Idle No More Co Founder faces trial for protecting Ancestral Land in Treaty 6

Idle No More, Treaty 6
IdleNoMore-Sylvia-McAdam-Saysewahum

PRINCE ALBERT SASK – The trial of the co-founder of Idle No More Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum), and Kurtis McAdam (Saysewahum) will take place on March 20-22, 2019, in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in courtroom #5, starting at 9:30 am.

On February 26, 2017, a Saskatchewan Parks officer issued a warning to Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) and her brother Kurtis McAdam (Saysewahum).

Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum
Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum

The warning advised them to vacate their ancestral homelands, land that their family has lived on since before European encroachment and land that was promised to their relations during Treaty 6 negotiations

Approximately 1990 to 1996, Department of Natural Resources now referred to as Saskatchewan Environment were burning down Indigenous peoples hunting cabins as well as permanent homes. The Saysewahum/McAdam shelters may have been one of the cabins targeted for “burn down”. The McAdam/Saysewahum family wanted to build near or rebuild the burnt shelter and live on the lands as they have always lived.

Kurtis and Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) who are brother and sister decided to haul a trailer to a location not far from their previous cabin and not far from the graves to practice their treaty term and promise to live as they have always lived. They had indicated this intention to the Province of Saskatchewan prior to doing so.

Sylvia and Kurtis’s father and Hereditary Chief Francis McAdam (Saysewayhum) resided beside Stoney Lake all his life, had written and also given such confirmation to the Government of Canada

Sylvia and Kurtis did not comply with the order and now must stand trial for contravening Section 25(1) of the Parks Act. Both Sylvia and Kurtis face fines and the possibility of imprisonment if convicted.

Idle No More and Defenders of the Lands stand in solidarity with Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) and Kurtis McAdam (Saysewahum). We insist that Canada, including the province of Saskatchewan, adopt Call to Action 45 (i) of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Report—that is “to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius.”

At the heart of this legal battle is the Doctrine of Discovery. The Canadian government, including the provinces and territories, have, since the creation of Canada and the 1867 Canadian Constitution Act, assumed control over Indigenous lands.

On the GoFund me page called Treaty 6 Court Case Landless no more, which will assist in replacing the cabins that were burnt down.

The page brings understanding saying, “Reconciliation does not mean celebrating randomly chosen aspects of Indigenous culture in order to boast settler-Canadian views of itself as benevolent. Reconciliation, at the bare minimum, is a commitment to unravelling settler-colonial assertions of domination and control over land, resources, and Indigenous people. Eradicating the settler-legal frameworks used to justify the continuing and ongoing displacement of Indigenous people must end.

These are the legal issues at play in the upcoming trial of Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) and Kurtis McAdam (Saysewahum) who are standing trial for asserting their rights to be on their land.  All are welcome during the trial to show solidarity and support during the trial.

We will continue to follow this story and keep you posted.


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