THE NEW DENVER SURVIVORS
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B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Decision, April 26, 2013

 

106_Swetlishoff_v_BC_Ministry_of_Attorney_General_No_2_2013_BCHRT_106.pdf

 

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Letter response to 16 x 9 Global TV program on "Lost Childhood", December 7th, 2012

January 24, 2013

16 X 9
Global Television
81 Barber Greene Road
Toronto, Ontario
M3C 2A2

Dear Carolyn Jarvis

I listened to the 16x9 documentary aired December 7th, 2012 on the “Lost Childhood.” I also listened to your web exclusives with Simma Holt, Constable Jack Randel and Constable Fred Bodnaruk.

I wish I had not wasted my time.

I don’t know where to start and how to put it into words so you could begin to understand what happened to the children. New Denver was not funny, amusing or charming. There was nothing cute and smiley about it.

I listened to Constable Jack Randel talking about the “dirty job” they had to do at Perry Siding. I was there to watch them. The squadron marched up the dirt road towards the tent village. Naked adults stood outside the tents. They had no guns, no weapons, and no bombs. Yes, they were breaking the law for nudity which was punishable by a three year prison term. Of course, back then, I did not know that. 
The RCMP approached and then attacked the group of naked people who were peacefully gathered in the large open field. I watched in horror as naked adults fell to the ground, screaming, crying, or attempting to run. I saw blood. And then I screamed, I ran, I cried. I was six years old back then.

As I raced across the field I fully believed that when the RCMP caught me they would kill me. Propelled by my own screams and by the screams of others I fled in terror across a large stubbled field to hide beside a grove of trees. Those truly were unholy screams of terror. And yes, from time to time the screams erupt to bring back the terrifying moments of myself, my sister, and other small children racing through the fields to get away from the policemen.

There was nothing funny, cute or justifiable about it under any law in any country.

Your other guest Constable Fred Bodnaruk preferred to call it a “ rescue mission.” However Constable Jack Randel was right, it really was a “dirty job.” For decades I did not smile, laugh, or joke about it. I never even spoke about it. I locked it away as top secret and vowed to never speak about it. Besides who would I tell? And why would I tell? I was labeled the Doukhobor child, truant children, zealot child, sons of freedom child. Who would listen to me or believe me?

I do not understand why the people to this very day are still being presented to the public as only simple misguided lost souls with no purpose in life, no dignity as human beings, completely off their rockers with no integrity, morals, values, and completely lacking in other aspects of humanity. It’s as if the people just willy nilly gathered in public places, and for no reason whatsoever, stripped naked in public school yards for attention!

I might mention the tent village in Perry Siding was well off the highway and up into a large open field. I imagine the school children, back then, may have seen the nakedness if they were all given high powered binoculars. They would then have witnessed for themselves Canadian democracy and Human Rights in action as it unfolded in living color before their eyes, rather than hear the nicer revised version later. 
Perry Siding and New Denver were anything but a “ rescue mission.” It’s no wonder there was a Doukhobor problem. However, I’m not entirely sure, even now, they were the only ones with a problem.

I took a careful look at the pictures of the mounties approaching the tent village to do “ the dirty job they had to do.” As they marched towards the tents the main highway fell back into the distance behind them. I could also see in the distance a small train shed. It stood close to the train tracks which were located just on the other side of the main highway. I’m not at all convinced that the paraded nakedness in that public field could clearly be seen even from the train tracks never mind the school yard. And just to let you and Jack know, I also worked with people who were overweight, however, I didn’t arm myself with a billy club and a gun to avoid a hernia or back trouble.

As for the exclusive interviews with Simma Holt, I am appalled you would publish such drivel on the Global TV website and then sit and chuckle with her about it. Please inform yourself and also your colleague her comments were not funny. They were demeaning and disrespectful towards a group of people. The women did not undress by the fires for orgasmic fun and gaiety, or an evening of lighthearted sexual frivolity. I am not entirely sure how this new tidbit of information about the orgasmic naked mothers and grandmothers was to help support the efforts of the New Denver Survivors’ attempts to receive a public apology from the government for being institutionalized by the government.

I believe in this day and age it is inappropriate to print material that is demeaning and disrespectful to others based on the biases and suppositions of others. I am not sure why educated intelligent women would choose not to see that, as even Simma laughingly suggested you should edit it. It is beyond my understanding why you then still chose to post the garbage under global web exclusives!

Your interviews were no different than Geoff Plante’s statement of regret and no different than what I heard back there in the fifties. Dirty duke, ugly duke, naked duke, Doukhobor problem. It seems very little has changed since then.

As I listened to you report your story, it in no way filled me with any sense of pride or peace or even hope, other than, the shame of “dirty duke.” It was the same old thing revisited ad nauseam. Bombings, nudity, arson that was it. One would have to wonder why no one in society cared, wondered, or questioned as to why the people protested!

I simply cannot comprehend why this same history is still being reported and repeated over and over, again and again. It’s like a trance, repeat after me, bombings, burnings, nudity, arson, bombings, burnings, nudity, arson. Most of the people involved from back then have passed away now. It’s time to let them rest in peace.

