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Hockey Night In North Battleford

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MARCH 1972      v03 n03 p05  
One of the best Indian Hockey tournaments take place in North Battleford and in the summer one of the best pow-wows in Saskatchewan in North Battleford.

North Battleford is surrounded by reserves and a great deal of trade takes place between the two communities not to mention the amount of business brought by the hockey tournament alone.

But North Battleford remains one of the most racist and anti-Indian towns in Saskatchewan.

Hockey night in North Battleford Hockey night in North Battleford Hockey night in North Battleford

Early in March a loitering bylaw was passed which was specifically aimed at Indians. "It creates a bad impression on visitors to our fair city to see people (Indian) hanging around the bus depot."

Last year a group of Indian people waiting for a bus were forcefully evicted from the bus depot.

The weekend of this year's hockey tournament, a water pipe broke and the downtown section of town was without water. This meant that the Clarendon and Auditorium Hotels were left without any water. They remained open even though there was no water in the rooms. You couldn't wash up or flush the toilet.

These hotels should have definitely been closed as they are a health hazard, but was it because the patrons were only Indians that the management saw fit to keep them open???

The final indignity came Saturday night. The R.C.M.P. parked a bus on the street outside the Auditorium Hotel. About eight cops then proceeded to pick up every Indian who might have had too much to drink even though these people had rooms in the very hotels they were drinking in.

When the reign of terror was finished, over 100 Indian people had been arrested and dragged off to jail. Waiters were seen escorting their customers to the  door where the police took them to the bus.

In all it looked like a very tidy arrangement, the hotel management supplied the beer and then turned their patrons to the police.

Why all the fuss? A lot of people were drinking in the bar but fights or any kind of trouble  (if any) were few and far between.

A holiday mood has always prevailed throughout their tournament because it is the biggest in the province (16 teams) and it comes at the time when the weather breaks after a long cold winter.

Quite clearly the police over-reacted and ran amuck arresting all the Indians they could.

If Indian activities are fair game for the police what about other activities such as the exhibition at Regina and Saskatoon? What about the Grey Cup game; which is little more than a sanctioned drunk?

Police will arrest Indians for the slightest provocation but will more often than not call a cab for a drunken whiteman.

The tournament was a job well done by the North Battleford Friendship Centre but the host city was a disgrace and the R.C.M.P. put on a really poor show.

One gets the impression that they're still trying to get even for the Battle at Cutknife Hill.