The Blackfoot Nation and racist cops (forwarded from Jim Craven)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue May 16 19:23:35 MDT 2000

-----Original Message-----
From:   Craven, Jim
Sent:   Tuesday, May 16, 2000 5:05 PM
To:     'sikapii at'
Cc:     Craven, Jim

Dear Sir,

As I have been unable to secure legal counsel, having been refused
representation by several lawyers, I must represent myself in the matters
before this court.

First of all, I am a member of the Sovereign Blackfoot Nation. By all that
makes Canada a sovereign nation among other nations of the global
community, Blackfoot make up a sovereign nation that encompasses Blackfoot
People residing on traditional and/or designated Blackfoot lands on both
sides of the Canada-U.S. border. Our Blackfoot ancestors resided here as
members of a recognized and sovereign nation--recognized and accepted as
sovereign by other First Nations as well as by the governments and treaties
of the British and the United States--before there was a United States or
Canada or a Canada-United States border. Blackfoot collectively make up an
independent and sovereign nation for exactly the same--and even
more--reasons and authority under international law as Canada is recognized
as an independent and sovereign nation; specifically, we share: common
territory; common language and culture; a common history; a common economic
life; common political-legal institutions; common blood and ancestry. And
further, as no nation makes treaties with its own citizens but rather only
with other sovereign nations, and as we have treaties with the governments
of the U.S. and Canada, we are recognized as a sovereign and independent
nation. Our nationhood and sovereignty are  facts created by the Creator,
our history, our bonds and established under the same principles of
international law recognized by Canada and other nations that they employ
to assert and defend their own nationhood and sovereignty. Our right to
nationhood and sovereignty do not, however, depend  on explicit recognition
by any nation as we have numerous examples of nations established in fact
and law although formally recognized by some but not other nations for
their own narrow reasons.

I was driving in Lethbridge on May 18th 2000 with my 83 year-old mother
Delma Yellowhorn when stopped by a Lethbridge police officer. We were
breaking no speed limits and driving in a safe manner. On our vehicle we
display a license plate showing "Sovereign Blackfoot Nation" and we carried
Alberta license plates in the car with our registration and insurance. A
police officer stopped us citing driving a vehicle with an unauthorized
license plate. First, let me say that we regard such a stop as equivalent
to an American motorist driving a vehicle with Montana license plates and a
Montana driver's license being stopped for "driving with an unauthorized
plate or license."

We display Blackfoot license plates not to evade any laws or accountability
but to show our pride, nationhood and sovereignty. Further we are a nation
on the verge of extinction as a result of hundreds of years of past--and
continuing in the present--genocide; genocide as defined in Article II of
the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide to which Canada is a signatory:" a)
Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to
members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of
life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in
part; d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e)
Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." Indeed the
Government of Canada with its $326 million "Healing Fund" for victims of
the Indian Residential School system has admitted that the Residential
School horrors and other crimes have been done--and are being done--with
the result of Indian Nations now bordering on total extinction. Asserting
and defending our nationhood and sovereignty is all we have left to try to
prevent total extinction of us as a People and as a Nation.

When my mother told the officer that we were in possession of Alberta
vehicle plates, insurance and registration,his attitude and treatment of my
mother, a respected 83 year-old Elder was one of contempt that no one
should have to endure or see one's mother endure. He refused to even
acknowledge her existence which led me to ask him if he recognized us as
human beings to which he responded by simply turning away from us.The
initial approach of this officer and the arrogance and racism he
displayed--arrogance and racism with which we Blackfoot and other first
Nations are very familiar and have had to endure for centuries--was the
cause of all that followed. Instead of listening to my mother, this officer
simply wrote-up failure to produce license on demand. Is this the law of a
civilized nation that an officer can treat people who have been stopped
with utter contempt and callousness, and then when they react to
humiliation and injustice as any normal person would do, that predictable
reaction is labeled failure to produce a license on [an insultingly and
humiliatingly made] demand? Why not charge us with refusal to accept or bow
down to callous and racist treatment which would be a more appropriate charge?

There is more evidence of the animus and racism of this officer. For
example, where my vehicle had been driven and stopped the previous day by
my son Bradley with the result of his being given a ticket and allowed to
leave, in this case our car was impounded and my 83 year-old mother and I
were left on the streets of Lethbridge at 5:30 pm or so as our vehicle was
taken away and impounded. No concern for our humanity, ability to get home
or safety was shown by this officer. After some conversation on the phone
this officer threatened the use of "brute force" if we did not surrender
our vehicle.

We were prepared to meet this officer's request and did indicate we were in
possession of the items that he requested. But when someone violates our
basic humanity, civil rights and provisions of various International and
Canadian Human Rights laws in the course of stopping and interrogating us,
his "demands" and authority carry no more weight or authority--under even
Canadian law--than if he had "demanded" sexual favors and then cited us for
refusal to accede to his "demands."

It was at the time--and still remains--my sincere belief that Blackfoot
People form a sovereign Nation and that we were merely demonstrating
Blackfoot pride and resolve not to become exterminated and extinct without
asserting our identity and right to exist. It is my sincere belief that my
situation was exactly analogous to that of a motorist from another Nation
passing through the territory of Canada--or even on Blackfoot territory if
the provisions of existing Treaties were recognized and kept as they have
been kept by Blackfoot. It is my sincere belief that the only "demand" from
this officer that I refused to obey was the "demand" that I accept and
allow my Elder mother and myself to be subjected to racist humiliation and
abuse and the "demand" that I accept and allow institutions that have
intended and acted to forcibly assimilate and destroy my People as a Nation
and People to be "legitimate" authorities to determine the legitimacy of
the nationhood and sovereignty of the Blackfoot Nation they have acted to
eliminate. It is like asking a Jew to submit to the "demand" that the nazi
shall determine who and what is a Jew and the nazi shall determine if and
the extent to which Jews may survive and be sovereign as members of a
nation or nations. I mean no disrespect to this Court or your Honor

Bella Yellowhorn

Louis Proyect
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