Six Nations Solidarity

News | Background | What you can do | Links 

Police cars in Hagersville put natives on 'high alert'

Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Mar 4, 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.]

Native protesters were bracing for a possible police action yesterday as their occupation of a construction site went into its fourth day.

Donna Smith, 31, spokesperson for the Six Nations Confederacy, said her group went into "high alert" around noon after hearing that 12 OPP cruisers were parked outside the Haldimand County fire station in downtown Hagersville.

Smith said she also heard from a native OPP officer that the owners of Douglas Creek Estates had applied for a court injunction to have the protesters removed from the development, which has nine or 10 houses in various stages of construction.

A spokesman for Henco Industries, the developer, wouldn't confirm this week if he was seeking an injunction.

Smith told reporters she feared police were using the fire station as an assembly point. She phoned to get more protesters to come to the construction site on Argyle Street South.

"There's safety in numbers," she told The Spectator. "The more people we have, the stronger we are. We have to hope for the best and prepare for the worst."

Smith said her prime concern was ensuring the safety of the protesters, who first moved onto the site Tuesday morning. They started the action by stringing a large banner proclaiming " Six Nations Land" between two lamp posts and put up barriers preventing workers from entering the site as part of a demonstration.

Some tradesmen were allowed to retrieve tools and turn off the power, but no work has been done since Tuesday.

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.

They protesters say 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.

Cayuga OPP spokesperson Paula Wright confirmed that aboriginal OPP officers were brought in to deal with the occupation.

"It's being done to be reflective of the people we're serving (bringing in aboriginal officers)," Wright said in a telephone interview.

Wright said she couldn't discuss operational matters. She said she had no information about an injunction.

Smith, who spent part of her adult life in the United States, said the protesters appreciated the involvement of aboriginal police because they're more sensitive to native issues.

"They may not be from Six Nations. But they're our people and have a better understanding of what we're going through," she said.

But when it comes down to the crunch, she added, they still "carry that badge" and could be brought in to enforce the injunction.

In the wake of the Ipperwash occupation of 1995, where native protester Dudley George was killed by an OPP officer, Smith suggested the authorities can't afford to get too heavy handed.

"They're trying hard not to repeat the mistakes of history," she said.

BackBack to updates

Top Top