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Calm urged as land-claim talks resume

'We want to keep this moving forward and rebuild the trust,' says Six Nations Chief MacNaughton

John Burman
Hamilton Spectator
OHSWEKEN (Jun 16, 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.]

Negotiators for two levels of government and the Six Nations are back at the table urging natives and Caledonia residents alike to remain calm as efforts continue to "rebuild trust" and resolve the Douglas Creek Estates land dispute.

The talks resumed at the Six Nations community centre in Ohsweken yesterday after being halted by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty Monday, following a series of violent incidents around the disputed subdivision in Caledonia last weekend.

Federal negotiator Barbara McDougall, provincial representative Jane Stewart and Six Nations Chief Allen MacNaughton plan to meet again today in a conference call.

They also plan to meet again next week.

Stewart said the session "was a good day.

"It's good to be back at the table."

Haudenosaunee Chief Allan MacNaughton agreed, adding efforts by all sides to set up a working plan for continuation of the negotiations to resolve the dispute will take time.

"We ask people to be calm. We want to keep this moving forward and rebuild the trust," MacNaughton said.

McDougall and Six Nations band council spokesman George Montour left at the end of the meeting citing a protocol not to comment.

Stewart said the talks resumed after natives removed road barricades on the Highway 6 bypass outside Caledonia earlier this week as a show of good faith.

Although McGuinty said Monday he wanted the barricades down before talks would restart, he also demanded seven persons sought by police in connection with violence on the weekend be handed over to police as well.

Stewart said yesterday the premier was satisfied with the progress made with the barricades and assurances Six Nations police are co-operating in the investigation and decided the talks should resume.

Seven persons, six of them named in arrest warrants, are wanted on a variety of charges including theft of a U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) vehicle in connection to incidents involving harassment of an elderly couple and an alleged attempt to run over a police officer.

Native representatives have said the seven have been removed from the protest site and moved to an undisclosed location.

Meanwhile, a group of citizens have printed and distributed a new lawn sign targeting officials they believe are not working hard to resolve the standoff. Last week, they sold signs criticizing local Conservative MP Diane Finley and this week they have offered signs that say, "Found Waldo. Where is Dalton and Gwen? Leadership?"

The new targets are McGuinty and OPP Commissioner Gwen Boniface, but the citizens may not be finished with Finley. Tom Bernard, one of a number of citizens behind the sign campaign, says demand for the sign mocking Finley has been so great they are printing an additional 100 on top of their original 250 order. The citizens have printed 150 Dalton-Gwen signs.

"We're seeing no leadership," said Bernard. "We just don't see any leadership from Dalton and Gwen has been invisible as well and, we believe, derelict in her duties."

The citizens are charging $7 per sign to cover costs. Any money left over, however, is being donated to Senior Support Services.

Stewart said questions about leadership in the dispute don't seem to take into account "Ontario has been at the table since the beginning.

"The important thing is keeping the process going and we're asking everyone to keep it peaceful."

With files from Dan Nolan, The Spectator

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