Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sechelt Nation Recap: Neo-Colonial Chief Latest Casualty of Police Pepper Spray Attack

thanks to Liberated Yet? for the pointer to this video

The above video shows the RCMP pepper spraying a members of the Sechelt Nation on the Sunshine Coast (in "british columbia") earlier this month.

The scene was a welcome home parade for a kids' soccer team who had just won a big game. The colonial police tried to interrupt the parade, and arrested the driver of the lead truck for honking his horn and having a bunch of kids in the back - just like any float at any other parade, you know...

For more background, see Garth Mullins' Police Pepper Spray: Not Recommended for Babies.

After the attack the RCMP issued an apology, which was promptly accepted by Sechelt chief Stan Dixon. This led people within the Sechelt Nation to organize against the chief, and on July 10th they blocked entry to the band offices, staging a sit in/barbecue demanding that Dixon resign:

Sit-in aims to oust chief
Natives plan to stay outside band offices until Stan Dixon resigns
Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

SECHELT - Sechelt First Nation members barricaded the band offices Tuesday in an attempt to force the resignation of Chief Stan Dixon, who accepted the RCMP’s apology for pepper-spraying a crowd of people June 30.

About 50 band members then staged a sit-in outside the chained and padlocked administrative offices.

Signs reading: “Our elders are watching you” and “Stan isn’t our man” were placed around the site.

The protesters, who tucked into a barbecue lunch of hotdogs and hamburgers, said they will remain outside the offices until the chief quits.

About 25 people who work in the administrative offices were unable to get inside.
“That was the last straw on the back: that he accepted the apology without the consent of council and without consulting people who were pepper sprayed,” said protester Wesley Jeffries, a former councillor.

“He’s making decisions on his own. We need a chief to work for the people.”
The call for Dixon’s resignation came the morning after a regular band council meeting at which a video of the pepper-spray incident was shown.

The sit-in lasted for three days, and chief Dixon is now reported to be on leave, word being that after a thirty day "cooling off period" there will likely be an election for a new chief.

All of which is just another example of the untenable position of the neo-colonial leadership in many of canada's internal colonies: both dependent on the people and beholden to the State, they are often the first to go when push comes to shove.

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