Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Good Morning from Grand River

This just in my mailbox:

Good Morning from Grand River

Well, by now everyone has heard how our show of good faith was met.

Yesterday morning by 6:00 a.m. the main barricade on Plank Road (Argyle Street) was removed and the road was completely open ready for use. It wasn't met with good faith however, on the part of Caledonia residents, or at least those claiming to represent Caledonia. Their human barricade refused to budge and at one point, surrounded an elderly couple who were attempting to come through. The opp stood by and watched as the angry crowd refused to let our people through and when spokesman Clyde Powless and spokeswoman Janie Jamieson tried to go up and talk to the opp to get them to help our people through the line, they were surrounded by the angry caledonia representatives and shoving and pushing began. We were told that the vehicle that our elders were in had windows smashed, however, the opp said that no damage was done to the car. It was unclear at that point as to why the caledonia citizens did not meet our efforts of good faith, but later in an interview, Ken Hewitt, representing the Caledonia Citizens Alliance stated that they were not satisfied with the fact that only one of our barricades were taken down and that they wanted all of the barricades down and they wanted the Onkwehonweh people off the land that we've re-claimed.

Obviously David Peterson and the Town of Haldimand didn't inform the caledonia residents of the nature of the negotiations and the process that was being followed. Our press release of early yesterday morning with Chief Allen McNaughton and other representatives of the Confederacy Council stated the status of the negotiations and that as agreed, the main road into Caledonia was being opened up as a show of good faith. Later on that morning there was statements made by some of those on the caledonia side of things that they wanted to march down argyle street to the site of the land reclamation. This was exactly the concern of the Onkwehonweh people in their hesitation at wanting to open up the road in the first place. The intention of our people to keep the peace and open the road was being met with anger and threats to our safety.

Needless to say, because the opp were unable to convince those representing caledonia to disassemble their human blockade and go home and allow us to proceed as planned with the peaceful negotiations, the barricades were put back up. At one point, one of the elders of our people had offered a symbolic gesture to let them know that we still are upholding the peace and that they must choose which direction they wanted to proceed, but he was met with hollering and insults from the non-native protesters. I must add as well that in speaking with the opp, they had mentioned that many many caledonia residents were deeply disappointed in the people who were instigating the people on their side, and that many believe that those present who were causing the disruption, were not residents of Caledonia and that they were outsiders who's main intent was to instigate trouble. And that they did.

They were given a time frame to dismantle their people and allow the Onkwehonweh to continue with our offering of opening the road, and when they refused to move, at the end of that time frame, the consensus of the people was to dig the road up and a backhoe was brought in to begin that process. Again, the opp asked for more time to persuade their people to go home, and the digging stopped but their people refused to move. At one point in the afternoon some of the non-native protesters began trying to come around the side of the opp and rush toward our people. The men and women stood in defense of our position and at least 30 of our people were pepper sprayed, a couple of our people were taken to the hospital, and several of the caledonia people were hurt in the scuffle.

Again, we were able to bring our people back to refrain from any further escalations of violence, however, the mood at this point was indeed tense. By evening there were anywhere from 250 to 300 caledonia citizens in their human blockade and most of the people of Six Nations had gathered in solidarity behind our barricade. The opp had called in extra support from all over the surrounding areas, and at one point the riot squad had gathered in hopes of getting the caledonia people to go home. No action was taken by the opp or riot squad, and by around 2:30 this morning, most of the residents from the caledonia blockade had retreated. as of this morning at around 7:00 am., the barricade on the plank road is still there, and the people are considering now if another show of good faith will result in the same situation or worse, or whether we should once again, attempt to remove the barricades to allow the traffic to move freely through and allow our delegates to continue with the peaceful negotiations that were scheduled to continue this week.

We need our supporters to understand that we are continuing with our peaceful position, that we are unarmed, and intend to maintain that position of Peace, on our Land, and trust in our People, in our Kaierenekowah -- the Great Law, and in our Creator and the process that was given to us to resolve this situation to the best of our ability. We appreciate all of the phone calls and e-mails, and I apologize if I am unable to respond to each of your e-mails individually, but at this moment, we are working diligently to ensure the safety of our people at the site, and will keep everyone posted and updated as quickly as possible. The solidarity of the Onkwehonweh people is the most important factor in this situation and we appreciate all of those who are standing by to support in any way that is necessary if the Crown's representatives fail to keep the negotiations proceeding toward a peaceful resolution.

Hazel


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7 comments:

  1. I must add as well that in "speaking with the opp, they had mentioned that many many caledonia residents were deeply disappointed in the people who were instigating the people on their side, and that many believe that those present who were causing the disruption, were not residents of Caledonia and that they were outsiders who's main intent was to instigate trouble. And that they did"

    Thank you Hazel for including this in your story.

    However, she left out a rather large piece of the day's activities.

