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Activists make Mother's Day visit to Caledonia

Brian Whitwham
The Waterloo Record
KITCHENER (May 15, 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.]

Armed with food, money and supplies, a group of activists went behind aboriginal blockades in Caledonia yesterday to celebrate Mother's Day.

About 30 people left downtown Kitchener by bus for an afternoon potluck with native protesters engaged in a standoff over 40 hectares of land south of Hamilton.

Jacqueline House, a Six Nations spokesperson and mother of four, told the group the native people behind the blockades are victims of "psychological warfare," at the hands of Caledonia residents, the military and police.

"They're hoping and waiting for us to break that treaty of peace and we refuse to," said House, who spoke to the group at Speaker's Corner before the bus left. "We're peaceful, we're united and we're unarmed, and I can't say that enough.

"We're just trying to hold what our ancestors put in place. We have a right to be heard. It's about time that Canadians listened to us."

Since February, Six Nations members have blocked a subdivision from being built on land they claim to own.

Former Ontario premier David Peterson has been negotiating with the protesters on behalf of the province.

Yesterday's rally and bus trip was organized by the Solidarity Association for International Liberation Struggles, a local group that tries to raise awareness about social justice issues.

Nadia Hausfather, one of the organizers, said the federal and provincial governments need to respect First Nations land claims that are set in treaties.

"I think it's important to build awareness about the mistreatment and deception toward native people in Canada," she said.

Many in the Kitchener group didn't have an aboriginal background.

"There's a small group of white people making a lot of us look really bad," David Welhauser, 27, said to explain his reason for going to Caledonia.

"It doesn't correct historical wrongs but it shows that not all Canadians have the minds of their ancestors. And we're making progress."

The occupation in Caledonia has sparked a bitter response from other members of the community, who say the dispute is hurting their livelihoods.

House said the government needs to do a better job explaining to residents that Six Nations people have a legitimate claim to the land.

Negotiators suggested Friday the standoff could end soon.

Mohawk Confederacy Chief Alan McNaughton told reporters the blockades set across the main road through Caledonia could be removed within a week.

House wouldn't comment on when the blockades might come down but she said it's up to the Six Nations people -- not the negotiators. She said the blockades would be discussed by the people last night.

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