Six Nations Solidarity

News | Background | What you can do | Links 

McGuinty: No talks until barricades gone

Deirdre Healey
Hamilton Spectator
(Jun 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.]

Ontario has slammed the door on Caledonia negotiations until natives clear their barricades and help police find six wanted men.

Premier Dalton McGuinty called off talks late yesterday, saying the natives' increasingly violent actions make it impossible to work together.

Six arrest warrants were issued by OPP, a seventh warrant is pending, after an elderly couple's car was swarmed Friday and two CH news cameramen who were filming the incident were assaulted. On the same day, a group surrounded a U.S. Border Patrol vehicle and forced out the two American officials and an OPP officer.

Police say one of the attackers then stole the SUV and attempted to run over an injured officer.

McGuinty said natives must dismantle their barricades and assist police before talks about Douglas Creek Estates resume.

Members of the Six Nations Confederacy -- the traditional leadership, rather than the elected council -- said earlier yesterday they have no plans to hand the wanted men over to the OPP or Six Nations police. Spokesmen said they are conducting their own investigation.

Leaders were closeted in meetings last night and not speaking with the media.

John and Don Henning, the developers of Douglas Creek Estates, could not be reached for comment.

Native leaders say the six wanted men are on the reserve, out of OPP jurisdiction.

The OPP have asked Six Nations police for assistance.

But Confederacy Chief Allen McNaughton warned that any attempt to seize the men could spark trouble.

He said chiefs and clan mothers have taken statements from the six men. Asked if they might be handed over, McNaughton said, "I don't think so. But that is just my opinion."

Native spokesperson Hazel Hill said protesters don't recognize Canadian law.

"The confederacy council can be compared to the justice system of Canada and they are responsible for upholding our law," Hill said. "They have to determine whether their (the six suspects) actions violated our law."

The confederacy council is sharing information about its investigation with the OPP and the Six Nations police, but McNaughton said the Six Nations police must use "discretion" in how they handle the OPP request for help.

"They are trying to enforce something that might cause more unrest and instability and they have to use their discretion on timing and how they act on things," he said.

McNaughton said the role of police on the reserve is "tenuous" because the Confederacy council is reclaiming formal government of Six Nations. Canada does not recognize the Confederacy and created elected councils to represent reserve residents.

Six Nations police were created in 1991.

OPP Constable Doug Graham said the six suspects will still have to be dealt with under the Canadian court system. He was confident reserve police will assist in the arrests.

"Six Nations police exist to enforce the law and if they encounter one of these people, it is our belief they will act accordingly," he said.

The OPP are also willing to help the Six Nations police with the arrests if asked, he said.

Ottawa yesterday backed McGuinty's decision to walk away from the table. Federal Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice joined the premier in condemning the violence and called for the blockades to be removed to relieve tension in the community.

He said those barricades must come down before land claims can be discussed.

Caledonia Mayor Marie Trainer called McGuinty's move "fantastic."

"They (the province) were offering so much and it didn't seem to matter," she said. "Things were getting worse. Residents are scared, threatened and angry."

She hoped the decision to call off talks will force "radicals" out of the occupation and open the door for peaceful negotiations.

Caledonia Citizens Alliance spokesperson Ken Hewitt said he is glad the province is finally "taking a stand."

"The ultimatum is a sign to the native protesters that the government is at the end of its rope and that we aren't willing to cower and back down, but are now willing to stand up."

However, Hewitt said the priority should be completely removing the natives from the development site.

"The only way to ensure there aren't any more uprisings is for them to leave the land," he said. "They have the ears of the government so there is no need for them to continue to occupy the land."

Residents who drifted by the main entrance to the disputed land off Argyle Street last night were not optimistic about McGuinty's decision to halt negotiations.

"Won't make any difference," said one man who came down to the Canadian Tire lot near the Douglas Creek Estates "just to see what's goin' on."

But he also said he and his neighbours believe "the ball is now in (the natives') court."

"It's their turn to do something."

A woman who said she was present Friday night when OPP confronted gathering Caledonia residents with riot gear said "the whole mess" makes her ashamed to be a Canadian.

She also said she does not believe McGuinty's ultimatum will change anything. "It's all too little and too late."

With files from John Burman and The Canadian Press

BackBack to updates

Back Top