TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY – Two white men have been ordered to leave the community of Tyendinaga and the tear down of a Wet’suwet’en solidarity camp on Wyman Road, after it was discovered one of the men is a registered sex offender.
Tyendinaga Police say there was concern for community safety and approached the community’s band council – who ordered Darryl Richardson out of the community.
Richardson is a non-indigenous journalist from Toronto who was working with Real People’s Media — a news website co-owned by Tyendinaga member Seth LeFort and Tom Keefer, a white man from Toronto.
The Tyendinaga Men’s Council subsequently issued a statement ordering Tom Keefer to leave the community — giving him just 24 hours to comply.
Keefer was managing the Wyman Road camp, which locals had nicknamed “Keefer Camp”. Local residents told TRT the camp was becoming a growing concern
as it was primarily non-Indigenous activists with no connection to Tyendinaga, camping out nearby local residents homes.
Real People’s Media emerged during the Wet’suwet’en struggle in BC initially offering solidarity — but residents criticized the media organizations actions after they posted to social media looking for financial contributions for the Keefer Camp.
In a post to social media on March 2, RPM published a public notice that they were building a village to stop genocide and posted links to an Amazon wish list looking for $40,000 worth of camping, video and medical equipment. Items ranging from tents, to night vision surveillance equipment, outdoor lighting, balaclavas, gas masks, emergency medical trauma equipment, body video cameras, tactical protectivebody armour, cots and sleeping bags — items that suggest the camp may have been preparing to engage in a violent physical confrontation with police.
The media website also published an email address where they were collecting financial donations to fund the camp which had halted trains crossing Eastern Canada for several weeks.
Community members said they became concerned that Keefer had so much authority in a Mohawk territory where he is not a member, to invite non-indigenous people to reside and welcomed Richardson, a registered sex offender, to take up residence.
In response to the removal of Keefer and Richardson, RPM issued an article claiming the Keefer Camp was being victimized in the same way the Black Panthers were oppressed by US government officials by alleging Tyendinaga Council and the Tyendinaga Police were using “COINTELPRO-style” tactics
to silence their movement.
This is not the first time Keefer was ordered to leave a First Nations community in Ontario. Keefer is the former general manager of Two Row Times. In 2015 he was removed from his position after serious allegations arose concerning his conduct toward Indigenous women at Six Nations. After an internal investigation into the claims Keefer was put on leave from the business and ordered to leave Six Nations. He is no longer associated with Two Row Times.
On a previous instance at Six Nations he was directed to leave the community by a group of indigenous women and elders at Kanonstaton as part of being held accountable for misappropriating indigenous solidarity movements for his own political gains as an activist.
Members of the Men’s and Women’s Councils of Tyendinaga both issued statements asserting they continue to support the Wet’suwet’en Nation in their struggle against industry and the RCMP as they assert inherent rights — but took action to address the two individuals and the camp they felt were
disrupting the peace of the community.