At the next pow-wow, I will dance the intertribal in honour of Alex Hundert.
I could honour Hundert for many things, for his activism, his unwavering support for the defense of First Nations communities, for his stick-it-to-the-man lengthy appeals process as a G20 arrestee which gave others hope in resistance and as someone who stood up against the criminalization of dissent.
I honour Hundert the most for his ability to not let the slings and the arrows of the Canadian justice system change him.
The state could not write Hundert into the character of a violent, anarchist thug that they wanted to demonize. He fought that stereotype to the end.
Nor did the intense media attention on Hundert after the G20 Summit demonstrations in Toronto go to his head, despite the attempt at celebrity some in the activist community tried to pin on him.
Alex Hundert has always remained who he is at his heart. He has always been steady in his thoughts and actions, willing to do what has to be done where lesser men pale into the background.
Hundert was the humble activist who became the lightening rod for G20 news after his arrest as one of the seventeen G20 "co-conspirators" charged with numerous activism related offences for his role in facilitating the organizing the G20 demonstrations.
He didn't actually participate in the demonstrations he helped facilitate because he was arrested - the police broke down the door to his home the night before and arrested him and others at gunpoint - since he had already been snatched up by police before the demonstrations began.
Ever-steady, Hundert offered no apologies for his actions when it was time for him to address the court yesterday to be sentenced and start a thirteen and a half month prison sentence for his role in the G20 Summit demonstrations.
In an agreed statement of fact put before the court in November 2011, Hundert admitted to creating a "target list" for activists to focus on during the weekend of demonstrations. He also admitted that he provided direct action training to activists, including how to de-arrest someone from police custody.
On the subject of de-arrests, Hundert made note of the illegal police conduct by officers during the G20 Summit protests, stating, "People have a constitutional right to defend against unlawful arrest , you shouldn't punish us for what the cops do."
Judge Budzinski noted that the appropriate sentence for such offences was between seventeen and to eighteen months. Because Hundert had already served 114 days, or about four months, in pre-trial custody in the inbetween moments where he was out on bail, Budzinski charged Hundert to begin serving thirteen and a half weeks in custody.
Much of the pre-trial custody time was earned when Hundert was ridiculously re-arrested and then re-re-arrested for breaching his bail conditions of not-protesting while speaking at a Ryerson University Panel about the G2O after his initial arrest; the Crown contented that speaking at a politically charged panel was akin to protesting on the streets.
Budzinski had a somewhat difficult time during the sentencing hearing due to Hundert's logical questioning of the judicial system and the pounding that could be heard from the court overflow room where roughly one hundred of his supports sat and watched the trial on video link.
Hundert is the last of the seventeen original "co-conspirators" sentenced out of a group of six who struck a deal with the Crown in November 2011 - and faced court yesterday a two full years after the G20 Summit protests took place.
In the plea deal accepted by the Crown last year, six activists pleaded guilty to counselling to commit mischief. In exchange for their pleas, eleven other co-accused had their charges dropped. Hundert pled guilty to a further charge of counselling to obstruct police above the beyond the other charges.
So there Hundert sat in court, acknowledging what he participated in was illegal and yet not apologizing for it. And everyone knew that Hundert would be back at some form of community organizing after his sentence was complete. Even the Crown and the judge must have known.
Through the media-trial and the court trial around Hundert these past two years, I have heard the state's attempts to demonize him for putting, for example, public safety at risk due to his demonstrations
I keep thinking, is Hundert supposed to be the same ‘scary anarchist' that I watched drowning in a cuddle-puddle of children during the Grassy Narrows' community visit to Toronto?
Is Hundert the supposedly ‘violent, anarchist' thug who also served food to the activist community and provides the child care?
Is Hundert the supposed ‘menace to society' who always made sure I was looked for as if he were my older brother?
There is simply no way, and it would be a waste of time to reconcile, the duality forcibly created by the state that the same Alex Hundert who is loved by activists and children alike is the same blood thirsty creature that sleeps with a knife between his teeth, ever-the-ready to spread terror upon the one-percenters of Toronto.
It cannot be done because all the effort to demonize and isolated Hundert from his community have failed.
Alex Hundert is part of our community and will remain so.
And I will think of him in every bird I see for the next year.
Always the gentleman, in an open letter to the community, Hundert asks that we pay as much attention to supporting Indigenous communities in struggle as we did with his court case.
"I would like to propose that we now strengthen those linkages by turning the massive capacity for support that we have developed over the past two years towards supporting front line land defenders from Six Nations," he writes.
"Since 2006 there has been a particularly insidious wave of criminalisation and demonisation aimed at Haudenosaunee people who are asserting the sovereignty of the Six Nations Confederacy and defending the land. The tactics used in everyday policing operations against Six Nations, like with other Indigenous nations, are exactly the type of oppressive state security that the rest of the southern Ontario "activist community" got a taste of around the G20."
More info on the Six Nations Land Defenders Legal Defence Fund can be found here: http://bit.ly/K39HCN
Note from Victoria: "He is currently being held in Toronto West Detention Centre (Address: 111 Disco Rd. Box 4950 Rexdale ON, M9W 5L6) - not sure how how long he might be there, but if folks do want to send him quick letters I am sure he'd appreciate it! If you want to visit, please email email@example.com."