Author Topic: Irene Gravenhorst AKA Irene Peace & Sovereign Squamish Nation Government (SSNG)  (Read 16824 times)

Offline Forward Observer

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Greetings forum participants:

I am a person who studies, among other things, a collection of groups who claim unorthodox legal rights on highly dubious bases. A review of these groups and their ideas has recently occurred in a Canadian court case from the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench, so that's a convenient place to explain my principal interest:

In learning more about the groups reported in this decision I encountered what seems to be an purported first nation organization, the "Sovereign Squamish Nation Government", that if I understand its materials, says it is an 'umbrella' super-nation that has authority over the Canadian Squamish first nations. Given the focus of this forum I thought this group may be of interest to the forum participants. I would also be very interested in knowing any more information on this group.

Its website is here, and that appears to be its principle information repository:
[ETA: WARNING- their site is loaded with malware and viruses.]

There are also documents from the SSNG uploaded here, along with a hefty collection of Freeman tripe:

The SSNG also claims that its members are magically exempt from pretty much any government obligation because they are "sovereign". It seems a little unclear whether these people actually have a first nation background.

I located this first-hand report on the group's activity and interaction with genuine first nation administrations:

Here's a video message from some of the group leadership:

They also seem quite enthusiastic about making unilateral declarations and demands:

Persons in the group seem to be meeting with little success in enforcing their 'sovereign status':

And operate a known fraudulent bank:

As I have stated in another post on this forum, I am very grateful for the obvious time and care that the moderators and participants have put into this topic. I have learned a great deal about a 'shadow world' that I had no idea existed until I began reading your research and analysis.

Forward Observer
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 02:42:48 pm by educatedindian »

Offline educatedindian

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Re: The Sovereign Squamish Nation Government (SSNG)
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 04:28:18 pm »
This group is part of the "sovran" bunch. That's how many of these groups spell sovereign. There's a group among the Mohawk with silly claims about a fictitious treay called Camel's Eye. There's also a fake Tuscarora group and a fake "Cherokee of Tejas." We have threads on all of them.

There's also an entire forum dedicated to phony sovereigns and tax scammers called Quatloos.

SSNG seems to be one elderly Squamish man, Gerry Johnston who calls himself Kiapilanoq/CAPILANO. He seems to have fallen for an Indonesian woman half his age, his common law wife Irene Maus Gravenhorst  AKA "Irene Peace Kiapilano." Gravenhorst often falsely claims to be a Squamish chief.

Gravenhorst is a real nut, a woman with a communications BA and a 2 yr certificate in business and social sciences who imagines herself a legal expert. Her site lists her career as follows:

2004 – present: Self litigator, student of metaphysics, sovereignty and Common law jurisdiction. President for Sovereign ©Squamish / Skwxwú7mesh™ Credit Group™. Economic Development Advisor for Siyam Te Kiapilanoq/CAPILANO for Sovereign ©Squamish / Skwxwú7mesh™ Government™ and Ambassador Dhelo Quete for RED JACKET™ for Turtle Island.
1998 – 2003: SACRED DEVELOPMENTS LTD. – Independent private business, British Columbia
1989 – 1997: MORCOM CONSULTANTS LTD., Executive Research Assistant and common law Business partner with Douglas Morcom
1987 – 1988: LADNER DOWNS, LLP, Vancouver; Corporate Securities Law
1986 – 1987: GOLUBOFF & MAZZEI, LLP, West Vancouver; Legal Assistant
1981 – 1984: RANDALL K. McROBERTS, Barrister & Solicitor, Invermere, BC VOA 1KO

IOW she was a legal secy and asst before trying to start businesses. Then she became a "student of metaphysics" and decided putting trademarks on her name made her real special and sovran. When not causing trouble for the actual Squamish, she runs workshops.

Besides the phony bank, there's also a claim of a money laundering scheme in S Africa.

