Six Nations Solidarity

News | Background | What you can do | Links 

Natives halt construction work

'We view this land as our own mother ...'

Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Mar 1, 2006)

[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]

A small group of native protesters is occupying a residential building site outside of Caledonia they claim encroaches on Six Nations territory.

After moving in yesterday morning, they strung a large banner proclaiming "Six Nations Land" between two lamp posts at the entrance of Douglas Creek Estates, at Surrey and Argyle streets.

There are about nine or 10 houses in various stages of construction in the survey which could eventually include close to 200 homes. The first homeowners were expected to move in shortly.

The peaceful group, which included three chiefs of the Six Nations Confederacy, also erected barriers and effectively shut down construction for the day by barring workers from the site.

From 2 to 3 p.m., however, they allowed tradesmen to retrieve their tools and the building contractor, Ray Robitaille of Robitaille Homes, to shut off the power and secure existing homes.

Robitaille said the work stoppage affects all the building trades and could prove costly if construction is held up for any length of time. He was still hopeful yesterday the situation could be settled peacefully through negotiations.

"We just want to get back to work," he said.

Representatives of Henco Industries, the developer, were expected to seek an injunction to have the protesters removed.

"This is a land reclamation," said Dawn Smith, who was authorized to speak to the media on behalf of the Six Nations Confederacy, which includes non-elected hereditary chiefs.

She said the occupiers were in for the long haul and would have somebody watching the entrance 24 hours day.

They were also expected to bring in a trailer or some other form of shelter.

A single mother who recently moved back to the reserve, Smith said Douglas Creek Estates falls within the original tract that Chief Joseph Brant was granted more than 200 years ago.

It consisted of a 10-kilometre wide strip land on each side of the Grand River from the source to the mouth.

Smith said the Six Nations people now occupy less than 5 per cent of the original tract, although only a small portion of it was sold by Joseph Brant to raise money for supplies.

"This land was never to be sold, surrendered or to change hands and was to remain in Six Nations," she said.

Smith said the Six Nations Confederacy follows the spirit of the "Great Law" which forbids the sale of traditional lands.

"We view this land as our own mother ... and it's being stripped and raped of all its resources and all the benefits ... for our way of life," she said.

"This land is for the future generations. That's what we're fighting for, our children, as our ancestors fought for us," she added.

Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer said the developer, Henco Industries, complied with all the county's planning requirements when the subdivision was approved.

This included notification of former Six Nations Elected Band Council Chief Roberta Jamieson, who supported the project. There was no obligation to contact the Confederacy, however.

Trainer said she's been watching the situation at Douglas Creek Estates and has been in contact with Henco representatives, who told her they would be seeking a court injunction to remove the protesters.

She's also contacted current Six Nations Chief David General, who told her he didn't support the occupation. He couldn't be reached for comment.

Dan David, a spokesman for the band council, said the protesters recently asked the elected band council for a letter of support for the occupation.

But council refused because they didn't provide enough details.

He added land claims are a big "bone of contention" on the reserve.

"Some refuse to accept that any of the land was transferred or sold legally," said David.

"The province believes it was all done legally and most people fall somewhere in between," he added.

BackBack to updates

Top Top