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CALEDONIA (May 10, 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.]
Native activists and OPP have both increased their numbers on the north side of the Grand River where protesters have erected barriers, flags, banners and tents in the last week.
OPP spokesperson Paula Wright said police quelled a minor disturbance at the site on the weekend and are investigating a complaint that things were tossed from the Highway 6 bridge at motorists on Highway 54 along the Grand River.
Wright described the new barricades as a "posturing position."
"It's their way of letting people know they're there, they're more noticeable there," she said.
The new barricades are the first indication, however, since the land dispute started 72 days ago, that natives are making a stand on the north bank of the Grand. The protest started Feb. 28 on the south end of the town when a group of Six Nations activists moved onto Douglas Creek Estates. They claimed the tract had been stolen from them and they were taking it back.
The increased police presence north of the bridge was the first time the OPP had mounted more than a token show of force on this side of the town.
At different times yesterday, there were up to six uniformed officers and four cruisers posted at the north end of the Hwy. 6 bypass bridge.
Natives have blocked off this end of the bridge by building two barricades about eight metres apart. They've also erected a large tent with a portable toilet beside it and hoisted the iconic unity flag with a warrior's profile framed in a red background and rays of yellow sunlight.
Motorists travelling west toward Brantford on Hwy. 54 were first confronted last Friday with a large sign in bold letters proclaiming: "Our native lands are not for sale." Since then, a banner has been draped over the opposite side of the bridge stating: "Protecting Mother Earth for the Next Seven Generations."
Yesterday, protesters had a van and two lookouts posted directly behind the barricades about 30 metres from a group of officers who were on the unused Hwy. 6 bypass. There was also an officer posted at the base of the bridge abutment off Hwy. 54.
Wright said the police were keeping a "mutual boundary of respect" between the townspeople and the natives and fulfilling their mandate to keep the peace during the tense dispute.
During the incident Saturday night, she said, nobody was hurt and no property damaged when things were tossed from the bridge. She added police are still trying to catch the culprits.
During the incident, Wright said several people were removed from the site, but she wasn't sure whether they were natives or non-natives.
Meanwhile, John and Don Henning, developers of Douglas Creek Estates, said Haldimand County will reimburse them for $256,000, or about half of the $520,000 they spent to install water, sewer and storm water systems in the subdivision.
In a press release yesterday, the brothers said their financial position remains "precarious" as a result of the occupation and lack of revenue from the project.
They also attempted to dispel media reports that 3,700 to 3,800 native bodies are buried on the site. Before starting work on the subdivision, they stated, the London-based firm of Mayer Heritage Consultants did an archeological survey of 100 acres and found no evidence of graves.
"The Ontario Ministry of Culture has accepted that assessment. A second assessment of the remaining 35 acres has also been completed and was recently submitted to the ministry ... for its review," they wrote.
Haldimand County council will hold a meeting at 6 p.m., May 15, to deal with the Douglas Creek dispute. A provincial representative is expected to provide a progress report on the ongoing closed-door negotiations among natives and provincial and federal officials.
"It is imperative that negotiations regarding the road and rail blockades come to a successful conclusion as soon as possible to avoid any further negative business and social impacts on the Caledonia community," said Deputy Mayor Tom Patterson.