Category Archives: Wars and Warriors

Warriors and Warfare

Native Activist and Warrior Society Leader, Milton Born With A Tooth, Dies at 61

Milton Born With A Tooth, Peigan Lonefighter’s Society

Milton Born With A Tooth, a respected Native activist and leader of the Ni’taiitsskaiks (Lonefighter Society) has passed away at the age of  61.

Born With A Tooth, of the Peigan Nation in Alberta, died peacefully on Saturday, while surrounded by family at Chinook Care hospice in Calgary, after a brief battle with Stage 4 bowel cancer.

According to APTN News, his niece, Nicole Eshkakogan said a celebration of his life will be held during his birthday June 9 -11 at the community hall in Brocket, AB.

Born With A Tooth gained widespread notoriety in 1990 when the Alberta government sought to dam the Oldman River, which would have flooded Peigan burial grounds on the northern Great Plains.

Born With A Tooth led the Blackfoot Warrior Society in opposing the Oldman River Dam.

When the RCMP moved in to enforce a court injunction forbidding the attempt by the Peigan Lonefighters Society to divert the Oldman River, with a bulldozer, Born With A Tooth fired two warning shots into the air forcing police to retreat.

Following the 33-hour standoff with 80 RCMP officers, Born With A Tooth was arrested in Calgary and charged with weapons offenses. He was sentenced to 16 months in jail for the incident.

His use of a firearm helped stimulate a very active debate, especially among First Nations activists, about whether or not armed resistance was justifiable in any circumstances.

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Native Activist and Warrior Society Leader, Milton Born With A Tooth, Dies at 61 via Northern Plains Freelancer

Why We Need Warrior Societies

Ts’peten Defenders during the Gustafsen Lake Standoff.

Originally posted on Warrior Publications: WarriorPublications.wordpress.com

What is a Warrior Society?

A warrior society is a group organized to defend their people, territory & way of life.

Functions

Traditionally, most warrior society’s carried out 3 main functions: military, police & social. Their military function involved armed defense of people & territory. Their police function involved punishing anti-social crimes, & overall security of the village. Their social function involved feasts, camaraderie, and ceremonies. Many warrior society’s were also secret and/or ceremonial society’s.

Resistance Movement

As colonization does not rely solely on military action, but involves political, economic, psychological, & cultural aspects, we must apply this same thinking to decolonization.

Decolonization is not a legal struggle, nor is it purely military, or economic, etc. It involves all of these. It should be noted, however, that colonialism was imposed through military force. Ultimately, it is the system’s monopoly on the use of violence that enables it to impose its will.

Considering this, it can be seen that the activities of modern warrior society’s must involve much more than military training in order for their defensive roles to be realized. That is why it is said that modern warriors must be communicators, organizers, and leaders, able to inform & inspire others, and mobilize them into the resistance movement.

Military training, however, is an essential part of a warrior society. This is because the defensive role of the warrior will always include the potential for armed conflict against an enemy force (one of the greatest dangers to any nation).

At the same time, under present conditions, these aspects of the warrior society are not used often, and even then are mostly defensive actions. As defense is for times of insufficiency, the primary military function of a warrior society at this time is for self-defense.

Warrior Training

Military training helps instill values such as confidence, self-discipline, teamwork, etc. Warrior training also involves traditional culture, including ceremonies and field-craft. Ceremonies help instill similar values as military training (including patience & endurance), while reconnecting one to the spiritual world and their culture. Field-craft (i.e., hunting, gathering wild foods, making tools & shelter, etc.) also reinforces traditional culture and will become vital to the survival of future generations.

The Positive Aspects of Warrior Society’s

When Native military resistance was defeated (by 1890 in N. America), along with colonization came the disbanding of warrior society’s. Confined to reservations, warriors were condemned to a life without purpose. Many turned to alcohol out of despair & hopelessness.

Along with trauma experienced in Residential Schools & loss of identity, today’s generations continue to live lives with little apparent meaning or purpose. The result is widespread drug & alcohol abuse, high suicide rates, imprisonment, etc. This is compounded by feelings of insecurity, low self-esteem, poverty, etc.

A warrior society can help stop these negative trends by instilling in youth traditional values, a sense of purpose, and meaningful, challenging activities that also serve the common good. This is in part what made warrior society’s such an important part of traditional Indigenous society.

Casualties & Attrition

Many fear the potential consequences of organizing warrior society’s, which can include state violence & repression. We must remember, however, that colonization is by its nature violent. It is a society sustained through violence, here & abroad.

