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Purchase changes nothing: protesters

John Burman, Paul Legall, and Daniel Nolan
Hamilton Spectator
CAYUGA (Jun 17, 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.]

The Ontario government believes the purchase of the occupied Douglas Creek Estates will pave the way for the peaceful resolution of the explosive Caledonia land dispute.

The province also announced another $1 million will be paid to Caledonia businesses hurt by the dispute.

But native protesters say they will not leave the subdivision site until title is back in their hands.

The government announced yesterday the land will be held in trust while negotiations over its ownership and use continue between the federal and provincial governments and the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations.

"Are we going to leave? No. Not at all," aboriginal spokesperson Janie Jamieson said.

The purchase, which compensates a corporation, changes nothing because the government hasn't "even begun to address the land issue," she said.

Caledonia residents living near the disputed land -- an area which has been marred by violence, vandalism and near riots since native protesters took over the site 110 days ago -- also say the purchase changes nothing for them unless the protesters leave.

Kevin Clark, 43, whose property is near Douglas Creek Estates, said after the announcement, "This is far from over. We still live in a state of terror. Nothing has changed for us in 110 days."

He said the occupiers of the site have been harassing and intimidating residents.

Members of the Six Nations reserve have claimed the land as part of their territory and prevented the developers, John and Don Henning, from completing a residential development on the 40-hectare site.

More than 100 people attended a joint band council-Confederacy meeting yesterday afternoon at Six Nations Polytechnic to get an update on negotiations. Six Nations is negotiating with provincial appointee Jane Stewart and federal appointee Barbara McDougall.

Mohawk Chief Allen MacNaughton told the gathering Henco almost became part of the negotiations at the end of April, however, after 20 hours of talks Henco balked at becoming part of the talks because it did not want that made public.

MacNaughton said no financial figures were talked about at the time between the province and Ontario.

While it was announced the province is buying Henco out, MacNaughton noted it is only an agreement in principle and it is not a done deal.

In other developments, the crowd was told:

* New archaelogy work has begun on the site because of native worries it might contain burial grounds.

* Six Nations farmers have moved onto the former site of the Burtch Correctional Centre -- which the province agreed to hand over -- and have planted 267 acres of soybeans.

David Ramsay, provincial minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, told The Spectator yesterday the agreement to purchase the Henco land makes continued native occupation of the site "a moot point now that the land has been neutralized."

Asked if the land will be turned over to Six Nations, Ramsay said he can't predict the final outcome for the property.

Michael Bruder, a lawyer for the Henning brothers, described the purchase deal as a "framework agreement" which will take about two weeks to finalize and will need to be approved by cabinet. He said the main issue will be determining a fair market value for the survey which has 10 houses in various stages of construction.

Two weeks ago, he told reporters the Hennings had expected to earn about $45 million from the project.

Dennis Brown, a lawyer for the Ministry of the Attorney General, announced the transaction when he and other provincial, federal and local officials appeared before Justice David Marshall in Ontario Superior Court yesterday.

Yesterday, Brown and other parties assured the judge they expected a peaceful resolution.

But the judge concluded the day with some sobering words.

He didn't want to leave the impression everything was back to normal and that everybody should go home happy.

"This is not a peaches and cream case. It's a case that has a nasty underside."

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