ANNETT, Kevin Daniel




“...what has happened to him is outrageous.”—Noam Chomsky, August 7, 2002

On behalf of The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, ordained minister Kevin Daniel Annett’s aim is to initiate an International War Crimes Tribunal into genocide against the Aboriginal people of Canada. Having worked among Aboriginal people and the poor of Vancouver, Annett has also written books about the “forgotten people among us”. He has been faced with legal censure for charging that some Aboriginal leaders are complicit in genocide against their own people for selling out Aboriginal resources to government and corporations. In 1995, Annett lost his job in Port Alberni allegedly due to his accusations concerning “Canada's slaughter of Aboriginal people.” He has alleged powerful men have been involved in drug trafficking, pedophilia and land theft among Aboriginal people in northern B.C. Having lived in various parts of British Columbia, Annett operates a community street church “with no money and lots of humour.” Noam Chomsky has spoken in his defense. He was born in Edmonton, Alberta on February 10, 1956 of Scottish-Irish parentage and came to British Columbia in 1968.

BOOKS:
Annett, Kevin Daniel. Hidden from History: The Canadian Holocaust (Self-published, 2001)

Annett, Kevin Daniel. Love and Death in the Valley (Bloomington, Minnesota: First Books, 2002)

EDUCATION / PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND:

B.A., Anthropology, University of British Columbia (UBC), 1983
M.A., Political Science, UBC, 1986
M.Div, Vancouver School of Theology, 1990
Graduate with Honors, Native Ministries Consortium, 1993
Worked as Counsellor and Community Organizer, 1976 - 1990
Ordained as a Minister in the United Church of Canada, May, 1990
Served in churches in rural Manitoba, 1990-91

Served as Director of Urban Ministry program and Chaplain at Fred Victor Mission, Toronto, 1991-92

Hired as Minister of St. Andrew's United Church, Port Alberni, BC, July 1992. He claims he tripled the size of the congregation but was fired "without cause or notice on January 23, 1995, after uncovering evidence of murders and land theft by United Church officers; subsequently expelled from United Church ministry without due process, March 1997".

Ordained as Minister in the Cooperative Community Fellowship Church, December, 1995

Counsellor and Documenter, Residential School Healing Circles, Vancouver, 1996-present

Organized IHRAAM Tribunal into Canadian Residential Schools, under the auspices of the United Nations, June 12-14, 1998, Vancouver; served as Advisor and authored final report of the Tribunal

Founded the Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, September 2000

Hired as Lecturer in Canadian Studies, Langara College, Vancouver, September 2000

Created and Hosts "Hidden from History", a public affairs and human rights program on Vancouver Cooperative Radio, as of February 2001

Has served as Minister of All Peoples' Church, a non-denominational community church uniting native and non-native people, Vancouver

OTHER AFFILIATIONS:

1. Founder or Co-Founder of the following Organizations:

The British Columbia Educational Task Force, 1973
The Hamilton Union of the Unemployed, 1978
The Green Party of British Columbia, 1983
The Lower Mainland Solidarity Coalition, 1983
The Coalition to Oppose the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), 1984
The Ecumenical Coalition for Social Justice, 1986
The Melita Rural Life Survival Network, Manitoba, 1990
The Loaves and Fishes Food Bank, Port Alberni, 1992
Low Income Folks Together (LIFT), Port Alberni, 1993
Justice in the Valley (the first coalition of native and non-native political activists), Port Alberni, 1994
The Circle of Justice, Vancouver, 1997
The IHRAAM Tribunal into Canadian Residential Schools, under United Nations auspices, June 1998
The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, 2000
All Peoples' Church, New Westminster, 2001

2. Served as Resource Person and Counsellor at Native Healing Workshops and Conferences in the following First Nations:

Tseshaht and Opitchesaht bands, Port Alberni, 1993-95
Kwantlen band, Fort Langley, 1997
Songhees Nation, Victoria, 1998, 2000
Squamish Nation, Vancouver, 1998
Burrard band, Vancouver, 1998
Micmac Nation, Bear River band, Nova Scotia, 1999
Cowichan and Nanaimo bands, Duncan, 2000, 2001
Anishnabe Nation, Sioux Lookout, Ontario, May 2002
Thunderbird House, Winnipeg, May 20023

EXCERPT:

"My part in this story began on a cold morning in March of 1992, when I drove for the first time into the Alberni Valley on Vancouver Island. From the highway summit of Mount Arrowsmith, marked by a few still-uncut towering cedar trees, I saw a land ringed by coastal mountains, falling away to the distant Pacific shore. But the land was buried in an impenetrable fog that morning, which draped over the valley even in broad daylight.

