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Counter-blockade raises tensions at stand-off News Staff
Updated Mon. May. 22 2006 1:03 AM ET

[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.]

Aboriginal protesters may postpone plans to remove one of two road blockades in Caledonia, Ont., after a counter-blockade sprang up.

In a gesture of goodwill, natives occupying land had promised to remove the blockade on Argyle Street, which has been in place for more than a month.

Caledonia is about 14 kilometres southwest of Hamilton and is very close to the Six Nations reserve.

"We'll show how peaceful we are, and how much peace we want to keep by opening a road for them and start negotiating with them," Clyde Powless, a spokesperson for the Six Nations protesters, told The Globe and Mail on Sunday.

That move comes a few days after Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay told the protesters that construction on the disputed 40-hectare plot would remain on hold.

"We're trying to find some ways to cool the situation down," David Ramsay, Ontario's minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said after the announcement.

The protesters are angry over the development of land they claim was taken from them around the 1840s, and have occupied the construction site since Feb. 28.

They created the blockade on April 20, after police failed to raid the area of the occupation.

Besides the Argyle Street blockade, there's one on Highway 6, which connects Caledonia and other area towns with major southern Ontario cities and highways.

Powless wouldn't comment on that blockade, other than to say the federal government had to make a move.

But on Sunday afternoon, some non-native Caledonians started to block protesters from reaching their blockade.

"The way things are moving, is they are really pushing to escalate the situation," said Janie Jamieson, another spokesperson for the natives.

She later told The Canadian Press: "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," referring to the removal of the Argyle St. blockade.

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

However, Jamieson believed the counter-blockade didn't reflect the attitude of the entire town.

"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."

Protesters are working their way around the new blockade by building another road to the construction site.

Earlier this month, residents formed a group called the Caledonia Citizens' Alliance to express their concerns.

"We cannot underestimate the damage that is being done to the community from the current crisis,'' said alliance chair Don Bowman.

Former Ontario premier David Peterson and Six Nations Confederacy Chief Allen McNaughton have been in talks more more than two weeks to end the standoff.

With a report from CTV's Denelle Balfour and files from The Canadian Press

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