Is there a sovereign nation in the middle of Winnipeg? Its residents seem to think so

Residents of a plot of land in downtown Winnipeg, who claim its territory of a 'Sovereign Nation' say their rights were infringed upon by Winnipeg Police. Kurt Black reports

Across from an abandoned flour factory and next to a print shop in Point Douglas is a piece of land that residents say is territory of a sovereign nation.

The community living at 52 Higgins Avenue claims the City of Winnipeg and the Manitoba government gave them the lot, and that Winnipeg police “have no jurisdiction on this territory.”

So community members of the alleged Anisiskawe Sovereign Nation were up in arms, and say their sovereign rights were infringed upon, after the arrival of officers over the weekend.

Greg Pittman, who goes by the name of White Fox, says he was enjoying his morning coffee when he noticed an undercover vehicle approaching, and went to investigate.

“(They) wanted to know my name, my address, and all this information that they have no entitlement to having,” Fox told CityNews.

White Fox, a member of Anisiskawe Sovereign Nation, speaks to CityNews reporter Kurt Black March 19, 2024. (CityNews)

When Fox refused to comply, citing a lack of jurisdiction, he claims one of the police officers attempted to detain him. The interaction with police was recorded on a cell phone.

“He’s not doing anything. You guys don’t need to be touching him and pushing him,” a woman’s voice can be heard on the video.

Still from cell phone video of interaction between White Fox and Winnipeg police officers. (Submitted by: White Fox)

The clan’s mother, Si Pih Ko, says the city gave her community permission to set up on the land after they were removed from the lawn of the Manitoba legislature in 2022. She says this is not the first time her community has been the target of the WPS.

“Each time it was being accused of stealing something. First a snowblower, then a vehicle,” Si Pih Ko said.

“We don’t have a treaty with them to police our territory with their policies, because it’s not the law here. We are the law, you’re looking at the law.”

Flag flying on Anisiskawe Sovereign Nation. (CityNews)

The City of Winnipeg says it is aware of the group and will continue to be in communication with community members to ensure there is no immediate risk to public or personal safety.

As for Winnipeg police, they say if a situation occurs at 52 Higgins that requires police to intervene, they are able to do so as the property is within city limits.

Si Pih Ko says she simply wants her community to live in peace.

“You need to come here with a little more respect or don’t come at all,” the clan mother said.

The Anisiskawe Sovereign Nation in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas. (James Rinn, CityNews)
Drone footage of the Anisiskawe Sovereign Nation in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas. (James Rinn, CityNews)

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