Our Freedom

Honour Anna Mae Pictou Aquash and Harriet Nahanee / Free John Graham and Leonard Peltier

John Graham, spokesman for the Native Peoples’ Embassy in Ottawa June 30, 2007

Filed under: John Graham — ourfreedom @ 3:43 am

Native Embassy Condemned

by Walrus Oakenbough

The Georgia Straight, March 6-13, 1975

(Ottawa) John Graham, spokesman for the Native Peoples’ Embassy in Ottawa told a community meeting Monday, Feb.17 that Indians occupying the Carbide Mill are looking for a new headquarters nearby. The National Capital Commission had succeeded in driving Indians out by shutting off heat and electricity to the old embassy last week. Police intimidation and harassment by the Ottawa Fire Department contributed to the decision to leave.

The brief five month history of this Native People’s Embassy reflects in miniature the entirety of European derived “western” treatment of Indian Nations spanning three centuries in Canada…

…When the first Native Peoples’ Caravan reached Ottawa last Sept.29, the National Capital Commission promised to let them stay in the historic Carbide Mill on Victoria Island…

…About 350 people moved into the Carbide Mill.

One day later, during opening parliament ceremonies, violence flared. Members of the caravan marched up the stairs to the Peace Tower with the intention of addressing Canada’s parliament about the plight and vision of Native People throughout the country. A brutal confrontation resulted when the previously dormant RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] special riot squad joined hundreds of RCMP regulars in evicting the caravan and its supporters from Parliament Hill…

By November 28, a second Native Peoples Caravan arrived to take up residency at Victoria Island…

…John Graham, caravan member from the Yukon, read the Embassy statement to the press while drums thundered in the background.

“We, in the spirit of Louis Riel, whose statue was unveiled by your Prime Minister on Oct.2, 1968, hold onto this embassy as a symbol of resistance for the social justice Mr. Trudeau spoke of so easily… The Native People here on Victoria Island in Ottawa, as in Cornwall, Alcatraz, James Bay, Cold Lake, Wounded Knee, Kenora, Cache Creek, and Parliament Hill, ask all of you to help us win the battle for our culture and our independence. We ask this because we believe in the right of self-determination of all people.”

“Stand with us Canadians and maybe one day we can stand together in peace! When that day comes, we will turn the flag of your nation right side up, as it should be when people are free.”

[Excerpts from article]


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