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United Church calls for calm in Ontario land standoff

CBC News
Last updated Apr 26 2006 04:12 PM ADT

[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.]

United Church groups in the Maritimes says they're willing to send observers to help reach a peaceful and negotiated resolution to the aboriginal land claims protest in Caledonia, Ont.

Rev. Keith Lyons, who chairs the task group on aboriginal concerns and relationships with the United Church, says the protesters have a valid land claim.

Six Nations protesters have occupied a housing development near Hamilton since Feb. 28, arguing that the land legally belongs to them, while the province says the Six Nations handed over the land in 1841.

Lyons says the church has offered to send trained observers to help bring the dispute to a peaceful end. Many of them served as observers in 2000 during the conflict over aboriginal fishing rights at the Burnt Church First Nation in New Brunswick.

"These are groups of trained people who would go into that situation," said Lyons. "Not saying this is going to happen, but we have offered it."

Lyons says the workers can be sent as soon as a request comes in.

"They would be bearing witness, not directly involved. They would be taking pictures. They would be observing things that are going on. That has a tendency to help to lower the temperature or the stress," he said.

"They also have training to work with people who are on the ground, to calm down this situation, help people to think rationally."

He says letters have been sent to other churches and ecumenical groups calling on them to lend their voice of support to the native people in Caledonia.

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