Warrior societies to meet in Kenora

By June Bland

Miner and News Staff

Six weeks after issuing a press release condemning racism in Kenora, Okiijida Warrior Society spokesman Terrence Nelson

has announced that warrior societies from across Canada and the United States will meet in Kenora on Dec. 11-12.

The meeting at the Kenora Friendship Centre is to develop a 20-year plan for First Nations and First Nations youth.

Among the issues to be discussed will be perceived police brutality toward First Nations in Kenora and Winnipeg. "We will

also be looking for any officers' names that appear frequently on injuries to First Nations people."

Another issue is how a non-native adopted by a native family has declared himself chief of Buffalo Point (in Manitoba) and the

situation there. Also on the table will be treaty protection, youth suicides, personal development and, said Nelson, "getting our

young warriors ready for the next 20 years. We want to see abuse treatment centres built, and we are not prepared to wait

any more."

"The aboriginal population in both Winnipeg and Kenora will double within the next 20 years," said Nelson. "Issues like

alcohol and drugs, suicides, things that affect our people will be discussed and plans will be put in place to deal with those

issues. At least 150 people will be here, possibly more, we may have to move the meeting to a larger location, but right now it

will be held in the Friendship Centre (Main Street, Kenora)."

The Ojibway Peacekeepers, Mi'kmaq Warrior Society spokesman James Ward, American Indian Movement field director

Dennis Banks, the Native Youth Movement (Winnipeg & B.C.), Dakota Warrior Societies, Anishinaabe Okiijida (Winnipeg,

and Roseau River) and many other individuals will attend the meeting.

The main speaker will be Banks, co-founder of American Indian Movement. Banks is an Anishinaabe from Leech Lake,

Minnesota.

He was the main spokesman in the confrontation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota in 1973, and has been an ardent native

activist for over 40 years. He is founder of the Sacred Run and a much sought after motivational speaker. He has frequently

put his life on the line in many confrontations, defending his beliefs.

The meetings will be closed to the media, however, Nelson said there would be an opportunity to speak to the leaders and all

leaders will make statements about the outcome of the meetings, when the meetings are over.

Regarding Buffalo Point in Manitoba, Nelson said that only three native families are actually on the reserve. When other

natives held a sit-in at the band office earlier this year, the RCMP were called to eject protesters through a court injunction.

Nelson said treaty rights will be exercised. "We will go into the forest and cut trees from our own land, we're not asking

permission, we've tried the peaceful method, and it doesn't work."

Banks said the American Indian Movement needed to be violent because Americans are violent.

"Our people were dying and nobody gave a damn about that until we picked up a gun. Our commitment to use violence if

necessary has not wavered, but that was never our decision, it came only after people had enough of being ignored, of being

beaten, of being robbed of their wealth and seeing their loved ones being killed.

The American Indian Movement was a spiritual movement as well. Along the way the warrior society was our path to

sobriety, usefulness and purpose for life."

Jo Seenie of Okiijidakwa added that "in 20 years our population will double, do we just let our children suffer? Do we allow

alcoholism, drugs and poverty to consume another generation of our children? We must declare war on alcohol, on drugs and

victim mentality. I will not be a victim. It is time for our warriors to stand up."

Nelson said Minister of Indian Affairs Bob Nault (Kenora-Rainy River MP) should have no doubt that he will be contacted

following this meeting.

"There has been a lack of help from Indian Affairs, but we are going to do what we set out to do."