Six Nations Solidarity
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Deirdre Healey, with files from the Canadian Press
CALEDONIA (Jun 14, 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.]
Talks to resolve the native standoff will resume tomorrow after protesters removed the Highway 6 bypass barricade yesterday and the premier says Six Nations police are co-operating with OPP in the search for six native suspects.
Natives dismantled the barricades overnight Monday as a show of good faith, but have a different perspective on the level of co-operation happening between Six Nations and the province.
Six Nations representatives said they are refusing to turn over the six wanted people to the OPP, who are being investigated by the traditional government. They also argue the Six Nations police have allegiance to their people first.
"The Six Nations police are Six Nations people," said native spokesperson Clyde Powless. "Policing is just a job. They were Six Nations people before they were police and they will be Six Nations people after."
The Six Nations police have not returned phone calls over the past two days.
The six natives are wanted by OPP in connection with last Friday's attacks on an elderly couple, two CH cameramen and police. One of the suspects is facing charges of attempted murder.
Premier Dalton McGuinty told the provincial legislature yesterday the removal of the Highway 6 bypass barricade was progress and that he had been advised the Six Nations police were helping in arresting the suspects.
"Given this progress, I see no reason right now why talks will not continue this Thursday as scheduled," he said.
McGuinty called off talks late Monday saying the natives' increasingly violent actions Friday made it impossible to work together. He said the barricades would have to be removed and the Six Nations police would have to agree to work with OPP before the province would return to the negotiating table.
Hours later, native protesters began working all night removing the makeshift shelters, tires and tangled metal blocking the Highway 6 bypass and also removed a blockade on the railway running through Caledonia.
"We took down the barricades as a show of good faith," said Six Nations spokesperson Janie Jamieson. "We have to continue talks. Hopefully with the barricades down, the province will focus on the land claim issue. All they have been talking about so far is the blockades and the criminal activity."
Native protesters maintain the six suspects are being dealt with by the confederacy council and not Canadian law.
The traditional form of government, made up of chiefs and clan mothers, is conducting its own investigation into Friday's incidents and has already taken statements from the suspects.
Confederacy Chief Allen MacNaughton warned that if the Six Nations police moved in to arrest the suspects, it could cause unrest on the reserve.
But Six Nations Band Council leader David General said the suspects should be dealt with by the OPP and the Six Nations police have a duty to uphold Canadian law.
Until the confederacy council structure is sanctioned by the Six Nations people, the Canadian law is the form of law that should be upheld and therefore the arrest warrants are a "police matter," General said.
"I am confident the Six Nations police will do what they have to do," he said.
Introduced by the federal government in 1991, the Six Nations police have the authority to enforce provincial and federal laws including the Criminal Code. The force is governed by the Six Nations Police Commission that reports to the band council.
The blockades were down by yesterday morning, but police didn't open Highway 6 until 3 p.m. to allow for road repairs.
Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer said the removal of the barricades, erected April 20 after an OPP raid on the natives, is a "huge step" toward relieving tension between natives and Caledonia residents.
The dismantling of the blockade on the bypass will help reduce the amount of traffic flow coming through the centre of town, which has taken a toll on the municipal roads, as well as encourage visitors to return to the community, she said.
Caledonia business owners and property owners argue they have suffered extreme financial loss because of the road closure and have launched a class-action suit against Haldimand County, the OPP Commissioner and Cayuga detachment commissioner.
They have also given notice to the province that they will be including them in the suit, said John Findlay, the Hamilton lawyer representing the group.
They are claiming losses in the "tens of millions." The suit is based on the failure of the parties to keep roads open and follow court injunctions issued in March to remove the protesters from Douglas Creek Estates, Findlay said.
The suit was initiated by two business owners located close to the Argyle Street development site. However, he said damages could be awarded to business and property owners who have suffered losses from as far away as Brant and Norfolk counties.