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Update from Grand River, Sept. 22, 2006

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  • Update from Grand River, Sept. 22, 2006

    Gathering Place First Nations Canadian News Alert

    _ (
    Update from Grand River, Sept. 22, 2006

    Well, did everyone get to watch the 2nd part of the show 'Indian Summer, the
    Oka Crisis' which aired tonight on CBC. I am so emotional right now and my
    thoughts are everywhere I don't know where to begin. Watching them come out
    of the pines and the brutality used against our people who were only doing
    exactly what we have all been doing or trying to do, and that is to uphold
    our Law, and protect the future of our people. I cried so hard it made me
    sick. Sick to know that nothing, in the last 16 years has changed in the
    thinking of the canadian government. Nothing in their attitude toward the original
    people of this land. The force they used then is the same force they used on
    April 20th when they came in to Kanonhstaton. They beat people, they had
    weapons drawn, and they had no care of whether or not we were entitled and
    justified in our stand. I think the trauma of being tackled and kicked and kneed
    by the police on April 20th has finally surfaced. I had the opportunity to
    speak at Guelph University a couple of nights ago, and recounting what had
    happened on the day of the raid; and then watching the Oka movie tonight
    brought out all of that mixed emotional baggage I've been carrying around since
    then. What do you do with those emotions but let them go, and gain strength in
    knowing that the power that they give to each and everyone of us by their
    actions will be what defeats them. I didn't recall the date when the people
    came out of the pines in 1990, but when I noticed the date tonight when
    watching the show, and realized that the appeals court date is September 26th, it
    resounded deep within the pit of my stomach and the date echoed throughout my
    mind like the ripples from a rock being dropped in the lake. Co-incidence?
    Who knows. Perhaps another attempt at utilizing certain dates in history in
    the hopes of re-creating an outcome that absolves them from having to take any
    responsibility for their actions. They never resolved anything then, and
    they have no intention of resolving anything now.

    I am filled with such an unbelieveable anger at the ignorance of this
    so-called country of Canada and the treatment of our people that I am left with an
    emptiness and numbness inside. They have no remorse because they continue
    with the same practices today. They would rather kill us than look at what
    they have done to the very people who welcomed them, fed them, and who supported
    their very existance since their arrival. Why is it they can't see that the
    lands which they built their country, the resources that financed their
    empire, and the freedom that they enjoy today, was built on the backs of the
    Onkwehonweh, our ancestors. They call us criminals and terrorists and yet they
    forget that they are the decendants of people who were considered criminals
    and diseased and were sent to this continent because they were unwelcomed in
    their own. They are afraid to look in the mirror because they cannot handle
    the truth of what is staring back at them.

    Today, we sit at a table and we talk, we negotiate, about trivial things
    like the return of a bobcat, about the noise and lights that bother our
    caledonia neighbours, about police buffer zones, and relationship building; and
    always, always it is about their needs and in the best interest of their people
    who are now occupying stolen lands. Since 1784 when the land was granted
    through the Haldimand in one hand, they stole it and gave it away from the other.
    Even the so-called Indian Agents at the time who were suppose to be looking
    out for the interests of the Six Nations, were looking out solely for the
    interests of the squatters and their compensation of improvements that they
    made to the land. It is exactly the same policy they are working with today.
    Never mind the fact that we didn't ask them to improve anything. We didn't
    ask them to come and squat on our land, and honestly, we don't give two squats
    on whether or not they've been compensated for it. They don't give two
    hoots about what they did to our people, the frauds they committed or the
    negligence and downright theft of the lands, our trust monies and our resources. It
    is and always will be what is best for, and how it serves them. Not once
    have they ever considered how their genocidal and assimilation practices have
    effected our people. Not once in their manipulative ways of frauding away our
    lands did they consider the effects that it would have on our environment,
    on our hunting and fishing and our respect and relationship with the land.
    Today they want us to consider our neighbours on how the land will be used and
    how it will effect them. Did they ever give consideration to our people when
    they stole our lands, built their towns and townships and left us boxed in
    on a little 'reserve'. Did they ask us before they stripped the earth of our
    trees and polluted our rivers with their industrial waste? Do they ask us as
    they continually develop lands that they know they have no title to. And
    yet they want us to consult with and work together with the people of caledonia
    before we even plant a tree at Kanonhstaton. They want us to bring down
    the flags because some people don't like the looks of them, or they find them
    offensive. I guess when they bring down all of their canadian flags flying
    around our country we may consider it.

