TORONTO, ON – Social media lit up with outrage this afternoon with video of an Onkwehon:we War Veteran, Davyn Calfchild, being arrested at a public Toronto Remembrance Day Ceremony. The video showed Davyn refusing to put away two traditional flags – the Hiawatha and the Unity Flag – and refusing to leave the public ceremony at the request of Toronto Police.
Davyn, who served in the Former Yugoslavia from 1992 – 1997, repeatedly tells the officer that he is a War Veteran and is defiant and adamant about his right to be at the ceremony. As the officer continues to make the ask to put away the flags and or leave – Davyn responds, “This is supposed to be for us – so fuck off!” The officer then moves to arrest and remove both Davyn and two friends with him – one of whom was videotaping the incident.
The flags were all confiscated and the men were held by the Police until the end of the ceremony and then released without ticket or charge.
Davyn has been a vocal critic of the Toronto Police, including their role in the shooting death of Toronto Youth Sammy Yatim, and has been assaulted previously by the Toronto Police in response to his advocacy.
Davyn relayed that the men had been at the ceremony for just a few minutes before they were approached by Toronto Police. He also said that the men went out of their way to let the Police know that he was there as a War Veteran and that their presence was in no way to protest or disrupt the event.
To those looking to support Davyn, Onkwehon:we women in Toronto are organizing to go down to 52 Division ( 255 Dundas St. W.) in Toronto tomorrow at 3pm to demand a return of the flags and also to hold the Toronto Police accountable for this incident. Food Not Bombs Toronto will also be serving food at the demonstration.
After the incident Davyn was most shocked by the complete lack of response from those in the crowd at the ceremony, many who could be seen looking on, “My message is that this is nothing new. We saved them in numerous wars. It goes to show that white people want all of our glory and don’t want the truth. Their flags are all there – but ours are not. I go down there to show solidarity and let people know that we were in those wars and that our flags should be there. What crime did I commit showing up with that flag? They always feel threatened.
Everyone says that they respect the veterans – even when I was yelling out that I was a war veteran – no one said anything. They all say they support the veterans. They want to wear poppies and talk about sacrifice – but they can’t speak up?
I served in the Former Yugoslavia. I would not want people to witness that. I think it’s great that it is supposed to be for us. I just want those white people to realize that not only is this our territory, but we want our flags to be equally represented. Why are our flags never there. Why can’t they be there?”
@dylanxpowell / firstname.lastname@example.org
Video taken of the incident by Toronto activist Miguel