The SS site is basically a lot of proposed investment schemes, alt energy, land, and insurance. So far, except for the money laundering/banking/insurance scam I haven't seen any sign they've even been tried or taken anyone in. The main damage done has been to the actual Squamish, and to Native sovereignty. Gravenhorst hasn't done much besides avoiding having to actually work and getting herself kicked out of courts and her land seized over her silly claims.
This bunch did manage to get a dozen people to support them in a take over of Squamish tribal offices, but those dozen included whites like Kevin Annett. Annett has his own thread also, for all the damage he's done with his lies.
Moved to Frauds.

Offline educatedindian

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An account from a Squamish. Gerry Johnston's claims are phony too. He's Squamish but no chief, and came in dead last in an election. Comments worth reading too.

Chief Kiapilano and the Squamish™ Nation
Yesterday at around 10:30 Gerald Johnson, who calls himself "Chief Kiapilano" went to the Squamish Nation band office trying to "evict" the elected band council and the staff at the office.  I'm told he was joined by a few other protestors, most of which are non-Skwxwu7mesh.  I am unsure of how many were Skwxwu7mesh, but I think it was just a few.  I also heard reports he was joined by Kevin Annett.

For the past while Gerry Johnson has been going by "Chief Kiapilano", claiming to be chief of all the Squamish people.  He says it's his birthright and that he is the head chief.  A few weeks ago him and a few others tried to evict numerous church's in Vancouver for being on "Squamish Nation Territory".   He also likes to be known as "Royal Hereditary Sovereign Chief Kiapilano".  I also heard reports of him trying to evict newspaper reporters/writers who wrote articles about his friend Kevin Annett.

I am Skwxwu7mesh, a "band-member" of the "Squamish Nation".  I grew up on in two Skwxwu7mesh villages, Xwmelch'stn and Eslha7an in North Vancouver, British Columbia.  I've also studied the history of my people in regards to the hereditary chieftainships, but by no regards consider myself an "expert".  I've just been able to deduce a few things and understand the complexity of the situation.

I've reported on my blog a few times about the hereditary chieftainship system.  A shorter explanation is that the hereditary chieftainship system was originally created by the Catholic Church to convert the mass population in the numerous communities and villages.  Historically, my people were not that stratified and organized in it's political system.  Prior to contact, each family had a "siyam", or a respected person.  This was not a "bossman" or "chairman" like position, but simply someone who was respected by the community and people followed because of the character this person had.  Their status among the community could be raise through a few ways like, distribution of family wealth in potlatching, conduction of spiritual ceremonies, or display of cultural values and principles.  August Jack Khatsalano, a "siyam" born in the late 1800's, and died in the 1970's, was regarded as one.  He potlatched a lot during his time, passed on the knowledge of our ancestors, and conducted mask and spiritual ceremonies in our longhouse.  He said in his book "Converstations with Khatsalano", siyam means a person who is "...the best talker - not chairman, (our people) have no chairman -- but man who says the most wise things".

To what I mentioned earlier, the Catholic Church went around creating "chiefs" over each of the villages.  Later after the passing of the Indian Act and the designation of the reserve, the Indian Agents assigned a chief to each of the reserves.  This is where the current "hereditary chiefs" come from.  They are chiefs of the different reserves in Skwxwu7mesh territory.  In 1923 these hereditary chiefs signed the amalgamation and became a single "Squamish Band" or "Squamish Nation".  I will point out, it wasn't black and white.  Many of these hereditary chiefs were in fact siyam.  They followed our traditions, practiced our ceremonies, and lived strong indigenous lives, but at the time the government would only listen to the band council and so many bought into it.

In the 1980's, a non-confidence vote occurred on the corrupt band council of the time.  For decades the band council was hereditary, but changed in the non-confidence vote and the election codes were changed to create a 16 elected band council.  This is the current governing system of the Squamish Nation.  16 elected band councilors for the 16 hereditary chiefs.  A few of the hereditary chiefs have positions on the elected band council.

Gerry Johnson is not a hereditary chief.  Nor is he a siyam.   He has never once given a potlatch, in distributing his family wealth to the people.  He has never once had a ceremony to take on this name he claims.  He does not work with his people.  He does not have the support of any of our elders.  The "hereditary" position could belong to his family, but birthright and living by our custom are both needed.

