What It's Like Being an Unofficial Political Prisoner in Lovely Old Canada
- What It's Like Being an Unofficial Political Prisoner in Lovely Old
Posted Thursday, January 8, 2004 by wohitika
"He Can't Defend Himself From Inside A Prison Cell..."
What It's Like Being an Unofficial Political Prisoner in Lovely Old
by Kevin D. Annett
Yesterday, the wife of a native man who is being illegally held on a
frame-up charge in Vancouver asked me to help get him out of jail.
She implored me to do so with these words: "We have no money and no
supporters. We're on our own. And he can't defend himself from inside
a prison cell."
Her tearful words cut straight to my heart. For, like my native
brother, I have been staring out from behind solid bars of injustice
and unlawful confinement for nine years.
There are lots of prisons in our sad little world, but the most
insidious kind is not the one of stone and metal, but the social
isolation and denigration imposed on those like myself who expose the
crimes of those in power, and who must pay for our voice with our
The result is the same. Both my native brother and I are
impoverished, unable to find work, and treated like social outcasts.
You don't take on the United Church of Canada, its corporate funder
MacMillan-Bloedel/Weyerhauser, the RCMP, and the government of
Canada - as I have done - and walk away from the encounter intact.
Since October, 1994, when I first challenged my ex-employer, the
United Church of Canada, over its theft of native land and murder of
native children on Vancouver Island, I have known what it is to be
fired, expelled from my career and livelihood, blacklisted, prevented
from building a new life, legally and physically assaulted, and
thrust into a social and spiritual isolation as bad as any jail cell.
During those long nine years, I have seen more and more sympathetic
people turn away and give up from supporting my struggle to survive,
tell my story, and raise my family, simply because what I was and am
exposing was too horrifying for them.
I have survived in prison, like my native brother is doing, but at a
tremendous price. Political prisoners in Canada - and there are many
of us - must fight the constant self-hatred that comes from
thinking: "This can't be happening to me! This is Canada, a
democracy! We're not in China or Uganda or (now) the USA! I must have
done something wrong to deserve what I am getting."
It's an uphill struggle, every day, to go on believing in yourself,
and in what you know is true, as an unofficial political prisoner and
internal exile in a place like Canada, where (to quote my native
brother): "Everyone is walking around in a big fucking slumber."
If I was a citizen of a repressive third world country, or if I had
have taken on the Roman Catholic church, even, I would probably have
international publicity by now, along with the cause I am part of.
But sadly, I am a prisoner of a liberal democracy and its ultra-
liberal church. And that has made my work and person an
uncomfortable "inconvenience" for many so-called progressive people
and groups - and has kept me in prison.
Let me tell you specifically what this means for me, in a week:
1. I cannot find work. Whenever I apply for a job, and I reach the
interview phase, I am told either that a) my "history" of "trouble"
with the United Church prevents my hiring, or b) "concerned parties"
have spoken to the employer about so-called "problems" they would
have hiring me.
These "concerned parties", I have learned, are members of "E"
Division of the RCMP and officials or lawyers of the BC Conference of
the United Church, including Jon Jessiman, Stuart Lyster, Debra
Bowman, and Inspector Peter Montague of "Our specialty is smear
campaigns" Gustafson Lake infamy.
For instance, last February, I was invited by a sociology professor
at the University of BC to give an extended lecture series to his
classes that would have brought in considerable income for me, and
opened up new job possibilities in the academic world.
After one lecture, an unnamed United Church minister phoned Neil
Guppy, vice-president of UBC, and UBC President Martha Piper, and
arranged to have my lecture series cancelled, which it was. I was
never paid for even the lecture I gave, as I had been promised, and
the prof who invited me was unofficially censured and put on
This is how the church and the feds not only keep me isolated and
stigmatized, but punishes those academics and others who would dare
to support me and the efforts to document religious and state-
sponsored Genocide in Canada.
2. I cannot find sustained support in the community. The average
involvement time of people in our Truth Commission is from one to
three months. Overt threats, harrassment, the smear campaign against
me being led by the state-funded native "leaders" like Ed John and
his Port Alberni associates, and the huge and frightening nature of
our work, deters most people from sticking with this cause, which
after all is so close to home and more of a personal threat to one's
safety than, say, the war in Iraq.
3. I cannot find public or media exposure. The editor of the
Vancouver Sun admitted to a friend of mine in August, 1998, that
an "unofficial blackout" exists on Kevin Annett and the issue of the
murder of native children, across Canada. This has been confirmed
time and again to me by individual reporters of the mainline press,
who try to cover our evidence of murder, sterilizations and so forth,
only to have their work stopped by their editors, without any good
This isolation is not accidental; it's the way that dissidents from
the dominant culture, like me, are treated. If I was an Indian, I'd
be dead by now; but a white man who has named names is executed in
Canada through a three-fold process of isolation, denigration and
slow but sure economic strangulation.
I know this is true, because it's happening to me, right now. And to
my family of four.
Where does this leave me, and you, the reader?
This isn't meant to evoke guilt, self-justification or anger on your
part. This isn't yet another request for funds. None of that helps
anything, in the long run.
This is an appeal to help break me out of prison.
Some of you have helped me, consistently. But your efforts are not
getting my story or the wider truth of Genocide of so many innocents
into the public eye, and into international forums of justice.
We need new methods, new tactics, and new resources. The old ones
have not worked.
Before anything else, I need to speak with all of you, personally,
directly. The social isolation must be broken down.
I write this with some urgency, because my health is failing me more,
and I don't want the enormous knowledge I carry in me to die with me.
Too many eyewitnesses have died up to now. One of our key witnesses
to the secret burial sites of murdered Indian people in south central
BC just died suddenly a few weeks ago in Kelowna. And with her
vanished the knowledge of where those physical remains lie.
That's what the criminals want. And they'll get their way, again and
again, unless we who have the knowledge that can put them away are
armed, and allowed to speak and act, free of this prison.
I can only get free by having public meetings and other venues in
which I can speak, and share the evidence and truth I am carrying. I
need your help in organizing such forums. I need your help to carry
this burden Creator has given me.
Will you help me, and the silenced innocents?
With hope and thanks,
Maple Ridge, BC
Canada V4R 1H6
1-888-265-1007 (pager number for calls within Canada only)
For direct bank deposits to help sustain me, my family, and our Truth
Commission into Genocide in Canada, please deposit (regularly?) to:
Scotia Bank, North Burnaby branch, 6715 E. Hastings Street
Account of Pamela Holm
Account Number : 50450 00238 84