While many fear potential casualties from combat, real casualties are occurring now in the streets & reservations, through suicides, drugs & alcohol, prison, disease, interpersonal violence, etc. Many Native youth are now being recruited into gangs, who engage in anti-social criminal activity among their own people. Through drugs, prostitution, theft & assaults, gangs lead to division & demoralization among our people.

As well, every summer, hundreds of Native youth from across Canada undergo military training—as either cadets or in Canadian Forces Aboriginal-specific training courses (i.e., Bold Eagle & Raven)– where platoons of Natives are given training in firearms, field-craft, drill, military law, map & compass, etc.

In addition, we must remember that in Asia, Africa and South America, people are routinely killed, tortured & massacred to maintain the global system.

We can see, therefore, that violence & casualties are occurring now as a result of colonial oppression. It is this oppression the warrior society is meant to defend against. In fact, the very formation of a warrior society can help give purpose & direction to misguided youth, for whom institutional means have thus far failed (including schools, jails, jobs, etc.).

Fear and Propaganda

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to organizing warrior society’s among our people is fear. This fear is maintained through the corporate media & entertainment industries, which reinforces people’s belief that the government is their protector, & which portrays the system as all-powerful.

This fear is compounded by enemy propaganda (primarily through corporate media), which portrays warriors as criminals, thugs or terrorists.

In order to counter this, warrior culture & fighting spirit must be strengthened among our people. Most importantly, warriors must conduct themselves in such a way that they inspire hope & confidence among our people.

LONG LIVE THE WARRIOR!!!

Originally published in Warrior No. 1, Spring-Summer 2006

[SOURCE]

 

Warrior Publications

WarriorPublications.wordpress.com

Mandan Warrior Mato Tope

What is a Warrior Society?
A warrior society is a group organized to defend their people, territory & way of life.

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’60s Scoop Group Educates Survivors, Pushes Rejection of Federal Settlement Deal

Colleen Cardinal, network coordinator of the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network, speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Feb. 2, 2018. CP/Fred Chartrand

Dozens of people gathered in an Ottawa community centre Monday to learn more about the federal government’s proposed multimillion-dollar settlement for survivors of the ’60s Scoop — and why they should reject it.

The National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network arranged the information session to scrutinize the $800-million deal, which was announced last October but has yet to receive court approval.

“There are so many things that are wrong with this,” network co-founded Colleen Cardinal told the gathering, made up in part of survivors and supporters.

“It’s really important that this information gets out there, by survivors for survivors,” she said. “The federal government is not going to make sure that every survivor knows what their rights are. Our mission is to get out there and let people know what is happening.”

The ’60s Scoop saw thousands of Indigenous children taken from their homes by the federal government and placed with non-Indigenous adoptive and foster families across the country starting around the 1950s.

The government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation.

Cardinal denounced the deal, saying the federal government should have first asked survivors what they wanted.

“They don’t even know how many survivors there are,” Cardinal said, disputing the estimated $20,000 to $50,000 payment per person.

Cardinal also criticized the settlement for excluding survivors who are Metis and non-status Indians.

The office of Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has said the proposed settlement is a first step and the government is committed to using negotiation to resolve any ongoing litigation.

“We know that there are other claims that remain unresolved, including those of the Metis and non-status,” she said a statement from her office.

An Ontario Superior Court judge will hear arguments in Saskatoon and Toronto in May on whether the proposal should be approved.

If the settlement is allowed to proceed, the network will push for at least 2,000 survivors to opt out in an effort to void the deal.

But the government could still push ahead regardless of how many people say they don’t want to be part of the settlement, lawyer Brian Meronek told the gathering.

There is also no guarantee that provinces won’t revoke income assistance payments if someone becomes ineligible after receiving a settlement payout, said Meronek, who represents a group in Manitoba that opposes the settlement.

Cardinal and other organizers have warned survivors to be wary after hearing reports of some lawyers offering to help navigate the settlement in exchange for exploitative contingency fees.

The network is a survivor-led organization based in Ottawa founded in 2014 that offers information and support for survivors. The group has 300 members, and Cardinal said it reaches thousands more online, through its toll-free number and via presentations and gatherings.

The network is also involved in two research projects, the first by Raven Sinclair at the University of Regina about the experience of the ’60s Scoop survivors, using interviews and archival research.

The second is a geographic information system that maps the diaspora of survivors, including their origins and where they were placed.

The Canadian Press, Feb 19, 2018

[SOURCE]

Reader Submission 

Government to Announce Payout of $800M to Indigenous Victims of ’60s Scoop

Government to announce payout of $800M to Indigenous victims of ’60s Scoop

Sources say the agreement includes a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant.

The federal government has agreed to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to survivors of the ‘60s Scoop for the harm suffered by Indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural identities by being placed with non-native families, The Canadian Press has learned.

