Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 20:38:12 -0500
From: Lynne Moss-Sharman <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: canada dec 01, 1999
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Chronicle Journal  Thunder Bay  November 30, 1999

The first day of an inquest into the hanging death of a Neskantaga First
Nation girl came to a halt shortly after it started when a juror had to be
excused after hearing testimony from the first witness. The inquest into
the death of Selena Sakanee, 15, began Monday morning but shortly after a
police officer's testimony and photo exhibits of the young girl's bedroom,
Crown attorney Dan Mitchell requested time for discussion of a legal issue
that arose from the morning's testimony.

After discussions by counsel representing the reserve's band council, the
family and Tikinagan, a native based child and family services agency, one
of five jurors was discharged. The reason for the juror being excused
cannot be discussed as it came about without the jury being present.
Mitchell said there are two options: the inquest can continue with four
jurors or another juror can be chosen, and the inquest restarted.

Earlier Monday the jury heard of the importance of this inquest because of
the high rate of suicides in remote First Nation communities. Northwestern
Ontario's regional coroner, Dr. David Legge, addressed the jury by telling
them of the "self afflictive behaviour that is epidemic in these
communities."  Legge told the jury that this is an opportunity for dialogue
on the high rate of suicides. "You don't get an opportunity like this very
often," said Legge.

Mitchell said testimony from family members, community leaders and various
experts will be heard. A range of evidence from substance abuse problems in
native communities to how services are delivered in the north will be heard
over the next two weeks. "Recommendations could have a broader application,
not only to Landsdowne House, but to other communities in the north," said

Monday's testimony began with OPP officer Ian Vickers who was the liaison
officer for Neskantaga, formerly known as Landsdowne House and he attended
the Sakanee household on November 23, 1997 the day Selena took her own
life.  He arrived on the scene several hours after security officers
removed Sakanee's body from a bar in her clothing closet.  He discussed the
state of Sakanee's bedroom when he arrived. He referred to verses written
in black magic marker on the walls and doors of her room.  In these
writings, Sakanee referred several times to her own death and wrote
disparaging remarks aobut herself.

Vickers said suicides are common in the north and he investigated about 12
in his two years working in communities like Neskantaga. He said victims'
ages ranged from 13 to 21 and he often saw writings where victims put
themselves down. 

The officer said there was an empty hair spray can on the floor. Vickers
said hair spray was a popular intoxicant in the five communities he worked
in. A post mortem examination found that Sakanee had high levels of alcohol
in her system. The inquest will resume this morning.

Day 2 - new juror sworn in
Chronicle Journal Thunder Bay Ontario  12-01-99

Jurors heard that Sakanee was the victim of an alleged sexual assault in
March of 1997. OPP Const Dan MacLeod was the sexual assault coordinator for
First Nation's communities in the Northwest. He first heard of the incident
when the First Nation constable in
Neskantaga - about 450 km north of Thunder Bay - called to tell him of the
sexual assault complaint.  MacLeod said Sakanee and her mother attended
Tikinagan Child and Family Services on March 27 and at Sioux Lookout Zone
Hospital where she was examined by a doctor.

MacLeod said he spent about an hour with Sakanee trying to build up her
confidence so she would be comfortable telling him about the sexual assault
incident. He testified that she wouldn't discuss the incident, but
indicated she may consider it in a month's time IF A FEMALE OFFICER WAS

Peter Mrowiec, representing the Sakanee family, asked MacLeod if he ever
made arrangements to have a female officer visit Neskantaga to interview
the victim.  "No," MacLeod replied, adding that his superior officer would
have questioned sending two officers to Neskantaga for an interview.  "In
hindsight it would have been a good idea," he then added.

In May, MacLeod was in touch with the reserve's police officer to find out
if he had talked to Sakanee about making a statement about the assault.

MacLeod said he didn't recall the reserve officer telling him that Sakanee
was taken into custody the night before because she had been drinking, was
suicidal and was "detained for her own safety."

Mrowiec also asked why the suspect in the sexual assault was never
interviewed by officers. He suggested political interference by band
council may have contributed because the suspect was related to a community

MacLeod said he didn't know that at the time.  The inquest continues today
with testimony expected from a Sioux Lookout Zone Hospital doctor.

Chronicle Journal Thunder Bay November 26, 27  1999

A Fort Hope man charged with attempted murder had threatened to take his
own life shortly before a native police officer was shot, reports a police
official. Waylon Atlookan, 22, was arrested and charged on Wednesday. After
a court appearance in Kenora on Friday, he was remanded to Monday for a
bail hearing. A snowstorm had prevented police from transporting the
suspect to a court hearing in Cochrane. Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Police
Service Chief Wes Luloff said in a statement Friday that the man had been
firing a high-powered rifle in the air when police were called.

Constable Rod Mequanawap responded and met the person who made the call.
They then encountered the suspect, who was advised to put down his weapon,
Luloff said. He added that Mequanawap's sidearm was not drawn.  The suspect
fired a shot and hit Mequanawap before running off.  Mequanawap was
attended to by the person who had made the complaint and was transported to
the local nursing station. He was then airlifted to Thunder Bay hospital,
where he had surgery on the wound to his right shoulder. "His prognosis is
very good and he is in good spirits despite the pain," said Luloff, noting
friends and family members have visited him.  Fort Hope has three NAN
officers working out of the Eabametoong detachment. Additional officers are
in the community to help with the police investigation.

