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Indians get an apology

Council aghast at mayor's suggestion protestors on welfare
McGuinty calls for calm as tensions mount in Caledonia

Peter Edwards - Staff Reporter
Toronto Star
Apr. 26, 2006. 06:28 AM

[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. — Haldimand County Council has swiftly distanced itself from comments made by Mayor Marie Trainer suggesting that Indians blocking a highway and occupying a disputed tract of land don't work for a living.

The council apologized to members of the Six Nations Territory yesterday, hours after an ugly exchange near a barricade on Highway 6 between Trainer and Clyde Powless, a Six Nations spokesperson.

Powless was incensed with comments Trainer made on CBC Newsworld yesterday, which he interpreted as saying protesting Six Nations residents are welfare recipients.

"How do my people have money coming in automatically? How? Answer that. Answer it," Powless said near the barricade site as he thrust his finger toward the mayor.

Trainer, who had hugged Powless earlier in the morning, defended her comments, saying, "They needed to know what the Caledonia people thought. I have to stick up for my people, just like they're sticking up for themselves."

Trainer could not be reached for comment late yesterday afternoon.

And by late afternoon, several council members walked down to the barricade to apologize to Six Nations hereditary chiefs and spokespeople, including Powless.

They told the Six Nations group that they had passed an emergency resolution barring Trainer from officially commenting on the blockade or occupation.

"That was a huge step and we're fully appreciative of that," Powless said.

Meanwhile, tensions simmered in town in the wake of a wild mob scene on the roadway on Monday night, when 500 townspeople screamed insults at members of the Ontario Provincial Police and members of the Six Nations Reserve and their supporters.

Police were pushed back some 40 metres by the crowd.

Tensions remained high yesterday morning. A construction worker sipping coffee at a Tim Horton's doughnut shop looked out at the blockade and told his friends he had a quick answer for removing it.

"One tank right through the (expletive) middle," he said, and the other men at his table nodded approvingly.

Meanwhile, some members of the Six Nations Territory said they may stop shopping in Caledonia, and do their business in the communities of Hagersville and Brantford instead.

A spokesperson for Six Nations Territory members who are manning the blockade said town residents shouldn't expect the blockade to be taken down soon. "When this road was open, there was garbage thrown at us," Janie Jamieson said. "Some of the townspeople of Caledonia have asked when can they shoot us." Tents were erected by members of the Six Nations reserve and their supporters 58 days ago on a 40 hectare patch of land at the south end of the city, where a small local firm, Henco Industries Ltd., was building the Douglas Creek estates subdivision. Occupiers say the development is on their land.

At Queen's Park yesterday, Premier Dalton McGuinty said the people of Caledonia should keep their tempers in check while government negotiators work to resolve the situation.

But Progressive Conservative MPP Toby Barrett (Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant), who represents the area, said he's concerned tensions might escalate because of the disruption to daily life in Caledonia.

Native negotiators were slated to return to the bargaining table today.

With files from Rob Ferguson

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