grabish/CBC)

Fontaine was the cousin of Tina Fontaine, the 15-year-old girl whose death sparked public outrage and calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Sandy Banman was one of around 50 people who attended the Saturday evening vigil. Banman hadn’t known Fontaine or Chartrand, but came to support the families and community.

“It just seems like something has shifted in the last few years, where the crime [in the North End] seems to be getting extremely … violent,” she said. “It’s just absolutely shocking what’s going on here this week in the city, with Shania’s loss as well as Jen’s loss.”

A member of Winnipeg’s Urban Warrior Alliance, Banman said she’s been to too many vigils in the past. She wants to see change.

Sandy Banman

Sandy Banman, a member of the Urban Warrior Alliance, said she wants to see more accessible detox programs for men, women and families in Winnipeg. (CBC)

“We just keep saying over and over, ‘This has got to stop,’ every vigil I do,” she said. “We do these vigils because the community needs to heal as well as families. This violence has to end. It has to stop.”

Banman said she wanted to see more accessible detox programs for men, women and families.

“We need to be healing families so this kind of crime and violence will end,” she said.

‘They are human beings’

Kostiuk is a member of Drag the Red, an organization that started searching the Red River for bodies after Tina Fontaine was found there.

Kostiuk joined the group in order to heal and to help others after her 16-year-old daughter’s death in 2000.

While Fontaine struggled with drug use and had a criminal record, Kostiuk said she was also a mother and sister.

“You hear a lot of negativity also about these people but people don’t know them,” she said.

“They are human beings. They are women. They are our women. They are mothers. They are sisters. They are grandmas. They don’t deserve this. Nobody does.”

Kimberley Kostiuk says the violence needs to stop after two young Indigenous women were shot in Winnipeg within 48 hours of each other. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

The vigil was intended to give the community an opportunity to mourn Fontaine and Chartrand and “remember the good that they had in them,” Kostiuk said. But they are becoming too frequent for the Fontaine family, she added.

“That poor family, I can’t imagine what her mother is going through right now,” Kostiuk said, adding the little cousins have lost too many family members.

“They’ve been to so many vigils already. They shouldn’t even have to think of this at a young age.”


Ottawa Community-Police Group Raise Concerns about Reinforced Gloves after Officer Charged in Death

Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion is facing charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the July 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi. Sources tell CBC News he was wearing a pair of Oakley Standard Issue ‘assault gloves’ at the time of the attempted arrest.

Deadly weapon? Police assault gloves scrutinized 

Members of a community-police advisory board say they have concerns about the use of reinforced gloves by officers in the Ottawa Police Service following the death of a man last year in an altercation that led to charges against a constable.

Const. Daniel Montsion is facing charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, which were laid last week by Ontario’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit.

The charges relate to Montsion’s involvement in a confrontation with a Somali-Canadian man, Abdirahman Abdi, on July 24, 2016.

On cellphone video footage taken that day just minutes after the confrontation, Montsion is wearing what looks to be a set of Oakley Standard Issue “assault gloves.” The gloves feature a thick piece of carbon fibre over the knuckles, among other modifications.

The 37-year-old Abdi lost vital signs during the confrontation and was pronounced dead the next day.

Abdirahman Abdi, 37, lost vital signs during a confrontation with Ottawa police on July 24 and was officially pronounced dead the following day. (Abdi family)

Questions about if and why gloves were issued

A police source close to the investigation said the gloves are central to Montsion’s assault with a weapon charge. Montsion’s release conditions state he’s prohibited from possessing weapons, and also prohibited from possessing “any gloves with hardened knuckle plating.”

According to a police source, Montsion was issued the reinforced gloves in his role as a member of the direct action response team, or DART, which monitors street gang activity for the guns and gangs unit.

Ketcia Peters, a member of the Community and Police Action Committee (COMPAC) said she will be raising the issue of the gloves at the next meeting on April 13.

“My main question is: was this a service-issued assault glove?” Peters said.

“We need to understand why this officer, or even the DART unit, are being issued those types of equipment for work.

It’s an assault glove … So, it’s a bit troublesome. [DART] is supposed to be an outreach team, so I don’t really understand the use of those types of weapons — or equipment — for work.”

Oakley Standard Issue assault glove

Oakley Standard Issue assault glove

It’s an assault glove … So, it’s a bit troublesome. [DART] is supposed to be an outreach team, so I don’t really understand the use of those types of weapons — or equipment — for work.”

Community-based approach to policing

Peters said she would like see the Ottawa Police Service put a greater emphasis on community policing and take a more proactive approach to dealing with vulnerable members of the public.

Abdi’s family and friends said he suffered from unspecified mental health issues, something they tried to communicate during his arrest.

“We’re really advocating for the police to have a certain mentality and mind-set …[and] to learn how to communicate better with the community when they’re interacting with them.”

