UPDATED April 14/10 — Thanks, in part, to Christie Blatchford of the Globe and Mail, I am now able to acknowledge openly a brave woman who deserves to be recognized as one of Caledonia’s true heroes. What makes her so remarkable is that she also happens to be the youngest, and her family among the town’s most traumatized.
Just fourteen years old when she first insisted on speaking out on behalf of traumatized victims of landclaim lawlessness and racial policing on her street, this young lady’s courage serves as both an inspiration to those who stood beside her, and as a spotlight of shame on those who ignored her cries for help on behalf of her family and the other children living on the Sixth Line in Caledonia where Canadian citizens caught up in a violent insurrection were denied OPP policing after April 20/06.
We meet ‘Dancer’
This young lady came to our attention at our March 03/07 March for Freedom protest in support of Dave Hartless when Caledonia resident Doug Plank – a Chartered Accountant – handed me a copy of her heartbreaking, yet hopeful, school project – a pamphlet called, ‘Road of Hope:Help the 6th Line!’‘
“[…] You can’t call the police because they can’t help you. You’re locked in your own home. A few days later, when it calms down, you have to go to school. But you can’t get to school by bus anymore so you have to drive a 30 min. ride to school when it only took 2 minutes unless you wen’t through the blockade. But you could only do this if you had a pass, but even when we got one, it was whether they felt like letting you go through or not. If they did let you go, it was like you’re in prison, gates everywhere, men with masks over their faces only to see their eyes. Men holding bats some even with guns, it was a living hell. I had to live through that. You don’t know what life is like until you have lived through it.
“I’m a competitive dancer, and love to dance outside on the side lawn, but I wasn’t able to unless I could take the pressure of getting stares or firecrackers thrown at me. Now I take medication and go to counselling because of all of this. A 14 year old should not be doing that! […]”14 year-old Pam Dudych, ca 2007: School Project – Road of Hope pamphelet [PDF, 2p]
Doug asked if Gary McHale and I could get this girl’s story out because no one else would help. Her family fully supported her decision to speak out, and so we were honoured to meet all of them when we initially videotaped her reading from her project at the home of a Caledonia resident on March 11/07, just before our Ipperwash Papers news conference at Queen’s Park.
We have been trying to tell her story and help the public understand the plight of the Sixth Line ever since. Although it was obvious that she might be identified sooner or later, we did our best to hide her real name. Due to her love of dancing, we code-named her ‘Dancer.’
Photo above: Gary McHale (L) and Mark Vandermaas with Pam ‘Dancer’ Dudych, March 11/07 at home of Caledonia resident.
Photo top: Pam Dudych w/CANACE co-founder Merlyn Kinrade at ‘Remember Us’ March, Caledonia, Oct 08/07.
CALEDONIA’S 14 YEAR-OLD HERO
14 year-old Pam ‘Dancer’ Dudych speaks out for the children on Sixth Line
I am pleased to say that I have now received permission from Dancer and her family to identify her. Dancer’s real name is Pam Dudych, daughter of Chris and Myron Dudych. She was – and is – an inspiration to me every single day, and she is one of the key reasons I keep going when I feel exhausted or discouraged.
VoiceofCanada has long maintained the ‘DANCER’S COURAGE’ feature page as part of the campaign to tell her story; efforts which have included numerous media contacts behind the scenes; an appearance by Pam at the April 17/07 Queen’s Park FantinoGate news conference in the Media Studio; and her reading of her Road of Hope message at the Oct 08/07 pre-election ‘Remember Us’ March (photo top) where she spoke with speakers such as Joe Gualtieri, brother of Sam Gualtieri who suffered brain damage after being nearly beaten to death in a home he was building for his daughter by native thugs during a protest at the Stirling Woods occupation.
