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Council reveals occupation actions

Karen Best - Chronicle Staff Writer
Dunville Chronicle
Local News - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 @ 05:00

[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.]

CAYUGA - Haldimand County council wants residents to know that they have worked non-stop on the Six Nations occupation of a Caledonia construction site.

This week they released a detailed list of actions taken starting March 4. Most of council, OPP, and developers Don and John Henning attended a meeting called by Six Nations elected council five days after the occupation began on Feb. 28. Iroquois Confederacy Chiefs were invited but did not attend. Over the following weeks, the county monitored court cases related to the occupation.

On March 24, Mayor Marie Trainer, deputy mayor Tom Patterson and Coun. Craig Ashbaugh participated in a conference call with Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jim Prentice and Human Resources and Social Development Minister Diane Finley. During this call, Ashbaugh requested compensation for the developers and builders. Similar discussions continued on April 7. Trainer, Ashbaugh and county chief administrative officer Bill Pearce flew to Ottawa to meet with Prentice and Finley.

In April, the county made several requests of the federal and provincial governments.

They wanted a public commitment from the federal government on expeditious settlement of land claims. To restore confidence in county land ownership, they asked for clarification of Crown deeds and how this affects individuals and corporations.

Haldimand also asked for a stated legal position on the present occupation. Along with requesting definitions of federal and provincial government land claim roles, the county asked for an education program on land claims.

For their part, council was prepared to leave an agricultural zone between urban Caledonia and the Six Nations reserve and to assist in land claim education programs. Council is also prepared to participate in any programs designed to restore broken relationships between Caledonia and Six Nations residents.

Council will also meet with Six Nations leaders to discuss and resolve common issues such as water supply and land uses.

Beginning April 11, county officials were involved in talks called by the Ontario, Canadian and Six Nations governments. Trainer, Ashbaugh and Pearce attended significant meetings on April 12 and 13 where a draft agreement was discussed. It incorporated many of the county requests and offers.

From April 20 to 26, the county had its emergency control group on duty. On April 24, the group met with rally organizers to move the large event to the Caledonia fairgrounds. On April 28, the group prepared for a large rally and again onMay 5.

Over the past two weeks, council has met with Ontario Municipal Affairs deputy minister John Burke and Economic Development assistant deputy minister Neil Smith and with David Peterson. In April, council and staff worked through a couple of weekends to deal with emerging issues.

During council discussions this week, Ashbaugh, who has been doing more work behind the scenes than speaking to media, said the county assumed a low profile early in the stand off to avoid jeopardizing discussions.

When the county approached the Caledonia fair board about renting the fairgrounds for the April 24 rally, the board was hesitant. Because board insurance did not cover civil disobedience, the county signed a waiver to provide insurance for the event which attracted about 2,500 people. The county also paid the $535 rental fee for the grounds.

At every meeting held over the past two months, council members made positive suggestions and some were acted upon, said Coun. Lorne Boyko. “We weren’t sitting on our hands,” he added.

Later in the meeting, Boyko tabled a notice of motion. At the April 23 committee meeting, he will table a motion to rescind a previous resolution that named Patterson the council spokesperson on the Caledonia standoff.

If the motion is rescinded, anyone can speak on Douglas Creek Estates, he explained.

During Monday’s closed council session, Aboriginal Affairs deputy minister Doug Carr, Burke and Smith updated council on their timeline and who is meeting with whom. There’s something going on every day, Ashbaugh reported.

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