César Ndéma-Moussa

COMPAC member César Ndéma-Moussa said there needs to be a clear protocol around the use of assault gloves. (CBC)

COMPAC member César Ndéma-Moussa — who worked as a bodyguard for more than a decade — said he is familiar with the gloves.

“It hasn’t been discussed within the circle of COMPAC, but I had personal knowledge of them.”

Police chief orders audit of gloves

Ottawa police CFO Jeff Letourneau sent a letter to Ottawa police inspectors Monday afternoon, advising them that police Chief Charles Bordeleau wants an audit of all gloves issued to officers for on-duty use.

Ndéma-Moussa said he believes this is the right thing to do.

“I think that’s a very good step forward,” Ndéma-Moussa said.

“I think it’s beyond just a question of assault gloves. I think it’s a matter of safety. Anything that can constitute a threat, in terms of personal safety, is a matter of discussion.”

Ndéma-Moussa also said he’d like to get clarity on when and how such gloves are used. “We’ve got to ask the questions about proper training and proper protocol.”

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services said Tuesday that protective equipment including gloves, helmets and vests are not classified as weapons and, therefore, don’t need to be approved.

A ministry spokesperson said the Ontario Police College — which is responsible for the basic training of all police in Ontario — does not teach use-of-force techniques related to gloves, including assault gloves.

Originally posted by By Idil Mussa, CBC News: Mar 16, 2017


Tina Fontaine’s Cousin Dies after Being Shot in Head, Home Set on Fire, Family Says

Family of Aberdeen fire victim speaks out

Family pleads for information in death of 29-year-old Jeanenne Fontaine

CBC News Posted: Mar 15, 2017

A Winnipeg woman was shot in the head before her home was set on fire, her family says.

Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, was found in a home on Aberdeen Avenue, between Powers Street and Salter Street, on Tuesday after reports of a fire which is now being investigated by the homicide unit.

Jeanenne Fontaine

Jeanenne Fontaine, 29, was a kind, bubbly mother of three, says aunt Rhonda Flett. (Facebook)

The mother of three was rushed to hospital in unstable condition, but around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday she was taken off life-support, her family says.

They say Jeanenne was shot in the back of the head before the home was set on fire.

Her mother, Lana Fontaine, says Jeanenne’s brother was also at the home and heard the gunshot, but escaped unharmed.

The family is pleading for anyone with information to come forward to help them get answers.

Kind, full of laughter

Rhonda Flett, Jeanenne’s aunt, says her niece was a bright-spirited girl.

“She was a lively, beautiful Native girl … everybody wanted to be around her. She was kind. She liked to laugh. She made us laugh,” Flett said.

“She’s going to very missed. We’re going to miss her a lot. A piece of our family got taken and can’t be replaced.”

Flett says her niece moved into the home on Aberdeen Avenue following the death of Flett’s other niece and Jeanenne’s cousin, Tina Fontaine.

The 15-year-old was killed in August of 2014. Her death became one of the most well-known cases of murdered Indigenous women in the country, at a time many were calling for a national inquiry into unsolved cases.

Jeanenne shared the Aberdeen home with her mother, Lana, who Rhonda says is now homeless.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Lana Fontaine.

“She has nothing. She has no clothes, no furniture, nothing. She has nowhere to go,” Flett said. “All she’s concentrating on right now is her daughter.”

Flett said the family is desperate for answers.

“If anybody had answers out there for us, please come forward,” Flett said. “Our family needs closure. We’ve been through enough with Tina.”

Winnipeg police are asking anyone with information about the fire is asked to call police at 204-786-8477.

aberdeen house fire

Jeanenne Fontaine was found at this home on Aberdeen Avenue on Tuesday. (Travis Golby/CBC)

Vigil planned for Saturday

Jeanenne’s death is the second time an Indigenous woman was shot and killed in Winnipeg in the past three days.

On Sunday, Shania Chartrand, 21, was shot and later died of her injuries. The young woman was from Lake Manitoba First Nation and Chief Cornell McLean said her death devastated the community.


Kim Kostiuk, a volunteer with Drag the Red, said she was shocked and heartbroken at the pair of deaths and the news Jeanenne was related to Tina Fontaine. She’s organizing a vigil for Jeanenne on Saturday at the Aberdeen home.

Kim Kostiuk

Kim Kostiuk says she’s shocked and heartbroken by two deaths of Indigenous women in three days in Winnipeg. (Facebook)

“We want this to be out there. We want this to stop. We need this violence to stop,” Kostiuk said. “…We are human beings just like everybody else. We don’t deserve this. Nobody deserves this.”

Kostiuk said women in her community no longer feel safe and she wants to see change.

“We need more resources, for certain. We need more women’s shelters, definitely. More addictions programs,” she said.

