Six Nations Solidarity

News | Background | What you can do | Links 

Mediator to help in native dispute

Ottawa asks professor to offer ideas for solution

Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Mar 27, 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.]

Ottawa has asked an independent mediator to intervene in the Six Nations protest at a residential building site outside of town.

It is the first time since the protesters moved onto the site nearly a month ago that the Indian affairs department has attempted to deal directly with the occupation.

University of Western Ontario law professor Michael Coyle went to the site Friday afternoon and presented a written communique from Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice to native spokesperson Janie Jamieson.

He said he was on a fact-finding mission from Ottawa to determine the protesters' concerns.

"Professor Coyle, an experienced mediator with a background in dealing with First Nations issues, has been mandated to: investigate the nature of the grievances, identify the jurisdictional implications and explore the possibility for mediations," the missive stated.

The overture from Ottawa came just two days after hundreds of natives had massed at the entrance of Douglas Creek Estates in anticipation of a showdown with Cayuga OPP.

The rally had received extensive media coverage as hundreds of women locked arms in a human chain to stop the police who never came. The protesters had been told they could be charged with contempt of court and face a 30-day jail sentence if they didn't leave the site by 2 p.m., March 22.

Don Henning, of Henco Industries, had obtained an injunction to remove the protesters on March 3. But the local OPP said they didn't have the authority to enforce it because it was a civil order.

On March 17, Ontario Superior Court Justice Dave Marshall ruled the protesters could be charged for contempt of court and face quasi-criminal sanctions if they refused to leave. He also set the deadline.

Apart from a cruiser parked a discreet distance away, the OPP have left the protesters alone since the judge's deadline.

Coyle said Indian Affairs approached him on Thursday to see whether he would be willing to mediate the dispute.

"I have been mediating First Nations and government issues as an independent mediator for 17 years," he added.

"I have been asked by the minister to come here and explore what the concerns are and to offer ideas for a constructive and peaceful solution. But it's a bit early to say what the resolution might be. I'll be speaking to anybody who has a serious interest in the (dispute)," he said.

Jamieson said she would have to discuss his proposal with the Six Nations clan mothers and others involved in the protest.

Until last week, federal officials said the dispute would have to be resolved locally between the protesters and Henco.

The federal action came after Henning said he was being held "hostage between a splinter group and the federal government, a condition over which we have no control."

He added he was frustrated by the apparent lack of federal interest and appealed directly to Indian Affairs to resolve the dispute. He couldn't be reached for comment for this story.

BackBack to updates

Top Top