APTN National News
The Vancouver police is trying to identify a group of masked warriors who dumped dirt inside the constituency office of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould over her refusal to call a public inquiry into the 1995 Gustafson Lake armed standoff.
A spokesperson for the Vancouver police said an investigation is currently ongoing into the March 3 incident, but detectives have yet to identify the warriors who executed the protest.
“It is unknown at this time which group was responsible and there have been no arrests made in this case,” said police spokesperson Randy Fincham, in an emailed statement. “Our investigation is ongoing and there is no further information to share at this time.”
The group of four warriors entered Wilson-Raybould’s constituency office in Vancouver at about 2 p.m. and “poured dirt on the counter and floor,” said Fincham.
An official with Wilson-Raybould’s office in Ottawa told APTN National News that the Vancouver office contacted the police after the incident. The official said the constituency office is currently closed for “cleaning.”
Christine Chan, manager of operations for Wilson-Raybould’s Vancouver office, refused to provide a statement on the incident.
“We decline to comment,” said Chan, in an email.
A video of the incident was posted online by subMedia.tv, an online multimedia “collaboration” which produces “anarchist films” and “radical videos.”
The video shows the four warriors, carrying a bullhorn, drum and bags of soil, walk into Wilson-Raybould’s constituency office.
A warrior with the bullhorn then says they have a “special delivery” for Wilson-Raybould.
“Two months after Wolverine has called for the Gustafson Lake inquiry,” said the warrior. “This is a delivery from the warriors….This is our message: Our land is not for sale.”
The warrior also refers to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who was in Vancouver that week for climate change talks with provincial and territorial premiers along with Indigenous leaders.
At one point, a man, who appears to work for Wilson-Raybould’s constituency office, tries to unmask the warriors, but is forced out onto the sidewalk.
Wilson-Raybould was confronted about the issue earlier this year when the minister said she wanted to first focus on the inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women. Wilson-Rabyould is one of three cabinet ministers laying the groundwork for that inquiry which is expected to get underway by this summer.
Ailing Secwepemc Elder William “Wolverine” Jones Ignace wrote Trudeau and Wilson-Raybould earlier this year requesting a public inquiry into the Gustafsen Lake standoff.
The standoff centred on land leased by the province to a rancher near 100 Mile House, B.C., that was used for Sundance ceremonies. The land, which was never surrendered, was reclaimed by the Ts’Peten Defenders in 1995 who refused to leave despite attempts by the rancher to evict them.
The standoff saw the RCMP, backed by the Canadian Forces, and warriors exchange tens of thousands of rounds of gunfire, more than during the 1990 Oka crisis. The RCMP also used an IED against a warrior in a pickup truck.
Two RCMP officers visited Wolverine on Feb. 26 following protests against a modern day treaty vote by four Secwepemc communities that are part of the Northern Secwepemc te Qelmucw tribal council.
RCMP Sgt. Frank Paul stated the reason for his visit was to discuss a letter Wolverine sent to the Mounties alleging officers were violating Secwepemc sovereignty by intervening in protests against the modern day treaty, according to a statement released on Feb. 27 by the Ts’Peten Defenders.
The Ts’Peten Defenders sent a statement to APTN saying they had also seen the video of the warriors dumping dirt at Wilson-Raybould’s office, but provided no further comment. The video was posted on the Defenders’ Facebook page.