“We need to do more marches to support women. We need to put it out there in the community. We need to do these vigils to let people know that we need to take back what is rightfully ours: the community. We need to stand up and say let’s stop this violence, we’ve had enough.

With files from Courtney Rutherford, Caroline Barghout


Family of Lake Manitoba Woman Shot in West Broadway Devastated, Chief Says

Winnipeg police say Shania Chartrand, 21, died after being shot in West Broadway over the weekend. She is from Lake Manitoba First Nation, and Chief Cornell McLean says her death has left the community devastated. (Facebook)

Shania Chanel Chartrand, 21, died after being found shot on Spence Street Sunday night

CBC News: Mar 15, 2017

Members of Lake Manitoba First Nation are devastated after the killing of a woman from the community in Winnipeg last weekend, the First Nation’s chief says.

Shania Chanel Chartrand, 21, was taken to hospital after being found in West Broadway with gunshot wounds Sunday night, but died of her injuries.

“She’s been taken too soon by this tragic event,” Lake Manitoba Chief Cornell McLean said.

“I’m devastated myself for the community. She touched a lot of hearts.”

Police investigate the homicide scene on Spence Street on Monday morning. (CBC)

McLean said Chartrand came from a large Lake Manitoba First Nation family.

“She was the second youngest child … It’s been very hard on the family,” he said.

McLean said Chartrand was living in Winnipeg and he often gave her rides to the city after she came back to Lake Manitoba to visit her family.

He said while there are rumours swirling about what may have happened to her, there are still more questions than answers.

“I know that she wasn’t involved in any gang activity. I do know that for sure,” Mclean said.

“It could have just been wrong place wrong time for her,” McLean said.

After reports of gunshots in the area, police located Chartrand on Spence Street, between Portage Avenue and Broadway, just after 10 p.m. Sunday night.

There haven’t been any arrests related to the shooting yet.

Homicide investigators are asking anyone with information or surveillance video to contact them at 204-986-6508 or through Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).


Bigstone Cree Nation Blocks Roads, Denies Access to Oil and Gas Companies

The Bigstone Cree First Nation wrote a letter intending to install gates to and from the community to control who comes in or out. (Terry Reith/CBC)

Chief plans toll to access natural resources

By Black Powder | RPM Staff, March 14, 2017

Bigstone Cree Nation Chief Gordon Auger is taking action against off-reserve industrial operators in the Wabasca area.

On March 10, the First Nation in Northern Alberta, posted a list of multinational companies on its website that would not be allowed access to the territory as of Monday, March 13th.

Companies on the no-entry list include:

  • CNRL
  • Cenovus
  • Husky
  • Laricina
  • Alberta Pacific Ltd.
  • BonaVista
  • TransCanada
  • Banister
  • Tolko
  • West Fraser
  • All Logging Trucks
  • All Star Contracting
  • Exact Oilfield

Read: the full entry/no-entry list here

According to CBC News, Bigstone Cree Nation issued a letter to Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan on Feb. 20. The letter cited six reasons roads would be blocked, including “the abandonment of the local economy and local companies,” along with a lack of meaningful consultation between the band and oil and gas companies and concerns around water protection.

The letter said the community was planning on installing gates to control all traffic going through the reserve — and all oil and gas traffic heading to work.

Wind Speaker reports, at about noon on Monday, some vehicles belonging to multinational oil, gas and forestry companies were being denied access at turn-around points established on Highways 813 and 754 on Bigstone Cree Nation land.

However, on Sunday, Chief Auger told it was never his intention to turn around vehicles belonging to multi-national corporations as of Monday.

Auger says he didn’t plan this action and steps may have been taken due to misinterpretation of his directive by the management team.

Toll booths

Auger said the direction he gave to council was to determine where toll booths should be located. Then, he said, signs will be put up indicating toll booth locations and when toll-taking would begin. Augers says this will be the item on the agenda when he meets with council Tuesday morning.

He also contends that band members have the right to take action.

“They’re just practicing right now,” he said. “It’s a good exercise, but I don’t think they should be sending people back, just maybe let them know … maybe a public awareness.”

A Public Notice on the band’s website states, on March 14, 2017, Bigstone Cree Nation maintains their “STAND” that originates from the Treaty signed in 1899. This is not a blockade but rather to have toll stations set up on highway 754 and 813 to monitor who is accessing and removing resources from Bigstone Cree Traditional Land.

All traffic will be allowed through for the time being, but the monitors will remain at the sites until further notice.

Auger has said he’s not worried about companies pulling out of the area.

“We’re tired of living in a third-world situation,” he said. “Nobody should have control of our land. It’s our land.”

The border security manned toll stations not only allow the band to control who comes in and out of the territory but could also generate revenue for the community.

Protestors block Highway 754 at the Bigstone Cree First Nation as part of the Idle No More movement. The two hour blockade near Wabasca-Desmarais included a second road block on Hwy 813. PHOTO: DWAYNE YELLOWKNEE

Travis Gladue says Chief Auger is shutting out off-reserve industry without having gone to the membership first.

