Saturday, April 15, 2006

Reclaiming Stolen Land: Updates & Resources re: Caledonia Standoff

Here is an updated timeline of the struggle in at Douglas Creek:

  • October 25th, 2005 Protesters hold an information picket at Douglas Creek, where Henco Industries plans to build luxury homes.

  • February 28th. Protesters, including representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy, occupy Henco’s construction site. The protesters erected barriers and let workers enter the site – but just to retrieve their tools.

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  • March 3rd Henco Industries obtained a court injunction to have the protesters removed from the construction site

  • March 9th, superior court “justice” David Marshall issued a permanent injunction against the protesters.

  • March 16th, “justice” David Marshall is asked to step down due to conflict of interest, as he himself owns land on the Haldimand Tract. He refuses, and takes steps to enforce his injunction by ruling that anybody occupying the site could be arrested for criminal and civil contempt of court. He states that Ontario Provincial Police will be sent to clear the protesters on March 22nd.

  • March 22nd, lead by Clan Mothers, hundreds of protesters, including supporters from across the continent, gather on the Douglas Creek Estates in support of the reclamation. The police did not try to make any arrests.

  • March 24th. Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice sends Michael Coyle – alternately described as a “mediator” and as someone on a “fact-finding mission” – to the area to meet with Six Nations Chiefs and Clan Mothers.

  • March 27th. Haudenosaunee chiefs publicly voice their support for he reclamation. Michael Coyle is told to go back to Ottawa – the government is told “to send someone of more importance to the table.”

  • March 29th “justice” David Marshall clarifies court order. “Immediate” police action predicted.

  • March 31st. Mood is tense as Sheriff John Dawson of the Caledonia Police Department reads protesters judge Marshall’s latest eviction order. Protesters read Dawson their own “Notice of Violation of the Law”, accusing the authorities of crimes of genocide against First Nations people.

  • April 4th. A few hundred people hold a racist anti-reclamation rally in Caledonia demanding the police move in and arrest the people reclaiming the Douglas Estates site.

  • April 6th. A spokesperson for Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice denies the national basis for the reclamation, claiming that the standoff “has nothing to do with the federal government […] This isn't a lands-claim matter. The actual root of the problem is not a land claim. For the time being, it's a protest.”

  • April 7th. Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer and other officials meet with Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice to discuss ways to resolve the standoff. Meanwhile, protesters build a cook-house on reclaimed Douglas Creek Estates; as one of them explains, “We'll see how it goes, but we do own the land so we can do anything we want to the land.”

  • April 8th. Rally just at the Douglas Creek Estates site in support of occupation/reclamation, attended by people from Hamilton, Kingston, Toronto and Montreal.

  • April 11th. Rally in Toronto to support the reclamation.

  • April 12th. Rallies and information pickets held across Canada in support of the Douglas Creek Estates occupation/reclamation. Meanwhile, meetings are held at Best Western hotel in Brantford (a half an hour away – on the other side of the Six Nation reservation) – according to the Hamilton Spectator the meetings involved representatives from Henco, Six Nations elected band council members, traditional chiefs, representatives of the protesters, Haldimand town council, the Ontario Provincial Police, chiefs from the Union of B.C. chiefs, the Ontario government and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

  • April 13th. Meetings continue at Best Western Hotel. Reclamation continues at Douglas Creek Estates.

As of April 13th, the provincial and federal government’s had put forth a proposal which was apparently discussed at length in the Best Western talks. Amongst other things this proposal includes a commitment from the Haldimand County to keep the land between urban Caledonia and Six Nations designated as agriculture, which one assumes would mean no development of the sort that Henco has been carrying out.

Nevertheless, provincial and federal representatives clearly stated that the government is not willing to “buy out” Henco, which one assumes means that the State is insisting that this land does belong to the company and not to the Mohawk Nation. But in the words of Janie Jamieson, one of the women who has led the reclamation, “It's not their land to sell.”

The hereditary chiefs said they would consult the people before drawing any conclusions.


