FW: (Fwd) [PEN-L:821] A Real Hero
jcraven at SPAMclark.edu
Wed Jun 20 15:28:39 MDT 2001
>From the Vancouver Sun Monday, December 18, 1995
by Karen Graham, Staff Writer
"Claim of Murder Goes Back to 40s"
A report that a girl was killed by a residential-school official has
sparked an investigation.
RCMP are launching an investigation today into an allegation that a
young girl was murdered at a United Church residential school for
Indians on Vancouver Island 50 years ago.
Art Anderson, an official with the United Church, said Sunday that
police were notified of the allegation as soon as the church learned
Rev. Kevin McNamee-Annett, a former United Church minister for the
Alberni area, reported the allegation to the current minister
Thursday. On Friday, both McNamee-Annett and the church lawyer
reported it to the police.
"We are uncertain what this means, but we have to treat it
seriously," Anderson said. "As of tomorrow, the police will be
beginning an investigation."
The investigation was triggered by a statement from a North Vancouver
woman who told McNamee-Annett she was nearby when a six-year-old girl
was kicked down some stairs and died.
Harriet Nahanee, 60, is the first witness to come forward to support
recent allegations about killings at residential schools on the
In another case, a boy is said to have bled to death after he was
beaten as punishment for breaking a jar at the school in Ahousaht in
Reports of sexual and physical assaults at the Port Alberni area
schools sparked a province-wide investigation of residential schools
by an RCMP task force. It has been gathering evidence for about one
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun, Nahanee said she can't
remember the girl's name but she knows that she came from Nitinat
Lake and her father's name was Blackie.
"I remember her from Nitinat Lake", she said. "Every so often her
name comes to me and I can see her face."
Nahanee said the girl died in 1946, when Nahanee was 11 years old.
But the memory is still painful enough that she cried throughout the
"I was at the bottom of the stairs in the basement", she said. " I
always went to the bottom of the stairs to sit and cry."
"I heard her crying, she was looking for her mother. I heard [the
school administrator] yelling at the supervisor for letting the child
run around on the stairwell.
"I heard him kick her and she fell down the stairs. I went to
look--her eyes were open, she wasn't moving. They didn't even come
down the stairs. They were arguing at the top of the stairs."
"I never saw her again."
Nahanee said the other students later told her the girl had died and
her body had been sent back to Nitinat Lake.
Nahanee told the other children what she had heard. She told her
mother and many of the elders in her tribe. But nobody believed her,
the woman said. She didn't trust the RCMP so she didn't report it to
Rev. A.E. Caldwell, a United Church minister, was head of the school
for the first four years Nahanee lived there. She alleges he
regularly sexually assaulted her in the infirmary.
In a written statement which has been forwarded to the RCMP task
force, Nahanee says she was taken every week to the infirmary where
either Caldwell or the boys supervisor, a Mr. Peake, woyuld force her
to perform oral sex.
Nahanee said she believes other deaths, which at the time the church
said were the result of exposure when students tried to run away,
were really caused by beatings in the school barn.
The woman still has nightmares about the killing and lives with rage
and shame resulting from her treatment.
"I would love to be free of the shame--to leave all that behind me
and have some pride in myself."
Why did I put this out? First, it might appear to some to be ancient
history, but I can assure you it is not. I was just on the phone with
Harriet Nahane and have her permission to share the following.; I visit her
Squamish Reserve where she lives and keep in regular contact with her.
She is a Pacheedaht Elder, a Hereditary Chief, one of the principal
organizers of the Tribunal
on the Residential Schools in Vancouver on which I sat as a Judge, She is
active on various issues including on Treaty issues and Defense of
Leonard Peltier, she is one of those who argues that the proposed
Nis' ga Treaty is a sell-out and she is active in ensuring that the
settlement of $350,000,000 for victims of the Residential Schools by
the Canadian Government will not be used to gloss over the necessary
details to prevent future abuses, tell the true history and find
victimizers to bring them to justice.
But I have another reason for putting this out. Following the
Tribunal, Harriet, who works with Elders of the Squamish has lost her
work. Consistent with her duties as a Pacheedaht Elder and descendant
of Hereditary Chiefs, she has been going around schools to teach
Pacheedaht Culture. Recently portions of her talks have been showing
up on the internet; she does not own or know how to use a computer.
Further, a few weeks ago she filed a formal complaint with the RCMP
alleging that RCMP came on the Squamish Reserve and twice tried to
run over her pregnant granddaughter--witnessed by her son Jeff Nahane
and others. The RCMP asked if an apology would be enough--it was not.
Having been made destitute Harriet walks everywhere. Three days ago
she received a phone call and a male voice said "now we have you
walking which is where we want you; soon we will be seeing you."
This hero refused to break; she is some fighter who has suffered so
much and continues to suffer. There are nexuses--increasingly
apparent and threatening to some of the powers-that-be and their
interests--between the Residential School Abuses, potential Treaties
and composition of the Treaty Commission, present-day forms of sexual
and physical abuses of children and rings that facilitate them,
intra-Tribal corruption, RCMP machinations, threats by
ultra-rightists and their allies etc.
I urge all people of conscience to write vigorous letters of protest
to the Canadian Government and bring Harriet's story to their
attention and demand full investigation of these matters and all
necessary resources for her protection.
This is for real and not some scam. Those who read this, please act.
Dept. of Economics,Clark College
1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd. Vancouver, WA. 98663
jcraven at clark.edu; Tel: (360) 992-2283 Fax: 992-2863
"The utmost good faith shall always be observed towards Indians; their land
property shall never be taken from them without their consent."
(Northwest Ordinance, 1787, Ratified by Congress 1789)
"...but this letter being unofficial and private, I may with safety give you
extensive view of our policy respecting the Indians, that you may better
the parts dealt to to you in detail through the official channel, and
system of which they make a part, conduct yourself in unison with it in
you are obliged to act without instruction...When they withdraw themselves
culture of a small piece of land, they will perceive how useless to them are
extensive forests, and will be willing to pare them off from time to time in
for necessaries for their farms and families. To promote this disposition to
lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries which we have
and they want,we shall push our trading houses, and be glad to see the good
influencial individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when
debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop
by cession of lands...In this way our settlements will gradually
approach the Indians, and they will in time either incorporate with us as
of the United States, or remove beyond the Mississippi.The former is
termination of their history most happy for themselves; but, in the whole
of this, it is essential to cultivate their love. As to their fear, we
our strength and their weakness is now so visible that they must see we have
shut our hand to crush them..."
(Classified Letter of President Thomas Jefferson ("libertarian"--for
people) to William Henry Harrison, Feb. 27, 1803)
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