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Caledonia residents divided on whether violence justified

Barb McKay
Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (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.]

Residents of Caledonia are split over a violent confrontation between townspeople and Six Nations natives yesterday.

Some say residents who clashed with natives did the right thing. Others say the confrontation has set back efforts to reopen the town's main artery, Argyle Street.

"(My family) has been here for nine generations," said resident Kevin Clark. "I have the books to show that that is not their land. We're just frustrated. We've had enough. They have gone through our back yards on ATVs."

After a fight broke out between townspeople and Six Nations residents, the native people re-erected the barricade they removed earlier in the day. Separated only by OPP officers, supporters of both sides massed on the roadway.

Clark doesn't feel the actions taken by townspeople have damaged progress being made in ongoing negotiations because he doesn't feel there was any progress. "They'll put (the blockade) back up anyway," he said. "This is another one of those false promises."

But some residents are furious that their neighbours took measures into their own hands, just as the road was being opened up.

"There were about 50 of us who came out here this morning," resident Diane McCormac said behind lines of OPP officers yesterday. "We were so excited to walk the road."

She said this time it's Caledonians who are to blame for the escalating situation. "All the people should be standing down to show (the natives) that this can work," McCormac said.

A resident, who gave his name as John, said Caledonians would have opened up their end of the road yesterday if it hadn't been for a fight that broke out around noon. "That puts a damper on anything now. Things will only escalate."

Caledonian Jim Smith's voice shook with anger as he spoke about his frustration over the outbreak of violence in his hometown. "It doesn't have to be like this," he said. "We're making it like this. We're neighbours. It's better to get along than fight for years."

Smith said while Caledonians are right to be frustrated, they have to be able to work with natives to rectify the situation.

"They opened their end and we didn't open our end. Now we look bad," he said. "Being barbaric isn't going to solve anything. We have to make up our minds. If we want the road open, we have to bend our back here a little."

But other residents feel they shouldn't have to compromise. They say they are being held hostage. "They created this problem," said area resident Lloyd Stockton. "We've had to go around for months. They can go around now."

Caledonian Brandon Walker is frustrated the situation has continued so long without intervention. "We don't like it at all. The natives should open the road and the rest should be settled in court."

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