... Mequanawap, who is married with four children, is a 13 year veteran of
the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service. Because he is a long time resident of
Fort Hope, members of the band of 1000 Ojibway, 500 km north of Thunder
Bay, are taking the shooting hard. "Pretty well the whole community is in
shock," said band office manager Bill Shawanimash. The band office was
closed for the day as a result of the incident. Luloff said no ifficer has
been wounded or killed in the force's five year history. But "there have
been a few calls," he added.  Nishnawbe Aski Police Service has 85 police
officers in 35 remote reserves across Northern Ontario.

Murder trial testimony underway; No sign of victim's blood on
the accused
Chronicle Journal  Thunder Bay November 1999 excerpts

Wesley died March 26 in a Thunder Bay hospital, one week after he was
injured in a late night confrontation at the Water Street bus terminal. He
suffered a knife wound to the neck, staggered away from the bus terminal
and collapsed on a South Cumberland Street sidewalk about two blocks away.
Thunder Bay police announced shortly after Wesley's death that he had been
in the city only a short time and was a member of the Winnipeg based Native
Syndicate street gang.

Wesley was a former resident of Mishkeegogaming First Nation (previously
known as Osnaburgh).  

The male suspect, who cannot be identified under the terms of the Young
Offender's Act, has been in custody since shortly after the death of
Wesley. He faces a charge of second degree murder.
A 22 year old man was also held in the Wesley case but a count of second
degree against him this summer after he pleaded guilty to assault with a
weapon. The weapon related to that charge was a baseball bat. Thunder Bay
lawyer Lee Baig is representing the youth at the trial. Crown lawyer David
MacKenzie is prosecuting the matter. If convicted the youth faces a maximum
sentence of seven years in custody.  

... The blood of a reputed native street gang member was found on someone
other than the accused a Superior Court of Justice trial was told Monday.
Const. Robert Druhar told defence counsel Lee Baig forensic tests showed
that Wesley's blood was found on the jeans and running shoes of another
male who was at the bus terminal that night. Druhar also seized a baseball
bat at the scene, but there was no blood on it. Const. Lou Bystrican, one
of the lead investigators in the case, told Crown counsel some of the
accused clothes were sent away for forensic testing and there were no signs
of blood on them. Court was told the accused had no criminal record.  

Wesley had a two page criminal history from 1985 to 1998. He spent
considerable time in jail for offences ranging from mischief to criminal
negligence causing death. He was also charged with arson; break, enter and
theft, assault with a weapon; possession of a prohibited weapon, and
aggravated assault.  

... A witness saw his friend swing a knife at Wesley "I'm not sure how he
held the knife, I just saw him swing it," he said. He said the knife hit
Wesley in the head. ... Wesley suffered an 8 cm. knife wound to his upper
neck and died of a stroke a week later.

... Defence counsel Lee Baig elected not to call any witnesses.

... defence counsel told the jury there was no direct evidence to show his
client stabbed Wesley ... Baig recalled the evidence of a witness who said
he saw the accused push Wesley and then swung a knife at Wesley's head and
heard the blade making a sound as if cutting through hir. "A knife swinging
over a person's head is  dangerous but it is not a stab wound," said Baig.
About five minutes later the witness heard Wesley yell and run out of the
bus terminal. There was no sign of the accused. "He wasn't there and in my
submission didn't stab Larry Wesley," said Baig. He also pointed out the
knife possessed by the accused had a blade that was almost 4cm in length. A
pathologist testified Wesley's wound was 8 cm deep. "Do the math," said
Baig. "How long does a knife have to be to make a wound 8 cm deep? Does
this cause you a problem?" he asked the jurors. The knife was never recovered.

... November 27
Teen found guilty
Because he was 15 at the time, the youth faces a maximum sentence of five
years. He will make a court appearance Monday to schedule a date for

December 1, 1999   Sexual assault suspect turns himself in

A man hunted for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman in front
of her three-year-old daughter is behind bars, say police. John Derek Old
Shoes, who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, gave himself up to the
Blood Tribal police on Monday. He walked into the Cardston courthouse with
his lawyer. Old Shoes, who is charged with kidnapping, assault and sexual
assault, has been remanded in custody. The charges stem from an incident
Oct. 31 when a woman told
police she was assaulted in a five-hour ordeal on the Blood
reserve. The 31-year-old victim and her three-year-old daughter were
forced by a man from their home at Standoff, 180 km south of
Calgary. The man forced the two to walk across fields, where he sexually
assaulted the woman. "She was assaulted in front of the three-year-old, who
was trying to stop the guy," said Sgt. Roger Holmes of the Blood Tribal

own counters shooting victim's claim
        By Dan Zakreski Saskatoon Star Phoenix  12/01/99

It took a cannister of pepper spray, a bullet in the back and two RCMP
officers to subdue Rennie Anthony Norton in a terrifying roadside
confrontation Friday night, three kilometres east of Lanigan. Four days
later, it's still far from clear whether the
43-year-old from the Muskowekwan reserve is the victim or the assailant in
the events that unravelled over 20 minutes in the early evening hours of
Nov. 26.

