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Traffic moving through Caledonia as both sides weigh options

CBC News:
Last updated May 24 2006 08:59 AM EDT

[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.]

Traffic was moving through Caledonia for the first time in six weeks after Aboriginal protestors removed their blockade Tuesday, but they continue to protest at the site of a proposed housing development nearby.

Most of the debris has been cleared from the main road, Highway 6, and Hydro One crews are working on fully restoring power to the Caledon area, southwest of Hamilton. More than 4,000 people are still without power after a local transformer was vandalized on Monday.

However, both sides agree the land issue must be dealt with or conflicts like the blockade will be repeated in the future.

"This is just the beginning of the whole land issue," said Janie Jamieson, the spokeswoman for Six Nations protesters.

"It hasn't been discussed yet and people need to realize that all the time and money that's been wasted has been on strictly the barricades. The land issue hasn't been touched on."

The protesters from the Grand River Territory reserve near Brantford had been occupying the site since Feb. 28, saying a new subdivision of luxury homes was being built on land that belonged to them.

"As long as we sit back and acquiesce and allow ourselves to be walked on without speaking up for ourselves, of course it will be quiet and peaceful," said Jamieson. "But once we assert our own rights in regards to who we are and try and take back what's ours, what's rightfully ours, of course there's going to be people upset and people frustrated."

Former Ontario premier David Peterson, who was appointed by the province to mediate the conflict, says the land issue is a federal responsibility that must be dealt with sooner than later, particularly since the entire Haldimand Tract is under dispute.

The land in question is about 12 kilometres deep on each side of the Grand River in Caledonia. The British Crown gave it to natives in 1784 as restitution for their losses in the U.S. Revolutionary War.

"This is a federal issue, not a provincial issue," Peterson told Metro Morning on Wednesday. "And all my advice to the federal government is that they have to engage in these issues and if they don't, they're going to see a lot more of this kind of activity."

Another concern stemming from the blockade is the sense that good relations between the natives and the town's people are ruined. The residents of Caledonia and the Six Nation's reserve - one of the biggest in the country - have lived side by side without incident for years.

One longtime resident, Phillip Wade, says the blockade and brawling in Caledonia will leave a permanent mark on the town.

"It's very embarrassing. We did not want to be known for anything but maybe a little bit of tourism, a wonderful place to live, good relationships with the natives. And that's forever gone," said Wade.

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