The national settlement with an estimated 20,000 victims, to be announced Friday by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, is aimed at resolving numerous related lawsuits, most notable among them a successful class action in Ontario.

Confidential details of the agreement include a payout of between $25,000 and $50,000 for each claimant, to a maximum of $750 million, sources said.

In addition, sources familiar with the deal said the government would set aside a further $50 million for a new Indigenous Healing Foundation, a key demand of the representative plaintiff in Ontario, Marcia Brown Martel.

Spokespeople for both Bennett and the plaintiffs would only confirm an announcement was pending Friday, but refused to elaborate.

“The (parties) have agreed to work towards a comprehensive resolution and discussions are in progress,” Bennett’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “As the negotiations are ongoing and confidential, we cannot provide further information at this time.”

The sources said the government has also agreed to pay the plaintiffs’ legal fees — estimated at about $75 million — separately, meaning the full amount of the settlement will go to the victims and the healing centre, to be established in the coming months, sources said.

The settlement would be worth at least $800 million and include Inuit victims, the sources said. The final amount is less than the $1.3 billion Brown Martel had sought for victims of the Ontario Scoop in which at-risk on-reserve Indigenous children were placed in non-Aboriginal homes from 1965 to 1984 under terms of a federal-provincial agreement.

In an unprecedented class action begun in 2009, Brown Martel, chief of the Beaverhouse First Nation, maintained the government had been negligent in protecting her and about 16,000 other on-reserve children from the lasting harm they suffered from being alienated from their heritage.

Brown Martel, a member of the Temagami First Nation near Kirkland Lake, Ont., was taken by child welfare officials and adopted by a non-native family. She later discovered the Canadian government had declared her original identity dead.

Her lawsuit, among some 17 others in Canada, is the only one to have been certified as a class action. Her suit sparked more than eight years of litigation in which the government fought tooth and nail against the claim.

However, in February, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba sided with Brown Martel, finding the government liable for the harm the ‘60s Scoop caused. Belobaba was firm in rejecting the government’s arguments that the 1960s were different times and that it had acted with good intentions in line with prevailing standards.

While Bennett said at the time she would not appeal the ruling and hoped for a negotiated settlement with all affected Indigenous children, federal lawyers appeared to be trying to get around Belobaba’s ruling. Among other things, they attempted to argue individuals would have to prove damages on a case-by-case basis.

A court hearing to determine damages in the Ontario action, scheduled for three days next week, has been scrapped in light of the negotiated resolution, which took place under Federal Court Judge Michel Shore.

One source said some aspects of the many claims might still have to be settled but called Friday’s announcement a “significant” step toward resolving the ‘60s Scoop issue — part of the Liberal government’s promise under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous people a priority.

Jeffery Wilson, one of Brown Martel’s lawyers, has previously said the class action was the first anywhere to recognize the importance of a person’s cultural heritage and the individual harm caused when it is lost.

The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

Métis Sniper Made His Mark for Canada at Vimy Ridge

Marilyn Buffalo holds a portrait of her great-grandfather Henry Norwest, a Métis marksman who was a celebrated sniper during the First World War. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

April 9 marks 100 years since Canadian troops began the battle for Vimy Ridge

At the bottom of the list of names etched into the cenotaph at the legion in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., there is one that stands out from the rest.

Henry Norwest’s name is in a different format. The white paint, which has not yet faded like the others, still gleams.

Norwest’s name was added to the First World War cenotaph at the Legion in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., in 2008. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

If the name looks like it was an afterthought, it’s because it was. Norwest’s was added to the cenotaph in 2008, an action formally honouring the Métis marksman who died 90 years earlier, during the First World War.

Sunday marks 100 years since Canadian troops began the assault on Vimy Ridge in northeast France. By April 14, the Canadians had won the battle, but lost almost 3,600.

“There is no doubt in mind that he is in a place of peace,” says Marilyn Buffalo, Norwest’s great-granddaughter.

“There is a special place for warriors like him.”

Ranch hand and roper

Before he took to the battlefields in France and was among the thousands of Canadians who fought at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, Norwest was a married father of three who frequently moved around to find work.

Of French and Cree ancestry, he was a ranch hand and a roper who helped to wrangle bison in Montana in an effort to move herds north to Canada.

He listed his trade as “Cow Puncher” when he signed up to be part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in January 1915.

Norwest, who sometimes went as Henry Louie, worked as a ranch hand and roper before enlisting with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. (Glenbow Archives)

With war underway in Europe, he eagerly enlisted in Wetaskiwin, Alta., under the name Henry Louie, but his initial military stint was short-lived. Records from the time show that he was discharged three months later because of what was then referred to as “drunkenness.”

