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Report on negotiations

Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa
May 14, 2006

On Sunday, May 14th, Cayuga sub-chief Jock Hill, accompanied by five Confederacy chiefs, went to the reclamation site to give a report to a crowd of 250 people, on the state of negotiations with the federal and provincial governments.

Hill said it was the intention of the negotiators to stop the construction on the site and to get the governments to negotiate our land rights thoughout the Haldimand Tract. He pointed out that while the federal government has one principal negotiator (Barbara McDougall) the province has two -- David Peterson and Jane Stewart. Peterson, he said, was solely concerned with opening the roads and Stewart, although she is mandated to deal with land issues, won't begin serious negotiations until the roads are open.

He reported that a number of successes have already been achieved, getting the governments to negotiate with the Confederacy being one of the biggest. He said the province is ready and willing now to sign over the 380 acre Burtch lands. He pointed out that the Confederacy inserted wording into the as-yet-unsigned agreement that would protect Confederacy land rights in other areas. He also said the Confederacy is aware of, and disagrees with, the federal government's policies regarding lands being added to bands and that they now have to convince the federal government to change its policies in regard to the Burtch lands.

He said the negotiations, and all the work that goes into them, is extremely demanding, physically and emotionally, and that the negotiators constantly have to remind themselves to use the principle of the good mind to deal with the frustrations and problems that come up. He encouraged people on the site to do the same.

Negotiations with all three parties will resume this week, he said, and he hopes the governments will respond to the Confederacy's previous request to clarify the mandate of their respective negotiators. He said there will be a community meeting on Wednesday evening at the Community Hall to review the results of the negotiations. At that time, he said, the Confederacy's negotiating team may be asking for the people's co-operation in bringing down the barricades.

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