In two court appearances in two days, defence lawyer  Dwayne Roth raised
the spectre of racism, police brutality, a police cover-up and the need for
an independent inquiry. Roth's pointed account Monday about the
circumstances of the confrontation, alleging the RCMP  shot a frightened
man in the back as he fled, forced the
police to release their own statement - an unusual step when a matter is
before the courts - and prompted Judge Ron Bell to warn against debating
the case in the  media. Bell made his remarks Tuesday after granting bail
to Norton on a host of conditions. The accused returns to  court Jan. 10
for election and plea.

Crown prosecutor Christine Haynes presented the police version of events at
the bail hearing. Rather than an innocent victim of police brutality,
Norton instead emerged as an enraged drunk who publicly beat his wife and
then attempted to run over her and an RCMP
officer with a half-ton truck when the officer tried to intercede.
Haynes said the RCMP officer responded to a call from the Lanigan gas
station at about 7:30 p.m. to the effect that a man was beating a woman in
the parking lot, "pulling her hair and lifting her off the ground."  When
the officer arrived, witnesses gave a truck
description and pointed him down the Yellowhead highway.

Three kilometres later, he pulled the truck over with a woman driving and a
man sitting in the middle seat. "She was crying and had bloody lips. She
told the officer, `I'm getting out' and then exited, moving behind the
officer," Haynes said. Norton then slid over and pushed the officer away.
As the officer tried to question Norton, the woman went to seek refuge in
the cruiser. It was locked.
"Then Norton jumped out and began gesturing at the officer with his fists
clenched. . . . When the officer reached for his pepper spray, Norton
became angrier and kept coming forward," Haynes said.                The
officer sprayed Norton, who then started throwing rocks at the RCMP member.
He then went back to the truck, saying "I will get you," according to the
prosecutor. Norton pulled the truck back onto the highway. As he did a
U-turn to face the cruiser, the officer took out his service revolver as he
feared for his own safety
and the safety of the woman. She had still not been able to get into the
cruiser. The officer fired twice,  hitting the truck's rear and front
tires. The officer then instructed the woman to manoeuvre to
keep the cruiser between herself and the truck. "He (Norton) aimed the
truck at the front of the cruiser, accelerated and then hit it. He then
backed up  and went into the ditch where the couple were
standing. As he drove by, in the ditch, the officer fired three shots into
the cab as it passed "to neutralize the threat."

The woman, meanwhile, was screaming "Get us out of here, get us out of
here." The truck came to a stop in a pile of hay bales in the
field. Norton exited and advanced toward the cruiser just as police backup
arrived. He fell to his knees then arose and continued to advance, still
yelling at officers. The police were able to subdue Norton and place him in
handcuffs. At that point, he indicated that he had been shot. Still
threatening officers, he was taken to
Lanigan and then to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.

At the bail hearing, Roth offered a detailed treatment plan for Norton on
release, including an alcohol and drug assessment and anger management. He
proposed, and Bell accepted, a plan to move Norton to Prince Albert where
he would live under a strict regimen of reporting conditions. Outside
court, he said simply "the Crown wasn't able to prove that his detention
was necessary." He said the
Crown did not prove that Norton tried to run over his wife and the
officer."Certainly that's the spin that they're putting on it, but
we could equally say with as much credibility that he was trying to flee
the scene and he had pepper spray in his eyes. The fact he had pepper spray
in his eyes is not in dispute," he said. Not only did Roth suggest an
independent review, he offered that it should be headed by Prince Albert
lawyer Gerald Morin. Morin chaired the APEC inquiry into police actions at
the Vancouver summit before                   stepping down. "We're hoping
there is political motivation to address this issue in an independent
inquiry," Roth said.                  

"Certainly there is mandatory reviews, the RCMP do internal investigations.
We're not confident in the ability of that investigation to give a fair and
impartial review of this matter. We foresee that what they're going to do
is totally justify and exonerate the actions of the police officer, and
we're not confident that's what occurred." He further suggested that racism
played a part in how the events were handled. "Did race play a part? We
have one statement from a witness at the Esso station in Lanigan who
reported in her statement what she saw was 'two Indians in the parking lot
fighting.' Was that relayed to the police officer and did that have any
part to play in this?" Roth said that such an inquiry is necessary to
maintain aboriginal confidence in the justice system."The shooting of an
aboriginal man by police on a public highway at night is a big issue."

               "Let Us Consider The Human Brain As
                A Very Complex Photographic Plate"
                     1957 G.H. Estabrooks

                    FOR   K A R E N  #01182
                   who died fighting  4/23/99

                   [EMAIL PROTECTED]

    For people like me, violence is the minotaur; we spend our lives
        wandering its maze, looking for the exit.  (Richard Rhodes)
                   Never befriend the oppressed 
                    unless you are prepared to 
                    take on the oppressor.   
                        (Author unknown)

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