Pam Dudych, ca 2007: School Project – Road of Hope pamphelet [PDF, 2p]
Pam Dudych, March 11/07: reading from Road of Hope (7:09 mins)
Pam Dudych, April 17/07: Queen’s Park news conference (2:33 mins)
Pam Dudych, Oct 08/07: ‘Remember Us’ March, Caledonia [DIAL-UP] (photo top, 5:13 mins)
CaledoniaWakeUpCall feature: Remember Us March
CANACE report: The Human Costs of Illegal Occupations [PDF, 101p] (see p17)
VoiceofCanada feature: Dancer’s Courage
CaledoniaVictimsProject, March 30/10: The racist speech native protesters, CUPE & OPP did not want Caledonia to hear
Pam Dudych snubbed by politicians, media and OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino
Snubbed by the politicians
Shamefully, not one politician accepted our invitation to speak at the Oct 08/07 ‘Remember Us’ march. Not one came to stand to stand beside the victims of Caledonia that day to speak out – just before a crucial provincial election – to demand justice and police protection for them. But, a by-then 15 year old Dancer – whose family lived without policing in a town where many with policing were (and are to this day!) too cowardly or self-absorbed to speak up for their traumatized neighbours – she, this brave young girl was there, standing with Merlyn Kinrade at her side (photo, top) as she read from her project.
Snubbed by the media at ‘Remember Us’ March
On Oct 08/07 Dancer was completely ignored by mainstream media outlets who were present. Organizer Gary McHale had graciously allowed native occupation leader Clyde Powless to speak, and when the event was over, they swarmed him instead of paying any attention to the victims. The only journalist to tell Dancer’s story was Katie Dawson of the local Caledonia newspaper, The Sachem:
The most important message of the day was from a young girl who lives on Sixth Line in Caledonia.Her family is very careful not give out her full name, but the 15-year-old McKinnon Park Secondary School student, known as Dancer, told her story about life on Sixth Line since the occupation of Douglas Creek Estates began. “I was locked in my own home,” she told the crowd gathered at the Caledonia Lions Park. “My bus wouldn’t come down the street to take me to school.” She said that to get home her family would have to drive through the blockades, and felt as if they were in prison. “There were gates everywhere and men with bats and even guns.”
Dancer, who was a competitive dancer, used to practice on her side lawn. She says she had to stop because protesters would throw firecrackers at her. One evening, when Dancer was home alone, she saw someone looking through her window. She was afraid and called the police. The OPP told her they were not allowed on the Sixth Line and for her to call the Six Nation’s Police. Six hours later an officer finally arrived.
I want the police back on my road,” says Dancer. “I want justice for all of the kids on my road.” Dancer spoke at the “Remember Us” march because she hoped she could try and make a difference.
The Sachem, Katie Dawson, Oct 11/07: ‘Remember Us’ march leads to one arrest REPRINT
Snubbed by Queen’s Park media
After Pam spoke in the Queen’s Park Media Studio on April 17/07, not one journalist spoke with her or her family, and the only question asked during the news conference was why were her parents not speaking? Can you imagine the media showing so little interest in a 14 year old native girl who was afraid in her home because white thugs had attacked police and ordered them out, and then asking why the parents weren’t speaking instead? It was an insult to this brave girl and her family.
Snubbed by OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino
Julian Fantino has met with the people responsible for terrorizing Caledonia on many occasions. He has even given them his cell phone number. He was on the occupied Douglas Creek Estates Jan 20/07 telling the criminals and their supporters he was going to protect them from the law abiding non-native citizens who wanted merely to put a flag up on a public hydro pole across from DCE – for which four people have been arrested to date. The same day, he was photographed peaking out the windows of the OPP station on Unity Road as OPP officers refused our requests to meet with him, telling us there were no senior officers present (photo R).
After non-native protesters and police officers were repeated attacked by Six Nations residents at an illegal smokeshack on Dec 01/07 Fantino blamed the violence on Gary McHale and his followers – the victims of the unprovoked assaults. Fantino was later photgraphed sharing a joke with Clyde Powless (blue shirt, photo below), the man who led the swarming attack against McHale that sent him to hospital that day. Fantino has testifed under oath that he has met with native protesters repeatedly, yet he has refused meet with their victims, including those on Sixth Line like Dancer’s family.
On Sept 29/09 Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer sent an email to Fantino requesting that he meet with some of the most traumatized victims:
“Will you please meet with the 14 families on the 6th line, myself and maybe Dave & Dana Brown, a meeting would mean a great deal to them as they feel the world has abandoned them.”
Fantino refused, saying he was too busy.
Dunnville Chronicle, Oct 21/09: Fantino says no [PDF]
Jeff Parkinson, Jan 27/10: Fantino snubs Sixth Line victims
Photo above: OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino (R) shares joke w/Floyd Montour (L) and Clyde Powless, May 23/08. Photo by Turtle Island News, www.turtleislandnews.com.
