“ I hope for a resolution. It would involve having the whole issue of title and jurisdiction resolved, and it would mean for the federal government to take accountability and responsibility for their actions in regard to this land.” – Jamie Jamieson, Six Nations.
On March 3rd, 2006, members of the Rotinoshon’non:we (“Iroquois”) people set up camp on the Haldimand Tract, located at the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates, a 71-lot subdivision under construction by Henco Industries Ltd. on Six Nations territory. The Clan Mothers held an action on March 22 2006 that had 50 women blocking the construction crews from building.
The land has at no point been surrendered to Canada, and was formally recognized by the Crown as Six Nations territory as part of the 1784 Haldimand Deed. The Plank Road Tract was subsequently registered as a land claim with the federal government in 1987. The Six Nations, in their submissions to Ottawa, stated that the reserve was never properly compensated for land sold to non-natives and land that was taken to build the Hamilton to Port Dover Plank Road. The Six Nations reserve now covers less than 5 per cent of the original tract of six miles each side of the Grand River from the mouth to the source. Meanwhile, the province of Ontario passed legislation allowing this tract of land to be developed as part of a scheme to draw 4 million settlers into the Golden Horseshoe area.
Henco Industries successfully obtained a court injunction last month to have members of Six Nations who are camped out on the territory forcibly removed by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). A revised injunction issued by an Ontario Supreme Court Judge on March 28 2006 states that those who refuse to vacate the property are guilty of criminal and civil contempt, and will be fingerprinted and photographed as part of a probation order. In delivering his judgment, Provincial Court Judge David Marshall said this to the Clan Mothers: “What’s the matter with you people? Why don’t you forget all about the past and listen to me?” On the evacuation deadline date issued by Justice Marshall, there were roughly 300-500 people lined up at the road in support of the Six Nations.
CLAN MOTHERS STATEMENT
The Women, being Title Holders to all lands of Turtle Island, assert our constitutional jurisdiction over the Haldimand Tract. We have never and cannot ever give up our land or our sovereignty.
1. The Six Nations are distinct original nations. We are to be dealt with on a nation-to-nation basis by the Crown and all other nations.
2. The Crown must respect our original relationship as set out in the Two Row Wampum, our jurisdiction as provided in our constitution, the Kaiannereh’ko:wa, and as respected by Sections 109 and 132 of the BNA Act, 1867 and according to international covenants that Canada has signed.
3. We are to be dealt with on a nation-to-nation basis, as was the custom before Canada separated from the British Empire. Respect for the independent international status of the Six Nations by Canada was established before Canada achieved recognition as a state or gained the ability to sign treaties on its own. The independent international identity of the Six Nations identity has never been legally extinguished.
4. The band councils were established with procedures that violated international law. They continue to function as colonizing institutions. We have never consented to their establishment nor their representing us.
5. Canada and all its politicians, bureaucrats, agents, assignees and appointees should cease and desist immediately their attempt to criminalize and apprehend our people for defending what is rightfully ours, the land to which we hold title. Any further action by Canada, Ontario and their agents shall be viewed as being a direct violation of the Two Row Wampum, the constitutional accord between the Ratino’shon:ni and Canada and international law.
6. The claims of Canada and the province of Ontario to have a right to legislate for the Rotino’shon:ni Six Nations and to grant private title to our land has no foundation in law.
==> Doreen Silversmith of Six Nations delivered a statement on behalf of the Clan Mothers to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous People on Monday, May 1st 2006. Click here to read the statement.
April 2006 saw an increased police resence at Six Nations – including two dozen marked and unmarked police vehicles parked outside a nearby elementary school currently being used as a command post, a number of police cruisers scattered throughout the neighbouring town of Caledonia, and scores of undercover officers around the periphery of the Six Nations reserve.
On April 20, 2006 at around 4:30 AM, the camp was swarmed by 150 heavily armed police in cruisers and vans, using batons, tear gas cannons, and tasers. Police confirmed 16 arrests and one woman was brutally beaten by five OPP officers. Kahehti:io, a 20-year-old Mohawk from Kahnawake who was arrested during the police invasion on April 20, was held over the weekend for refusing to give a colonial name. Subsequently in May 2006, four of the people arrested in the police invasion on April 20 refused to respond to summons to come before a colonial court judge, stating that the colonial court has no jurisdiction over them. Additional charge of “failing to appear” were laid.
The police hold a news conference and say they conducted the raid because an “escalation of activity” posed a risk to public safety but didn’t provide any further details, and it is well-known that the Six Nations camp is unarmed. The people at the camp courageously resisted and forced police to retreat and supporters from across North America arrive at the camp in solidarity. Deputy Commissioner Maurice Pillon stated that the OPP had no immediate plans to go in again, but did intend to maintain a perimeter around the camp and continue their command post in a school near the area. On April 21, the RCMP joined the OPP presence around the camp and one media outlet has raised questions about federal military forces in Hamilton.
Throughout the summer of 2006 various racial attacks, including racially-motivated assaults, took place at Six Nations. They began on April 24, 2006 when a crowd of 3,000 people approach the camp, shouting insults at the Six Nations people and supporters. Police stop the non-indigenous demonstrators before they could reach the blockade, and arrest one man. The crowd then takes out its anger by attacking a police vehicle. Further rallies against the Six Nations camp througout the summer include distribution of KKK material, which was investigated by the OPP Hate Crime Unit.
