Canada’s top spy agency reacted with fear and alarm when a handful of protestors approached its recruitment booth at last year’s Grand River Pow-wow, documents show. This comes as CSIS is stepping up its recruitment of Aboriginal people.
On July 28th 2012, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), saw the first signs of resistance to its efforts to increase the number of Aboriginal people on its payroll to 111, according to records acquired through access to information legislation.
“We have had three protesters attend our booth to negatively berate us about the Service’s operational practices on how we are collecting data on Aboriginal people and their communities,“ Maureen Greyeyes-Brant, the Service’s dedicated Aboriginal recruiter, explained in an internal email acquired by the Tekawennake.
“It is an alarming incident — not so much from a [communications] perspective but from one of personal security for Service staff,” wrote a CSIS official involved in recruitment. “There may well be public events where the risks outweigh the benefits.”
The incident involved a small group led by Francine “Flower” Doxtator approaching the CSIS recruiters to explain their displeasure with the spy group.
“We know that you are spying on us,” said Doxtator, in a video of the incident posted on the Media Co-op. “I don’t like being spied upon, I don’t like pictures being taken from the sky, on top of my home, with my children, my grandchildren running around outside playing. I don’t like that”.
The CSIS recruiters chose not to comment and temporarily left the area.
Despite the safety issues that were raised by CSIS staff, Greyeyes-Brant felt it was important to return to Grand River Pow-wow this year, to “show certain individuals that we won’t retreat from negative backlash. “ She also noted that the spy service received three résumés from would be recruits during the 2012 pow-wow.
Greyeyes-Brant is an RCMP officer who was seconded to CSIS in August 2011 to become the Service’s first Pro-active Aboriginal Recruiter. Since then she has travelled to pow-wows, job fairs and conferences across the country in hopes of recruiting indigenous people as staff of the spy service.
Careers offered by CSIS include intelligence officers, surveillants, translators, lawyers, database managers, engineers, nurses, psychologists and even offset printers. Although CSIS also uses paid informants they are not considered staff of the organization, and are not the target of the recruitment efforts.
According to the CSIS’s 2012-2013 Recruiting and Marketing Strategy, they have a goal of increasing the number of aboriginal people working for the Service to 111, more than double the current number. The reports notes that this would make up 3.7% of those working for the Service, a number that better represent the percentage of Aboriginal people in Canada.
“Our organization represents the rich mosaic that is Canada, and that includes members of First Nations communities, among others,” a CSIS spokesperson told the Tekawannake. “The multicultural character of Canada is profoundly reflected in our workplace.”
Melisa Elliot, who accompanied Doxtator to the CSIS booth, believes that the Service’s true intention is not diversity, but instead to become better at gathering intelligence. “They need native people to be a part of CSIS, so that they can understand where our people are coming from.”
She opposes the Service’s recruitment efforts.
“They are preying on the poverty of our young people and offering them jobs where they are traitors to our people,” said Elliot.
CSIS declined to comment on the methods of scope of their intelligence gathering at Six Nations. However the Tekawannake has acquired a series of highly censored intelligence reports on Six Nations from 2006 and 2007, created by the agency’s Integrated Threat Assessment Centre.
The interest in Six Nations is partly explained by a 2007 Presentation that the RCMP made to CSIS on how to “effectively manage Aboriginal protests and occupation.” It explains that the “Caledonia continues to serve as a beacon on land claims and Aboriginal rights issues across Canada”
CSIS is not only interested in Aboriginal people. The service is also hoping to boost the number of recruits who are visible minorities and people with disabilities. And this year recruiters for the service have been attending comic book conventions.
“The ‘shock value’ of having CSIS present at non-traditional events is still in its early stages and is there for a marketing coup that stimulates discussion and comments,” reveal records from the Service.
According to its website, CSIS will be returning to the Grand River Pow-wow later this month.
Tim Groves is an investigative researcher and journalist based in Toronto. He can be reached at timgrovesreports [at] gmail.com and tweets@timymit. For more information on his work, visit http://timgrovesreports.wordpress.com.
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