Forwarded from Jim Craven (NLG and Bella Yellowhorn)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Mar 20 08:34:05 MST 2003

Michigan Chapter Established - 1937
Ford Building, 615 Griswold, Suite 916,
Detroit, Michigan 48226 (313) 963-0843
nlgorganizer at

March 19, 2003
Presiding Judge Provincial Court - Criminal Division
Court House 320 - 4 St.,
S. Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada  B T1J 4C7

Re:  Case of Bella Yellowhorn

Dear Hon. Presiding Judge:

I am writing on behalf of the National Lawyers Guild - Michigan Chapter
in the matter of  Bella Yellowhorn and to respectfully urge her
acquittal on the charges after an impartial review of the facts in her

The National Lawyers Guild is a progressive legal organization working
towards the end that "human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than
property interests."  We are the oldest integrated bar association in
the United States and are affiliated with the International Association
of Democratic Lawyers.  Our chapter is one of the oldest and largest
chapters in the United States with over 300 members throughout Michigan.

  We have been informed of the facts of Bella Yellowhorn's case and
believe that her good-faith beliefs are supported under international
law. Specifically, we endorse and adopt the arguments of Professor Jim
Craven, a recognized expert concerning the rights of Native Americans,
summarized as follows:

a)      The Blackfoot Nation is real and viable and still in existence
despite past and present attempts at its extermination;

b)      Bella Yellowhorn is a member of the Blackfoot Nation;

c)      The existence or non-existence of any nation should not be found
dependent upon recognition or non-recognition by other nations
(particularly those such as Canada or the U.S. who have a long history
of genocide and acting in denial of the sovereignty of First Nations);

d)      The sovereignty of indigenous people's cannot be legitimately

e)      The Government of Canada does assert Treaty 7, signed with
Blackfoot chiefs, to be binding and has built a whole system of supposed
property rights and material interests upon that and other Treaties.

f)        The 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, recognized
by both the U.S. and Canadian Supreme Courts as the "definitive
international law on treaties and treaty relations", only sovereign
nations can sign treaties and in doing so, each party necessarily
recognizes the other treating party as a co-equal and legitimate
representative of  a whole People being bound  by that Treaty.

g)      Canada is not only bound by international law governing
acceptance and recognition of treating partners as sovereign and
co-equal nations, it is also bound by other specifics of the Vienna
Convention on Treaties: e.g. Article 27 which stipulates that no nation
may invoke provisions of its internal or national laws as a reason-or in
order-not to abide by treaty specifics and obligations;

h)      Canada is also a signatory to the 1948 UN Convention on
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (ratified in 1953)
which, in Article II(e), defines, as one form or instrument of genocide
(NOTE: ANY of the five instruments of genocide mentioned in Article II
constitute genocide in whole), the forcible transferring of children [or
any persons] from one group to another group; this includes any form of
  forced assimilation including forced citizenship(also recognized as
illegal in the Helsinki Accords on Human Rights to which Canada is also
  a signatory). According to the Constitution of Canada, these
Conventions  and Accords, having the status of treaties, constitute part
of the  "Supreme Law" of Canada (which is why the 1948 UN Convention on
Genocide supercedes the more narrow law-and more narrow definition of
genocide-in the Criminal Code of Canada dealing with genocide);

i)        The Government of Canada, through the creation of the
so-called "Healing Fund" for compensation of victims of the Canadian
Residential Schools (instruments of forced assimilation, forced
religious conversion, forced sterilization, deliberate inflicting of
serious mental and bodily harm, sexual and physical abuse etc) has
already stipulated to the reality and fact of ongoing genocide against
First Nations Peoples-including Blackfoot-as defined in Articles II (b),
(c), (d) and (e) of the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide; these crimes
occurred under and through the Indian Act and the non-Blackfoot
political entities (Tribal Councils) imposed upon the Blackfoot by the
Government of Canada;

j)        Any governmental or judicial decision predicated upon the
assumptions  of the non-existence of a  Blackfoot Nation and the
enforced Canadian  citizenship (and citizenship obligations) of
Blackfoot as mere "national  minorities" involves, at least, complicity
in genocide and/or cover-up  of genocide (which itself is a form of
complicity in genocide) and as  such is in violation of the 1948 UN
Convention on Genocide and the  Helsinki Accords and thus is in
violation of the "Supreme Law" of Canada;

k)      Bella Yellowhorn, in her own mind, with some substantial legal
scholarship supporting  her beliefs, believed/believes that: a) There
still survives a sovereign Blackfoot Nation with its own traditional
laws, government and institutions and that she is a member of that
Nation; b) Asserting the fact, existence and viability of the Blackfoot
  Nation-along with asserting the derivative rights of that Nation to
sovereignty, independence, self-determination and freedom from
extermination-is essential to preventing the total extermination of what
  is left of the Blackfoot Nation and therefore her intent and actions
are  consistent with Canada's treaty obligations to prevent and punish
the  crimes of genocide; c)  Her status driving on non-Blackfoot lands,
was  no different (in international law and in intent) than someone from
  another nation or state of another nation (e.g. Montana) with
non-Alberta license plates and/or non-Alberta insurance driving through
  Alberta or anywhere in Canada; d) She was fully insured in the only
way  that anyone is really insured-their honor and integrity; after 9-11
many  insurance companies refused to pay-out on obligations such that
the  nominally "insured"-and any victims in need of compensation as a
result  of actions by the insured-were never really insured at all (and
indeed  many victims of the "insured" had more to fear from the
insurance  companies driven by profit motives than from those
individuals whose  actions required compensation for the victims); it is
for these reasons  that Blackfoot regard the integrity and honor of the
person causing  damages as the only real form of "insurance" one can
carry and in that  sense, Bella Yellowhorn was fully insured in
Blackfoot terms;

Thank you for your consideration of these issues.


John C. Philo


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