    Behind the protesters lines, natives drove a car into the hydro transformer and set it in on fire disrupting hydro to over 30,000 people. Most people had their power restored by late that night but Caledonia did not have their power until this morning. There ws 10 million dollars in damage. However, I am certain that most people who read this blog will consider it a small price to pay for the natives to have their 40 hectares back. This is true, they have alread admitted it, don't accuse me of making it up. I haven't.

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  2. i cannot speak for "most people who read this blog", nor am i speaking for the First Nations or for the people at the Reclamation site - i am none of the above, i'm just the white guy who does Sketchy Thoughts...

    but so far as i can see, if it is true that people from the Six Nations caused the damage to the hydro building (i have no idea if this is so or not, though i do know that it's what is being said in the media), localyokel certainly is correct when he states that i for one would "consider it a small price to pay for the natives to have their 40 hectares back."

    A small price. As in i would be willing to pay a hell of a lot more.

    What part of "anti-colonialist" don't some people understand?

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  3. local yokel is a provacateur - nothing more, nothing less. I suggest he just be ignored.

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  4. As i pointed out above, i think a people's struggle against genocide is worth more than 10 million dollars (in fact, its priceless).

    But for purposes of accuracy and not leting internet rumours win the day, i should point out that the CD 98.9 website puts the cost of the "vandalism" at just a fraction of that:

    The cost of the vandalism that caused the power outage in Haldimand and Norfolk is pegged at 1.5 million. A spokesperson for Hydro One says the damage was caused by a vehicle driven inside the fenced substation in Caledonia. The vandals then placed the vehicle under the switch gears, and lit it on fire. The vandals also broke into the brick structure of the station and started a 2nd fire. It will be a few more days before the system is completely is stable. The OPP are investigating the vandalism.

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  5. Yes, it's only 1.5 million...chump change...and only a couple of days off work for the people that work in town that haven't been laid off yet or the ones that had kids in school and had to take time as they didn't have babysitters.

    Just as Peterson says...Caledonia is just collateral damage.

    Things are getting so tough, soon I'll be down to just one white sheet in the closet and a tattered pointy hat.

    Hydro did a fantastic job of fixing things up. There first indication was that we would be out of hydro for up to a week.

    A big hearty thank you to the protesters who eventually let them behind the lines to start the repairs.

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  6. Localyokel, i have not accused you of being a klansman, and i am not unaware of the fact that people in Caledonia have been inconvenienced by the Reclamation.

    Judging from your posts i don't think you're an asshole or even a provocateur, i just think we have some major differences in how we see the world.

    For the longer version i know you hve already read my piece Detoxing From Canada - but to succinctly state what i think it boils down to: i consider the struggle by First Nations people to be just, inevitable and positive. Furthermore, i do not think it will take place primarily in the courts or the UN or parliament, but rather "on the ground", as is occurring in Caledonia.

    I think that the more support this anti-colonial struggle receives the easier things will be for all concerned.

    For example:

    * if the OPP had never attacked there never would have been a barricade on Argyle Street

    * if people in Caledonia had reacted in solidarity with the First Nations people instead of rallying against them the barricade might not have been such a hindrance to them

    *if on Monday the racists - whether outsiders or not - had been isolated and kept in check by anti-racist Caledonians the hydro "vandalism" would have never occurred

    Likewise, had people in Caledonia reacted in an even more reactionary manner, things would likely have been even worst.

    This is not the main reason, but it is certainly one reason why settlers (or if you prefer "nono-indigenous")might consider acting in solidarity with the First Nations people.

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  7. Dear Bob:

    No, it wasn't you who accused me of having a point hat..it was meaghen williams.

    "the hydro "vandalism" would have never occurred"

    Let me bring you back to the point I have made in another posting to you...nobody in Caledonia believes for one minute that the protesters were going to take down that barricade. They made it all look pretty, taking down the huts, building a road. But when you look at how fast they reacted to Caledonia's pathetic little board barricade.... backhoe at the ready, hydro station on fire almost simultaneously...it seems far to coincidental.

    "It will happen on the ground"

    And that is truly what you are hoping for. Go from town to town where you meet up with poorly organized white people, hold them hostage for a while, terrorize them with messages that if you do anything, it will only get more violent, until the government gives you what you want and then off you go to another spot.

    That is truly the way to win friends and influence people.

    So what you are telling me is that I need to jump on board with the likes of Hazel and Janie to help you win your cause. If I thought Janie and Hazel in any way were representative of the average joe that lives on Six Nations, I myself would be at the barricade.

    Do you know there are posts on the reclamation site, expressing dismay that more of their people aren't supporting the reclamation. If the people of Six Nations won't do it and there are 20,000 in the area, than why should I.

    Go ahead, hold us hostage..block our roads, break out towns. But don't expect us to like it.

    Keep flaming me...I assume that is what the little fireball is...when I read something that is posted that at least RESEMBLES a balanced reporting of what has gone on, then you won't see anymore of my posts. Until then, flame away or block me out.

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