Ottawa police called after Eagle Staff seized during Congress meeting

(Congress of Aboriginal Peoples National Chief Robert Bertrand photographed with his organization's Eagle Staff. CAP/handout)

The former national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples (CAP) was detained by Ottawa police after he tried to seize the organization’s Eagle Staff during a meeting in Ottawa on Saturday.

Kevin Daniels, who was national chief of CAP in 2009, said he wanted to take the Eagle Staff back and “burn it” because it had been “tainted” by the current leadership of the organization.

Daniels made the move to take the Eagle Staff on Saturday during CAP’s morning annual general assembly session at the Marriott Hotel’s ballroom after he took the microphone to challenge CAP’s current National Chief Robert Bertrand over his claims to Indigenous ancestry and dealings with the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO).

“I began my questioning of national leader Robert Bertrand and I asked him a simple question of how much money the (NWMO) was giving this organization,” said Daniels, who originally brought the Eagle Staff to CAP. “I called for his genealogy, I called for his resignation…. I walked up and said, ‘I’m retrieving it, it’s tainted. I grabbed the Eagle Staff and was walking out and was cornered by about 50 people.”

Daniels managed to grab the staff and ended up in a backroom of the ballroom where he remained until Ottawa Police arrived. After Ottawa Police ran his name they discovered he had an outstanding warrant with police in Gatineau, Que., said Daniels.

Ottawa Police Const. Chuck Benoit confirmed Daniels was detained and handed over to Gatineau police on Saturday. He said the police reports from the incident included mention of an Eagle Staff.

“He was apprehended for that warrant and the rest of the information can only be given by Gatineau Police,” said Benoit.

Gatineau Police confirmed the arrest, but did not provide information on the warrant.

Daniels said the warrant was for an assault charge stemming from an incident near Indigenous Affairs’ Gatineau head-quarters when a woman accused him of knocking off her glasses. He said Gatineau police held him overnight and released him on Sunday on a promise to appear at his next court date in January 2018.

Former CAP national chiefs Sen. Patrick Brazeau and Kevin Daniels walk together in 2009. Photo courtesy of Mark Taylor.
Former CAP national chiefs Sen. Patrick Brazeau (left) and Kevin Daniels walk together in 2009. Photo courtesy of Mark Taylor.

Daniels said his battle with CAP is far from over.

“There has been a lot of lateral violence, a lot of greed and corruption within this organization that has been going on for a long, long time,” he said.

APTN contacted Brad Darch, executive assistant to Bertrand, seeking comment. Darch said Bertrand, a former Liberal MP, was in meetings and wouldn’t be available for an interview until Tuesday.

APTN followed up requesting a statement on the Eagle Staff incident and the organization’s dealings with NWMO, but received no response.

CAP says it represents off-reserve and non-status Indigenous peoples.

According to financial documents released by CAP during their annual general meeting, NWMO gave CAP $119,000 for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

NWMO also sponsored the meeting, according to a spokesperson for the nuclear waste organization.

NWMO is currently trying to find a location to store used nuclear fuel and has whittled down potential sites to seven from an original list of 22.

“As part of our ongoing work to identify a single preferred location with informed and willing hosts, we frequently interact with Aboriginal people, communities, treaty and political organizations, such as the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples,” said NWMO spokesperson Bradly Hammond. “As we have done in previous years, we had the honour of being among the sponsors of the annual general assembly in Ottawa. This was an excellent opportunity to provide an update about our project, the site selection process and our ongoing engagement with Indigenous people.”

CAP also received about $4.5 million from several federal departments in the 2016-2017 fiscal year, including from Indigenous Affairs, Human Resources and Skills Development and Status of Women Canada.

Roger Fleury, a former Green Party federal candidate and chief of the off-reserve Algonquins of Fort-Coulonge, Que., was in attendance at the meeting when Daniels attempted to seize the Eagle Staff.

He said he is concerned with how Bertrand is running CAP and his dealings with NWMO.

“We have a major problem,” he said. “I agree with Kevin Daniels, who had the nerve to go up there and grab the staff. There is something wrong with this.”

Audrey Redman, a residential school survivor, stepped outside the ballroom when the Eagle Staff incident unfolded.

Redman said she was upset with how events were handled and believes Bertrand needs to be clear about his Indigenous ancestry.

“That is the big question. When he asked about genealogy, they just booed, there was a big row over that,” she said. “What was the problem with that? Don’t we, as Native people, have a right to know? Everybody else has a right to that. We want to know who is a First Nations person. We only know by your bloodline and where you come from.”

Bertrand’s biography on the CAP website is silent about his Indigenous ancestry.

