Saturday, April 01, 2006
SIX NATIONS AREN'T GOING TO BACK DOWN
Mostly Water web site states, "Since mid-February the Rotinoshon’non:we/Iroquois have been protesting the construction of a luxury residential subdivision on their land called “Douglas Estates” near Caledonia Ontario. With the Canadian and provincial governments intent on ignoring our rights, there were no options. We had to stop the construction ourselves. Our people braved freezing rain, snow, sleet and ankle deep mud. Many slept in tents and cars to keep the barricades manned. Supporters carried in pots of food and truckloads of firewood. We’re in it for the long haul! We are continuing the fight that our grandparents and great-grandparents fought and that our children and grandchildren are prepared to continue if the colonization doesn’t stop."
"Henco Industries, the developer that is squatting on our land, went to court and got an injunction. Judge David Marshall of the Ontario Provincial Court thought he had a fool proof plan to get rid of the people protesting Ontario’s persistent violation of Six Nations Territory. On March 16 he issued a strange convoluted order. He announced that at 2:00 on Wednesday, March 22nd, the Ontario Provincial Police OPP would come in. They would read the order to us. Anyone who didn’t leave immediately would be arrested and taken to the police station where they would be photographed, fingerprinted and released. He also ordered that anyone who returned would be charged and placed on probation for a year. The trouble is he seemed to have forgotten about due process and the honor of the Crown. He didn’t mention a hearing or a trial. Neither Ontario nor Henco was required to prove they owned the land in question. This may have something to do with the report that Judge Marshall and the Crown Prosecutor, Owen Young, both claim parts of our land themselves."
The people didn't leave. They did not recognize the authority of the court over them on their soverign land.
The people say the subdivision is on part of the Haldimand tract that was deeded to the Six Nations in 1784 and still belongs to them. They argue the tract, which covers 9.6 kilometres both sides of the Grand River from the mouth to the source, was never transferred to third parties and is still their territory.
Their has been a particularly strong show by women at the site. This is a testimony to the moral authority the Six Nations clan mothers have displayed in the action, which has been described as a "land reclamation."
The clan mothers, who'd been acting mostly behind the scenes, authored a press release addressed to the developer of the subdivision, provincial and federal authorities and "Her Majesty the Queen."
They told them they had no business on the disputed land.
"Therefore, we the clan mothers command the agents, representatives and officers of the said British corporation to be at peace and refrain from any acts of violence to spill blood or interfere with the rights of the Onkwe'hon:we" (the aboriginal people), they wrote.
The missive was signed "Clan mothers."
The Douglas Creek Estates development is currently under construction on lands stolen from the Six Nations Peoples. On Feb. 28th, the Peoples re-occupied their land and said they will stay until jurisdiction and title over the land is restored to Six Nations.
The British Crown granted the Six Nations Reserve a 10- kilometre strip on each side of the Grand River from the mouth to the source, a tract of about 950,000 acres. But today, the reserve covers only about 5 per cent of the tract. Protesters say the rest of the lands were stolen, squatted on or illegally transferred after being leased to non-natives. Protesters say the building site, which could eventually accommodate close to 200 homes, is part of the original tract granted to the Six Nations people more than 200 years ago. The proposed development and impending growth continues to infringe on Six Nations treaty rights.
The land was never sold, transferred or surrendered to non-natives and the site is still part of the Six Nations territory, even though at least two of the houses have been sold and were soon to be occupied. The protesters are acting under the direction of the Six Nations Confederacy, the traditional chiefs. They believe the Confederacy -- and not the elected band council -- has the authority to negotiate lands on behalf of Six Nations.