Christie Blatchford writes of Dudych family suffering
Award-winning author/journalist Christie Blatchford became the first reporter for a national media outlet to tell the story of the Dudych family who were willing to share their pain. Her article, Settlement gives hope to others in Caledonia, discusses Chris and Myron Dudych and how their lives have been shattered by a suicide attempt; post-traumatic stress disorder; depression; a heart attack and financial problems. Unfortunately, Pam was away on the day of the interview so Blatchford was unable to interview her:
Globe & Mail, Jan 05/10: Settlement gives hope to others in Caledonia [PDF, REPRINT]
I knew about the suicide attempt, but did not write about it because they were not ready to talk about it publicly. The Dudych’s are a good family. A decent family. A frightened family living on a street without policing in a community frozen into silence with fear. A family that nonetheless tried to help their neighbours by supporting their 14 year old daughter’s determination to speak out.
The responsibility for the terrible damage to this family rests – just as it does for Brown & Chatwell – on the shoulders of the OPP, Premier McGuinty, and every journalist and politician who heard this girl’s repeated cries for help and turned a blind eye to a brave young lady who refused to be silent. Unfortunately, Pam Dudych’s cries for help went un-answered.
VoC email to Christie Blatchford
Here is the email I sent to Christie Blatchford after her Jan 05/09 article about the Sixth Line residents appeared:
From: Mark Vandermaas
To: Christie Blatchford
Sent: Tue 1/5/2010 8:31 PM
Subject: Pam Dudych is a Caledonia hero; video of her speaking at Caledonia protest
1. Thankyou so very, very much for telling the Dudych’s story. I just sent the email below to Chris and (daughter) Pam celebrating the fact that someone in the MSM has finally told it.
Pam Dudych was 14 years old, living on a street without policing, and her courage in standing with us and speaking out at a time when the vast majority of residents and politicians were hiding under their beds was the main reason I have continued to fight this awful struggle to end racial policing. Pam is a true hero and I do hope you will follow up on her story. You can read more about her at this feature page on VoiceofCanada: http://voiceofcanada.wordpress.com/dancers-courage/.
Here is a link to her project: http://voiceofcanada.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/11-dancer-road-of-hope.pdf
Here is a link to video of her reading from Road of Hope on Oct 8/07 (5:09 mins): http://www.caledoniawakeupcall.com/media/Oct8-Dancer.wmv
The man in tears at the end of the Pam’s speech is a Caledonia resident and Korean/Suez veteran named Merlyn Kinrade who is also a co-founder of CANACE. The list of heroes in Caledonia is not very long, but Pam and Merlyn belong at the top of it.
We met with the Dudych’s after a friend of the family asked us to help in early 2007 because no one else would. Pam had created a school project called ‘Road of Hope’ and she wanted to share it and her story about life on the Sixth Line. We released the story and a video of her reading from her project ASAP. We brought Pam to Queen’s Park for a news conference on April 17/07 where she read her project during our FantinoGate (re infamous email to Haldimand Council) news conference, but no one interviewed her. Later, Pam spoke at our ‘Remember Us’ march on Oct 8/07 just before the provincial election. The only journalist who mentioned her was Katie Dawson of the Sachem – a local Caledonia paper. I hope you can understand now how grateful I am that you took the time to talk to the family and tell their story.
P.S. I wonder how long McGuinty would have allowed this outrage to go on if Caledonian criminals were terrorizing innocent children and families from Six Nations?
The OPP return to 6th Line: Pam’s mom shares her feelings
On March 20/10 I received confirmation from Chris Dudych – Pam’s mom – that the OPP were again policing the Sixth Line along with her feelings about the last four years:
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.
Dudych family is revictimized
Unfortunately, the Dudych family were re-victimized by the same groups that have already caused them so much pain. On March 21, 2010 and again on March 28th, native protesters and members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) – who openly aid and support the criminal activities used by native militants to try to enforce demands on the government for what they call ‘aboriginal sovereignty’ – forced the cancellation of two attempts by CANACE (Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality) to hold an Anti-Racism rally.
Caledonia Victims Project founder Mark Vandermaas had been invited to share Chris Dudych’s words about her feelings towards the police and politicians who refused to help them. After the cancellation of the second CANACE event Mark posted his still-ungiven speech online here at the Caledonia Victims Project.
