Six Nations Solidarity

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The day after

Tuesday, May 23, 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.]

As the sun came up on Caledonia Tuesday, it brought with it a sense of an uneasy peace, the dread of the unknown and a state of emergency.

It follows a Victoria Day standoff that was anything but a holiday for native protestors, disgruntled townspeople and wary police, all of whom have watched a small town erupt into a stunning violent powder keg.

Thousands spent the night in total darkness, after protestors brought down a key hydro tower, leaving crews unable to reach the scene to repair it.

It could be days before full electricity is restored, further adding to the feelings of resentment that envelop both sides.

And it all started with such promise.

Early Monday morning, native protestors who had been blocking the main road in the city near Hamilton had finally agreed to take down their barricade as a show of goodwill.

But when local residents, fed up with the disruption, constructed their own barrier and refused to remove it to let an SUV carrying the Aboriginals through, the Six Nations members quickly restored their own physical line in the sand, and things escalated quickly.

Cops in riot gear had to be brought in, as both sides got involved in violent fistfights, with some throwing rocks and beer bottles at each other.

The sporadic incidents went on all day until a strained calm was restored in the finally quiet hydro-less darkness.

"It was a very, very disturbing sight,” admits Haldimand County Councillor Buck Sloat. “Very disturbing. I've never seen anything like it in my entire life.”

The dispute centres on a festering land claim that has divided the locals for months.

The natives set up the barrier last month, insisting that a housing complex was being built on their land.

The Ontario government claims their ancestors sold the area in the 1800s and the natives no longer have any claim to it.

The obstructions on the city’s main road has severely disrupted the lives and businesses of residents and those tensions finally came to a full boil on Monday.

Both disputants are sure they’re in the right.

"We moved our people back," avers Six Nations spokesman Clyde Powless. "Unfortunately, they seem not to want to move, they did not want to allow the road opening, so we're forced to close it for the safety of our people."

“Why are we mad?” one resident counters rhetorically. “Well, this has been going on long enough. It’s time to get our town back.”

Former Premier David Peterson, who was brought in to try to settle the land claim, now has a far more serious problem on his hands.

“Unfortunately, we have failed dismally so we’ll try something else,” he shrugs. "We were on a very constructive track until everything fell apart.”

But he admits he doesn’t know when or if talks will resume.

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