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First Nations Resistance in Canada: An Update

May 11, 2007

February 28th, 2007 marks the one-year anniversary of the Six Nations Land Reclamation. One year ago, the people of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory took action to reclaim Kanonhstaton, the Protected Place – land that had never been ceded in any treaty and was under construction unsanctioned by the rightful owners of the land.

At present, the truth remains unacknowledged by Canadian authorities: the land is not owned by the government of Canada, nor can it be sold by them. It is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) territory, illegally stolen and sold by the colonial authorities. The representatives of Six Nations who are empowered by their peoples to sit at the negotiation table have been forced to continually restate and prove this truth. As recently as last week, Sub-Chief Leroy Hill tabled evidence supporting the position that the Six Nations has continued to maintain.

“The Crown’s intention all along was to swindle the lands from the Six Nations as well as encourage squatters to settle on our lands”, says Six Nations spokesperson Hazel Hill. “There was no surrender, there was no sale. These lands were intended for the purpose of leasing only and throughout the Grand River tract, you will find this practice of the Crown over and over again.”

The Six Nations Land Reclamation stands as a pivotal example of indigenous decolonization on Turtle Island (North America). The sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee over Kanonhstaton must be recognized and respected. As people living on stolen land, we join in the call to demand that Haudenosaunee land rights and sovereignty be recognized. We also demand that the government immediately cease the criminalization of those who have been involved in the Reclamation. More than 30 people continue to face trumped-up charges for defending their land. Rather than pouring money into negotiators’ and OPP salaries, it is time to stop the lies, and to recognize the Haudenosaunee peoples’ right to sovereignty and self-determination.

Says Hazel Hill, “It is up to the Onkwehonweh to send that message that we have had enough. Enough of the encroachment of our homelands, enough of the intrusion of their laws within our circle and enough of their paternalistic attitude toward our people. We must stand united.”

Take Action Today

Phone, Fax or E-mail the government and its negotiators 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, and stop its attempts to undermine it.

4) That the government negotiate in good faith.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Fax: 613-941-6900 Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and
Phone: (613) 992-4275 Fax: (613) 947-9475
Email: Prentice.J@parl.gc.ca

Barbara McDougall and Ron Doering, Federal Negotiators c/o Jim Prentice (see contact info above)

Dalton McGuinty, Premier of Ontario
Phone: (416) 325-1941 Fax: (416) 325-3745
Email: Dalton.McGuinty@premier.gov.on.ca

Jane Stewart, Provincial Negotiator,
c/o Dalton McGuinty (see above)

Also contact your MP and MPP.

Six Nations Political Prisoners Released

Six Nations political prisoners Trevor Miller and Chris Hill have been released on bail, after months in jail. In the coming year they will need our continued solidarity, including fundraising for legal expenses.

Mohawk Land Reclamation

One month ago, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte reclaimed a portion of the Culbertson Tract – 925 acres of land taken from their community, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, in 1832.

The land reclaimed by the Mohawk community pointedly includes a gravel quarry. Beyond the obvious direct thieving of stolen land which quarry operations so blatantly embody – more than 100,000 tonnes of land are trucked out every year, to benefit settler Canadian business interests – it has since been discovered that the crimes against the Mohawk Territory are greater than first imagined.

Thurlow Aggregates, the quarry operators, were also carrying out illegal dumping of waste on this site. Building materials, batteries and highway asphalt have been uncovered. The operators went so far as to try and bury the evidence of this scandalous activity, when they became aware of the Mohawk’s intended reclamation of the land.

While this information was made public several weeks ago, the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) – responsible both for the licensing and environmental standards of quarry operations in this province – has refused to inspect it.

Since day one of the quarry takeover, the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have demanded that the quarry license be revoked. Not only has the MNR refused to comply, but the MNR District Manager came to the Territory, only to refuse to see the evidence of the dumping and environmental destruction at the quarry.

The MNR refuses to act despite Federal government recognition of the validity of the Mohawk’s claim to the land. The Province of Ontario has failed in every way – no proper monitoring of the quarry, no revocation of the license to ensure its rightful owners can clean up the mess that has been made and put the land to healthy use, complete risk of the local environment and local water supply. Before the quarry was reclaimed, the MNR sat back and collected fees from the operation of removing stolen land from the Culbertson Tract.

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