Caledonia Victims Project, April 08/10: The racist speech native protesters, CUPE & OPP did not want Caledonia to hear
- 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
- VoiceofCanada, March 25/10: Caledonia Players: Tom Keefer & CUPE 3903
Honouring Pam Dudych
Despite the mayhem around her and the fear she felt in her own home fourteen year-old Pam Dudych – with her family’s full support – took a stand for justice. Even today, adult residents are still reluctant to identify themselves out of fear of intimidation by native protesters and OPP officers, which makes Pam’s courage all the more worthy of recognition.
The logo for the Caledonia Victims Project has the image of a dancer in it as a direct tribute to the pain and courage of this young woman who became both a symbol of Caledonia’s nightmare and an inspiration to those who seek an end to racial policing and native extremism.
WHY THEY WERE AFRAID
In 2006 aboriginal protesters occupied a housing development known as the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) which is bordered on the south side by Sixth Line which, in turn, leads to the Six Nations reserve. The militants terrorized Caledonia with a long list of wanton violence that included destruction of the main hydro sub-station; burning down of a bridge and uttering death threats against firefighters; throwing a vehicle and debris off bridges; closing the town’s main road for weeks; and attacking senior citizens, police, journalists and residents.
A sampling of photographs and accounts of the intimidation, destruction and violence – and their impact – can be found here:
VoiceofCanada feature: Caledonia Photos
VoiceofCanada feature: Caledonia Lawsuits
Ontario Provincial Police watched and did nothing
Court records show the OPP stood by and watched much of it happen without intervening. The local detachment commander testified through deposition entered into evidence at the $7M Brown-Chatwell trial that he told superiors he was concerned that the force’s inaction against native protesters was encouraging further lawlessness but he was ordered not to make arrests.
The town’s fire chief ordered his firefighters not to try to save a bridge set on fire by native militants because he did not believe the OPP would protect them from the protesters shouting death threats.
VoiceofCanada, Dec 22/09: Brown-Chatwell trial: crimes against democracy
OPP officers attacked by hundreds of native militants
It is difficult to over-emphasize both the sheer volume and depravity of the crimes of native militants. The references below provide a shocking glimpse into the world of Caledonia and Haldimand County and, the people of Sixth Line had a front row seat living in a no-man’s land which was abandoned by the Ontario Provincial Police on the same day police themselves were attacked by hundreds of native militants with axes, baseball bats and other weapons that included a chainsaw and socks filled with rocks. Police vehicles were damaged and, according to the OPP news release, three officers were injured.
On April 26, 2009 OPP Officer Jeffrey Bird testified as a witness at CANACE co-founder Gary McHale’s preliminary hearing into a charge of ‘Counselling Mischief Not Committed.’ In addition to being the first OPP officer to confirm the existence of racially-based policing practices, he stated that officers were attacked April 20/06 with weapons that included chair legs, table legs, axes, a chain saw and sock-filled rocks.
OPP media release, April 20/06: Protesters removed from Caledonia housing development
CANACE reference guide, Feb 01/10: Journalist’s Quick Reference Evidence Guide [PDF] (see Officer Bird testimony, p5 w/link to transcript)
Minister tells federal government and natives he will not ask for assistance from Canadian Forces
After the police were attacked on April 20/06 and the town terrorized, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Monte Kwinter sent a letter to Six Nations telling them that he had already informed the federal government that he was not going to ask for aid from the Canadian Forces to help police protect the citizens of Caledonia from native militants.
Minister Monte Kwinter, May 03/06: Letter to federal government respecting a request for no military support
Ontario government agrees not to prosecute natives for attacks on police
According to the Brown-Chatwell statement of claim (settled in December 2009) there was even a deal made by the Ontario government not to prosecute those responsible for the April 20/06 attacks on police.
VoiceofCanada, Sept 23/07: $12M lawsuit: “Misfeasance” by OPP and Liberal ministers re agreements not to enforce law
Ontario Superior Court, July 19/07: Brown-Chatwell statement of claim [PDF, 54p] See para 56.
OPP enter into an “interim protocol” to stop policing on Sixth Line
The OPP claimed in an inoccuous press release that – on the very day their officers were attacked, April 20/06 – they merely entered into an “interim protocol with the Six Nations Police to temporarily assist the OPP with calls” – even though that part of the Sixth Line is not part of the reserve.
