Disrespect of Protesters Toward their own Female Elders - 5 July 2014: I expect that the following video will "go viral" across North America - for a number of reasons. One of these would be the belief that Six Nations people have reverence towards their elders, and a particular respect for women due to their traditional role within Six Nations culture. That is apparently a fallacy.
The "rank and file" among the activists at the barricade are also influencing events. The metaphorical body of the serpent, especially the underbelly, can still have an influence on events or their perception. People should remember to be careful what you say, especially when you know that there are cameras rolling. Some amazing things get caught on tape. Some people have little in the way of filters or self control. At the time that this incident was video taped I was nearby, but the person "featured" in the video was hurling so many insults and threats at so many people, it was hard to keep track of what was going on. About this time I had asked him if he had any words in his vocabulary that don't begin with the word "f" - trying to get him to tone things down.
Hence the importance of videotaping, and the key role of an excellent videographer. The individual shown here was abusive (issuing coarse language, threats) to others including myself at various other points during the melee. Also they have been seen in videos or photographs engaging in anti-social acts such as hurling tires on the fire burning in the middle of Argyle Street in 2006. I do wish to emphasize that while there is a strong element of this type present among the protesters, they do not make up the majority of the Six Nations folks there even at the barricade. Without any doubt, there will be general condemnation of actions such as these by the vast majority of the good people of Six Nations.
The camera and the audio don't lie, they tell a story, in this case a rather sordid one that has got to be embarrassing to people on both sides of the barricade. It has already been published to the Internet so I am merely making it accessible to my readers - but with some hesitancy due to the graphic nature of the content.
The video from CANACE HD (see home page here) was taken during the melee of 5 July 2014 at the barricade across Surrey Street, Caledonia. Before viewing please be aware that there is extreme vulgar / coarse language directed towards one (Six Nations) woman, and sexually oriented threats towards the daughter of another woman. It will be upsetting for some viewers. At best it is suitable only for those over 18 - although even at any age it has the potential of causing distress. If you decide to view the video even after these warnings, click here. You will gain insight into what we in Caledonia, as well as Six Nations moderates, must endure during this conflict.
Disrespect of Protesters Toward the Ontario Judicial System - 2007 and 2008: There is a huge undercurrent of angry disrespect that is rampant at Six Nations and we who are on the front lines know it from direct experience, but it even shows itself in situations where there are strict and enforced protocols on behavior - such as at proceedings held in Ontario Provincial Court in Cayuga. I have worked in this setting and know full well what is allowed, and what crosses a line. For example if you shout out in Court you will be removed by the Bailiff - although in some cases you may be given a warning first. What I have never seen in all my days in Court, testifying as an expert witness, is the degree of blatant disrespect shown by some Six Nations individuals - it appears to be endemic, not merely isolated instances. I have heard of many examples, but perhaps it is best to quote from a reporter, ensuring that my biases will not enter into the mix. Christie Blatchford covered some of the trials of the perpetrators of crimes related to the DCE or smoke shack incidents. As Blatchford says Christie Blatchford, Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, Toronto, Doubleday Canada, 2010), and I know to be true from my own direct experience, is that normally Court officials such as bailiffs take their role very seriously - maintaining Court decorum. This is why the trial of A Douglas had a dramatic impact on the OPP officers who were waiting to testify. No doubt they had never seen anything remotely resembling what they were about to witness.
By the end of 2007 and early 2008 many of the criminal charges and trials relating to the violent DCE takeover had reached the stage of requiring the accused to appear in Court. Friends and relatives are allowed to attend and to sit in the gallery, but they are expected to maintain the dignity and decorum of the Court. Apparently no one has informed many at Six Nations of what should be common sense. Here the OPP officers witnessed in "the graceful old Cayuga courthouse" with,
angry supporters sitting, and sometimes standing, in the body of the Court, yelling out "Who is the army that can arrest this judge?" and "Why don't you let him [Douglas] the fuck out?". There was audible hissing and swearing, and hostility so naked that the complete lack of security precautions genuinely began to worry the police (pp.225-226) However when all this misbehavior was brought to the attention of everyone from Crown attorneys to the Judge - no one did anything. And if it had been a "regular" Canadian citizen behaving in the same way, I can assure one and all that there would have been all hell to pay. However there is a separate set of rules for "Natives" who "get a pass on misbehavior".
On 19 December 2007, in front of an OPP officer, the co-accused of Douglas, T Miller when the OPP officer heard Miller say, "That f*cking Crown, I could take his f*cking head off!" The same day one of the "Natives" present came up to the Crown Attorney and said, "I'm somebody who knows everyone. You'd be surprised who we know; we have pictures and we know where they live". If that is not a threat, then I don't know the meaning of the term. All officials, from the OPP brass to the Court officers, refused to take any action - including beefing up Court security! So it should be no surprise that when Douglas made his next Court appearance, both Miller and the unidentified man who made the threats were allowed into the Court (unheard of in other venues). It should be no surprise also that the supporters of Douglas were, loudly muttering curses and epithets such as "You racist" (p.228) in the direction of the same Crown attorney. Then the most disgusting actions probably every witnessed in Court in Cayuga (or most other venues) occurred. When Douglas was led out to the clapping and cheering of supporters, a teenager, at the very front of the courtroom looked directly at Judge Joe Nadel and shouted, in a clear voice, "You f*cking piece of shit!". To a Judge!!!! While OPP officers from various parts of the courtroom heard the comment, the Judge simply continued to write and appears to have ignored the despicable comment.
Comment: So this is what we are dealing with. People who have no respect for anyone or anything, not the Court, not even their own Elders. They are a law unto themselves and have degenerated into a sub-species who certainly cannot behave civilly in any human interaction. The behavior is low class - no class as it would be in any society. Normally there would be severe sanctions for such actions, but here, if it is committed by someone considered to be "Native", then the normal rules are not only bent but dispensed with to avoid confrontation. So the Courts and others have acted as enablers and we can expect these sorts of grotesquely inappropriate behavior as long as the Court does not use its authority to maintain a single standard of law for all people regardless of racial - ethnic - cultural background. While on the barricades pretty much anything goes in terms of name calling, and the OPP are the recipients of all sorts of gross comments, but they don't have any authority to stop it - but in the Courts, there are rules in this context, and if broken there are consequences that can be directed at perpetrators. I do not have any evidence that the situation has changed.
I just have to groan when I hear ill informed non-Natives talk about the respectfulness that Natives show. Really, have you ever been to Haldimand County?