    I don't know if they've learned anything or not over the past several
    decades. I know they hoped that by now we would have been good little Indians and
    succumbed to the ways of the white man because afterall, they were the
    dominate and better race. They had to save us from our heathenistic ways, even
    ordering fumigation of our community hall after any of our gatherings and
    ceremonies. They had to beat our children out of using our language because it was
    for our own good. Why, they even had to steal our children and place them
    in residential schools so their ministers could rape our young women and
    educate us to their ways to make us a better people. They had to use their guns
    and force to bring in their Indian Act because it would help us to govern
    ourselves in a way that was more appropriate and more civilized than the
    Kaienerekowah, the law given to us by the Creator. They had to save us from our
    spiritual practices because they were considered evil. Today, that word is still
    being used by some when referring to our Confederacy Council and the
    Onkwehonweh. We are an evil people because we dare to resist colonialism and
    oppression. We dare to hold on to the original teachings and Law that supercedes
    any man made laws. We dare to uphold our obligation and responsibility that
    was given to us not only for our own good, but also for the good of all of
    Creation, including all of the other races of the world. We are an evil people
    because we dare to resist the Indian Act and the imposition of foreign laws
    by our modern day indian agents. If upholding and respecting the oldest and
    purest law of peace and light and love makes us evil, then I guess that is
    what we are.

    That Indian Act is still their trump card because they're hoping that that
    is what will continue to divide our people. It has been working since 1924,
    and they are counting on that to hold true. They are counting on us to get
    tired of the stall tactics that they use at the negotiations. They are hoping
    that if they wait long enough, we'll turn on each other and this will all go
    away. But I have faith in the people of Six Nations. I have faith that our
    people will realize that this fight is not between the Confederacy and the
    Band Council. This is about centuries of spiritual, mental, emotional and
    physical abuse and manipulation. It is about the arrogance and downright
    superioristic attitude of a race of people who abandoned the very Peace that we are
    trying to protect, who turned their back on their Messenger and hung him on
    a cross; all for a semblance of power and righteousness. Not in the spirit
    of which it was intended, but in the means of dominance and control and
    monetary gain. They take innocent men and women and create armies and invade other
    countries all in the name of Peace. They have not learned that all of the
    riches of the world will never give them the peace that is suppose to come
    from within. I am asking all of the Six Nations people and our supporters to
    remember and look to that Peace that is within. Remember that if we continue
    to walk the path that the Creator set us on this earth to do, to uphold and
    respect the Peace with each other as we were instructed, and to remember
    those 5 arrows that He bound together as ONE in UNITY; that we will succeed in
    our duties of protecting the future for our generations to come, and we will
    have honoured the Creator in doing so. It does not matter if you support the
    elective system or confederacy council. If you go to church or follow the
    traditions of the longhouse. It doesn't matter if you're Mohawk, Seneca,
    Cayuga, Oneido or Onondaga, Tuscarora or any of the other Nations who have taken
    shelter under the umbrella of that great tree. As Onkwehonweh we have a
    responsibility that cannot be left to our children or our grandchildren to deal
    with. We are the original united nations, the keepers of Peace, and we must
    continue to inflict peace in whatever we do. Having said all that, I only
    have one thing left to say, Peace on you Canada!


    Sharon Green
    Owner and Editor
    Gathering Place First Nations Canadian News
    "_ http://gatheringpla/ http://gather/ http:_
    ( "
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic

  • #2
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    This Message Is Reprinted Under The FAIR USE
    Doctrine Of International Copyright Law:
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    Cold war in Caledonia


    A protester stands at the road block in Caledonia, Ont. in the file photo.
    Photograph by : Brent Foster/National Post

