Six Nations Solidarity
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Jessica Leeder - Staff Reporter
Jun. 16, 2006. 08:45 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.]
CAYUGA - The provincial government has agreed to purchase a tract of land that has been the subject of a long-standing and sometimes-violent land dispute in Caledonia.
A lawyer for the provincial attorney general’s office announced the deal at a special court hearing this morning.
The lawyer, Dennis Brown, would not say how much the province will pay for the land, which developers say has a market value of $45 million.
Negotiations between the province and the developers, Hencoe Industries Ltd., over the final details of the agreement are ongoing.
Henco Industries, which was building a subdivision on the site, has been caught in the middle of the dispute since aboriginal protesters took over the land in February.
Michael Bruder, a lawyer for Henco who was in court for the announcement, called the province’s move a “significant, positive step.”
The province intends to hold the land in trust while talks aimed at ending the occupation continue between representatives of the Six Nations, the province and Ottawa.
“That title and jurisdiction isn’t placed back with Six Nations, is it? And that’s what the issue is,” said Six Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson.
She said the next step was to “keep on hoping” that government officials would take steps to resolve the land issue.
“They haven’t begun to resolve anything with us, but as a far as corporate Canada — they’ve done everything to appease them,” Jamieson said.
“Of course they would pay several million dollars to appease the developers and the business people. They would spend that amount of money before they would even begin to resolve the land issue, which is the meat of the story anyway.”
The Ontario minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, David Ramsay, said the deal should alleviate some of the tension in Caledonia, where some incidents of violence have occurred, including recent assaults on two television cameramen and the alleged attempted murder of a police officer.
He said the deal effectively eliminates one player in the complex dispute that was raging even before aboriginal protesters took over the land in February.
“What we’re trying to do with arrangements like this is to cool the temperature so that we can get some long-term decision-making at that negotiating table done,” Ramsay said.
“This continues to be a flashpoint. So we’re trying to cool the temperature in the community and around the table so that we can get constructive dialogue going.”
About 600 houses were to be built on the land but all work was halted in February when native protesters from the nearby Six Nations Reserve occupied the site.
Protesters argued that they own title to the land, which they claim was stolen from their ancestors 200 years ago.
Since the occupation began, protesters have erected and taken down various barricades around Caledonia. Their disruption of daily life has prompted the government to announce donations to relieve business owners.
Brown said in court today that the province would commit an additional $1 million to a relief funds for Caledonians.
He did not give details of how the money will be distributed.
The hearing, originally called to explore how the rule of law can be restored in Caledonia and which includes a representative from the federal government, will continue this afternoon.
With files from Canadian Press