He claims to be chief of all the Squamish Nation, but no where in history of my people has such a title or position existed.  There has never been a singular chief of all the Squamish Nation.  16 chiefs, for each of the villages, and before that, multiple chiefs for each of the longhouses in the villages.

The Squamish Nation band council first distanced themselves from Gerry Johnson, but now discredit him.

Although I don't support the band councils way of governance, Chief Kiapilano's claims are false.  He cannot "evict" who ever he wants.  He cannot go around demanding authority for some birthright he may or may not have title too.  He is simply another Skwxwu7mesh fed up with the current status quo of politics with my people.
by Rivers on Sunday, May 25, 2008 |
Labels: Chief, Chieftainships, Kevin Annett

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May 26, 2008 3:16 PM 
Rocketgirl said...
It is my understanding that he has never ever lived on Squamish territory either. With his results when he ran for Council, he obviously does not have the support of our people either. He was almost last and his campaign was "Higher DB ($$$) and lower crime rate".......He is in dire need of mental support
May 26, 2008 3:59 PM 
Rivers said...
2247 eligible voters and he got 55 votes. If my math is correct, around 2% of the eligible voters wanted Gerry Johnson as their leader. The "eligible" voters number doesn't include about another few hundred aged 12-17. So in reality, less then 1% of the people want Gerry Johnson as their leader.

May 27, 2008 8:03 PM 
Ahni said...
Great article, Dustin. I really wasn't expecting you to be so respectful:D

I've had dealings with people in the past who made similar claims... The way you describe Kiapilano is exactly how I'd describe them: people who don't have very many roots in their community, who pretty much came out of nowhere and started saying they are hereditary Chiefs, 'Monarchs', Traditional Headmen, and so on. Maybe they're telling the truth... but then what does it matter if they're setting a poor example?

For instance, I refused to acknowledge this one guys "inherent sovereign authority" and so they tried to bribe me for it (offered me a name, title, and a "high position"). And when that failed, a couple weeks later they threatened me.

...This is the sort of thing I'd expect from someone who wants to be a ruler, not someone who is a leader.

Anyways, I don't know if Kapialano is connected to these people, but whenever I here someone making claims of title, I can't help but think it's related.
May 27, 2008 9:44 PM 
Rivers said...
Thanks for sharing that with me Ahni.

That's the thing about leadership. It can come in good or bad. Some of the world greatest "leaders" in history have done the most horrible things. Some have also done the most amazing things.

My grandmother used to say something she ingrained in her children, grand children, and great grandchild. "Nobility don't go around saying their noble. Every knows they are noble. You never see the queen going around saying "I'm the queen", everyone just knows she's the queen."

A lot of our people fight over these "chieftainship's", but I've never seen one who claims such a title or fight for such a title be an actual leader with the people. I have seen some really truly respectful people who hold high hereditary positions, but it's rare. It's the status quo of leadership, and also the changing face of our society. In this sense, I mean the "society" we live in in our indigenous communities, not general "society". Yeah, strange to think we have our own society. But when you empty the "Traditionalism" rhetoric, we will begin to see ourselves as something else then "the abused children of our ancestors", but as a continuation of our nations line of existence.
May 27, 2008 9:48 PM 
Rivers said...
I forgot to add a response to Rocketgirl (I'm pretty sure I know who this

Gerry Johnson has lived in Skwxwu7mesh-ulh temixw. He's lived in Vancouver, no? Well, our territory exists beyond the reserve constructs created on us.

Offline Forward Observer

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Fascinating information, educated indian - I very much appreciate you taking the time to share what your knowledge and perspective of these people and their activities.

My exposure to the Sovrans, Freemen-on-the-Land, Moors, and other OPCA litigants has largely been in a state, court, or criminal context. In those forums they are an annoyance and a terrific waste of time, though they do a rather impressive job of injuring their own interests, which is unfortunate. I do not think the disruption they can inflict on smaller communities is so evident to outside observers.

Again, the context you have provided is most helpful. It is reassuring to see that these concepts have restricted appeal within the first nations communities.

All the best!

Forward Observer