Neo-Nazi turned Native ally discusses white privilege in Canadian terror laws

The Two Row Times has previously printed Daniel Gallant’s personal story of transformation from being a Neo-Nazi to walking the red road, but the story doesn’t end there. Gallant completed a Grade 7 education in the suburbs of Toronto and lived on reserve and the streets in BC for years, involved with gangs, organized crime, and violent extremism associated with white supremacist hate groups. He later graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) with a Bachelor of Arts in First Nations Studies and a Masters in Social Work. He is currently studying law. With his academic and first-hand life experiences, Gallant has also become a formal expert consulting on terrorism/extremism.

What consulting have you done in regards to terrorism? 

I have consulted for films around the world at no cost for TV in Australia, USA and several film/TV projects in Canada. I have done presentations for Google Ideas in NYC at a summit on terrorism. There I presented on counter-extremist/terrorist strategies I use on the ground level. I presented with Mubin Shaikh, a former CSIS double-agent in the Toronto 18 terrorist plot. I have been a guest presenter at Universities across Canada at conferences on my research and disengagement/deradicalization work that I do. I have also opened a conference in UK on responding to right wing extremism, where I sat on a panel with a survivor of the massacre in Oslo perpetrated by Andres Breviak. I have presented to staff from the members of European Union, UK Government and national security teams, Pentagon, US Department of State, CSIS, RCMP and Canadian Government.

What is your view on the government’s stance on spying on First Nations, and who do you feel are the real threats to Canada?

I can tell you that I am very troubled by what I have learned. The law is built upon doctrines of supremacy; there are a number of them. This represents the overall relationship between the Crown and indigenous nations. Our current government executive and national security teams have been issuing surveillance of indigenous activists under national security and terrorist policy umbrellas. Whether we are talking about surveillance of Clayton Muller Thomas, who was involved with grassroots organization; or adding indigenous peoples and communities to terrorist watch lists; or the ridiculous surveillance of child advocate and scholar Dr. Cindy Blackstock; or labeling First Nations and colonial-settler allies as radicals in northern BC for opposing intrusive natural resource development.

I have also learned that the government is seemingly targeting First Nations peoples and the struggle over dominion of natural resources. When a particular government, like the current Tories, have their eyes set on natural resource development and the issues that arise from indigenous land title claims and other inherent rights, there is no doubt that the government will utilize all means necessary to suppress those rights. I believe we are beginning to see this through the application, or should I say misapplication, of terrorist legislation.

In fact, last year I met with an RCMP Superintendent in Prince George, BC, who was interested in talking to me about several projects I was engaged in. He informed me that the RCMP were receiving training in the coming months from a national security team in order to deal with First Nations extremists and radicals. I did not say anything directly at that point, but I was in the midst of writing my thesis, which does emphasize the need to heed misapplication of terrorist legislation against indigenous peoples. The intention to do this is obviously the vested interest in natural resources.

It seems to me that white privilege even exists within the context of terrorism. If you’re Muslim and labeled an extremist, you’re number one on the list. If you are indigenous, you are number two on the list. And yet white supremacists who bomb, murder, rape, beat and intimidate people on the streets get charged under the normal criminal code charges even though they are terrorists. But there is a point blank reason for this. We live in a racist society that has racist laws. If you’re white you are inherently favored with extraordinary privileges at the cost of injustices served unto indigenous peoples.

It is even so acceptable to be a right wing extremist, or at least normalized to accept white supremacy in Canada, that even our current Prime Minister Stephen Harper had close association and proximity with a convicted white supremacist terrorist, Wolfgang Droege. In fact a scholar wrote about how Harper started an organization, The Northern Foundation, with Droege and others in the 1980s. The organization was pro-South African Apartheid. How much more obvious can it be?

We need to be concerned and we need to legally arm ourselves against a government that consistently threatens indigenous sovereignty. If Canada is unwilling to address these realities, it is our job to openly discuss them. The government is attempting to create a legal fictional characterization that indigenous activists are terrorists. Seriously now, even in the most severe scenarios of Oka and Gustaffon Lake we know that the wrongs done were by law enforcement and government. Indigenous peoples are the only group in Canada who consistently face the threat of military force. This must change.

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