Judge’s ruling halts Seneca Nation mail-order cigarette sales
A federal judge ruled Friday that Seneca Indians in the mail-order cigarette business can no longer use the post office to ship cigarettes while they fight a new ban on the practice, according to this Associated Press story. As the AP writes: “In a mixed decision, Judge Richard Arcara upheld the mail-order ban contained in the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act but temporarily exempted more than 140 Seneca-owned businesses from a provision requiring them to comply with all taxing laws in the places they sell cigarettes.
Death of traditional singer in Glacier National Park prompts investigation
Authorities say Clinton Croff, 30, a well-known traditional Native American singer and dancer, died from from multiple wounds after becoming engaged in an altercation in Glacier National Park, according to this Associated Press report. Croff was from Browning, on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana.
First Nations women married to non-aboriginal men still fighting for rights
Aboriginal women on many First Nations reserves in Canada still are being denied their rights because they married non-tribal men, despite a 1985 law designed to address the issue. Canadian Press reports here about the legal struggle by some women who are even prevented from voting.
Turtle Island News publisher is about all-Native news, all the time
In the 16 years since Lynda Powless started the Turtle Island News on the Six Nations Reserve, she’s been arrested twice (at a band council meeting for refusing to leave), sued (unsuccessfully by then chief Roberta Jamieson) and lodged an Ontario Press Council complaint against another paper on the reserve after it ran a front-page story on Powless’s divorce, writes Denise Davy of the Hamilton Spectator. Powless tells Davy she started the paper because “people on the reserve had no clue what was going on in their own community.”
Blues Indigo is the theme, with yet another lineup that gives us the blues because we aren’t there.
Murray Porter, who is Mohawk from the Six Nations Reserve, starts off the evening. Porter’s performance on the Steinway piano designed especially for the Olympics is featured in the video above. Here’s his MySpace page.
Then there’s Leanne Goose, who is Dene/Inuvialuit from the Arctic Circle town of Inuvik in the far western Northwest Territories, just a slice of the Yukon between it and Alaska. Experience her high-energy roots music in the video below, or on her Web site.
David Brown and Dana Chatwell. (National Post photo)
A couple who sued the Ontario Provincial Police and the province for $7 million for allegedly failing to protect them from a First Nations land occupation next door has settled out of court, the CBC reports here.
Dave Brown and Dana Chatwell were four weeks into their trial, and scheduled to resume next week, when the settlement – the terms of which are confidential – was reached. The couple contends they were virtually under siege during the years-long occupation and protests, and that authorities essentially turned their backs on them. (The video above, from a year ago, gives the idea of the intensity surrounding the issues.)
As the network reports:
Six Nations demonstrators occupied the site across from Brown and Chatwell’s home in February 2006 to prevent construction of a housing development, called Douglas Creek Estates, on what the protesters maintain is traditional First Nations land.
Hundreds have joined the action in the nearly four years since. The occupation has seen clashes with OPP officers and sharp criticism of the force.
Chatwell and Brown alleged the OPP did little or nothing when the couple brought up complaint after complaint about incidents at their house. The couple’s statement of claim said they experienced trespassing, spotlights being shined into their windows for hours at night, threats against them and their property, a break-in and disruptive noise.
At one point, Brown told CanWest News Service, here, he kept watch in his house with a shotgun against people carrying bats, axes and hockey sticks.
The couple say they bear no ill will to their Native neighbors.
The Olympic torch relay passed through the Six Nations in Ontario last night, but only after the route had been altered under threat of protests.
The CanWest news service reports here that more than 1,000 people gathered to watch the flame being passed among 25 Six Nations torchbearers who jogged around a bingo hall, instead of through town as originally planned.
The idea was that any protests might be more easily contained in the new site. Some protesters were on the reserve southwest of Toronto that has the largest population of all of Canada’s First Nations.
The protesters carried signs that read, “No Torch, No Trespassing” and said they wanted to call attention to unfair treatment of indigenous people in Canada.
Among the torchbearers was Caytlen Burning, 12, a Six Nations resident who runs mid-distance races.
“I’ve always wanted to go to the Olympics and this is encouraging me to follow my dream,” she says.
With illegal cigarette sales up nearly 50 percent in some places, Canada’s coffers lose about $2 billion annually in tax revenues, the Toronto Star reports here.
How was that number determined? Well, squads of people known as “butt pickers” scooped up cigarette butts off the street (next time you have a bad day at work, consider this) and counted the numbers of illegal cigarettes.
“Illegal” in this case meaning untaxed and unregulated. Further translation: First Nations-manufactured cigarettes sold off-reserve.
Mainly, the Star reports, that means the Akwesasne reserve straddling Ontario, Quebec and the State of New York. Ten cigarette manufacturing plants – nine unlicensed, according to the video above – on the U.S. side produce billions of cigarettes annually. The Canadian Cancer Society also points to the Kahnawake, Tyendinaga and Six Nations reserves as sources of the contraband smokes.
No word yet whether Canada will go to court against the tribes to try to collect the taxes, a move under way in New York that is facing intense opposition from tribes.