I have reprinted below the speech CANACE invited me to give on March 21/10 and again on March 28, but was not able to deliver because native protesters, CUPE members and the OPP ensured that CANACE’S second attempt to talk about victims of real racism in Caledonia would not take place.
- VoiceofCanada, March 29/10: OPP set up McHale & supporters for violence, false criminal charges – again
- VoiceofCanada, March 25/10: Why Merlyn’s Anti-Racism rally is rescheduled for this coming Sunday
Perhaps CANACE will invite me to give this speech sometime in the future when the police can be convinced to protect the right of non-natives to peacefully gather and protest without interference from those responsible for Caledonia’s misery.
A courageous girl and her traumatized mother whose voices from the Sixth Line were silenced
My planned speech identifies a courageous young lady who I and CANACE had code-named ‘Dancer‘ when she first spoke out in 2007 at a time when so many were too afraid to do so. I had planned to announce the true identity of Dancer in an article I have been working on for VoiceofCanada’s ‘Strength of a Woman’ series, but events make it necessary to publish this speech – and hence her identity – before that article is finished:
HEALING IN THE ABSENCE OF JUSTICE
by Mark Vandermaas
Yesterday [March 20/10] I received two documents. One was from OPP Inspector Periversoff in which he publicly criticized those with “self-serving agendas” who are bringing “discord” into the community.
The other document was an email from Chris Dudych who lives on the Sixth Line. She is the mother of Pam Dudych who, at the age of 14, went with us to Queen’s Park three years ago in 2007 to read her Road of Hope school project in which she explained how she has to take medication and go to counselling because of the trauma her family has experienced living on a street without policing. On Oct 08, 2007 she spoke on this very hill where she again shared her pain.
After the Brown-Chatwell case was settled, her parents Chris and Myron Dudych were interviewed by Christie Blatchford of the Globe who wrote a story about Myron’s heart attacks and Chris’s suicide attempt.
Chris’s email was in response to my request for information for an article I was writing. I asked her to confirm rumours that the OPP had restored policing to the Sixth Line, and to tell me how she and Pam felt about it. This is part of what she wrote to me:
————————————————– excerpt from Chris Dudych email March 20/10
Nice to hear from you. I think of you often…
I really wanted to attend the rally tomorrow but will have to pass due to health reasons. I so wanted to provide my support. Please know that I am with you in spirit. This past two weeks have been horrendous for me. The anxiety attacks are back and the nightmares as well…
If it helps to mention I would have rather been there, then go for it. You know I will help in what ever way I can…
We have lost 4 years of our lives which we will never get back. We have tried selling the house with no luck… I hate living this way but until we can get out of here, we don’t see any other solution. Why the gov’t hasn’t stepped forward to help us is beyond me. In my heart I believe they don’t care about us because it is not a huge number of people that are effected with this situation. I feel like Canada has let us down big time. For a land that is suppose to be free, we are prisoners of war who have been left to deal with this predicament on our own. If we were to start ripping up the road down from us, and putting up a road block so the natives couldn’t come through, you can bet your last penny the police and gov’t would step in a heartbeat because you just can’t do those things to the natives.
As for policing back down here, yes it’s true. Do we feel any safer NO. Did we get a personal drop in from the police NO. I found out by [A RESIDENT] talking to me one night on facebook. She asked if I heard from Sergant Carter. I said no. I can’t remember if she said she had a phone call or he came to the house. The next morning I saw again on facebook that [DELETED] another neighbor had responded to [HER] comment saying they got a phone message from Ser. Carter as they were not home. We still hadn’t heard anything. Finally that night while I was out with Pam, Myron said that Ser. Carter called to let us know that OPP were back down the road… It’s pretty sad that I first learned it by facebook.
We did see the OPP frequently down here because of calls to the native house across the road from us. We rarely saw Six Nations respond there. It was mostly OPP. It was also OPP that came here in the fall time and found the rifle out behind our shop with a high powered scope on it. It was left there by the native that went through our property and went to the native house across the road from us. To learn he had left a gun out behind our house was very frightening. Thank God he didn’t come to our house instead. Anything could have happened differently in that situation and it scares me to death thinking of what could have happened.
