Press conference at UVIC MacLauren Bldg
Education Bldg room D114, 11:30-1:00 Thurs. Oct.3rd
Re: Anti-Terrorist Unit Uses Excessive Force On Indigenous Family
At 6:00 am Saturday, September, 21st 2002, members of the Integrated
National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) raided the residence of Nitanis
Desjarlais and John Rampanen in Port Alberni, British Columbia. With the
assistance of the RCMP Emergency Response Team, local RCMP, ambulance, and
fire departments, a warrant to search for unauthorized firearms was
This police raid was conducted as a follow-up to allegations that Mr.
Rampanen was "stockpiling arms". The quiet neighborhood of Mr. Rampanen
and his common-law wife Ms. Desjarlais, located on the outskirts of Port
Alberni, was evacuated during the early hours of September 21st, as a
safety precaution during the police raid. Fortunately, Mr. Rampanen and
Ms. Desjarlais along with their twelve year old son, two year old daughter
and new-born son were not present in their home during the time of
At 9:45 am on the same day, members of INSET along with local RCMP
officers, visited the residence of Mr. Rampanens' parents, also located in
Port Alberni. Upon arrival, INSET officers became aware of the presence of
Ms. Desjarlais and Mr. Rampanen and immediately began questioning Ms.
Desjarlais. Ms. Desjarlais was taken outside of the house and asked if she
knew that John Rampanen was involved in Native Issues. She replied that
she did and that she herself was involved and sarcastically asked if it
was a crime to be involved in Native Issues, to no reply from INSET.
Approximately 10 minutes into the questioning, the inquiring INSET officer
received a telephone call reporting that the searched residence was
"clear". At which point Ms. Desjarlais was informed by an INSET member
that "it would be a shame for (her) children to grow up without parents".
At this point, INSET officers approached Mr. Rampanen and informed him of
the execution of a search warrant on his residence. They further informed
him that allegations were made that he was "stockpiling arms" and that
they did not know the identity of the person or persons behind the
"malicious allegation". They included that there was considerable damage
inflicted upon the front entrance to the house and that any damages
incurred would be covered by the RCMP. Mr. Rampanen was reminded of the
"concern that he should have towards the safety of (his) children" and
that if he was in possession of any unauthorized firearms that he would be
given the opportunity to surrender them without repercussions. Mr.
Rampanen replied that he does not possess any firearms, that his house and
all of his belongings had already been thoroughly searched, and that that
should be evidence that he was not "stockpiling arms".
When asked if this sort of action was to be expected every time a
malicious allegation was made in regards to Mr. Rampanen, INSET replied
that, "after today's actions, we would have to say yes". Mr. Rampanen
stated that "it was because of (his) concern for the safety of (his)
children that he did not stockpile weapons", and further, suggested that
there are more civilized methods that could be applied when dealing with
these types of concerns.
Mr. Rampanen and Ms. Desjarlais have been actively involved in Indigenous
issues for a number of years through organizations such as; the Union of
BC Indian Chiefs, United Native Nations, Native Youth Movement, Indigenous
Sovereignty Network, and the Westcoast Warrior Society. Mr. Rampanen has
also been actively involved in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs
directed towards Indigenous youth, as well as, educational and
informational workshops throughout Indigenous communities. Ms. Desjarlais
is an emerging videographer and specializes in documentaries focusing on
concerns and issues arising from various Indigenous Nations. The young
couple have just recently moved to Vancouver Island where they plan on
raising their children.
Later, during the evening of the same day and the morning of Sunday,
September 22nd, other members of the Westcoast Warrior Society and their
families were also approached by INSET officers. Similar remarks regarding
the safety and concern of their children, and suggestive statements
regarding firearms were also expressed during these visits.
After incidents arising from the weekend of September 21st, Mr. Rampanen
and Ms. Desjarlais are still trying to ensure that these types of
aggressive actions are not wrongfully exercised upon those involved within
matters relating to Indigenous rights. They feel that these sorts of
unnecessary tactics only contribute negatively towards the already fragile
relationship between Indigenous Nations and the Government of Canada.
INSET is a unit that emerged after September 11th and has a budget of 64
million dollars for a five year period. more info on INSET at RCMP