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Land claim talks resume

Negotiations to continue through summer

John Burman
Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA (Jun 29, 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.]

Negotiations to resolve the Douglas Creek Estates native land claim dispute resume today as a sense of calm has settled over once volatile lines between natives and town residents.

Talks between representatives of the federal and Ontario governments and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy traditional government return to Ohsweken with negotiators meeting at Bear's Inn on Fourth Line. Items being discussed include disposition of Douglas Creek Estates, the 36-hectare parcel of land the Confederacy has occupied for 120 days, and governance of Six Nations.

The provincial government is in the midst of buying the subdivision for $12 million plus lost profit for the developer to hold it in trust pending the outcome of the land claim negotiations.

Lars Eedy, spokesman for the Ontario Secretariat for Aboriginal Affairs and provincial representative Jane Stewart, said talks will include a working plan for continued negotiations through the summer. The negotiators plan to meet each Thursday throughout July and August.

Meanwhile, a group representing Caledonia residents living around the disputed land, says it would like a more responsible role in the negotiations.

The Caledonia Citizens Alliance has been assured it will have a side table at the talks when Douglas Creek is discussed.

But spokesman Ken Hewitt says the group has asked for more time out of concern for the future use of the land.

Hewitt said he believes the federal government must overhaul and expedite the land claims process which can now take more than nine years to process a claim.

Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice has promised an overhaul and Hewitt said it can't come soon enough.

That's because, under the present system, the message going out from the Caledonia dispute is that land claims get action when dramatic clashes occur, he said. That means other communities will suffer the same upheaval as Caledonia unless the system is changed, Hewitt added.

Meanwhile, Justice David Marshall, of the Ontario Superior Court, expects to adjourn a court appearance today for the commissioner of the OPP, the provincial and federal attorneys general and other parties interested in the dispute until July 5 at 11 a.m.

The judge wants to know why police aren't evicting native protesters from Douglas Creek Estates as he ordered.

Meanwhile, Ontario's Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay met yesterday with Ontario chiefs, including Six Nations Chief David General, in Sioux Lookout, to work out guidelines to help provincial ministries consult natives on matters related to rights protected under the constitution and treaties.

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