On February 26, 2017, a parks officer issued a warning to Sylvia McAdam (Saysewahum) and Kurtis McAdam (Saysewahum) advising them to vacate the lands promised to their peoples at the time of Treaty 6 negotiations. Lands that have been in their family long before European encroachment. They did not comply with this order and are now ordered to stand trial for contravening the warning contrary to s. 34(1) of the Parks Act. Both Sylvia and Kurtis now face fines and imprisonment if convicted.
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 Canadian Constitution Act, 1867, assumed control over Indigenous lands. The ‘call to action’ 45 (i) of the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action to ‘repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous lands and peoples such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius’.
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 unraveling 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).
We stand in solidarity with them as they traverse the violence of law, standing trial for asserting their rights to be on their land.
This gofundme campaign will help to mitigate the costs of the legal battle that has been imposed on them and to build shelter for those affected by the dispossession.