An Indigenous Lawyer’s Words of Defence for Niagara Activist and Indigenous Journalist Karl Dockstader

“The OPP’s actions run counter not only to well-established constitutional law protecting freedom of the press but serve to frustrate reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Arresting and charging an Indigenous journalist (Karl Dockstader) for reporting on Indigenous land occupations through Indigenous voices feels very much like systemic racism.”                                             – Dr. Pamela Palmater, an Indigenous lawyer, specializing in Indigenous and human rights law, and an associate professor and chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario

A Brief Foreword by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher       Doug Draper

Posted September 10th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Karl Dockstader, at a demonstration in front of Niagara Falls City Hall a few years ago, speaking out for the preservation of the Thundering Waters Forest and its wetlands, File photo by Doug Draper

Karl Dockstader, a Niagara resident, member of the Indigenous community and a highly respected journalist and community activist, was arrested earlier this September by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers while he was covering an ongoing land defence issue in the Haldimand County area.

The arrest, along with criminal charges filed against Karl, continue to make no sense – to say the least – and have triggered a good deal of concern and anger among members of the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike.

Just to mention a few, expressions and concern and support for Karl Dockstader have come from St. Catharines, Ontario Mayor Walter Sendzik, lawyers at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Ontario’s Official Opposition New Democratic Party.

This September 9th, 2020, another expression of support came in the form of an Opinion piece, written by Indigenous laywer Pamela Plamater and published in a respected Canada-wide journal called The Lawyer’s Daily

Immediately below are the first few paragraphs of that Opinion piece,  followed by a link you can click on to read the entire piece of The Lawyer’s Daily website –

Criminalization of Indigenous journalism contradicts reconciliation 

By Pamela Palmater

What does it take to get arrested by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)?

Well, if we go by recent events around 1492 Land Back Lane, it looks like the arrest criteria include being Indigenous, an award-winning journalist and covering First Nation land defence stories.

Karl Dockstader, seen here a few days ago and before his arrest, reporting on the land defense battle in Haldimand County

Because that is exactly what happened to Karl Dockstader, an Oneida journalist and radio host embedded with Haudenosaunee land defenders and providing daily updates via social media and video. What’s worse is that the OPP refuses to tell Dockstader what he has done wrong.

If this doesn’t make sense to you — it shouldn’t. Canada’s Constitution protects freedom of the press, the right to protest and Indigenous land rights. So what’s the problem here?

The problem is a little thing called racism. …..”

The entire article by Pamela Palmater appears in a publication called The Lawyer’s Daily. You can read it by clicking on the publication’s website at

Pamela Palmater

Dr. Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of Eel River Bar First Nation. She has been a practising lawyer for 18 years specializing in Indigenous and human rights law and currently holds the position of associate professor and chair in Indigenous governance at Ryerson University. She maintains her own political blog at <>

To read recent news and commentary Niagara At Large posted on this matter, click on

And –

Niagara At Large wishes Karl Dockstader and his family the best, and will continue to post updates on this serious matter.

Stay Tuned!

NIAGARA AT LARGE Encourages You To Join The Conversation By Sharing Your Views On This Post In The Space Following The Bernie Sanders Quote Below.

“A Politician Thinks Of The Next Election. A Leader Thinks Of The Next Generation.” – Bernie Sanders

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