Aboriginal Elder Harriet Nahanee

March 3, 2007

PRESS RELEASE

WHY DID British Columbia SENTENCE ABORIGINAL ELDER TO DEATH?

Fellow Aboriginal activists and concerned non-indigenous citizens demand answers regarding the death of Harriet Nahanee as a direct result of her incarceration

On February 24, 2007 Aboriginal Elder Harriet Nahanee passed away, exactly one month after she was sent to jail on January 24, 2007. Madame Justice Brenda Brown sentenced Mrs. Nahanee, age 72, to fourteen days incarceration for contempt of court in disobeying the Eagle Ridge Bluff injunction. While in jail under unacceptable conditions at Surrey re-Trial Centre, where she was held in a cell with tens of other inmates and subject to racist treatment, Harriet Nahanee contracted pneumonia.

She was hospitalized within a week of her release from custody and passed away within a week of that.

Aboriginal activists and non-indigenous concerned citizens demand a public inquiry into Harriet Nahanee’s death as a direct result of her incarceration. These are the questions we want answered:

1) Why was Aboriginal elder Harriet Nahanee sent to jail despite clear direction from the Supreme Court of Canada that imprisonment should be the last remedy for Aboriginal
persons?

2) Why did Madame Justice Brown fail to take Mrs. Nahanee’s frail health into consideration?

3) Why did Madame Justice Brown refuse to hear Mrs. Nahanee’s Aboriginal sovereignty defense?

4) Why was Mrs. Nahanee incarcerated at Surrey Pre-Trial Centre, under such inappropriate Conditions?

A public inquiry will have to determine why Madame Justice Brown refused to hear Mrs. Nahanee’s Aboriginal sovereignty defense and incarcerated her, whereas all non-Aboriginal defenders of Eagle Ridge Bluff charged with the same offense were given either fines or community service. Such an inquiry will also have to address Madame Justice Brown’s refusal to exercise her discretionary powers in considering other sentencing options or ordering medical check up before incarcerating a great-grandmother. Madame Justice Brown was made aware of elder Harriet Nahanee’s health condition, including her asthma and recent influenza before sentencing. Madame Justice Brown is also set to sentence, fellow activist and elder, Betty Krawczyk, 78, on Monday, March 5, 2006 for her involvement in the Eagle Ridge Bluff Protests. Crown Counsel is asking for 9-15 months of incarceration for Mrs. Krawczyk for her opposition to the expansion of the Sea to Sky Highway, paving the way to the 2010 Olympics!

The Crown and the courts also have to answer the underlying question: why are 2 respected elders and women over seventy years of age being prosecuted for protecting the environment and sent to jail for defending the land?

There can be no justification for the incarceration and resulting death of esteemed Aboriginal elder Harriet Nahanee, a strong voice for her people at a time when many are afraid to speak out in the light of criminalization of dissent.

Harriet Nahanee was a part of many struggles, firstly for the
recognition of Aboriginal land rights and protecting the environment and also fighting against discrimination, marginalization and institutionalization of Aboriginal people in the cities, especially Aboriginal women in Vancouver’s Eastside. She was a vital member of so many movements and activist communities, a role model for many and will be deeply missed. The loss is aggravated by the fact, that she passed away as a direct result of her incarceration, starting January 24, 2007, in Surrey Pre-Trial where she contracted pneumonia. A service was held at the Squamish Recreation Centre on February 28 with hundreds of people in attendance mourning the passing of their mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, fellow activists, friend and role model.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Kat Norris
(604) 253-1020

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Please cast your vote about our troops in Afghanistan!!

March 3, 2007

Angus reid Co. has a poll on it’s site – so far the pro-war is winning.

Please respond – and send this to your friends.

Go to:

http://rm.angusreidforum.com/?cid=46&rs=GgEnAF


U.S. Selects Design for New Nuclear Warhead

March 3, 2007

By Walter Pincus

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 3, 2007; Page A08

The National Nuclear Security Administration has selected a design from Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories that could become the basis for the first new nuclear warhead produced by the United States in more than 20 years.

Read more of this Washington Post article here.


Rami Khouri on preparing for the ‘Great Arab Unraveling’

March 3, 2007

By Rami G. Khouri
The Daily Star (Lebanon)
Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Seymour Hersh, investigative journalist for The New Yorker magazine, has sparked fresh debate with his latest article alleging that the Bush administration’s new policy to confront Iran has led it to send American money and other forms of assistance to extremist Sunni groups, sometimes via the Lebanese and Saudi governments, in order to confront and weaken Hizbullah, Syria and Iran.

Do not pity or jeer Washington alone, for every single player in this tale – the United States, Hizbullah, the Lebanese government, Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia – wriggles uncomfortably in the mess they collectively created through their shortsighted policies of recent years. I suspect this mirrors something much bigger: We are in the midst of a potentially historic moment when the modern Arab state order that was created by the Europeans in circa 1920 has started to break down, in what we might perhaps call the Great Arab Unraveling.
…..

Read rest of Rami Khouri’s article: Prepare for the Great Arab Unraveling The Daily Star (Beirut).


Doris Anderson: 1921-2007

March 3, 2007

Doris Anderson was a Canadian icon of the women’s movement — a tireless champion of our rights. Throughout her life, Doris fought for the equality of women and was a mentor to many, among them former Star columnist Michele Landsberg. Her fight ended yesterday, when she passed away after another battle: pulmonary fibrosis. She was 85 and will be greatly missed by so many of us. I am very saddened by this exceptional woman’s death.

Doris Anderson was my inspiration and my hero.

Read about Doris Anderson and her many achievements for women’s rights in this Toronto Star article: T.O. icon changed face of feminism.


Chief says federal, provincial governments stall talks, hoping Natives will just go home

March 3, 2007

Why am I not surprised by these stalling tactics of our federal and provincial governments?

OSHWEKEN, Ont. (CP) – The federal and provincial governments are stalling talks aimed at ending a contentious land occupation in the hope that Six Nations residents will simply leave the southern Ontario site, an aboriginal leader said Wednesday.

At a press conference to mark the one-year anniversary of the occupation of in Caledonia, Ont., south of Hamilton, Confederacy Chief Allen MacNaughton said negotiators from both levels of government have no power to end the dispute.
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Read rest of this CP article on canada.com.


Chiefs say stop squabbling and resolve Caledonia land claim

March 3, 2007

Six Nations chiefs say Canada will perform a goodwill gesture if it hands over the disputed Douglas Creek property to them. On the first anniversary of the aboriginal occupation in Caledonia, sub-Cayuga chief Leroy Hill says it’s time to stop squabbling over who owned what when and reach a resolution in the standoff. Hill says there’s a lot of poverty and desperation in his community but the issue is not about a dollar figure, it’s about how they’re being treated. He made the statements at a press conference in at the old council building in Oshweken Wednesday morning, where representatives of all six aboriginal nations gathered, including some of the original 18 people who took over Douglas Estates on Feb. 28, 2006. One of them, Dawn Smith, was badly injured in a car crash last summer. She said she was “proud to be able to walk to the reclamation site today.”
….
Read more of this Hamilton Spectator article here.