Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Report Back From The Caledonia Standoff

i have received permission to post this report from a comrade who visited the occupation/reclamation in Caledonia recently. Notes in square parentheses [like this] are mine, and bits i snipped out of her report are marked like this: […]

the [Henco] construction site is huge (nine acres i think they said) and is completely clearcut of any growth, just a large, flat and very clayish mucky area. the main blockade site is at the entrance on hwy 6, and there are several other sites set up also blocking entry. the reclamation is very well organized, coordinated, and they just finished building a cookhouse and are working on a meeting house next.

all the food is cooked on a barbeque at the moment, so ongoing donations of propane are needed if others are heading out there. they used to have a generator, but it was only a loan and they had to give it back last week. if anybody has any connections for getting their hands on a generator, this would be incredibly useful.

the construction site is part of the six nations haldimand tract. what this looks like on the ground is an area of land that actually touches and encroaches upon the six nations "reservation". what has happened with development in the past is that there's the six nations reservation, and then a kind of buffer zone of land that has existed between the rez and the rest of development - housing, industrial and otherwise - that was left alone because of the legal uncertainty re: land ownership. so this is the first breach of buffer zone area and if these kinds of developements were allowed to happen as the ontario government is planning, even the six nations reservation (which is not large enough, and does not in any way come close to the parameters of their traditional/needed territories) would be completely surrounded and choked off from growth.

the development is one of those ugly plop-down whole suburban subdivisions with tightly knit home after home. since all the existing suburbs of toronto have all reached capacity, basically, the ontario government's plan is to "encourage" settlement of this region now. it is a one hour drive from "caledonia" to toronto, so it'd be perfect for those yuppies who don't mind an hour commute.

this is why is it is so important to stop this development. it is just the beginning of a new suburban boom in the region - all to take place on six nations land. the solidarity pouring in from other indigenous nations is as widespread as the venezuelan army and the zapatistas to coast-to-coast occupied kanada.  at the side of the highway, there is a sign encouraging people to honk if they support the struggle, and even though there is the occasional ignorant "go home" or other such idiotic comment, the majority of people passing by honk, wave or yell out their support. on saturday, there was a rally in the afternoon with supporters from local 1005 of the united steelworkers union of america who marched up to the site with their flags. also present were some students from kingston, local quakers, palestinians from toronto (don't know which org though, didn't meet them myself) and the communist party of canada.

the folks at the blockade are mostly from six nations and other kaneinke:ha'ka territories. […] whenever there is a threat - like the day the opp were threatening to move in, or when the anti-native rally happened - several hundred people from six nations show  up immediately. there is a lot of work in keeping the reclamation going, both on site - cooking, cleaning the site daily of litter, doing dishes, gathering and chopping wood, construction, picking up necessities from town, etc and off-site - fundraising, soliciting donations, awareness raising, and pressuring the government, etc.


i will post a full list of what is needed for the site, but off the top of my head what i remember are things like: a generator, tents, sleeping bags, blankets, food, tools, building materials (wood), propane for the bbq, other cooking gear (not pots and pans, they have those) like hotplates, etc., lots of water, warm socks, working gloves and warm gloves, tarps, phone cards with minutes, communication radios, etc.

if anyone plans on going, they want people to arrive in the morning or early afternoon. do not come in at night. there are rules posted all around the site. the fire is a sacred fire so do not throw anything into it and don't add firewood to it. there's no drugs or alcohol allowed on site and they don't want people wandering around the construction site but just staying in the main blockade area on highway 6. there are two porta-potties on site but it's still good to bring toilet paper to replentish supplies. and bring your own food (to contribute to the shared camp meals).

it is very windy and this is a big risk for sunburn if your skin is so inclined... me and ------ burnt our faces off so bring sunscreen!


and i think that's about it for now....


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  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful post about the plight of the Six Nations! I've been wanting more info about things to take out there, etc.

    I've collected a few items, so your post was very informative! Now I have a much better idea of what else is needed. I've ransacked my house for stuff, and will badger my family for more. (I thought someone had a generator, but I'm not sure.) I'll also try to get at least one propane tank. I have some warm clothing, and will try to find/collect more.

    Before I read your post on ProgBlogs, (then came here to read the rest), I was the only one posting about this. In one of my posts, I'd even pasted a map to the area.

    Now I'm waiting for someone to come soon -- tomorrow (Thursday) or Sunday -- to take me down there from Brampton. My Halton Peace Network group went last Sunday, but I couldn't go as I was in the OPAC rally in downtown T.O. on Sat. evening, didn't get back up to Brampton till late, and managed to catch a cold.