A series of excellent interviews and speeches dealing with the standoff have been recorded by Toronto’s alternative CKLN radio station and are available for download from the Radio4All site.

Unfortunately, bandwidth seems to be a problem with Radio4All these days – it took me hours to download these files, with frequent time outs!

For that reason io am mirroring them on the Kersplebedeb website, with links here. (i hope this is ok – someone from CKLN let me know if it’s not!) This is how CKLN introduced the files:

In the first file below, blockade spokesperson Janie Jamieson explains the background and spirit of this action. She was interviewed by Mostafa Henaway and Stef Gude of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty on April 7, 2006.The other sound files are from a solidarity rally held in Toronto on Tuesday April 11. We apologize that not all speakers' names were available when we uploaded. Some highlights: Janet Conway talks about indigenous struggles internationally. Zainab Amadahy and Josh give reports from the encampment. Wanda Whitebird's closing comments reflect the high stakes in this conflict, and recall the death of warrior Dudley George in 1995.

And here are the files (mp3 format - right click to download/save to your computer):

Janie Jamieson, 18:00 minutes
Young Warrior, 4:21 minutes
Arab Student Collective, 1:15 minutes
No More Silence Network, 5:53 minutes
Krista from No One Is Illegal, 2:33 minutes
Zainab Amadahy, 2:00 minutes
Janet Conway, 5:58 minutes
Josh from OCAP, 3:38 minutes
Audrey Redman, 9:36 minutes
Wanda Whitebird and AIM song, 5:40 minutes


For more background on the stand-off just at Douglas Creek, see my posts on the Haldimand Grant, Hazel Hill’s "Ongwehonwe Women's Manifesto", Kahentinetha Horn’s two articles on the Best Western negotiations (Canada Hosts Secret ‘Bag of Wind’ Negotiations at Best Western in Brantford and Dave General Marches to Colonial “Goose Step” With Canada and Ontario on Six Nations People).

Also, definitely worth checking out: the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement page – while not updated recently – has a wealth of information in its “Resources” and “Links” sections.

Also, the Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty has a page up with some up to date information which pertains to the standoff in Caledonia.

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  1. Kia ora

    We are a Maori family lving in the Kulin Nations (Victoria, Melbourne Australia)
    We would like to give our whole hearted support to the brothers and sisters Reclaming Land for the Six Nations.
    We understand how colonialism & Treaties dispossed our people and our ansestral rights to our lands and our culture.
    Around the world it is clear that you cant be much of an an Indigenous person without your own land to practice your culture, and sustain your people on ,physically and spiritually.
    We see you living free as your ansestors and showing our children the strenght and beauty of standing together on your own land.

    Kia Kaha (Stay strong)
    Kia Mau (Stay Steadfast)
    Kia Manawanui (Be of Strong Heart)

    Also currently in Melbourne, Indiginous peoples are reclaiming a sacred site

    and in Aotearoa Maori (Tuwharetoa) are reoccupying land that was earmarked for a 'development" but should have gone back to the tribe first.

    May these fires all around the world burn brightly.

    Much Respect
    Brown-Davis Whanau (family)

  2. url should read

    Is there an adress we so we can send direct messages of support

    Brown-Davis Whanau

  3. Hi I support the Natives protest to reclaim their land as long as it remains peaceful I do not want to see anyone get hurt. I am a Canadian with a British and German heritage however I have always felt very sensitive to the First Nation peoples. Sometimes I feel helpless and would like suggestions on the best way to support this cause.

    Good luck and peace and safety to all


  4. You might want to take a look at hamilton indymedia and listen to Hamilton's cfmu 93.3 fm for recent news and interviews with the Mohawks on the site.

  5. Hi I live on the Six Nations reserve and would like to let everyone who is looking to stay updated, that we (members of Haudenosaunee, traditional)will be posting our own website this week specifically to keep everyone abreast of the facts, information and any developments very soon.

    It will be written by our residents and will include actual researched information and facts involving the land in dispute.

    I should be able to post the link within the week.

  6. Fantastic - please let me know when your site is up and i will certainly link to it!