The children of New Denver did not do it. Children are not responsible for their parents actions or their choices. New Denver was not about the bombings, nudity, arson, burnings, or the imprisonments of the adults for nudity. Suffice to say the adults who did undress were sentenced three years for public nudity and they did serve their time. Three years for nudity is more than a pedophile gets now for grooming young children in order to sexually molest them later.

New Denver was about the children. The public needs to hear about the children who survived New Denver. They need to know the government removed innocent children from their parents’ homes and forced them to live communally inside a government institution to make them into Canadian citizens. I believe the term coined was “Forced Assimilation.”

The Canadian public needs to know what my first day of school was like, compared to theirs and yours, yes, right here, in Canada. The matter of “forced assimilation” seems to always become lost inside the history of the bombings, nudity, arsons, burnings, and other mass confinements and mass confusions between the government and the adults.

Contrary to Simma’s glowing reports about New Denver, it was very difficult to be educated by terror and live inside of terror with adults who didn’t even like you. I was there, the children wanted to go home. Perhaps that’s why she said she never interviewed any of the children. They would have told her, they wanted to go home.

I hardly think the Sons of Freedoms were the “ first ” terrorists in Canada! The Cowboys and Indians were here first and they used terror! I think instead of digging up new misguided old news, some of the old myths about the people need to be put to rest. Even the myth about the “good old cowboys” and the “bad savage Indians” has been laid to rest. We all know now that people from many cultures can and do behave savagely.

I am not sure why I need to live down a history I did not as a child create through any actions of my own. And I am not sure why the media wants to perpetuate the same history for the New DenverSurvivors as they did for the parents!

No one seems to get that as New Denver Survivors we were just children. We were not our parents then nor are we our parents now. We were just children and we were Canadian born children. I think you forgot we were the children who “lost” their “childhood” inside the Children’s Protection Act, Operation Snatch, Forced Assimilation, and in the fields of Perry Siding. We were the children who were placed into a government institution for being born into the Doukhobor culture.

Yours truly,

Chris Elkins

cc: Roxana Spicer
cc: Megan Rowney
cc: New DenverSurvivors
cc: Shaw Media Toronto, Ontario

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An apology for the Doukhobors, CBC, The Current Radio Show, August 7, 2012

 

Doukhobors want apology from B.C. Government, The Toronto Star,www.Star.com, May 21, 2012

 

KOOTENAY COOP RADIO INTERVIEW OF A NEW DENVER SURVIVOR, MARCH 27, 2012

 

UPDATED: PLANT STANDS PAT ON 'STATEMENT OF REGRET'

 

TRIBUNAL ADJOURNS AS LAWYER QUITS, NELSON STAR, JANUARY 15, 2012

 

UPDATED B.C. HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL HEARING SCHEDULE, JANUARY 12, 2012

 

HEARING SET FOR NEW DENVER SURVIVORS

 

Righting the Wrong: The Confinement of the Sons of Freedom Doukhobor Children

 

Updated B.C. HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL HEARING SCHEDULE...PAGE 1

B.C. HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL HEARING SCHEDULE - See page 3

 

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NOTICE OF NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: 

1111newdenversurvivors@gmail.com

 

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British Columbia (Ministry of Attorney General) v. New Denver Survivors Collective

 

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"NEW DENVER SURVIVORS STORY TO BE TOLD AT HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL", THE SLOCAN VALLEY CURRENT,NOVEMBER 27, 2010

 

 


June 9, 2010

 

Judicial Review

 
Our human rights case has been interrupted because the BC Ministry of Attorney General has appealed a preliminary decision rendered by the BC Human Rights Tribunal. That appeal (also called a judicial review) has been set for a two day hearing on July 27 & 28, 2010. The judicial review itself is not a re-hearing of the questions that were before the Tribunal when our lawyer Judith brought the application to have four jurisdictional questions pre-determined. Rather, the judicial review is simply an assessment of whether or not the Tribunal did its job right when it rendered the preliminary decision. After the judicial review hearing, it will be a few months before we get a decision from the Court, it is common for judges to take between 1-4 months to render a decision in a judicial review. If we lose the judicial review, the Court may ask the Tribunal to reconsider its preliminary decision or the Court may dismiss our complaint. If we win the judicial review, we can get back to pursuing and preparing for a hearing of our complaint before the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
  
Privilege.
NDS lawyer and BC Ministry of Attorney General use privilege to protect/restrict distribution of information.
 
In any piece of litigation, the parties are obliged to disclose any and all documents in their possession or control relevant to the issues in dispute. Absent the law of privilege, "all relevant documents" would include communications between a solicitor and client about the case and or documents created for the dominant purpose of advancing one party's position in the litigation. The doctrine (and law) of privilege protects solicitor and client communications and documents created for the purposes of litigation from the usual requirements of production. Documents to which privilege attaches do not need to be disclosed to the opposing party in litigation, however relevant they may be.
 
