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Gustafsen Lake

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Gustafsen Lake.

For centuries, the natives of Canada have been suffering damages

through their land and themselves. Events such as Oka, Ipperwash, Lubican,

and Gustafsen trails the racism and cruelty to the aboriginals. Land being

usurped over for the use of natural supplies or accommodations, being killed

and jailed for protecting their rights given bygone ago. Gustafsen Lake

shows these attributes when the Secwepemc (Shuswap) was being raided

by more than one-hundred RCMP officers for carrying out an ancient ritual

that the sun dancers have done for more than a century. Gustafsen Lake

will be explained through the history and background of the native people,

the history of the land, and the communication of the government for peace

and resolution.

The Secwepemc or Shuswap for the non-natives have called, means

the Shuswap people. The reason for the non-natives calling them the

Shuswap happened when the eastern settlers came to land on British

Columbia. They could not pronounce Secwepemc so they made an easier

word to call them by. This happened with most / majority of other native

bands. There were 17 bands of Shuswap's that controlled the vast area of

British Columbia for 10,000 years and controlling 56,000 square miles of

traditional land. The Shuswap diets through berries, meat, fish and

roots and the occupation for the them back than were hunting, fishing, and

trading. .Althought most of the bands were hybrids, they all share

similar traditions, rituals, and language. This would all soon change when

the eastern settlers came on their land and spreading smallpox in 1862,

wiping out 32 tribal villages, killing more than a hundred thousand. (SCES).

In the 19th century, the area has been industrialized, schools being built, and

the tradition being changed with less than eight thousand Shuswap,. Later in

the 19th century, they are now coming back in a positive force. Getting jobs

in many enterprises and tradition coming / being taught again. Again! The

non-natives took action to downgrade the Shuswap from advancing further

in their destiny for a better future, causing them to go back to second hand

occupations. Now that the history hits them again, they refused to be puppets

and caused rallies to the government for a better life. Declarations have been

signed, social development and economic development became prosperous

and the Shuswap people now living a happy life again. Although this sounds

like a downward spiral that goes back up again, The Shuswap people

of today will be looking forward to not go down that road again.. Elders of

the Secwepemc created traditional schools for their people to learn about the

culture and language. The Shuswap population is now growing more than

ever, less alcoholism, less early birth deaths, less incarceration, and

violence. Like every other native bands, they may struggle but they will

always find a way to confront it, just like the Oka incident.

What happened at Gustafsen Lake (Ts' Peten)? In June of 1995,

it started out when a farmer named Lyle James, an American farmer, who

happened to "own" Gustafsen found a sun dancer of the Shuswap swatting

on his ranch. Every year James would let them do their spirit ceremonies for

ten days and leave but not in June of 95. The sundancers have told him that

he was on their sacred burial and ceremonial land where it is there's since

they have existed. This is true because there were no treaties or documents

that were signed to anyone to own Gustafsen, it was still unceded and

belonged to the Shuswap. During that time, the Shuswap built a fence so

the cattle and farmers cannot step on their land. Things get escalated and

the RCMP were called in to make the Shuswap leave. The Shuswap resisted

and will now create what is known in Canadian history, the biggest and

costly paramilitary. Needing four hundred RCMP officers fully armed to

take down fourteen Shuswaps and nearly five million dollars from tax payers

for the operation. .50 Calibur machine guns, land mines, grenades, and more

terrifying weapons were used on these band of groups.

The Shuswap only had minimal arsenal (machete, 8mm glock, ak-47). Both




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