    Kelly Patrick, National Post

    Published: Saturday, September 23, 2006

    CALEDONIA - On a recent Friday evening, the main strip of the town in the
    centre of the Six Nations reserve bustled with aboriginals dropping into the
    Bank of Montreal branch, running errands at the shopping plaza and filling up at
    the Red Indian service station.
    There are no signs of the bitter seven-month-old Caledonia land dispute on
    this 18,800-hectare reserve or in Ohsweken, a place that could be mistaken for
    any tiny Canadian hamlet were it not for the ubiquitous ads flogging "cheap
    smokes" and "discount rollies."
    On the reserve, some homes are rundown, but others would not be out of place
    among the estates on Toronto's tony Bridle Path.
    This evening, some residents were headed to the Six Nations fall fair, where,
    amid the squeals of children riding the midway, carnival-goer after
    carnival-goer repeated the same lament: Despite appearances, things have indeed
    changed for the 11,000 natives living on Canada's most populous reserve, just as
    they have for the people of neighbouring Caledonia.
    A wide, nasty rift has opened between the two communities.
    "My heart has been broken," said Shelley, 43, as she watched a tug-of-war
    from the fair's wooden bleachers. "Caledonia doesn't exist for me anymore.
    That's part of my childhood that's gone."
    A lifelong resident of the Grand River Territory, Shelley frequently visited
    Caledonia as a child. She has a son with a non-native man. Today, she does
    not dare venture into the town.
    "Now people will walk right up to you and say, 'You dirty Indian, what are
    you doing here? This is our store.'" For Shelley (who, like most of the Six
    Nations people interviewed for this story, asked that her last name not be used)
    the saddest part of the rift is the radical departure it represents from the
    Until the occupation began on Feb. 28, Caledonians and their Six Nations
    neighbours were remarkable for how well they got along. They went to the same
    schools. The played on the same sports teams. They intermarried.
    "Some of my best friends are native. We all went to high school together,"
    said Clint Giles, 33, as he picked up his seven-year-old son Calum from the
    school that backs on to the disputed site. "I feel sorry for both sides."
    When the provincial government asks the Ontario Court of Appeal this week to
    permanently overturn a lower-court ruling demanding protesters leave the
    site, it will only confirm what everyone here already suspects: No one in
    government is any hurry to resolve this dispute, which has all the signs of forever
    changing the way people here live.
    The swath of land at the heart of the troubles is located at the south end of
    Argyle Street, the main thoroughfare in the town of 10,000.
    The site is 40 unremarkable hectares of gentle, grassy hills, criss-crossed
    with dirt and gravel roads cut when developer Henco began work last year on a
    600-home subdivision that was to be called Douglas Creek Estates.
    There is a Canadian Tire down the road and a Tim Hortons across the street.
    A tidy subdivision backs on to the site's northern flank. The site's southern
    side is hemmed in by the Sixth Line, a country road that leads into the
    reserve. Ohsweken is about a 10-minute drive from the Douglas Creek Estates site.
    Farther up Argyle Street, plywood signs with spray-painted insults welcome
    visitors to Caledonia.
    "Boycott racism. Shop elsewhere," says one. "Cashadonia. Jane Stewart cash
    cow," reads another, a reference to the $1,300-a-day salary of lead provincial
    negotiator Jane Stewart.
    Another reads: "Kevin Clark, coward of Haldimand County," a jab at a
    non-native local who got under the protesters' skin. A scuffle broke out when Mr.
    Clark and two of his friends tried to remove the sign Labour Day weekend.
    Some of the dozens of local and out-of-town provincial police officers who
    now patrol Caledonia intervened. The sign was returned to its perch. The
    altercation was one of countless low-level clashes between natives and non-natives
    at the site since an April 20 OPP raid thrust the Caledonia land dispute
    into the national spotlight.
    Gone are the main road blockades that sparked much of the intense violence.
    In their place is an uneasy peace.
    But as petty skirmishes such as the sign incident pile up -- and as word of
    them spreads via the grapevine of small town gossip -- enmity burrows deeper
    into the psyches of people on both sides.
    People such as Maria Rauscher.
    The 61-year-old German immigrant lives with her husband on the Sixth Line.
    The road has been deemed an official no-go zone for Ontario Provincial
    Six Nations officers are supposed to patrol it, but Mrs. Rauscher, her
    husband and others on the road say that in reality the Sixth Line is a legal
    "no-man's land" where law-breaking is rampant and property values have plunged.
    "I can't live like this anymore," said Mrs. Rausche, wiping at her eyes and
    trembling with anger. "If something flares up again we're right in the middle.
    It's a time bomb."
    Mrs. Rauscher and her husband, Dieter, 65, say their quarrel is not with the
    natives, but the government. They have lived in harmony with the nearby
