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Native flags go missing

Michael Allan-Marion
Brantford Expositor
Local News - Saturday, June 24, 2006 @ 01:00

[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.]

Now you see the flags, now you don’t.

Native flags that popped up earlier this week around Brantford are being seized by unknown people for unknown reasons.

A dual purple Six Nations flag and unity flag mounted Thursday on a pole pushed into the ground at Wayne Gretzky Parkway and Henry Street where a $40-million big-box retail development could soon get underway was gone by Friday morning.

Someone had cut the pole, leaving about a foot of it in the ground and the rest of it in the grass, and made off with the flags.

Also missing is one of two flags that had been mounted on a sign board on a property on the top of West Street hill, across from Mount Hope Cemetery.

It was on land that the late Bill Fuller willed to Six Nations, and is in the process of being transferred.

Native leaders have said the mounting of the flags in Brantford is to let people know that the native land claim issue at the heart of the dispute over a Caledonia residential development concerns not just one patch of land but a large number of treaty claims up and down the Grand River.

Janie Jamieson, spokeswoman for a group that began what they call a land reclamation by occupying the barely started Douglas Creek Estates subdivision on Feb. 28, said early Friday afternoon she hadn’t been informed yet that the flags were disappearing in Brantford.

“It doesn’t surprise me, though,” she said. “People have been playing capture the flag with our flags for quite a while.”

Mayor Mike Hancock said people should "chill out" over the presence of native flags in the city.

"If I have any concern at all, it's that some people might make too much of an issue out of this," said Hancock.

"We have a situation right now where some want to state a message about land claims and they're doing it with flags. That's fine, everyone has a right to fly a flag. The city has long said we want the land claims settled so we can continue to enjoy our good relationship with Six Nations."

The raising of native flags on the Henry Street property is another sign that the Confederacy is playing close attention to that prospective development. Confederacy member Wesley Elliott filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board last month against the proposed 266,953-square-foot development to go where the former Chicago Rawhide plant now stands.

In his statement of appeal, he says the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy was not given notice of the development application, and no archeological assessment report has been received.

“We’re trying to keep track of a lot of the development along the Grand River, whether it’s residential, commercial or industrial,” said Jamieson.

Meanwhile, Jamieson says natives at the Caledonia site have no intention of walking away now at the request of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

The government has bought out for $12.3 million the stake that developer Henco Industries had in the Douglas Creek Estates and is placing the land in trust while negotiations continue with the natives. That should allow the natives to leave, the government says.

But Jamieson said the land claim issues at the heart of Oka 16 years ago and Ipperwash more than a decade ago still have not been resolved.

“Why should we believe Mr. McGuinty is going to resolve this one quickly? They’ve spent millions appeasing corporate Canada and residents in Caledonia. We’ll be the last to see anything, and we have no idea how long that will be.”

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