Aboriginal drummers assembled outside the Chilliwack Law Courts this week to demonstrate their solidarity with a criminalized aboriginal fisher named Kwitsel Tatel.
Upon attempting to enter the courthouse the criminalized aboriginal fisher and her teenage son were attacked by several gun toting, tazer possessing, police officers for attempting to take a traditional handheld drum into the building.
Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution Act purports to “recognize and affirm” the “aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada”. However critics claim that rather than “recognize and affirm” aboriginal rights that there is a systematic denial and negation of such rights with disproportionate Canadian First Nations being criminalized for engaging in traditional practices such as catching fish or playing traditional music, as is the case with Kwitsel Tatel.
Analysts say that the violence and injustice meted out on aboriginal people in Canada allows the Canadian state deflect attention from and suppress the contested claims to land title and jurisdiction, especially in the relatively new polity of British Columbia.
Numerous indigenous leaders and lawyers have asserted that the Canadian state lacks jurisdiction over many native peoples and their traditional lands, waters and resources which implies that those police officers who brutalized and apprehended an aboriginal woman and her son this week in the so called Chilliwack ‘Law’ Courts may be the ones who are running afoul of the law.