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Ontario wants aboriginal assistance in arrests before negotiations resume

Keith Leslie
Canadian Press
Published: Tuesday, June 13, 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.]

TORONTO -- The removal of a highway barricade was heralded Tuesday as a positive step in resolving an aboriginal land standoff but Ontario's premier warned that negotiations wouldn't resume until First Nations leaders help apprehend several aboriginals facing criminal charges.

Protesters worked overnight to remove a barricade of tires and tangled metal that blocked a highway bypass in this southern Ontario community, less than 24 hours after Premier Dalton McGuinty suspended talks with Six Nations leaders because of recent violence.

"In order to keep talks moving, the chiefs and clan mothers gave directions to have them opened," said Six Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson, who characterized the move as a show of good faith.

However, another barrier remained at the Douglas Creek Estates housing development, the site of the disputed land.

And Jamieson was adamant that Six Nations leaders would not hand over any suspects to provincial police.

"We're dealing with that internally right now, according to our own law, our constitution," Jamieson said of the six aboriginals facing criminal charges following clashes with television cameramen, police and non-aboriginal residents last weekend.

Jamieson said protesters have been told the OPP and Six Nations Police would work together to make the arrests.

"If that happens, it happens. Right now, they're not going to be turned over to the OPP."

The Six Nations has its legal tradition that they contend governs their actions and legal processes.

David Ramsay, minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said Tuesday that the Six Nations "grand law" is similar to English common law.

"But what we're saying to them is that the Criminal Code of Canada is supreme in this country. It applies to all people and in all places."

At the provincial legislature, McGuinty acknowledged the "good influence" of First Nations leaders to get the barricade removed but said he still wasn't prepared to resume negotiations to end the long-standing dispute.

"Well, we're halfway there, subject to confirmation that the barricades are in fact down and that those roads and railway are both passable," McGuinty said before a caucus meeting.

"Beyond that, we'll be looking for cooperation with respect to apprehension of the individuals involved in last Friday's activities."

The Six Nations protesters began their occupation of the housing development on Feb. 28, claiming the land was stolen from them more than 200 years ago.

On Monday, negotiations were halted after McGuinty said the group's alleged violent actions made it impossible to work together. An elderly couple's car was swarmed and two news cameramen from a Hamilton television station were assaulted last Friday.

Police issued warrants for six aboriginal people on a range of charges including the attempted murder of a police officer, forcible confinement and robbery.

Conservative critic Tim Hudak said it was McGuinty's fault that the OPP have allowed the occupation of the housing project in Caledonia to drag on.

"He has turned them into the Ontario Political Police," said Hudak.

"They're not enforcing the law in Caledonia, which has caused this situation to spin out of control."

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