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A look at what's behind barricade

By Daniel Nolan
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Apr 28, 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.]

It looks like a large family -- an extremely large family -- campsite.

Picnic tables. Tents. Campfires. Barbecues. Dozens of pots and pans. And off to one side a group of young men playing hacky sack.

And if that's not enough, there's a large wooden storehouse full of food -- everything from ketchup to Chinese food -- and a first-aid tent, with a few tables that look as if they are set up to deal with any emergency short of surgery.

Some people sit by a campfire banging drums and chanting.

That's some of what's behind the native blockade in Caledonia.

The protesters, now in their 60th day of occupying a housing project and a week into blocking Argyle Street South and the Highway 6 bypass, invited a dozen local media behind their lines last night to let them see how they are living and to try to ease the minds of town residents who fear there may be weapons or other such things behind the barricades.

The 20-minute tour, conducted by protest spokesperson Clyde Powless, came after three nights of protests on Argyle Street, just north of the native blockade, by Caledonia residents who are upset the road is blocked. The natives and townsfolk have been kept apart by dozens of Ontario Provincial Police officers.

Before the tour, Powless said the fear in the town came home to him yesterday when he was having coffee and a local woman told him he was "the bogeyman" to her children because of the blockade and protest, which natives are calling a "land reclamation."

Protesters say Six Nations never surrendered the site of Douglas Creek Estates, but the federal and provincial governments say it was surrendered and sold in 1841.

"They don't fully comprehend or know what we are in there ... We are a good society. We do not want to take over anything. All we want to do is exist and maintain who we are ... We're not hiding anything," Powless remarked.

Tensions, however, continue to simmer in the town. A couple of hundred people gathered again last night in front of the road block. They blocked a man in a car from getting through to the native blockade and he had to turn around. A line of OPP officers moved to keep residents and protesters separated.

Earlier, a few residents and protesters traded angry comments in front of the media over the blockade and two native protesters confronted a native OPP officer about him working for the police. One accused him of treason.

"That ... thing should be rolled over and burned," the other man told the officer, pointing at his cruiser.

The officer, who declined to give his name, told the two native protesters, "I don't want to see anyone get hurt. That's why I'm standing here at this line."

It was hard to estimate how many people were behind the blockade, but it could have been about 100. There are two large fires burning on the site, one at the Argyle Street blockade and one just off the street on the housing site.

There's a sign near the first-aid tent explaining rules and regulations for youths -- no one under 18 is allowed to stay after 9 p.m. and all parents are notified -- and a large 'No littering' sign hanging by the storehouse. Some type of pot pie appeared to be simmering on a large metal drum barbecue fuelled by wood.

Kelly Burgess, a volunteer from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, has been at the site for more than a week and has been working in the kitchen.

Burgess says she's been preparing eggs and bacon, pastas, casseroles and soups for meals.

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