"As I plunged into that cloud I felt that I had entered an even deeper fog, where ghosts walked, and secrets remained hidden.

"Nothing was clear, at first, besides the fact that I was bound for a job interview at St. Andrew's United Church: a score of mostly retired white loggers and mill workers who yearned for more numbers in their pews; yearned, more honestly, for a return to the clearer times of filled churches and zero unemployment and segregated ferries with the Indians safely shoved below decks. And ten sober but desperate faces studied me to see if I would restore such good times to their shrinking congregation, as their new minister.

"A dying mill town isn't the place where one expects things to change very much, except for the worse. Besides, my notion of change quickly went beyond simply rebuilding my parish. The poverty in town and on the local Indian reserves was appalling.

"The same year I arrived there, Port Alberni was ranked by the provincial government as the second poorest community in British Columbia, the town with the highest level of infant mortality and family violence, and the suicide capital of the west coast. And at the bottom of this heap of suffering were the local Indian nations: one third of the population perched on not even one percent of the land that had once been theirs.

"I didn't know it when I drove so blindly into that valley, but I had stumbled on the scene of a mass murder: the centre of the West Coast Christian missionary invasion that had killed off 99 of every 100 native people in barely two generations, during the smallpox epidemics of the mid- 1800's.

"The Port Alberni Indians are the remnants of this conquest, and continue to die from it in droves. But it remains an invisible slaughter to most of us. For all I saw that first morning were ten pale, polite faces, and a quiet, tree-lined neighbourhood.

"They were familiar faces to me. I had been raised around people like them, being a child of the United Church and its Scottish Presbyterianism: serious and straight-laced souls embodying what writer Pierre Berton describes as the English-Canadian mixed personality: one with the mind of a Scottish banker and the heart of a Gaelic mystic, and completely unsure of who to be.

"So I understood the confusion of the men and women who interviewed and then unanimously chose me as their new minister, and what moved them: their desire to run a church more orderly than joyous, their innate generosity hamstrung by a fear of the stranger, and their deep and sullen guilt at dwelling on the bones of another people, having once been the conquered themselves, back in northern Ireland and Scotland.

"And yet, for all their familiarity, the St. Andrew's remnant seemed odd to me, like how I imagined the Afrikaner Boers or Ulster Protestants to be: a people who feel besieged.

"There isn't much that doesn't threaten the pale folks of Port Alberni: ghosts of Indian children from the past, more layoffs at the pulp mill from the future, and hordes of young environmental protesters from the present. And over it all sits the local feudal lord, the American logging corporation Weyerhauser - formerly MacMillan-Bloedel, when I arrived - which holds all the strings of power in town; including, I learned the hard way, in the church.

"Somewhere in the midst of these fears, my new employers had circled their wagons and invited me to be the pastor of their snug little fortress. From their gun-slit perspective, my task was straightforward: to know who to let into their select circle, while comforting and protecting them from all of the threats outside: past, present and future.

"This was euphemistically called "being pastorally competent" in the gray fraternity of my fellow clergy. But exactly where God, the Gospels and the rest of humanity fit into it all was never mentioned. I discovered why very quickly.

"It wasn't something I set out to discover. I was content, at first, to be the kept chaplain on that luxury boat, for my life had been stormy with political activism, and I longed for days not filled with the suffering of others, with unwinnable causes and unbeatable foes. I saw myself settling down in Port Alberni with my wife of that time and our young two daughters, and having what our pig-sty impulses call "a normal life". I wanted bits of other people and their problems, an arms-length god who causes nice feelings but not anguish. I wanted to preach good sermons.

"And it all would have happened, except for a fatal "flaw". I retained a smattering of empathy that kept my door open just enough to allow in a few, initial strangers who would pry me open even more, and eventually change me."

[BCBW 2003] "Missionaries"