Sen. Patrick Brazeau, who was national chief of CAP from 2006 until he left for his Senate appointment in 2009, attended the organization’s meetings last Friday. Brazeau said he heard many delegates questioning Bertrand’s Indigenous roots.

“I did have a lot of delegates approach me and asking me if I knew Bertrand personally and about his ancestry,” said Brazeau. “Delegates were requesting his ancestry and it poses some problems. I have no opinion on it. I am no longer part of the organization.”

Brazeau said he was “sad” to see the current state of CAP.

“I worked hard and I dedicated a lot of time to raise the profile of the organization and now it seems to be a ghost organization,” said Brazeau. “You don’t hear about it very often and I find it unfortunate for the constituency of CAP. Things could be fixed, but we’ll wait and see.”

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10 thoughts on “Ottawa police called after Eagle Staff seized during Congress meeting

  1. OCIP and jon mcdonald belong to a criminal organization of women and children beaters. this group needs to be dissolved asap along with the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples and a new Indigenous grass root movement. Perferably a Mariarchal Traditional Government to replace it.

  2. I’m an Elder from Hornepayne Ontario and I’m not scared or angry but very concerned about people like Chief Bertrand and Jon MacDonald who have a thin claim to being Indigenous. I know who Jon MacDonald is. For over 2 years he attended meetings sponsored by the Nuclear Waste Organization miles and miles away from his own home community of Schreiber. Jon MacDonald traveled to Hornepayne, Manitouwadge and White River to attend regular meetings of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. At these meetings, Mr. MacDonald supported and defended the nuclear industry. This was because the NWMO was a source of income for Mr. MacDonald. He was receiving money from NWMO in return for his cheerleading. This was revealed to everyone in Hornepayne, White River and Manitouwadge by Chief Ron Kocsis who received this information from the NWMO itself and ran MacDonald out of town.

    Shame, Shame, Jon MacDonald

  3. How does CAP get its mandate? I live in Toronto (40+ years) and have never heard of them doing anything here to reach out to urban Indigenous peoples. I asked them this a year or two ago by email but I was just referred on to the guy who purports to represent Ontario and he gave me this sad non-answer. I laugh when I hear them say they represent me as an urban Indigenous person – they don’t. Could government and gov’t agencies please stop funding them? I know you need yes men, but CAP has next to no visibility and not an ounce of credibility.

  4. As usual, when people do not understand a topic, they become afraid and demand a stop to it.
    Nuclear waste is currently here in Ontario, being stored above ground. There is an effort being put forward by the NWMO to find a willing host region which would be selected and accepted by the residents of that region and is found to be safe, geologically speaking, to allow the safe storage deep underground for the existing spent nuclear fuel, (waste).
    First Nations and Aboriginal people have not been asked to store this material and they will have a vote on the issue when the time comes. (in about 5-7 years) By then, the site will be narrowed down.
    The NWMO has reached out to ALL residents in Ontario and that includes First Nations people. MNO, and an elders circle as well as many reserves from across the land, are all engaged in the learn more process as well as CAP.
    Some people react to this as treason and visualize atomic bombs going off, but this will not be the case.
    When people start questioning the validity of ones ancestry in this country, it shows how the population has become divided, scared and angry. Mr. Bertrand is a person with aboriginal forefathers/mothers and as such needs not answer to accusations, especially from hot heads and agitated people.
    CAP is doing it’s best with the meagre finances it receives. CAP can only help different aboriginal groups if the financing is there. Unlike the federal government which continues to borrow money, CAP must exist on the finances which it receives from government and other agencies which does include the NWMO. The only winner in this situation is the federal government with a continuing policy of division between the aboriginal groups.

    1. Jon:

      NWMO has all of the appearances of a well meaning, culturally sensitive project – but I can’t help but wonder why Canada isn’t considering disposing of nuclear waste deep beneath Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver – or any other cities, for that matter. you’ve been present in the discussions. Has anyone asked? What was the answer?

    2. Jon Mcdonald needs to prove his Indigenous ancestry as well and stop looking for corporate hand outs.

  5. Indigenous peoples were never beneficiaries of these nuclear materials so why are they being asked/forced to store the waste?

  6. Kevin Daniels has a wonderful spirit and has raised valid concerns. As for CAP, this organization is supposed to assist families like my own. Unfortunately every time we went there for assistance, we received nothing. So CAP, YOU DO NOT HAVE OUR CONSENT TO REPRESENT

    1. You people have no right to put grandfather’s gifts in your blatant and non respectful actions around an eagle staff. Shame on your actions and I hope elders step up to explain why this is wrong wrong wrong!

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