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Six Nations given interim use of Burtch correctional facility as sign of good faith, MPP says

John Paul Zronik - Expositor Staff
Brantford Expositor
Local News - Friday, May 19, 2006 @ 01:00

[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.]

Six Nations has been given “interim use” of the former Burtch correctional facility as part of ongoing negotiations to end the occupation of disputed land in Caledonia, Brant MPP Dave Levac said Thursday.

Levac said use of the property was offered as a sign of good faith in negotiations, which began following the occupation of Douglas Creek Estates, a 135-acre parcel of land slated for a housing development that protesters believe belongs to Six Nations.

“My understanding is that there is an agreement for interim use of the Burtch property,” Levac said.

Callers to The Expositor on Thursday reported seeing a Six Nations Confederacy flag flying from a tree high above the Burtch property.

What rights come along with “interim use” of Burtch remains unclear.

Levac said he is “not aware of the totality of the agreement” that has been struck between Six Nations and other negotiating parties.

“It’s just one piece of a fluid and evolving negotiating process,” he said.

The Ontario Realty Corp., a provincial agency, has been in control of the property since the correctional facility was shut down in January 2003. The former jail, located in Brant County within three miles of the Six Nations reserve, is on the table as part of the current land claims negotiation process.

Levac said the Burtch property was also part of negotiations between the federal government, provincial government and Six Nations before the Caledonia dispute began.

“They have already identified the Burtch correctional facility and some surrounding lands as part of the original Six Nations land claims,” the MPP said. “People shouldn’t be totally surprised Burtch is being mentioned.”

As well as Burtch, Caledonia lands and other areas are on the table as part of negotiations, Levac said, adding he believes compromise on all sides is required to reach a settlement.

“It’s a complex negotiation that includes short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions."

Levac said he has kept in touch with negotiators, including former Ontario premier David Peterson, Jane Stewart and Six Nations officials, throughout the current process.

“Contrary to some people’s belief, the province has been very involved,” Levac said. “There’s been a lot of work done and we’ve made a lot of progress arresting this long-term issue once and for all.

“I know all of the communities involved want this.”

Levac said he’s also worked to address Brantford's and Brant County's concerns over the current occupation and negotiation process.

Levac urges local residents to be patient. He said people should not listen to radical voices coming from both sides of the dispute.

“I don’t want this painted as us versus them. This is an opportunity once and for all to bring this to an end. People need to understand there is a long history to this.”

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