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Progress made in efforts to end land-claim dispute

Katie Rook
National Post and CanWest News Service
Sunday, April 23, 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.]

CALEDONIA, Ont. -- A glimmer of hope emerged Saturday that a land-claim dispute, which has halted a property development near Hamilton, Ont., for months, could be resolved peacefully.

However, there was no word Saturday when the native blockades which were thrown up last week after the Ontario Provincial Police tried to end the native occupation of a subdivision project owned by Henco Industries Ltd since Feb. 28 would come down.

"Gradual disengagement" and the removal of a roadblock straddling the main street of Caledonia, have been at least two topics of discussion between Six Nations, federal and provincial representatives, Mohawk Chief Allen MacNaughton said during a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

The group met through Friday night and resumed negotiations Saturday afternoon.

However, with no local traffic being allowed through, natives acknowledge removal of the blockade is a contentious issue.

"I don't believe (it will come down,)" said Clyde Powless, a 38-year-old iron worker who has been speaking on behalf of Six Nations. "If you want the road open, call your prime minister."

It was also announced Saturday a federal negotiator along with representatives from Ontario and the Six Nations will try to hammer out a settlement that will be subject to ratification.

The dispute has highlighted long-standing tensions between natives, who claim to own the land, and Ottawa, who sold it to a developer.

Six Nations of the Grand River natives claim the construction site called Douglas Creek Estates, belongs to them.

Henco Industries acquired the site now called Douglas Creek Estates in the early 1990s when they bought a company.

A court injunction that protesters leave the site was issued on March 9.

The OPP staged a pre-dawn raid Thursday, arresting 16 men. Natives reported being approached by gun-wielding officers who beat them and used taser guns. Six natives who were charged Thursday were released Friday, but stated, through a lawyer that they did not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the court.

"As long as we see OPP. We know the RCMP is sitting at the (Hamilton) airport. We are aware of presences all around us," Powless said. "I mean, if Canada came under attack how much intensity would you feel?"

Meanwhile, MacNaughton acknowledged Saturday buying out Henco Industries is being discussed as an option.

Police have also increased their visible presence at night when some locals, mostly youth, have taunted protesters and waved the Canadian flag.

While the number of natives visible from the roadblock, past which the media is not allowed, fluctuates, supporters from outside Six Nations arrived sporadically.

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