In May 2006, non-indigenous Caledonia residents set up a counter-blockade, preventing Six Nations people and supporters’ vehicles from coming and going to the site. On May 22, Six Nations blockades that were came down earlier in the day as a gesture of progress being made during negotiations, were placed back up by the end of the day. This is a result of non-indigenous counter-blockaders surrounding a car with a reporter and Six Nations women. A massive mob converges around the camp, calling for a ‘military intervention’ into Six Nations. By late evening, municipal officials in Haldimand County had declared an official state of emergency. In June 2006, emails were circulated to encourage non-indigenous Caledonia residents to disrupt a lacrosse game staged by the Six Nations Minor Lacrosse Association in order to “restrict access to the arena to people who are not welcome in our community.” In July 2006, a group of Caledonia residents with homes bordering the reclamation site are asking the provincial and federal colonial governments for money to build a “bullet proof and flame proof fence” between their homes and the reclamation site.
The racist attacks are not simply limited to residents of Caledonia; after making comments to CBC that people in the camp are all on welfare, Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer was confronted the by Six Nations community and subsequently replaced by her own council amidst a growing political scandal.
It is important to stress that although the government has yet to compensate or pay reparations to the Six Nations community for historic and ongoing theft of land and resources and the resulting loss of livlihood, Caledonia businesses were heavily compensated and subsidized throughout 2006. This clearly reveals the ideology of neo-liberal economics, where corporations and businesses are heavily favoured by governments, who place the rights of profit-making shareholders over the rights of its own people.
For example, on May 25 2006, Ontario Economic Development Minister Joe Cordiano announced that the province will give $500,000 to Haldimand County to distribute to Caledonia businesses that have been so financially affected by the barricades. An additional $160,000 is allocated for business promotion in June 2006. Furthermore, David Ramsay, Ontario Aboriginal Affairs minister, stated that in addition to providing money to non-indigenous business owners, the provincial government wants to provide financial assistance to non-indigenous Caledonia homeowners who “feel they have suffered” as a result of the land dispute.
In June 2006, the Ontario government announced that it had agreed to pay $12.3 million to buy out Henco, with ongoing negotiations for “an additional amount to be paid for the loss of future profits”.
SUPPORT SIX NATIONS LAND RIGHTS
==> Click here to read a leaflet from the group Community Friends on “Why Canadians Should Support Six Nations Land Rights”.
The Six Nations Land reclamation continues. As of April 2007, Over 32 people continued to face bogus charges for defending their rights. The federal and provincial governments recently claimed that Six Nations sold their land. Therefore ongoing support is needed in support of Six Nations Land rights. Please contact government representatives to call for a resolution to the standoff and demand:
1) That the government stop its’ stalling tactics and recognize Six Nations title to the land once and for all.
2) That the government stop criminalizing the people of Kanohnstaton.
3) That the government fully recognize the traditional Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, the traditional government, and stop undermining the Confederacy they have been trying to squash since 1924.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister, 80 Wellington Street, Ottawa, K1A 0A2; Fax: 613-941-6900; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6. Telephone: (613) 992-4275; Fax: (613) 947-9475; Email: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca
Barbara McDougall, Federal Negotiator
Former Cabinet Minister
c/o Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians
Parliament Hill: House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A6. Telephone: (613) 992-4275; Fax: (613) 947-9475; Email: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca
Provincial Negotiator, Province of Ontario
Former Brantford MP and former Federal Indian Affairs Minister c/o Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario, Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1A1. Phone Number: (416) 325-1941; Fax Number: (416) 325-3745; Email: Dalton.McGuinty@premier.gov.on.ca
==> SAMPLE LETTER <==
I am writing to demand that the Canadian government uphold its responsibilities and return full title of Kanohnstaton (the Douglas Creek Estates) to the people of Six Nations.
It has now been one year since the people of Six Nations rightfully took back and reclaimed a piece of land that had been stolen and illegally sold by the Canadian government. This piece of land, formerly known as “Douglas Creek Estates”, is Kanohnstaton, or The Protected Place, and the government is well overdue in recognizing the truth of the matter: that this is Six Nations land, guaranteed by the Haldimand Proclamation, and the Canadian government has no business claiming, selling, or leasing land that is not
Land claims put forward by First Nations communities are highly overdue. Section 35 (1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms clearly states that: “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.” In addition to demanding that the federal and provincial governments follow basic universal rules of human decency, I demand that the government follow its own Charter of Rights and Freedoms outlined in the Constitution Act of 1982.
Moreover, I demand that the ongoing criminalization of the people of Kanohnstaton cease immediately. Indeed, instead of charging, persecuting and criminalizing unarmed indigenous people who are rightfully and peacefully reclaiming their own land, you should be bringing to justice the OPP and RCMP officers who used violence with tasers and batons on unarmed people, causing injuries and bodily harm, on the vicious raid of April 20th, 2006.
Hazel Hill, spokesperson for Six Nations, has stated: “We didn’t create the situation, we are only trying to rectify it, for our children and future generations. We have taken action and have re-claimed land that is rightfully ours. We are there in Peace, and have been since February 28th… Will Canada allow the hatred and violent displays of racism of its citizens to continue and possibly create another Ipperwash, or will it use the lessons of the past to ensure that the violence stops and admit to their citizens that it is through their own actions and abuse of assumed power that we are in this situation today.”
I strongly urge you to heed these words and take action to ensure a just resolution to this issue in a swift and fair manner.
1. CKRZ 100.3 FM is the Six Nations radio station and live webstream is at http://www.ckrz.com/
3. Email email@example.com (Mohawk Nation News) to subscribe and receive regular updates.
4. Send messages of support to the Camp: Dick Hill: 519-865-7722, 519-445-1351 or Hazel Hill: 519-717-4292, 519-445-0719, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jacqueline House: 905-765-9316; email@example.com