    If I can't get out there those two days this week, I'll definitely get there somehow next week! My problem is that I don't drive, and I'm stuck in Brampton, away from most of my group who are in Mississauga or Oakville. There are only a few of us in this 'hicktown' of Brampton, and they are away for Easter.

    If you hear of anyone going from near my area, please, please email me right away. I want so much to help -- and show solidarity -- but have no way of getting there with the supplies!

    Please also read my latest post I just put up on my site:

    Thanks again for your detailed post. Please keep me updated via email:

    best & peace,


  2. The link I typed in to my email doesn't seem to work, so I'll try again:

    Please put your site's name or "Six Nations" in the subject line, so I'll know it's not spam.


  3. I like everything you're saying except for your characterization of Caledonia as a yuppie bedroom suburb of Toronto. I think that's unfair. A better characterization would be that of a growing rural town still based upon servicing the surrounding farmland. I'm sure there are a few people commuting to Hamilton or Brantford and maybe even Toronto (which is much further away than an hour during the working day). I think it's unfair to label the people of the community or the growth of their town as suburban or 'yuppie'.

  4. It is time that the people of Canada earn what they have and stop using 100 year old excuses to take what is not earned. How does one hold their head up high without the effort of ownership. We all wish we could take back stuff our ancestors had but instead we earn what we have instead of expecting to get free what we have never worked for

  5. I support your land claims 100%. Your land claim is only one of hundreds of native land disputes that have not been resolved in over 100 years. Don't give up,don't give in,don't let history repeat itself. I'm disabled and house bound or else I would proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with you for your cause. When the police presence dies down a bit I will find a way to send food and supplies. You are the true Canadians!

  6. I have lived in Caledonia all my life. The people of Six Nations are, over all, an urbanized, hard working, respectful and respected community.The people of Caledonia have lived for centuries, worked, shcooled, shopped & partied with their neighbours of Six Nations in relative harmony.The Confederacy & the Band Council knew that that land was for sale fifteen years ago when it was sold to Henco. Why did'nt they purchase it then?, as they did with other lands along #6 Hwy @ 4th Line, after all it's only money from the tax payers of Canada anyhow. It's not like it's cash from Six Nations pocket. It's a shame that a hand full of militants and disinfranchised can come to what is the largist most organized, foreword thinking First Nation population in Canada and set Native - White relations back three or four decades.

  7. I have lived in Caledonia for the better part of ten years and Ancaster before that. The main blockade is 3 blocks from my house. I am pissed off at our government for not dealing with the land claims in a timely manner and pissed off at the protestors for making this area into a war zone. Our town - incidentally is not a haven for yuppies by any means. That comment is unfair and childish. I have been making an effort to become educated in the matters of the land claim and have always respected all of the members of the community that make up Canada. I was born here - so telling us "the White Man" to go back where we came from is ignorant and very unfair. It is in fact - racist.
    I left town on Thursday with my two children - amid tire fires (great for Mother Earth by the way) and helicopters and Native people suddenly giving us dirty looks.
    I support education not occupation.
    Just so the rest of Canada knows - this isn't just something interesting to watch on TV - this is our town. It is our home. I think that the Six Nations has been badly represented by this entire thing and I feel sorry for the Native population that doesn't agree with the way this is being done and haven't been given a voice.

  8. annamarie-if you go to the MSN group "A Single Standing Teepee" you may find a ride with someone there-I know a woman in Markham got directions from me and that's even more "out of the way" than you :-) Good luck! I'll be back there some more for sure, just have to keep my face off the TV or my boss will find I'm not really sick!I'm shaking people down for stuff too, now that I saw the list in that excellent post

  9. Thanks for a great post on this plight. I try and am as tolerant and understanding as possible of some of the negative comments I read but deep down I am extreme radical in thought's but never in actions, as I understand their harm. However I must still understand that not all those youth being raised now on the reserve have the same privileges I do in Kanada. They live in extreme poverty some, negative stereotypes daily, racism and being segregated from the country that is to be theirs. I cannot say I would act as contained as I do now and I find it horrifying others don’t think about what worst case scenario's for this type of long term turmoil can be. Let's see what pops into my head if I think about it abit, why wouldn’t I look to what other native 's under attack do around the world to protect themselves. Will it take youth's driving off the reserves an hour from our largest cities with bomb attacks as we see in the Middle East to wake up people to what damage we are doing to these native youth? Should they push forward with armed attacks here and there to disrupt Kanadian society and to build cash and munitions stockpiles as other native leaders have been forced to do to protect their people. There are less than 30 main border crossings into the US; Kanada needs that more than any other thing to be profitable, the ability to export major volumes of goods. If the Natives of Kanada tied up these even 25 main gates to the US for 5- 10 days it would cripple Kanada and no Government official we have today would have the balls to take on the collective group if they say they will leave in 6 days the Government would just wait rather than attack they have learned that lesson and the native warriors are learning it to as we saw in Belleville. This is why the goal is to keep them separated on reserves. Main highways and rail lines cross or pass by reserves all over Kanada and yet all the white people forget the land is still on lease. It was bought 100+ years ago at low monthly payments over the eternity of a people and is far from being paid off. As I see it the loan is in receivership and the natives soon will have the right to take back the entire country till the residents can remember what it is they owe for. Ask someone being deported today how much they would pay to stay in Kanada or what an immigrant has done to get here. No wonder one would say, " I was born here - so telling us "the White Man" to go back where we came from is ignorant and very unfair. It is in fact - racist.