“He never even consulted with the membership. He never even held a band meeting. The last band meeting he had was Nov. 30 and there was a motion to have him removed,” said Gladue.

Minutes from the Calling Lake general membership meeting, provided by Gladue, indicate that a motion was made to remove Auger as “the lead negotiator for industry for Bigstone Cree Nation effective immediately. The motion was passed by a majority vote.

Gladue says the chief’s latest stand with industry will only hurt band members.

“CNRL already said they’ll issue a statement that they provide lots of jobs, lots of work to a lot of local companies that are First Nations and Metis and now they’re very, very upset and these are Bigstone members and they don’t understand why Gordon is doing what he’s doing,” said Gladue. “Because now they can’t go to work.”

Gladue alleges that Auger is wanting to charge industry 15 per cent royalty to access natural resources from the First Nation’s land. Gladue says industry is refusing to pay.

Kyle Ferguson, a spokesperson for the ministry of Indigenous relations, said the government will “make every effort to prevent the establishment of toll gates.”

“The Alberta government is aware of the potential construction of highway toll gates near Bigstone Cree Nation and is working diligently with Bigstone Chief and Council to resolve the issue promptly,” he said

“Our intent is to resolve this issue peacefully and expeditiously. Industry in the area has been notified and RCMP officers have been dispatched to monitor the situation and to alert drivers to ensure the safety of motorists and members of the First Nations,” said Ferguson in an email.

Bigstone Cree Nation is 300 km north of Edmonton Alberta. 


Family Sues Manitoba Government over Death in Winnipeg Remand Centre

Errol Greene suffered from two epileptic seizures, and later died, while in custody at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. An autopsy report revealed that he was not administered his epilepsy medication.

Statement of claim alleges staff failed to provide the necessities of life

CBC News | March 13, 2017

The family of Errol Greene — the man who died in the Winnipeg Remand Centre last May — is suing the government of Manitoba, alleging it is responsible for failing to provide him with the necessities of life and causing his death.

Greene’s common-law wife Rochelle Pranteau is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for herself and their four children for Greene’s death, which was allegedly caused after the 26-year-old epileptic was denied his seizure medication at the remand centre for three days.

“The actions and/or neglects of the Remand staff … were an operative and material cause of [Greene’s] death,” reads the statement of claim filed in Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 10.

An inquest into Greene’s death was called by the province’s chief medical examiner in December.

An autopsy report obtained by CBC News, dated Oct. 13, pointed to concerns around how Greene’s seizure was handled by corrections officers, and said he was not administered his seizure-controlling medication while in custody at the remand centre.

A statement of defence has not been filed by the government. A spokesperson for Manitoba Justice said the department is currently reviewing the statement of claim to determine Manitoba’s position.

“Since this is an ongoing court matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” said the spokesperson in a prepared statement.

Seizure medication denied

Errol Greene holds two of his four children. His son, Errol Junior, was born five months after Greene’s death. (Courtesy of Rochelle Pranteau)

Greene was placed in the remand centre on April 29 for breaching a probation order not to consume alcohol. He was under the probation order for a mischief under $5,000 charge.

According to the claim and previous statements made by Pranteau to CBC News, Greene repeatedly asked for his seizure medication, which he required three times a day to prevent a seizure from occurring.

He allegedly asked for the medication nine times before he made a phone call to Pranteau, voicing his concern that he was on the verge of a seizure, before collapsing mid-sentence.

When staff responded to several calls for help from other inmates, instead of providing medical attention, they allegedly shackled Greene and forcibly placed his face to the ground.

He suffered a second seizure while shackled and restrained, the claim states.

Greene was transported to Health Sciences Centre and was later pronounced dead.

Pranteau previously told CBC News she received a call from the chief medical examiner’s office in December, saying the details around her husband’s death were suspicious and an inquest could prevent the same thing from happening in the future, she said.

The family is seeking an unspecified amount for the loss of “guidance, care and companionship” due to Greene’s death. Since the government of Manitoba is the owner and operator of the remand centre, it is named as the defendant in the suit.

The suit also seeks all medical and funeral costs related to the death.

“As a further result of the death of Bradley, the plaintiffs have suffered damages and will continue to suffer damages in the future,” reads the claim. “Full particulars of which will be provided at or prior to the trial of the within action.”

The claim also alleges that Greene has previously been held in custody in the remand centre, suffered a seizure and had to be hospitalized — meaning the staff “ought to have been aware” of Greene’s condition.

Greene’s death is one of five that occurred in the remand centre in 2016, a sharp increase from previous years where only two deaths occurred between 2010 and 2015. The remand centre houses roughly 300 people.

With files from CBC’s Kim Kaschor and The Canadian Press