    reserve for 27 years.
    A return to that harmony seems unlikely, considering the complexity of the
    land claim.
    It dates back more than 200 years to when Frederick Haldimand, the governor
    of Quebec and its territories (including the future province of Ontario), gave
    the banks of the Grand River to the Six Nations as a reward for their
    loyalty to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War.
    The Haldimand proclamation is at the root of 28 ongoing specific claims filed
    with the federal government and, with more than 800 native claims currently
    ensnare in Ottawa's byzantine claim system, all signs here suggest officials
    are settling in for a long haul:
    - The Ontario Provincial Police are shopping for a home for a permanent
    detachment in Caledonia, according to members of the Caledonia Citizens' Alliance
    and to Haldimand County's mayor. They meet twice monthly with provincial
    police. The OPP would not officially confirm the plans.
    - The province has purchased the Douglas Creek Estate lands from developer
    Henco Industries Limited for $12.3-million and paid Henco and six contractors
    another $8.6-million in compensation -- partly so that, as the new owners of
    the plot, the province can allow the natives to stay at the site during
    - The province's aboriginal secretariat has established a satellite office
    dedicated to the case in Brantford, Ont., just northwest of Caledonia.
    - The protesters have solicited donations for building materials to finish
    the houses whose construction they interrupted. No new work has begun.
    But the single biggest factor that suggests it is going to be a long haul at
    the disputed site is the way the occupation is being tackled at the
    negotiating table, said David General, the elected chief of Six Nations.
    "I'll be very candid. The problem at the table is the table wants to be too
    expansive," says Chief General, who supports the land claim but opposes the
    "[The negotiators] need to be dealing with just information that pertains to
    Douglas Creek."
    But they aren't.
    At the end of July the parties decided to add four "side tables" to the main
    negotiating table. Ottawa, Queen's Park, the Six Nations elected band council
    and the Six Nations' traditional confederacy council have representatives
    sitting at all five.
    One side table is tackling archaeology and the appearance of the Douglas
    Creek lands.
    A second is dealing with "public awareness" and education about the Six
    Nations traditions and land claims.
    A third is trying to sort out "consultation issues."
    The fourth is tackling the Plank Road land claim, which includes the former
    Douglas Creek Estates land. That claim was first submitted to the federal
    government June 23, 1987.
    Another reason the Caledonia dispute is so vexing is that nobody knows who
    actually speaks for the Six Nations.
    The elected band council, imposed by the federal government in 1924, is at
    odds with the Six Nations' traditional confederacy council, a hereditary system
    whereby clan mothers from the six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy -- the
    Mohawk, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondoga and Tuscarora -- choose lifetime
    chiefs to spearhead government by consensus.
    The split complicates talks, said Barbara McDougall, the Mulroney-era cabinet
    minister appointed as Ottawa's representative at the Caledonia talks.
    But she is impressed the two sides have come to the table.
    And she and her provincial counterpart, Ms. Stewart, both say trust has been
    built at the negotiations, a sign that talks are moving in the right
    But many townsfolk remain unconvinced.
    "I'll be honest," said Jason Clark, a member of the business-led Caledonia
    Citizens Alliance.
    "We don't have a sense that anyone in a position of authority is really
    accomplishing anything. We're just stuck in this quagmire."
    As Mr. Clark and his colleagues Ralph Luimes and Ken Hewitt talked about the
    town's dilemma over coffee at Tim Hortons, Mr. Luimes received an e-mail on
    his BlackBerry.
    A local drywall manufacturer, Georgia Pacific, had just laid off 30 workers.
    The cold war in Caledonia could easily turn hot again -- especially if
    conflict is stoked by outsiders with no connection to Caledonia or the reserve,
    such as the Richmond Hill couple behind the controversial Web site
    Gary and Christine McHale launched the site in June.
    Aimed at documenting native crimes they say are being ignored by provincial
    police, the site calls Caledonia a town where "5,000-plus criminal charges by
    natives still have not been filed by the OPP."
    The couple plan an anti-occupation rally in Caledonia for Oct. 15. They
    expect more than 20,000 people.
    Even without potential flashpoints like the McHales' march, Haldimand County
    Mayor Marie Trainer fears relations between the two communities will keep
    deteriorating if the occupation continues.
    "Hopefully it doesn't get any worse," she said, "because it could get to a
    point where it will take generations to heal."
    [email protected]_ (mailto:[email protected])
    © National Post 2006
    Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


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