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Okanagan Indian Band gaining supporters; Tolko yet to act on injunction

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010 | 1:42 pm

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By Kathy Michaels

Tolko’s win of a B.C. Supreme Court order mandating the removal of an Okanagan Indian Band roadblock hasn’t amounted to much.

The company’s woodlands manager, Mark Tamas, said they are taking their time to  review the court’s direction and assess what’s next — though, getting to the swath of trees beyond the roadblock in a timely manner is of the utmost importance. They’ve claimed this turn of events has prompted the recent curtailment at the Armstrong plant.

Band members, however, have heard rumours that the logging company will make a push to enter the Vernon-area cutblock this week. It’s speculation Tolko representatives maintain is false, but when they move forward, it will fall to Mounties to clear the way.

The RCMP has said they will work toward a peaceful resolution, mediating between the two parties. And since the relationship between the band and logging company began to dissolve, RCMP officers have regularly met with the band to discuss how the situation will move forward and what the options at hand are.

Meantime, the blockade is growing stronger and Grand Chief  Stewart Phillip explained, the support for their stand against logging  Browns Creek and protecting the watershed, is gaining momentum.

“This is developing a profile across the country as more people become cognizant of the fact that an arrest may take place,” he said. “There are also more mainstream environmental groups taking part because this is not just an issue about eight cutblocks — it is broader.”

Members of  First Nation bands across B.C.  have headed to the blockade near Bouleau Lake. And in a meeting held last Thursday, locals reinforced their support for what their leaders have chosen to do. Fully supporting  the mandate to protect the watershed that’s a tributary to Whiteman’s creek, the community’s water supply, means the blockade won’t come down lightly.

“It’s inspiring, it really picks up our spirits when we see people understanding and realizing what this issue is about,” said Okanagan Indian Band Chief Fabian Alexis.

It’s also heartening that the courts, though ultimately judging in favour of Tolko’s request to reinforce the court order to dismantle the blockade, moved forward so cautiously.

“It was a really unique decision,”said Alexis. “It wasn’t just an in-and-out decision, our lawyers were in court for half a day and the judge reserved judgment until the next morning.”

That makes it much different than previous judgments where corporations were pitted against the band, he said.

“There are conditions, which makes it unique,” Alexis said. “(Tolko) is going to paint it as a big victory, but from our understanding and realization of what it means, we have the ability to file papers appealing the decision in court.”

That was done on Friday, though it’s yet to be heard in court.

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10 Responses to “Okanagan Indian Band gaining supporters; Tolko yet to act on injunction”

  1. seed says:
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    Soo , What the Indian band is saying is that they haven’t received any money out of this deal, so we will put up a road block.(lol) Why don’t us Caucasian people put a road block up on the city side of the bridge and stop them from crossing.

  2. grumpydigger says:
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    It is because of the weakness, of the federal and provincial governments. And the fact that the RCMP are very reluctant to withhold up court orders when natives are involved……..we have this problem…….

    the great Spirit needs money and I got a feeling the logging companies will have to supply it…….

  3. Thunderspirit says:
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    What greatspirit do you speak of grave digger?Do you realy think the greatspirts need money?what a joke.and it is not the weakness of the government but the power that now watches over the RED man.For my people have been threw enough and you best pray this remains peaceful.Your insult gravedigger has not gone unnoticed by the great spirits,have fun with that and one more thing gravedigger greatspirit means God what r u a satanist??not surprised racist going to hell anyway huh?ha ha!

  4. BLouis says:
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    Ignorance really is bliss not isn’t it? Simplistic answers to complex questions are never a solution so you two…keep mining your mud puddle for the little gems of bigotry (look it up). The Okanagan Valley is a dry land belt region susceptible to low rainfall and drought. we had 56 forestry workers, by 1989 we were down to 9. So ya we had a job!!! but were thrown out of the sector by the likes of TOLKO and other companies.

    Too replace these losses water is key to our future in terms of development and the ability to develop our lands. Besides why is it that every other community in this province has direct benefit of protection of their water supplies except communities that are predominately First Nations? On the westside of Okanagan Lake communities less then half the size as our community have community watershed designation along with every other non-native community in the province. Systematic institutionalized racism perhaps or good ole fashioned corporation greed.You choose

    So you two keep your small minded ignorant and bigoted diatribes after all it appears you’ve reached the highest levels of your intellect.

    Oh boy…you two got me now!!!

  5. grumpydigger says:
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    Thunderspirit wrote…….you best pray this remains peaceful.Your insult gravedigger has not gone unnoticed by the great spirits….LOL…..so you’re going instigate violence are you….perhaps maybe you should cut back what you’re smoking.and reality may come in to better perspective……..

    Abide by the laws of Canada……and obey the courts and laws of Canada………

    When you do, I will show you the respect you think you deserve….

  6. grumpydigger says:
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    BLouis .. the watershed is being protected by the environmental agenda put forth by the government……

    I always find it comical, when people try to put forth an argument that for some reason the native people have some great grasp Of the watershed and the environment…..if you have any fight at all, it’s with the developers that have basically overbuilt the valley…………..all I see, are people that believe they’re above the law ,because they believe they have some sort of spiritual superiority……..

  7. Thunderspirit says:
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    I’m in Vancouver gravedigger what makes you think i have to get physically violent when i’m not even in Kelowna?Shows your not a part of the source so your words are meaningless to me.Another thing that is indian land they have set up the blockade is it not which means it is not against the law.But what of the laws of nature and God??hmm?mans law does not supercede that of mother natures law natures law supercededs that of mans.I wish for no respect from you i don’t know you and thankfully never will.I AM speaking of such violence as Oka the murder of Dudley George and what happened in Caladonea.No violence against my people not us to you but you to us old man.

  8. BLouis says:
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    Grumpydigger you really aren’t putting it on, you truly are ignorant. Its about fundamental rights that are recognized under international as a human right. It is about water and the protection of water. I don’t think you ever stepped out your backyard to even have an inkling of how important water is to this valley. Developers are only one part of a future looming problem, the other is the conservation and protection of what remains. It isn’t about us it’s about all of you

    You want to know how bad it can get look to Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, but then again…you don’t have too. After all…you know it all. As for Spirituality it wouldn’t hurt you to find a little yourself, because you’re definitely in deficit in those regards now aren’t you.

    Murphy once said said, “never argue with an idiot, people might not be able to tell the difference”

    I’m going stop because I think I’ve just crossed that line

  9. NKwala says:
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    A reminder that the Provincial government is acting under presumed jurisdition, I or no other leader in the Okanakan has ever handed over jurisdiction to anyone, we continue to “use and occupy” all of our “tim-who-lough” (land)Tolko is a third party trespasser operating under the Provinces (sic) presumed jurisdiction and should be charged with trespass….

  10. Natalie says:
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    All this land is Indigenous peoples’ land. This dispute is on the land of the Okanagans. No treaties have been made, this land has not been surrended in any way whatsoever. I’m an immigrant to Canada and it’s as plain as the nose on my face that unless you are First Nations, you or your ancestors, like me, are immigrants, descendants of immigrants and relative newcomers – 150 years of colonization is a small moment in the history of the vast country. If an immigrant can see this so plainly, why is it that other newcomers & the descedants of immigrants can’t see that we live on stolen land, land that we have claimed as our own. To those individuals who wrote such ignorant comments on here: Were your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and so on, from Canada? Where are you from? Your ancestors, like me, may have chosen to leave your original homeland, but the Okanagan Nation are still here and they are protecting their resources.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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