Milton Bom With A Tooth has been found guilty of five weapons charges related to a protest against Alberta’s Oldman River mega-hydroproject in 1990.
Milton was a member of a group called the Lonefighter Society that was trying to dig a channel to divert the Oldman River away from the dam. The Oldman River is sacred to the Peigan Nation. When RCMP officers invaded the Lonefighters’ camp, Milton fired two warning shots into the air and was arrested.
Milton was found guilty on March 15 by a jury with only one native member. When the jury was polled for its verdict, the lone native juror stood up, threw her glasses across the room and burst out into tears saying, “You don’t understand.” The judge ordered the jury sequestered until they reached a consensus.
The Oldman River and the nearby wildlife and traditional sites are the foundation of Peigan culture. In March 1990, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered an environmental assessment of the dam, but the province continued work anyway. The Lonefighter Society went to work to protest the continued construction with support from the chief, band council and Peigan Elders.
The Peigans say that the Alberta government has yet to implement any of the recommendations of the review, including making a negotiated settlement with the Peigans.
Milton faces a maximum sentence of 42 years. He wants to appeal the verdict, but due to new rules he needs to put up $10,000 to mount an appeal. He is asking for donations. Cheques can be made payable to: Loma Bom With A Tooth, 204 Beddington Circle N.E., Calgary, AB, T3K 2H5. Fax: (403) 274-2247.