Published Oct 15, 2020Lee Harvey Osmond songwriter Tom Wilson says he was arrested and charged by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) yesterday (October 14) after visiting a disputed housing development site in Caledonia.
Appearing on DWF LIVE for the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund, Wilson explained that he had gone to deliver food for Indigenous land defenders at the site, dubbed 1492 Land Back Lane, and perform alongside other musicians.
"Today, the OPP showed up and served me papers," Wilson told host Audra Santa, calling his arrest "interesting" after "61 years of being free…from any problems with the law."
He went on to say, "I went with a few other musicians to perform for the families that were there. So I guess that in Canada that's illegal now. So that's how my day kind of started."
Wilson continued: "This kind of falls into the effects of colonialism. Truth and reconciliation is now a subject, but we have to get it into play. We have to get local governments...to stop calling people who are defending their land 'terrorists.'"
Wilson shared an official statement on the arrest through his Twitter account today. It reads, "Yesterday morning the OPP came to my house and charged me with two criminal offences in relation to 1492 Land Back Lane. I have always stood and continue to stand in solidarity with the Haudenosaunee Land Keepers of Six Nations and my fellow Indigenous Sisters and Brothers and Indigenous sovereignty. I look forward [to] fighting these charges in court."
This past July, Six Nations members began a peaceful protest at the Caledonia property — the site of a housing development called McKenzie Meadows — to call attention to overdevelopment of Haudenosaunee territory. The OPP have continued to make arrests throughout the summer and fall as demonstrations continue.
As Lee Harvey Osmond, Wilson released album Mohawk last year, an LP long listed for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize.
A statement from Tom Wilson: pic.twitter.com/nfAtoJTL6q— LeE HARVeY OsMOND (@leeharveyosmond) October 15, 2020