It is our understanding that you are being asked to
investigate Professor Jim Craven's use of Clark college
email in terms of his activities supporting survivors of
residential school abuse.
As one of the groups working on this issue, and as a group
that has worked with both Jim Craven and Kevin Annett for over
a year, we feel we must comment on this case.
In September 1998, Jim Craven posted a notice issued by Circle
of Justice, a group of residential school survivors who had been working
with Kevin Annett. In that notice, Jim stated:
"I was contacted by the Circle of Justice on September 24th
and told that Mr. Kevin Annett had been dismissed from the COJ on September
This was followed by faxes sent to me asking that I put
this out on the Internet as no-one has access to the Internet
and because the Circle of Justice feels that some things were
put out on the net on which they had not voted and about which
they had no knowledge."
Whether or not the allegations Circle of Justice made against
Kevin (that he was distributing their personal stories on the
internet without their permission) are true is something we will
never know. And you are not being asked to judge the substance of those
allegations. What you are being asked to do is judge whether
or not Jim Craven violated a code of ethics by using university
email to distribute information relating to the Circle of Justice
and Kevin Annett.
The issue of intellectual property as it relates to indigenous
people is a key issue internationally, with declarations on the
rights of indigenous people to maintain control of intellectual
use of their cultures, languages, and histories. It is recognized
internationally that use of indigenous peoples' life experiences without
their consent violates every recognizable code of ethics.
Additionally, the allegations against Kevin Annett include charges that he
had misrepresented himself in relation to the Circle of Justice for personal
profit and gain.
In his emails, Professor Craven attempted to address this very
serious issue by giving Circle of Justice access to the internet,
so that they could voice their concerns.
As a group who was working with Kevin Annett prior to learning of
the Circle of Justice's allegations, we are very grateful to
Professor Craven for making these concerns known. Had he not done this, we
would have continued to distribute information that the Circle of Justice
alleges was, in part, misinformation, and also information released without
consent of the indigenous people involved.
When we became aware of these serious allegations, we informed
Kevin Annett that we would be discontinuing distribution of his
posts until he and Circle of Justice had helped us better
understand what had happened.
Kevin refused pointblank to assist in any investigation and then
sent emails to a wide variety of international groups and listservs accusing
us of participating in a coverup campaign, accusing us of collaborating with
the RCMP to cover up abuses at residential
schools. Shortly thereafter, he began a campaign to shut down Professor
As a group that has been directly involved from the beginning,
we find it ironic that Kevin Annett is accusing Professor Craven
of misconduct and unethical behavior. Even if the allegations by Circle of
Justice are untrue, Kevin Annett's use of University of
BC email since that time has, in relation to spreading
misinformation about our group, been profoundly unethical.
(We would be happy to provide you with those emails if you
should deem it useful.)
In contrast to Kevin Annett's deliberate disinformation campaign, Professor
Craven has, at every instance, urged concerned parties
to directly contact Circle of Justice. He has never concealed any
information and has offered to send copies of all correspondence
to anyone who expressed interest. He has stated repeatedly that
he has nothing to hide.
We feel Professor Craven's use of Clark College email has been an
appropriate vehicle for providing students and community groups
with the opportunity to hear directly from native people concerned, with no
personal profit or gain.
Whatever Mr. Annett's reasons for pursuing this campaign against
Jim Craven as vigorously as he has, we urge you to rule Professor Craven's
use of Clark College email as a legitimate and ethical way
of challenging academic abuse of power.
If we can be of any assistance in the investigation, please do not hesitate
to contact us.
Co-founder, Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (S.I.S.I.S.)
S.I.S.I.S. Settlers In Support of Indigenous Sovereignty
P.O. Box 8673, Victoria, "B.C." "Canada" V8X 3S2