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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Okanagan solidarity action

Local Native Protest

by Kelly Hayes - Story: 18045
April 25, 2006 / 5:09 pm

The native unrest in Ontario over a land dispute has spread to B.C. including the Okanagan.

Local natives calling themselves the “Okanagan grassroots people” set up an information picket at the intersection of Highway 97 and Westside Road Tuesday. The goal of the protest was to generate more attention to the unrest in Caledonia, Ontario where members from the Six Nations Reserve are trying to stop construction of a housing project.

"We support the Mohawks of the Grand River because Okanagan Peoples are in a similar situation with our Okanagan land title not being recognized by the Federal Government," says spokesman Alex Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band.

He's also no fan of the Self-Government agreement signed between the Westbank Band and the Government.

The Westbank First Nation didn't endorse the protest however, some members of the band did take part in Tuesday’s protest.

Louie says there are so-called militants in his group who want to crank up the protest by blocking roads including the Okanagan Lake Floating Bridge.

"The militants are saying that if the government doesn't want to recognize our title to this land, then this is our land. They say if they want to create disruptions on our own land, then we may do so."

Louie says the protest will return to the Westside if things escalate in Ontario.


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