    Not if you are an unappreciative ass for not realizing what the natives gave up so you could have the greatest country in the world to share, the only reason it is still great is because it also has the most peaceful natives. Or else it would be every other war torn country walking on its native people we have in this world today. Who knows maybe it is and we just are not as old a civilization yet as the Middle East but we sure are making the same scares in our native youth as they did hundreds of years ago.

  10. I am a Oka vet of 1990 and my tour was in Kahnawake for most of the time.

    I have a bad feeling that if things don't change soon more people will die and as one who has to live with 1990 this is not an easy post Oka effect to live with.

    I will offer prayers that we find peace in all of this and if the Warriors have to be called in them my support is with them!

    Peace only if we can afford it!

  11. SheKon
    Kahsenano:ron iontahts
    I am in full support of the 6 nations standoff, why should we sit back and let the government take and take and never give any thing back?
    Canada belongs to the true people Native people, actually canada and the U.S.A belong to us, since they took our land to put up a border, we are getting smaller and smaller as land goes, but we must fight and make a stand, if i could i would be right there in the front lines, but i am too far up north, but i am making my one woman stand on my homepage
    I like one of the gentlemans comment," how gredy can the government be fighting for a plot of land"
    I wish a native person could bea prime minister, give us back what is rightfully ours.
    I am from kahnawake but i live near the james bay coast.

  12. These people (so called natives) at the standoff are idiots and portray that on CH. For them to say that CH is making them look stupid on tv is completly false. It's about time to quit your crying, about being treated poorly, and about thinking you own land however many miles on either side of the grand river, from lake erie to god knows where. So wake up and smell the coffee and realize how good you people have it!!!! You get free education and don't pay tax....on anything. Ooooh, sounds like rough life. If those morons at the standoff, had half a brain in there heads, they'd all be very well off. But instead they choose to look like ground dwellers with there tee pees....TEE PEES! C'mon, we all know you live in a wooden house. Plus, those tee pees are plastic. Who are you trying to kid. I have a lot of indian friends and they are embarased to be even assosiated with you select few bad apples. So on that note, have fun illigally burning tires in the middle of the road, while you piss off every Caledonia resident.

  13. While our elected officials decide on how to give away more of our tax dollars to unappreciative people we should probably consider where the native people originally came from. It was across the land link at the bearing strait. The "natives" are not native to Canada any more than the English or French. The "natives" claiming that the land is their's because they were here first is akin to school yard politics. History if full of one race conquring another.

    While we're giving land back to the "rightful" heirs maybe we should give all of europe back to the romans and asia back to the mongels.

    The "natives" at the protest site are nothing more than terrorists. They claim to be a soverign nation and have taken over our land and we do nothing. Where will they stop? The last time this happened Hitler walked across europe. Do we not learn from history?

  14. Oh yeah, those Injuns are just like Nazis, they should all go back to Asia where they come from...

    Been sniffing too much glue have you, Mr "Anonymous"?

  15. I know no one would like their land taken from them, but your spoke person the male is not very educated and do not represent you well. Actually the chinese came here and the french came here too. If all of you think you are the true indians then why would you wreck the inviroment? burning tires? You don't live in tee pees like the true indians do if any left. You have houses paid for by the rest of canadians. Where are the documents stateing that the land belongs to the indians? Why can't you get a lawyer to represent the people of that land instead of disrupting everyones lives. proof of purchase papers would be good or proof of free land given to you would settle everything not burning tires.

  16. Dear anonymous:

    If you want to see excellent documentation, go to the web site/blog

    They give excellent information on this parcel of land as well as the whole haldimand tract.

    One of the people running the blog is half he gives an interesting perspective.

  17. I know no one would like their land taken from them, but your spoke person the male is not very educated and do not represent you well. Actually the chinese came here and the french came here too. If all of you think you are the true indians then why would you wreck the inviroment?

    you say he's not very educated and you can't even spell environment right?
    who are the white man to come to canada, corrupt an entire nation of people, and force them to live on little pieces of land, and then slowly take it away??

    the six nations people are only doing what anyone else would do in the same situation.