On March 3rd, 2006, Rotin'oshon'ni Six Nations people set up camp on the Haldimand Tract, located at the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates, a 71-lot subdivision under construction by Henco Industries Ltd. on Six Nations territory.
"Six Nations" refers to the six nations that are part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy: Gayogoho:no (Cayuga), Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk), Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Onoda’gega (Onondaga), Onodowahgah (Seneca), and Ska-ru-ren (Tuscarora). The traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy crosses the colonial US/Canada border, including parts of “Ontario”, “Quebec”, “Pennsylvania”, “Ohio”, “New York”, and “New Hampshire”.
There are many Rotin'oshon'ni communities. The Six Nations reserve is in the area known as southern “Ontario”, near the towns of Brantford, Caledonia, and Hagersville. Other Rotin'oshon'ni communities include Kanehsatà:ke (a Mohawk community near the town of Oka, which the Canadian government laid siege to in 1990), Kahnawake, Ganlengeh, Tonawanda, Allegany, Cattaragus, Akwesasne, Tyendinaga, and Gibson. There are also many Rotin'oshon'ni living outside these areas.
Canada’s Ongoing Theft of Six Nations Land
1784: In recognition of Six Nations support of the British Crown during the American War of independence, the Crown issues the Haldimand Proclamation officially recognizes land stretching six miles on either side of the Grand River from Lake Erie to Dundalk (approx. 950,000 acres of land) as Six Nations land.
1795: Lieutenant-Governor John Simcoe decides to reduce the area formally recognized as Six Nations land by the Crown to 275,000 acres.
1924: Department of Indian Affairs imposes band council system on Six Nations, to undermine hereditary systems of governance and facilitate land theft.
Since 1795 the Crown has continually stolen more and more land for occupation by settlers, sale to developers, and road construction. The area officially designated by the Canadian government as the Six Nations reserve is now less than 5% of the original area promised by the Crown in 1784.
Brief Chronology of the Camp (see "News archive" for more details)
June 13, 2005: The province of Ontario passes the Places to Grow Act. The act provides a legal framework for the provincial government to designate any area of land (including unceded First Nations land) as a “growth plan area” and decide on its development. A regulation was also passed identifying the “Greater Golden Horseshoe area” (which includes unceded Six Nations land) as the first area for which a growth plan will be prepared.
October 25, 2005: Six Nations people and supporters hold an information picket at Douglas Creek to raise awareness of the ongoing theft of Six Nations land.
February 28, 2006: Six Nations people and supporters reoccupy the land to block further construction by Henco Industries, saying they will stay until jurisdiction and title over the land is properly restored to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
March 5, 2006: A local sheriff delivers an interim injuction by Henco Industries stating members of Six Nations will be forcibly removed by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) if they continue to block construction. OPP say they don’t have authority to enforce the injunction because it’s a civil order. Federal officials say the dispute will have to be resolved locally.
March 9, 2006: Ontario Superior Court Judge David Marshall issues a permanent injunction against Six Nations people, stating that the people re-occupying their territory are in criminal contempt of court.
March 17, 2006: An enforcement order is issued stating that any Six Nations people or supporters who do not leave the construction site by March 22 will be forcibly removed and charged with criminal contempt of court, with a possible 30-day sentence.
March 20, 2006: Clan Mothers issue a statement reaffirming Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) sovereignty and calling for nation-to-nation negotiations.
March 22, 2006: Hundreds of people gather in support of Haudenosaunee sovereignty, including an action involving 50 women (including Clan Mothers) blocking construction crews.
April 6, 2006: The Department of Indian Affairs says the conflict “has nothing to do with the federal government”, that this is a police matter and that police fall under provincial jurisdiction. The Ontario Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs says that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty “remains committed to further co-operation with Ontario’s First Nations but will not get involved in the standoff”.
April 20, 2006: At around 4:30 AM, the camp is swarmed by police in cruisers and vans, using batons, tear
gas cannons, and Tasers. Police state they have arrested 16 people. The people resist the invasion and manage to push the police back and hold the line.
After the siege at Ts'peten/Gustafsen Lake police admitted they had deliberately used the media to further their "smear and disinformation campaign". We encourage people to monitor the CBC, Hamilton CH, the Hamilton Spectator, and other media covering the siege, and to support Aboriginal and independent media providing accurate information about the history behind the blockade. CKRZ 100.3 FM is the radio station on the Six Nations reserve.