Sunday, March 11, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

Warrior Post is Factually Correct

I received this post below from an anonymous individual stating that my Blog piece post on the Gang who stole the Olympic flag was not factually correct. In this recent post to me, the writer gets things muddled. Here is my factual response.

Yes I agree that there were Warriors societies prior to Colonization, however my post was not about Colonization.

Nor did I suggest that Warriors against Violence society invented the movement. Locally though the Warriors against Violence Society was the first group to initiate the Contemporary Warrior movement here in BC. Warriors against Violence Society formed in 1997 and incorporated in 1998.

The other group calling itself Native Warrior Society (the ones who stole the Olympic flag) is more recent and they may be an offshoot of West Coast Warriors who formed in 2000 out of the Native Youth Movement. And an affiliated group called East Coast Warriors also didn't form until the year 2000. So my comment that these East and West Coast Warriors groups were bastardizing the proud Warriors against Violence Society name is factually correct.

I have to say that Warriors against Violence Society has as its core values, Respect, Honour and Equality. These values are similar to the Black Civil rights movement and even the Gay Rights Liberation Movement now contemporary known as PRIDE.

At no time did the Black Civil Rights Movement or the Gay Liberation movement resort to criminal acts to get its message out. Instead these groups relied on sit-ins and marches in order to be heard and they were heard. Human Rights advances came as a result.

I must say that groups who engage in warfare get nowhere. In fact they create harm and set movements back.

And the Gang who stood in front of the Mohawk flag with their faces covered are demonstrating disrespect and dishonour. Its too bad that our young people who need positive role models will see this and gain nothing from this stupidity.

Great example isn't it Boys!


Post Below from Anonymous Individual

Your post is factually inaccurate.Warrior societies were a fundamental part of indigenous cultures in this part of the world prior to British colonization. Warfare existed between indigenous nations and between the indigenous peoples and the British colonizers until the late 1800s. In the late 1960s, indigenous peoples across Canada began to revive their traditional warrior societies and retake their land.The "Warriors against Violence Society" did not invent the term "warrior". The term warrior denotes a person who takes part in warfare, an armed conflict. Canada has always been and is still at war with indigenous peoples.Harriet Nahanee waved the Unity flag when she was arrested at Eagle Ridge bluffs. This flag is also sometimes called the Warrior flag because it was designed by the late Mohawk warrior Louis Hall and was popularized during the 1990 Oka Crisis, when armed Mohawk warriors successfully defended their land against Canadian police and military forces.Warrior societies not only defend indigenous peoples from the violent attacks of the Canadian government but also play a positive role in diminishing anti-social violence within indigenous communities and provide an alternative to the recruitment of indigenous youth into the violent armed forces of Canadian police and military organizations or anti-social gangs.


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“I am only effective as long as there is a shadow on white America
of the black man standing behind me with a Molotov cocktail.”

- Martin Luther King Jr

Cited in Christopher Manes, Green Rage: Radical Environmentalism and the Unmaking of Civilization (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1990)

At 11:39 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

It should be noted that Martin Luther King always called for non-violent means to achieve his goals. In fact, this Non Violence approach created tension for MLK in the Civil Rights Movement. However, I think society generally agrees that Mr. King's legacy along with Rosa Parks are the most respected means to achieve Equality.

At 11:19 PM, Anonymous stephanie smith said...

You write:

At no time did the Black Civil Rights Movement or the Gay Liberation movement resort to criminal acts to get its message out.

Really? The events that are usually referred to as the pivotal moments igniting both those struggles were "criminal" acts. Rosa Parks was convicted of disorderly conduct and disobeying a city ordinance for refusing to give up her seat on that bus.

As for the other event, that it was called the Stonewall Riots is self-explanatory.

At 3:45 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Peaceful protests are not criminal Stephanie. What you refer to is abuse of power by the state to quell lawful dissent. Moreover abuse of power is not accepted by the public. Both the Black Civil Rights movement and Stonewall relied on protest, rallies, sit-ins and marches.

This is not the same as stealing public property ie the flag and hiding behind black masks so as not to get arrested.

Those who have strong opinions on political matters are willing to go to jail if that is what it takes to express political dissent.

The gang who stole hid their faces because they are afraid of being charged. That is why they covered their faces. That is hardly a proud protest movement.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Rob said...

"Peaceful protests are not criminal"

As Stephanie pointed there are many examples of peacefull protest being criminalized by the state. Many of the actions of the civil rights movement were considered "criminal" at the time.

Harrient Nahanee and Betty Krawcyzk both recently faced criminal trails (and in one case death) for a peaceful protest.

During the 2010 games it will likely be a criminal offense to participate in peaceful protests in certain areas of Vancouver (even handing out leaflets may be illegal).

" stealing public property "

The Olympic flag is NOT public property. It is owned by a private corporation (the IOC). The city of Vancouver is licsensed to use it but if anyone else tried to use it they would be sued by the IOC.

In fact apparently it was not being flown on public property. According to the police at Monday's event City Hall is now considered "private property."

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Rob, again, peaceful protest is allowed in our political system. As it should.

Contempt of court is a criminal offense and people are willing to pay the consequences of this in order to have their cause heard. And I say good on them.

Harriet and Betty I call principled and true Warriors since they risked having their freedom taken away for a cause they so much believe in. Other leaders have done the same.

The Olympic flag is on public property and the public generally seems to be supporting the 2010 Olympics and so they also have rights.

I do not advocate stealing or vandalizing property while wearing hoods or masks. Nor do I put this type of criminality in the same category as peaceful protests, sit-ins, rallies or marches.

That type of action taken by three Aboriginals seems so earily similar to another protest movement in our past which also resorted to destroying property while wearing hoods.

I do not support these methods and I don't think the public does either and this is where these acts create more harm than good.

At 1:30 AM, Anonymous stephanie smith said...

The Stonewall Riots were not peaceful. People fought pitched battles with the cops and there was extensive property damage. Was it the right thing to do? Yes. Was it also criminal? Yes.

Was the conviction of Rosa Parks an abuse of state power to quell dissent? Certainly, but that didn't stop what she did from being a crime under the laws of the time.

The point is that something doesn't stop being criminal because we believe it should be considered lawful. One hallmark of civil disobedience is that it does often run afoul of laws, and that when it doesn't run afoul of existing laws the state creates new ones to criminialize the activity.

The mere act of sitting in at government office is an act of trespass. That's a Criminal Code offence. But it's still a form of peaceful protest.

So again, if you want to characterize the acts of the Warriors as somehow inherently different from those of Ms. Parks or the Stonewall rioters, using criminality as the applicable quality isn't on point. You differ with them on issues of strategy, but to characterize their acts as criminal as opposed to those of Ms. Parks or the Stonewall rioters - or to the actions of the Black and gay civil rights movements generally - is incorrect.

At 2:27 AM, Anonymous dirk said...

Frankly I can not get to uptight by the "theft" of a flag.
What about the real issue,the theft of native lands,and the issue of the Olympic on native lands without the input from the First Nations The decades of stall and delay tactics by the gov when it comes to treaty talks.
That native youth are becoming radicalized and want to see real progress is to be expected.
A flag big deal...
As for the concept of Warrior Societies a good start point for those looking to understand what such ideas/orgs are all about,would be the writings of Alfred Taiaiake(Mohawk)(activist,teacher,author):

His book "Wasase" is a must read;


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