Six Nations Solidarity
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Jun. 13, 2006. 05:15 PM
[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.]
Talks aimed at resolving an aboriginal land standoff will go ahead after Six Nations protesters dismantled contentious barricades near Hamilton in a move heralded by Ontario’s premier as a positive step.
Protesters worked overnight to remove a barricade of tires and tangled metal that blocked a highway bypass in Caledonia and another on a railway line, less than 24 hours after Premier Dalton McGuinty suspended talks with Six Nations leaders because of recent violence.
“Given this progress, I see no reason right now why talks will not continue this Thursday as scheduled,” McGuinty told the provincial legislature.
The “good influence” First Nations leaders exercised in having the barrier removed set the stage for further negotiations that ``will go a long way to get the community’s social and economic life back to normal,” McGuinty said.
The Six Nations protesters began their occupation of the Caledonia, Ont., housing development on Feb. 28, claiming the land was stolen from them more than 200 years ago.
A pre-dawn raid by provincial police in April, in which 16 people were arrested, prompted protesters to erect a number of barricades.
Negotiations with the province were halted Monday after McGuinty said recent incidents, in which an elderly couple’s car was swarmed and two news cameramen were assaulted, made it impossible for the two sides to work together.
Police have issued warrants for six aboriginal people on a range of charges including the attempted murder of a police officer, forcible confinement and robbery.
Only hours after saying negotiations would remain stalled unless the Six Nations helped in apprehending the suspects, McGuinty said progress was being made.
“We have also been advised that the Six Nations police and the OPP are cooperating in the investigation of Friday’s incidents,” McGuinty told the legislature.
While Six Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson said protesters were also told that the two forces would cooperate, she was adamant that the suspects wouldn’t automatically be surrendered to provincial police.
“We’re dealing with that internally right now, according to our own law, our constitution,” said Jamieson. “Right now, they’re not going to be turned over to the OPP.”
While the Six Nations has its own constitution called the great law that they contend governs their actions and legal processes, David Ramsay, the minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said that doesn’t mean the suspects are immune from prosecution.
“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,” said Ramsay.
No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon and a warrant for a seventh suspect was still pending, said a police spokeswoman.
In Ottawa, Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice applauded the Six Nations leadership for its actions.
“Six Nations has today taken steps to remove the remaining barricades near Caledonia, including the rail line,” Prentice said during question period.
“This goes a long way to removing a huge source of tension in the community and to build trust. We are encouraged.”
On Friday, a federal government representative will attend a special court hearing in Cayuga, Ont., to answer questions from the local judge who originally ordered the protesters off a construction site.
Last Friday’s violent confrontation also saw the theft of classified documents containing the identities of undercover officers — including home phone numbers — and operational details of the occupation.
The documents were returned, but not before the information was copied. Community Safety Minister Monte Kwinter wouldn’t say if the OPP would have to be replaced by another force in Caledonia as a result.
“It’s hard for me to answer that question because I don’t know the extent of the risk as a result of that,” he said. “Certainly the files have been recovered, but they have been copied.”
“The OPP are going to have to determine (if the theft compromises) their activities.”