Six Nations Solidarity
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Karen Best -
Haldimand Review staff
Local News - Friday, June 16, 2006 @ 09:00
[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.]
CALEDONIA -- At dawn on June 12, police cruisers were the only barriers left on the Highway 6 bypass around Caledonia. Once the Ministry of Transportation deemed the roadway safe, it was open at 3 p.m. The next day the rail line barricade was down.
The barricade removals occurred after a tumultuous three days in a town in the midst of a native land claim dispute.
With residents and local politicians already greatly dissatisfied with police protection, law enforcement actions during several incidents sparked rage in Caledonia. In the early morning of June 9, an elderly woman suffered an ankle injury after a native woman pushed a grocery cart at her. At noon, natives followed a Simcoe couple, who stopped to look at the occupied subdivision, to the Canadian Tire parking lot. According to a witness, the car was blocked front and back by vehicles. Natives walked around and on the car. The man was taken to hospital for chest pains and later released.
Local reporter Bill Jackson arrived and took photos of the incident. A native woman yanked his camera out of his hands causing a minor injury. Police negotiated the return of the camera but it was given back without the memory card. He later asked police to lay charges for assault and robbery.
Meanwhile a CHTV camera crew set up to film the activity. A witness, who was jogging by, saw natives pass two officers on their way to the crew. When the cops started walking, he told them there was no way they were letting this happen. The natives pushed the crew behind a van where a native man put a cameraman into a headlock and began throwing punches. Four OPP officers were within 15 feet and were doing nothing, the jogger said. After watching the camera man take about five punches to the head, the jogger grabbed him in a bear hug at the waist, said he was on his side and backed the two of them out of there.
“Any human being witnessing guys beating up on one guy would do it,” said the jogger.
The cameraman was taken to West Haldimand General Hospital where staples were used to close the gash on his scalp.
Within less than an hour further incidents occurred. According to the mother of a student, Notre Dame Elementary School teachers encircled and herded young students onto asphalt beside the school and moved older kids back to the mid way point of the playground, which backs onto the Douglas Creek Estates site. It was lunch hour. Then the school went into lock down without explanation to this mother’s child. Some parents have pulled their children out of the school.
Two blocks away an SUV pulled up to the end of Braemar Street which opens out on the subdivision. After a U.S. border patrol officer took pictures, natives came up to the vehicle and pulled two plains clothed U.S. patrol officers out of it. According to Mayor Marie Trainer, an OPP officer was in the vehicle when the natives pulled away. He kicked the door open, fell out and injured his head.
The native driver then attempted to drive over the OPP officer. Witnesses said the border patrol officers pulled him away from the vehicle’s path.
Clyde Powless, a Six Nations spokesperson, returned the vehicle, which witnesses said was despoiled with fecal matter. The SUV was towed away around 2 p.m.
Later in the day, natives set a fire on a segment of rail line near homes close to Douglas Creek Estates. A Caledonia youth extinguished the fire. Residents reported receiving threats that their houses would be burned that night.
Two days later OPP issued warrants for seven individuals related to Friday incidents. Albert Douglas, 30, of Ohsweken faces charges of robbery, failure to comply with bail conditions, attempted murder, forcible confinement, dangerous driving, assault of a police officer, and theft of a vehicle. Audra Ann Taillefer, 45, of Victoria, BC faces charges of intimidation and robbery. Skylar Williams, 22, of Ohsweken faces charges for robbery as does Trevor Miller, 30, of no fixed address. He also faces charges for vehicle theft. Arnold Douglas, 61, of Ohsweken faces two counts of intimidation and Ken Hill, 47, of Ohsweken faces two charges of assault. Another male suspect will face a charge of assault causing bodily harm.
The arrest warrants were issued after Caledonians berated police on the evening of June 9 about lack of action during the day’s events.
Meanwhile Bernadette Farnham of Six Nations was ordering a truck part at Canadian Tire. She told a Review reporter that Caledonia residents were making an issue by being in the parking lot. She described it as a redneck party and wondered what kind of message was being sent to the rest of Canada. This is turning into a spectator sport, she added.
Because of this behaviour, Farnham comes into town less often and is worried about her 17 year old getting involved in the volatile situation. “We’re scared for our children too,” she said.
As an employee at a reserve smoke shop, she has heard support for Six Nations from people in surrounding areas and as far as Toronto.
Nearby a quiet crowd had gathered. Judy from Caledonia asked officers why they stood and did nothing. She wanted the police supervisor to come to town to tell people what is going on. “Who is going to fix this. This is not a proper way to live,”she said.
At 9:30 p.m., people gathered on the side of Argyle Street South took to the street. “Let’s go. Enough is enough,” said one man. Most people will not identify themselves due to fear of reprisals. One man who was quoted by media received death threats.
Officers in riot gear marched out from behind a building and stood in front of the crowd. The street was blocked to traffic for about 20 minutes. When police did not go to arrest Six Nations persons as rumours suggested they would do that night, a man told police to go home and let town people deal with crime.
After 11 p.m., the crowd of 100 moved over to the Notre Dame Elementary School yard. After rocks and insults were thrown over a chain link fence between town residents and natives, 60 police officer carrying shields marched into the playground to push Caledonians away from the fence. When one young man was arrested and handcuffed, town residents demanded his release.
In the crowd of police accompanying the arrested man out of the yard, people could see four camouflaged officers holding machine guns. “Go home. We don’t need you,” one man shouted at police.
Outside the school yard, the crowd surrounded the paddy wagon but were pushed aside by police. As an officer inched the vehicle off the parking lot, Caledonians stood in the way in a solid mass of people. Throughout the slow journey, town people struck out at police who responded with night sticks and shields. Several residents were injured. One young man suffered a gash on his forehead. At one point, beer bottles and a two foot sheet of metal was thrown at police.
When a father was frantically looking for his daughter, someone called out that a girl was in the midst of the police and resident scuffle. A guy grabbed her and she was passed person to person to the outer edge of the crowd.
Two tactical teams from Toronto marched out from the Zehrs parking lot and formed a line on the north side of the Argyle Street South and Braemar Drive intersection. Then they left.
Meanwhile the slow parade of police, residents and paddy wagon came to a halt when 40 people sat in the street. When only nine remained, police pressed forward with one kicking a girl who refused to move. The paddy wagon had left by backing away.
“Make sure you tell Dalton McGuinty this is an incident because he doesn’t think anything significant is happening. You’re kicking a girl on the pavement," yelled Pat Woolley. Later he spoke about filing a complaint against the officer but hesitated because he felt the cop was clearly following orders.
Five Caledonia residents were arrested on June 9 and released without charges.