In­dige­nous bar­ri­cade up on Ar­gyle Street in Cale­do­nia again

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - CARMELA FRAGOMENI

CALE­DO­NIA — Na­tive pro­test­ers who have set up a road­block in Cale­do­nia again vow to keep the bar­ri­cade un­til their de­mands are met by the On­tario gov­ern­ment and the Six Na­tions Elected Band Coun­cil.

Doreen Sil­ver­smith and a 12-mem­ber group of mostly women — sup­port­ers of the Six Na­tions hered­i­tary gov­ern­ment known as the Hau­denosaunee Con­fed­er­acy — marched a short dis­tance up Ar­gyle Street South from their block­ade Thurs­day to where OPP cruis­ers were parked on the road to say so.

Reading a state­ment to re­porters, Sil­ver­smith said the bar­ri­cade is a di­rect con­se­quence of the On­tario gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to live up to a ne­go­ti­ated land set­tle­ment that led na­tives to dis­man­tle bar­ri­cades they set up dur­ing an in­tense oc­cu­pa­tion of the Dou­glas Creek Es­tates hous­ing project in 2006. The new bar­ri­cade is at the en­trance of

DCE. The dis­pute has not been re­solved.

“The prov­ince of On­tario stated in writ­ing that the ti­tle to the Burtch lands (in ad­di­tion to the Cale­do­nia lands) would be re­turned…,” she be­gan. “For this, our bar­ri­cades in Cale­do­nia … came down in 2006.”

Then, in April of this year, On­tario passed the Burtch lands near Brant­ford “not to our Hau­denosaunee Con­fed­er­acy, the tra­di­tional gov­ern­ment, but to the Six Na­tions Elected Band Coun­cil,” which she slammed as “the right arm of the gov­ern­ment.”

“With that ac­tion, On­tario has com­mit­ted fraud and lied to us, to our peo­ple.”

The fol­low­ing de­mands must be met for the new bar­ri­cade to come down, Sil­ver­smith said:

that “On­tario and Canada re­turn to the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble with our Con­fed­er­acy;”

that “On­tario lives by their words of May 17, 2006 and re­turns the Burtch lands un­der the Haldimand Procla­ma­tion of 1784;”

that “Six Na­tions Band Coun­cil with­draw their in­junc­tion against Kris Hill and the peo­ple of Six Na­tions.”

Hill, a Mo­hawk, was farm­ing the Burtch lands near Brant­ford — a former jail site and about 154 hectares west of the Six Na­tions bound­ary — un­til the band coun­cil was granted a court in­junc­tion preventing her from us­ing the par­cel. She had been farm­ing the land since 2014 un­der a lease with the Con­fed­er­acy.

The band coun­cil wants the land to be­come part of the re­serve. The Hau­denosaunee Con­fed­er­acy leased wants the prop­erty to be in­de­pen­dent from the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment.

A two-day trial in the case is slated for Aug. 17-18.

In April, the Min­istry of In­dige­nous Re­la­tions and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion told The Spec­ta­tor the Burtch lands “were of­fered as a way to show that On­tario was se­ri­ous about ad­dress­ing the out­stand­ing Six Na­tions griev­ances that were sub­ject of protests.”

A month ear­lier, the prov­ince trans­ferred the prop­erty to a num­bered cor­po­ra­tion es­tab­lished by the Six Na­tions coun­cil to hold it for its peo­ple and “not to a par­tic­u­lar gov­ern­ing en­tity,” the min­istry said.

The Ar­gyle Street South march — to the beat of a drum and with plac­ards — took place three hours af­ter the bar­ri­cade went up around 8:30 a.m. .

Thurs­day’s road­block con­sisted of a hy­dro tower, wooden crates and In­dige­nous war­rior flags.

“On­tario is go­ing to be 100 per cent re­spon­si­ble for any ac­tions re­sult­ing from their lies,” Sil­ver­smith said.

“We, as the Hau­denosaunee peo­ple, stand with our Hau­denosaunee Con­fed­er­acy Coun­cil, which is the tra­di­tional gov­ern­ment.”

Asked if bar­ri­cades would also be put up around the Burtch lands, since that is the area in dis­pute, Sil­ver­smith said it is a pos­si­bil­ity.

When asked why the bar­ri­cade did not start there, she de­clined to com­ment fur­ther and re­turned with the group to the former Dou­glas Creek Es­tates site.

Six Na­tions Chief Ava Hill could not be reached but com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Vic­to­ria Racette said the band coun­cil is un­able to com­ment due to the le­gal pro­ceed­ings.

Ar­gyle Street South was closed at High­way 6 and at Brae­mar Av­enue near Cana­dian Tire dur­ing the protest. OPP Const. Rod LeClair said of­fi­cers were present and block­ing the street near the bar­ri­cade only “to pre­serve the peace.

” The area was calm, with only a hand­ful of Cale­do­nia res­i­dents gath­ered at the po­lice road­block ask­ing what was go­ing on, and then rem­i­nisc­ing how bad the 2006 block­ade was.

BARRY GRAY, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Pro­test­ers walk to wait­ing me­dia to de­liver their state­ment of de­mands on Ar­gyle Street South in Cale­do­nia Thurs­day morn­ing.

PHO­TOS BY BARRY GRAY, HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

OPP of­fi­cers walk down Ar­gyle Street South to speak with pro­test­ers on Thurs­day.

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