Privilege can be waived by expressly advising of an intention to waive privilege or it can be waived impliedly through a party's actions. Privilege exists to ensure the people can receive frank legal advice without fear that such advice will be used against them. It is designed to protect the solicitor and client relationship and presumes that all communications originating within that relationship are intended to be confidential (i.e. are not to be shared with other people). If either the solicitor or the client shares those communications with other people, the law considers the privilege protecting those communications to have been waived. If privilege is waived - either expressly or impliedly - this protection may be lost and parties may be required to produce some of their documents and communications.
 

 

March 5, 2010

Two years ago and still waiting.......

 


Residential school healing funding ends, March 5, 2010

 


April 29, 2009

Pope says he's sorry for abuse at church-run native Canadian schools

 


The Apology

Prime Minister Stephen Harper's statement of apology to survivors of Indian Residential Schools

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2008 | 3:37 PM ET

CBC News

Here are excerpts from the text of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's statement of apology on Wednesday, as released by the Prime Minister's Office. French sections, which repeat the English text, have been excluded:

Mr. Speaker, I stand before you today to offer an apology to former students of Indian residential schools. The treatment of children in Indian residential schools is a sad chapter in our history.

In the 1870's, the federal government, partly in order to meet its obligation to educate aboriginal children, began to play a role in the development and administration of these schools.

Two primary objectives of the residential schools system were to remove and isolate children from the influence of their homes, families, traditions and cultures, and to assimilate them into the dominant culture.

These objectives were based on the assumption aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal.

Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, "to kill the Indian in the child."

Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.

Most schools were operated as "joint ventures" with Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian or United churches.

The government of Canada built an educational system in which very young children were often forcibly removed from their homes, often taken far from their communities.

Many were inadequately fed, clothed and housed.

All were deprived of the care and nurturing of their parents, grandparents and communities.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis languages and cultural practices were prohibited in these schools.

Tragically, some of these children died while attending residential schools and others never returned home.

The government now recognizes that the consequences of the Indian residential schools policy were profoundly negative and that this policy has had a lasting and damaging impact on aboriginal culture, heritage and language.

While some former students have spoken positively about their experiences at residential schools, these stories are far overshadowed by tragic accounts of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse and neglect of helpless children, and their separation from powerless families and communities.

The legacy of Indian residential schools has contributed to social problems that continue to exist in many communities today. It has taken extraordinary courage for the thousands of survivors that have come forward to speak publicly about the abuse they suffered.

It is a testament to their resilience as individuals and to the strength of their cultures.

Regrettably, many former students are not with us today and died never having received a full apology from the government of Canada.

The government recognizes that the absence of an apology has been an impediment to healing and reconciliation.

Therefore, on behalf of the government of Canada and all Canadians, I stand before you, in this chamber so central to our life as a country, to apologize to aboriginal peoples for Canada's role in the Indian residential schools system.

To the approximately 80,000 living former students, and all family members and communities, the government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions, that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that, in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this.

We now recognize that, far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you.

Not only did you suffer these abuses as children, but as you became parents, you were powerless to protect your own children from suffering the same experience, and for this we are sorry.

The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long.

The burden is properly ours as a government, and as a country.

There is no place in Canada for the attitudes that inspired the Indian residential schools system to ever again prevail.

You have been working on recovering from this experience for a long time and in a very real sense, we are now joining you on this journey.

The government of Canada sincerely apologizes and asks the forgiveness of the aboriginal peoples of this country for failing them so profoundly.

We are sorry.

In moving towards healing, reconciliation and resolution of the sad legacy of Indian residential schools, implementation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement agreement began on September 19, 2007.

Years of work by survivors, communities, and aboriginal organizations culminated in an agreement that gives us a new beginning and an opportunity to move forward together in partnership.

A cornerstone of the settlement agreement is the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This commission presents a unique opportunity to educate all Canadians on the Indian residential schools system.

It will be a positive step in forging a new relationship between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians, a relationship based on the knowledge of our shared history, a respect for each other and a desire to move forward together with a renewed understanding that strong families, strong communities and vibrant cultures and traditions will contribute to a stronger Canada for all of us.

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At Last, An End To Waiting

PM's historic apology

 

Canada to apologize to natives for century of abusesJune 10, 2008 

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/080610/canada/canada_native_school_politics_history

 

GRIEF OF MOTHERS WHOSE CHILDREN WERE TAKEN AWAY!

Inside the polygamist 'underage sex cult': Pictures show the grief of mothers who had their children taken away

Many New Denver Survivors feel very re-victimized by these actions! Once again, we re-experience the pain and trauma of more than 50 years ago!

Will the Government's of the World never learn?

We, the New Denver Survivors, do not make judgements about the practice of polygamy but vehemently question using innocent children who are then destroyed for the rest of their lives. A young child raised by strangers makes for a dysfunctional adult who cannot find healing within themselves and whose way of life has been destroyed forever. We have been in those shoes and know the outcome for these children. They are being 'rescued' so that further abuse can take place without any protection from their Mothers. We know...it happened to us!

Why must Governments abuse children for political expediency?

 

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B.C. HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL DECISION, MARCH 2008

After waiting a year and a half, we have won the right to have our 'day in court' and now more work begins....