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Three-Hundred Signatories Condemn Invitation of Anti-Native Militia Leaders to Conference on Aboriginal Policy

by First Nations Solidarity Working Group

Calgary - Hundreds of scholars and concerned citizens have signed an open letter opposing the invitation of anti-native militia leaders to the "New Directions in Aboriginal Policy” conference at Mount Royal University in Calgary on May 5.

The open letter criticizes Mount Royal Professor Frances Widdowson’s personal invitation to anti-native organizers Mark Vandermaas and Gary McHale, who will be presenting papers on the victimization of non-natives and the rule of law. McHale and Vandermaas claim that there is a two tiered system of justice that discriminates against non-native townspeople, while falsely claiming that Native ‘land claim terrorists’ are exempt from the law. They call for the use of increased force against Natives involved in reclamation activities. McHale and Vandermaas are leading figures in grassroots anti-Native organizing against the Six Nations people of the Grand River Territory in south-western Ontario. They have played key roles in the formation of a non-native "militia" aimed at repressing Indigenous land protests and they have also organized a variety of anti-Native protests.

McHale and Vandermaas describe Caledonia as terrorized by Native “sociopaths,” “evildoers” and “landclaim terrorists,” drawing attention away from legitimate treaties and the continued theft of Six Nations land, as well the increase in anti-Native racism since the reclamation in 2006. The inflammatory and misleading information circulated by McHale and Vandermaas only serves to fuel tensions between the people of Six Nations and Caledonia.

Regarding the conference as a whole, PhD student Kate Milley has stated,“This is not a new direction in Aboriginal policy. Widdowson’s invitation of Mark Vandermass and Gary McHale speaks to an ongoing commitment to uphold colonial ideas and practice in the face of indigenous issues.”

Link:  Open Letter Protesting the Presence of Anti-Native “Militia” Leaders at the May 5th Aboriginal Policy Forum

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