The Six Nations Peoples were left with no choice but to take the protection of their land into their own hands. In solidarity with these freedom fighters, demand the Crown cease threatening public peace by their failure to uphold international treaties. Demand they drop this illegal injunction against the Six Nations Peoples immediately and instead place an immediate moratorium against all development on Six Nations Territories. In Solidarity with the Six Nations Peoples in their fight for decolonization, take action today! Phone, fax and email:
Inspector Brian Haggith, Cayuga OPP, Detachment Commander
Phone: (905) 772-3322, Fax: (905) 772-5815, Email: email@example.com
Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs
Phone: (819) 997-0002, Fax: (819) 953-4941, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The first article below is from the London Free Press (Canada)The second article is from the Globe and Mail.
Aboriginal occupiers defy court order
Fri, March 31, 2006
CALEDONIA -- Aboriginal protesters occupying a southern Ontario construction site dismissed yesterday's police action aimed at removing them from the proposed subdivision as irrelevant.
The court order read to occupiers by the sheriff of Haldimand County carries no weight on native land, said protester Janie Jamieson.
"We're not under Canada's jurisdiction. We're a sovereign nation," Jamieson said.
Six Nations members from a nearby reserve claim the land was stolen from them by the Canadian government 200 years ago.
Peaceful solution best, native protesters say
Special to The Globe and Mail
CALEDONIA -- An uneasy standoff continued yesterday on the 29th day of an aboriginal protest that has halted construction on a subdivision south of Hamilton.
Police were maintaining a low profile, as they have since the occupation began on land adjoining the Six Nations reserve that protesters claim was stolen from them.
A spokeswoman for the protesters, Janie Jamieson, said she hopes for a peaceful resolution. "It would involve having the whole issue of title and jurisdiction resolved, and it would mean for the federal government to take accountability and responsibility for their actions in regard to this land."
Ms. Jamieson rejected a suggestion that the presence of members of the Warrior Society was cause for concern, adding that clan mothers from other reserves, including Akwesasne, have sent people to support the protest.
The women here remain in charge, she said. "The men that are here, they're all under our direction." All the occupiers are unarmed, she added.
OPP spokeswoman Paula Wright said the role of the police has not changed since a judge's clarification on Tuesday of the terms of a court order that the protesters leave. They are in contempt of court.
"We will respect the court order," Ms. Wright said. "We take our responsibility very seriously and undertake this responsibility in the safest manner possible."
She said the focus is to negotiate peacefully with the occupiers "hoping that they would choose to leave without police intervention."
Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has appointed a law professor from the University of Western Ontario as a fact-finder. Michael Coyle said that since Friday he has met with various parties, including the Confederacy chiefs, the elected band council, the protesters, the developer and police.
He said he expects to have a report for the minister within a week.
But spokespeople at the site said the women who are directing the protest didn't speak to Mr. Coyle. "The women sent him packing," Jacqueline House said, adding that Mr. Prentice has been asked to send someone of more importance.
Diane Laursen, a spokeswoman for Mr. Prentice, said Mr. Coyle is not a mediator -- he has been appointed to investigate the grievances and explore the possibility of mediation.
Premier Dalton McGuinty also called for a peaceful end to the standoff and said the protesters should comply with the court order.
Local Tory MPP Toby Barrett said he has visited the blockade and has done what he can to help resolve the dispute, including driving to Ottawa 10 days ago to deliver materials from the protesters to Governor-General Michaëlle Jean.
The 52-hectare property at the heart of the dispute was bought 15 years ago by Henco Industries. Ms. Jamieson said the protesters moved onto the property a month ago because of the surge in construction in the area.
Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainor confirmed that development around the town is booming. "We're one of the fastest-growing communities in Ontario," she said.
The area in dispute is one of 29 land claims filed by Six Nations since 1980, but not one of the four validated by the Justice Department. It pertains to the Hamilton-Port Dover Plank Road, now Highway 6, running through the centre of what is now Caledonia.
The Six Nations has refused to surrender the 966 hectares needed for a road with 800 metres on each side, but has agreed to a lease with conditions. In a 1996 court document, the attorney-general argued that the Six Nations surrendered the land for sale in 1841.