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Blockade removal on hold after Caledonia residents block Six Nations vehicles

Canadian Press
Published: Sunday, May 21, 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.]

CALEDONIA, Ont. (CP) - Plans to remove an aboriginal blockade of a major road near Hamilton were in doubt Sunday after a group of area residents began blocking aboriginal traffic in the region.

A handful of non-aboriginal Caledonia residents have been refusing since Friday to allow aboriginal protesters to cross to the site of a land occupation on the Douglas Creek Estates development.

The second blockade arose out of a weekly demonstration by a group frustrated by a barrier erected across Highway 6 by First Nations protesters a month ago.

Provincial police have attempted to quell tensions over the weekend, at times separating the groups of angry protesters.

First Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson said the move by the local demonstrators has erased a sense of goodwill that had aboriginal protesters planning to dismantle the original barricade on Monday.

"With the turn of the events that happened in regard to the actions of a few of the non-native residents in Caledonia, we're just wondering whether that will actually happen or not," she said.

"They're making it an issue of hate crimes and race, which we never ever did."

She said that the police were allowing the group of non-aboriginals to selectively bar only aboriginals from crossing their line was "racism happening at its finest."

Aboriginal protesters were attempting Sunday to bypass the new blockade by building a new road to the 40-hectare tract of disputed land.

The original blockade was erected in mid-April by Six Nations protesters who say a new development is being built on land stolen from them more than 200 years ago. Canada and Ontario say it was surrendered and sold in 1841 to make way for a highway.

Any inconvenience the aboriginal blockade may have caused area residents is negligible, compared to the hundreds of years of abuse and neglect experienced by Six Nations members, Jamieson said.

"They're getting a really small taste of what it's like to be in our moccasins," Jamieson said. "They share the same frustrations we do... they feel they're not being listened to. They feel they're being ignored. "

She also said she did not believe the actions of a few people represented the attitude of the entire community.

"That's where I went to high school," she said. "I grew up with a lot of non-natives from Caledonia and I've never seen any of my friends standing out there."

Former Ontario premier David Peterson was appointed by the province to help end the standoff.

Last week, the provincial government indefinitely banned construction at the site of the dispute, with Ontario's minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, David Ramsay, saying he hoped for some "some breathing room" to work out a longer-term solution.

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