Anyway, I have probably said enough. Know that my thoughts are with you tomorrow. God Bless.
————————————— end of excerpt
In support of his criticism of those who dare to protest against racial policing, Inspector Periversoff says in his letter that, “the litmus test in any action should be how is this going to help the community heal.”
Does it SOUND to you as if the Dudych family is going to begin “healing” anytime soon??? The lives of these people have been destroyed and the Inspector has the unmitigated gall to pretend the OPP has done nothing wrong. I believe in healing, but healing can never truly begin without truth, justice, and an acknowledgement that wrongs have been committed. And the final step of course – an APOLOGY.
The OPP love to use the word “healing.”
Our Ipperwash Papers project has 34 victim impact statements and every one of them sounds like it could have been written by a Caledonia resident. I can assure you that the psychological damage of Ipperwash is far from healed – 15 years later. Periversoff’s comments about healing reminds me of our trip to Deseronto where we were told by a member of the OPP’s Aboriginal Relations Team that they were concerned about our visit stirring things up because “the community is beginning to heal” – this just two weeks after Shawn Brant’s gang was arrested. I almost laughed out loud.
The OPP talking about healing without acknowledging the wrongs committed, and apologizing for them is like me using a baseball bat to break someone’s leg and instead of calling an ambulance, I just stand there for hours asking…Are you healing yet?
If the OPP truly want to help “heal” this community they would begin by apologizing for the shameful conduct of their force. Then, they would help us find a credible partner from Six Nations who would be willing to help convince THAT community to apologize for THEIR role in victimizing Caledonia.
Until the apologies are forthcoming from those responsible for Caledonia’s misery, I will continue my ‘self-serving agenda’ of promoting healing by speaking out for innocent victims of native extremism and racist policing policies…like the Dudych family.
Other racist speeches by Mark Vandermaas
- It WAS worth it, Jack: given Jan 14/07 at Caledonia Lions Hall
- Blue Beret speech: given at police line during March for Freedom flag raising protest in Caledonia, Jan 20/07
- Natives are victims of Two Tier Justice: given at Oct 08/07 ‘Remember Us’ protest, Caledonia Lions Park [VIDEO 18.29 mins, PDF]
- Lessons from Dr. King and the Little Rock Nine: given at May 24/09 Flag Raising protest, Caledonia Lions Park, published by Regional News
- Listening to Victims: A Fresh Approach to Healing and Reconciliation: presented at 2010 ‘New Directions in Aboriginal Policy’ forum, Mount Royal University, May 05/10
Mark Vandermaas, Founder/Director
Caledonia Victims Project
- Globe & Mail, Jan 05/10: Settlement gives hope to others in Caledonia [PDF]
- Mark Vandermaas speech (not given): Healing in the Absence of Justice [PDF]
- Haldimand County website, OPP Detachment Commander’s Message, March 12/10: TO THE RESIDENTS OF HALDIMAND COUNTY [Haldimand County 'printer friendly' version], [VoC download, PDF]
- Caledonia Victims Project: FAQ (see Q1)
- VoiceofCanada feature: Dancer’s Courage
- VoiceofCanada, Caledonia Players: Tom Keefer & CUPE 3903
- CANACE reference: Race-Based Policing
NOTE: Mark Vandermaas was a founding member of CANACE. He left in Februrary 2010 to found the Caledonia Victims Project, a public policy centre dedicated to documenting the human and economic costs of racial policing and aboriginal extremism to ensure that victims voices – aboriginal and non-aboriginal – are considered at the policy development table.
The importance of this work is underscored by the ongoing use of the Ipperwash Inquiry recommendations by the Ontario government to justify their handling of the Caledonia crisis even though the Inquiry excluded all evidence from victims and did not allow the issues or evidence related to the effects of aboriginal protests and violence on innocent third parties to be studied. The Caledonia Victims Project promotes healing and reconciliation between communities based on truth, justice and the rule of law.