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They have to talk to us

Six Nations chief says rulings compel governments to listen

Daniel Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator
OHSWEKEN (Apr 6, 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.]

Six Nations Chief Dave General says dialogue with Canada and Ontario is the way to resolve longstanding land claims.

The chief told a community meeting called last night to discuss the elected-band council's progress on resolving land claims that talking has made some headway with the two governments since 2004, and it can make a difference in the future.

The chief made his comments as native protesters enter their second month of occupying a multi-million dollar Caledonia housing project which they claims is on Six Nations land. A judge has granted a court injunction to evict the protesters, but the Ontario Provincial Police has not yet enforced it.

General told the more than 400 people who came to the meeting at Six Nations Polytechnic that recent court rulings compel the governments to talk to native bands to try and resolve land claims.

"They have to come and talk to us," he said. "They have to negotiate. There are alternatives. There are ways forward for us...The way forward is to create certainty and we can't do that if we don't sit down and talk."

But General admitted Six Nations has its work cut out for it because the Ontario government has predicted the population of the Golden Horseshoe Area will increase by five million over the next two decades. That includes lands in the Haldimand Tract, six miles of land on each side of the Grand River which was granted to Six Nations by the Crown in 1784 for services in the American War of Independence. The band council has 28 land claims in the tract.

The crowd also got an update on the land claims work from Kathleen Lickers, the band council's lawyer. Six Nations launched a historic lawsuit against Canada and Ontario in 1994 seeking an accounting of the 28 land claims.

After 10 years, Lickers said it was decided to try and resolve the disputes outside court and all three parties agreed. Last year, she said the three sides agreed to create a framework to resolve two claims -- mismanagement of Six Nations funds by an Indian agent in the 1830s and the non-payment for the transfer of Port Maitland at the mouth of Lake Erie.

The crowd was told the band council argues the housing project land in Caledonia was not meant to be surrendered and Six Nations chiefs back in the 1830-40s only wanted to lease the land. Lickers said, however, the Six Nations case gets clouded because of a Dec. 18, 1844 document indicating 47 chiefs agreed the land be sold to help build the Plank Road (now Highway 6).

"The question is how responsive are we going to be with this document," she said. "We immediately distrust what has been presented, but that doesn't mean we can ignore it."

The meeting offered moments showing the community is divided on the Caledonia issue.

One woman said there were more important things to deal with on Six Nations than "so called clan mothers and chiefs" from the Confederacy dealing with "a little chunk of land."

One of the protesters, Wes Elliott, however, demanded General be impeached because he claimed General told a radio show three weeks ago the occupation is hurting Six Nations' economic interests.

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