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Caledonia standoff: Concert a fundraiser and peace-bringer

Allan Benner - Tribune Staff
Welland Tribune
Local News - Saturday, June 17, 2006 @ 9:00

[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.]

For weeks, disputed land in Caledonia has been the topic of road barricades, protests, and - at times - violence.

But Friday, efforts to keep it within the Six Nation's reserve was the topic of a benefit concert.

The Six Nations Land Reclamation Concert drew 27 bands and thousands of people - including Welland resident Rick McLean, who performed with his rock group Crooked Trail.

"They're donating their time to put on this event," he said, shortly after his group left the stage.

"There are probably about 5,000 people here,"

The concert was held to raise funds "to support the efforts for the reclamation of the land in Caledonia."

But in addition to raising funds for ongoing court costs, the concert was also meant to bring peace and unity to the community.

Over the past few months, as protesters worked to halt a development on Douglas Creek Estates and the conflicts escalated, it has caused a rift in the community.

Part of the problem is a lack of understanding, McLean said.

"We found most people aren't informed about what's going on. In the courts there have been claims against it for 10 years, and it's been a claims issue for over 100 years."

Meanwhile, the cost are escalating.

"There are people who have left their jobs, they've left all kinds of things behind to take on the responsibility of making sure there's no more encroachment on native land," McLean said.

"If you think about what the vendors are saying in Caledonia that they're losing all kinds of money (due to the road barricades), well no one's getting rich here.

"They're trying to get this issue resolved and it keeps dragging on and dragging on."

He said the Native community is hoping upper-tier government levels will "get involved and take on the responsibility."

Crooked Trail includes McLean, his wife Lynne, and friends Phil Davis, Sandy Horne, and Paul Kotyk.

McLean described the group's sound as a fusion of traditional Native music and rock.

"It's pretty neat," he said. "We just got out of the recording studio. We got our CDs delivered today."

And following his performance at the Land Reclamation Concert, McLean was busy selling copies of their CD, called Red Road, a reference to a Native spiritual path.

The band, he added, "is a family affair."

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