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Peterson to help resolve Caledonia dispute

CBC news:
Last updated May 1 2006 08:30 AM EDT

[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.]

Former Liberal premier David Peterson has been appointed to help resolve a two-month aboriginal standoff at a construction site in Caledonia.

Peterson told reporters that he hopes he can find some "common ground."

"It's not a question of counting blame or finding fault, it's a question of finding a solution," he said at a Burlington news conference on Sunday.

Peterson said the dispute has been going on for 200 years so finding a settlement won't be easy.

Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay announced Peterson's appointment over the weekend, saying he has a high standing with aboriginal leaders.

Peterson successfully mediated talks between the province and Ontario's First Nations to resolve a dispute over their share of provincial gambling revenues.

Government officials spent the weekend briefing Peterson, who says he plans to meet with protesters, government officials and developers in the community this week.

People from the Six Nations have been blocking the main road into Caledonia -- about an hour southwest of Toronto -- for two weeks as part of a land claims dispute over a housing development.

Protesters set up the blockade after a raid by provincial police failed to remove them from a construction site they are occupying.

Tensions escalated on April 24 when about 3,000 Caledonia residents held a rally, calling on authorities to end the standoff. Later that night, about 500 residents confronted police and native protesters at the blockade.

The residents released their anger by smashing a police vehicle. Two people were arrested but were later released without being charged.

Demonstrators first occupied the site on Feb. 28 to stop construction by Henco Industries on land they say was stolen from the Six Nations more than 200 years ago.

The province says aboriginals gave up the land in 1841 to make way for a new highway, an agreement a Six Nations spokesperson said was only meant to be a lease.

Six Nations filed a land claims suit over the area in 1999.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Press is reporting the provincial government has offered to compensate the developers of the subdivision, which would be known as Douglas Creek Estates.

"An offer was made to them, but we don't have a final agreement yet," said Anne-Marie Flanagan, spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay. She said both the developers and builders have asked that the offer be kept confidential.

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