OPP media release, June 23/06: OPP maintains policing responsibility on the Sixth Line (refers to April 20/06 ‘interim protocol’ w/6N police for “reducing tensions…to ensure …safety of residents.” See OPP release, April 20/06)
OPP media release, April 20/06: Protesters removed from Caledonia housing development
Residents feel abandoned by police
The residents and local council, however, felt much differently about the OPP’s soothing ‘interim protocol’: As far as they were concerned native militants had cowed the OPP and the Ontario government into abandoning them. Here are some quotes from councillors and residents from a townhall meeting, held in February 2007.
The OPP are still not policing beyond the DCE: Sixth Line, Oneida and the back of Sterling. They are going to respond to 911 phone calls. I’ve suggested to the OPP numerous times, as I know Marie has, as I know Buck has, and Council has that you [the OPP] might not get the phone calls because they are deathly afraid of any repercussions.
Councillor Craig Grice
Question 7A (Resident): What is your definition of ‘policing’ for residents on Sixth Line? Six Nations Police say ‘we don’t want to come down that road.’ When was the last time the Six Nations Police patrolled that road?
Answer (Councillor Sloat): We have asked the same question day in and day out. We asked these same questions of the previous commissioner. We asked the present commissioner directly – face to face – those exact questions and we also have not received what we feel are the appropriate answers. I’m not sure what we can actually do beyond that. We continually…
Question 7B (Resident): Nobody comes up that road. There’s nothing to stop anybody. It’s not a policed area. I’ve seen them [police] three times since April. We used to see them every three hours.
Answer (Councillor Sloat): We told Fantino exactly that.
Answer (Councillor Grice): It boggles my mind – honestly- that the OPP figures this was the right thing to do. I wish I could help you and I wish I could do more.
Question 8: I’ve lived in three countries and I never lived in a country where the police are told where and where not they can go. I just never lived anywhere where there’s no policing because there’s a small group of people saying ‘you can’t come here’ and the police stay off, or they decide not to go. So who’s accountable?
Answer (Grice): The OPP will have to remain accountable. I can’t stop what they are doing as a councillor. I wish I could.
Supporting audio recordings and transcripts from this townhall meeting can be found here:
VoiceofCanada, Feb 13/07: Toby Barrett leads Caledonia Council to water…but they won’t drink!
DCE occupiers authorize the shooting of residents and OPP officers
According to residents the Six Nations Police were afraid of the occupiers and rarely seen. This was with good reason.
In the spring of 2007 Gary McHale, co-founder of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) obtained, courtesy of a Caledonia resident, audio recordings of approximately 1,000 hours of radio transmissions by the OPP, and DCE occupiers. The tapes show that the occupiers – among other things – authorized the shooting of OPP officers and civilians; interfered with OPP and ambulance attempts to assist an injured officer; and fired shots through the front door of a Six Nations police officer living on the Sixth Line.
VoiceofCanada, Sept 08/07: Audio recordings reveal OPP hid DCE dangers from public – Part 2
Listen to Truth: DCE/OPP radio recordings
Native people also victimized
Native people themselves were victimized with crimes that included rape, assault, drug use and intimidation so intense that the original occupiers did not feel safe on the land they themselves had illegally seized from the lawful owner — just as the original occupiers of the Ipperwash Army base had similarly felt. According to the Six Nations former chief David General the DCE occupation site was not sacred because of two reported rapes and several other “unseemly acts” that had occurred there.
Turtle Island News, May 16/07: Turmoil at Reclamation site, fight, fires break out [REPRINT]
Hamilton Spectator, Oct 21/08: Shack shooter gets 4 1/2 years [PDF] [REPRINT]
Tekawennake News, Aug 15/07: Band Council and citizens clash [PDF] (see para 2 re Chief David General remarks)
VoiceofCanada feature: Victimizing Native People
A hero in a town where few were to be found
People in Caledonia had good reason to be afraid of the wanton violence of native protesters who were allowed to run rampant by the Ontario Provincial Police, so the courage of Pam ‘Dancer’ Dudych despite her pain was all the more remarkable. After meeting and filming her for the first time on March 11, 2007 at the home of a Caledonia resident Gary McHale’s wife Christine aptly observed, “If this crisis can produce someone like Dancer then perhaps some good will come out of all this.”
Thank you, Pam Dudych for inspiring us all.
Caledonia Victims Project