Still determined to fight overseas, he headed south to Calgary and enlisted again, this time under the name Henry Norwest.

Norwest established himself as a skilled sniper while fighting in France with Calgary’s 50th Battalion (Marilyn Buffalo)

Before he left for England, he went to say goodbye to his three girls, who at the time were living in a residential school in Ermineskin, Alta.

Buffalo remembers her grandmother telling her about the last time she saw him.

“There was a very handsome man who came to bid her goodbye at the residential school and that was her dad.”

A hunter turned sniper

Starting out earning a monthly wage of $15, Norwest quickly established himself as a skilled sniper while fighting in France with Calgary’s 50th Battalion.

Snipers typically worked with an observer, but Buffalo says she heard stories about Norwest sometimes creeping through no man’s land on his own, slipping out of the trench at night and returning to camp early in the morning.

During the war, First Nation soldiers were among Canada’s top snipers, and Norwest’s upbringing and experience as a hunter were evident, says Al Judson, curator of the King’s Own Calgary Regiment Museum, where one of Norwest’s rifles is on display.

“He could move well, quietly with stealth,” says Judson.

“He could use camouflage and the natural foliage around him to hide.”

A Ross rifle on display at the King’s Own Calgary Regiment Museum is one of the rifles Norwest used. (Colin Hall/CBC)

He had a reputation that was feared by the Germans and revered by his comrades.

In military records, he is described by a fellow soldier as understanding “better than most of the us the cost of life and the price of death.”

“He showed complete detachment from everything while he was in the line.”

Off the battlefield, he was jovial and popular with the women in the dance halls, which is how Buffalo says her great-grandfather earned his nickname “Ducky.”

“He would dance all night and then duck out on the girls at the end of the night.”

Vimy Ridge

On April 9, 1917, under a barrage of heavy fire, Norwest was among the thousands of Canadian troops who made the deadly push to capture Vimy Ridge.

Norwest was awarded a Military Medal for his efforts to help allied forces capture “the Pimple,” a significant point along the ridge.

In his award citation, officials said he showed great bravery and “saved a great number of our men’s lives.”

In the three months leading up the to the battle, he shot and killed 59 men from opposing forces.

Norwest won a military medal for his efforts during the battle for Vimy Ridge. He died in August 1918, three months before the war ended.

In August of the following year, he fought during the battle of Amiens, taking out snipers and machine gunners. But just three months before the First World War ended, Norwest himself became the target of a German sharpshooter and the 33-year-old was shot and killed.

On his temporary grave marker, one of his fellow soldiers wrote: “It must have been a damned good sniper that got Norwest.”

‘Made me very proud’

At the time of his death, he had 115 confirmed kills, but the actual number of fatal shots he fired could be much higher because the military only recorded hits that had been observed by someone else. He was awarded a military bar posthumously to go along with his medal.

After the war, his remains were reinterred in a small church graveyard in Warvillers, France. In 2009, his great-granddaughter made an emotional visit to the site, where she performed a sacred Cree ceremony.

“It made me very proud,” Buffalo says.

“This is a part of the history, our contribution to the world and to the British Empire 100 years ago. It has to be honoured.”

Buffalo visited her great-grandfather’s grave in Warvillers, France, in 2009. (Marilyn Buffalo)

As a self-described history buff, she says she’s tried to learn as much as she can about Norwest. She has reflected on what his contribution and his loss meant to her family.

Before he was killed in France, his wife died in Alberta, so his three daughters were left as orphans and spent most of their childhoods at residential school.

‘He should have been there a long time ago.’- Dutchie Anderson

Today, Buffalo says Norwest has hundreds of descendants, mostly concentrated around Samson Cree First Nation in central Alberta.

Some of them were there for a special ceremony in 2008, when Norwest’s name was finally added to the cenotaph at the Fort Saskatchewan legion.

“He should have been there a long time ago,” says Dutchie Enders, the services officer for the legion.

Two stones have been placed in honour of Norwest at the cemetery in Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. (Briar Stewart/CBC)

He believes Norwest’s legacy was previously overlooked because he was Indigenous. Enders himself had only learned about his story shortly before Norwest’s name was engraved.

“That is when we recognized that he had been neglected all these years.”

Two stones have also been placed in the community’s cemetery, each bearing a plaque recounting Norwest’s accomplishments during the war.

The legion’s canteen is now named in honour of Norwest. His black and white picture hangs in the room and pressed under the glass beside it is a single eagle feather, which is a sacred symbol in Cree culture.

“We had to do this,” Enders says. “He was one of our own.”

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