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Both sides take break in Caledonia land dispute News Staff
CTV Toronto
Sun. Apr. 23 2006 3:17 PM ET

[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.]

Both sides of the Caledonia, Ont. standoff are taking a break Sunday, following two long weekend talks aimed at settling the native land dispute. But demonstrators refuse to bring down their barricades.

"One meeting went on until 11 p.m. (Saturday) night, and nothing new came from that meeting other than it's going to take some time for both sides to pick federal negotiators to discuss this issue," Donna Smith of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network told CTV Newsnet on Sunday.

She added that despite continued rain, protestors are remaining in place behind their barriers.

However, local residents were allowed to pass through to attend Sunday Mass at the Caledonia Baptist Church.

So far, both sides have each agreed to appoint a representative who will be authorized to work out a draft agreement, which would then be subject to a ratification vote. Representatives will be appointed within two weeks.

Negotiations lasted from 9 a.m. Friday to 4 a.m. Saturday, and then continued for another five hours into the evening.

"We are all trying to find a good, peaceful resolution to the issue here and the situation," one Native leader said Saturday.

But continuing talks and the hope for a negotiated end to the land claims dispute was not enough to prompt demonstrators to pull down barricades.

Clyde Powless, spokesperson for the demonstrators, said the negotiations haven't changed much yet but they are positive.

"They've agreed to keep on speaking, which is always a good thing 'cause if dialogue was open, I truly believe this (demonstration) would never have took place," Powless said.

"I don't see (the barricades coming down). We're very tense as long as we see (the Ontario Provincial Police). We know the RCMP's sitting at the airport. We're aware of presences all around."

The protesters are occupying land they claim belongs to them under a land grant dating back to 1784. The Government, however, believes the land was surrendered in 1841 so that a highway could be built.

Since Feb. 28, dozens of Six Nations members have occupied the still unfinished Douglas Creek Estates housing development in Caledonia, a town of 10,000 located south of Hamilton.

Tensions heightened on Thursday, however, when police raided the site and arrested 16 people in an attempt to shut down the occupation. It had the opposite effect, however, galvanizing protesters' resolve and drawing dozens more to the scene.

Police backed off, and now say they have no plans of raiding the property again.

Some nearby residents are upset about the protest, saying Natives are exempt from paying taxes on the land.

With files from The Canadian Press

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