Disappointment is being expressed by several First Nation protesters that Canada’s Minister of Justice is not considering an inquiry into 1995’s standoff at Gustasfen Lake a ‘top priority’.
Anushka Azadi with the Ts’Peten Defence Committee says they met with Jody-Wilson Raybould in Vancouver after having received no response to a letter they wrote to her and Premier Justin Trudeau on Jan. 4.
“It seems like what she was doing was deflecting the questions at all by using the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women to again deflect the conversation and questions we were trying to ask which do have to do with the missing and murdered indigenous women-it has to do with land theft, it has to with this whole issue of genocide.”
Azadi says although an inquiry has been called for since the standoff happened, this is the first time that their voice is being noticed.
“The Gustasfen Standoff, in the end, included 18 people that were barricaded in the camp, some as young as 14 and pregnant, and the RCMP went onto national tv and were bragging that they brought eighteen body bags and no one was going to come out alive.”
The Standoff involved about 400 members of the RCMP with support from the military.
Aboriginal occupiers believed that the privately owned ranch land was a sacred place and part of unceded Shuswap territory.
“Calling for an inquiry would be the first step in not only reconciliation which people like to talk about,” says Azadi.
“But in understanding what actually happened there and why were armored personnel carriers deployed against these 18 people, why were there landmines set up around the camp, why were there 77,000 rounds shot?”