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Comments by mayor enrage native protesters News Staff
Tue. Apr. 25 2006 11:33 AM 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.]

Tensions appear to be on the rise between natives occupying a southern Ontario housing development and their non-native neighbours.

This morning, Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer was confronted at the site of the occupation by First Nations spokesman Clyde Powless and another protester.

The two were angry over comments by Trainer, who took to the airwaves to say the blockade is hurting local business, and Caledonia residents don't automatically have money coming in every month.

They accused her of saying the occupiers were simply waiting for their monthly cheques.

"How do my people have money coming in automatically? How? Answer that. Answer it,'' Powless said as he thrust his finger in Trainer's face.

"I'm deeply saddened by comments I've heard you made about my people waiting for a monthly check. I'm shocked at you and I will never want to address you again.''

Trainer said she was only relaying the frustrations of her constituents.

Powless, who embraced Trainer when she first arrived at the site, confronted her after an aboriginal woman took her to task for her comments.

"There's no way you're going to make us come off as welfare recipients. You put it right on the air and I just seen it. You had no damn business saying it," said a woman, who didn't want to be identified, The Canadian Press reported.

Confrontation turns nasty

The confrontation came after 500 non-natives stormed a police line Monday night, with residents yelling insults at the protesters and calling for them to end their standoff.

They waved Canadian flags and called for police to "let us through" and "open the road."

The residents outnumbered the 100 police on site, who had been keeping them about 200 metres from the native protesters, who also numbered about 500.

When a non-native was arrested at the scene, the crowd of residents surrounded the police cruiser. Some people jumped on the car, and others tried to hang on to the windows as the car drove away.

By midnight, the crowd had largely dispersed.

Tensions heated up earlier that evening, when a crowd of about 3,000 gathered at a rally over the ongoing dispute, now in its seventh week.

Although organizers called for a quick, peaceful resolution, heated arguments started breaking out in the crowd, which was located about 400 metres from the native occupiers.

Ahead of the rally, native occupiers vowed not to interfere.

"That's their community meeting,'' native spokesperson Janie Jamieson told reporters. "They have a right to hold those without interference, and we plan on respecting that.''

The dispute

The contested land is located 30 kilometres south of Hamilton. The Six Nations claims government took the land from them more than two centuries ago. They said the agreed to lease the property for a road in 1835 and reject arguments it was later sold to the Crown.

A company called Henco Industries is developing a subdivision called Douglas Creek Estates on the 40-hectare site. The firm said Sunday it is teetering on bankruptcy and needs the situation resolved soon.

The protest had been quiet for weeks, but then heated up rapidly on Thursday when Ontario Provincial Police officers raided the site and arrested some protesters.

Hundreds of natives from the nearby Six Nations reserve rushed to the site and, through force of sheer numbers, forced the police back.

Things then cooled down again in the community of 10,000 as negotiations between various parties intensified. By Sunday, an uneasy peace had been re-established.

With files from The Canadian Press

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