Monthly Archives: July 2009

Six Nations concerns over Edwards landfill

Six Nations concerns over Edwards landfill
July 29, 2009

As pressure continues to mount against the North Simcoe Landfill, an irresponsible waste dump that “was set up with a 1950s mindset,” a delegation from the Hoskanigetah (Six Nations Men’s Fire of the Grand River) warns about the possible re-opening of another dump site: the Edwards landfill, just outside of Cayuga, Ontario.

According to the CUPE 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group, “the Edwards landfill contains highly toxic material from an old resin plant in Cayuga which was dumped there in the 1950s, along with other medical, industrial and commercial waste.”

For several years now, members from the Six Nations community have been working alongside the non-native environmental coalition, HALT (Haldimand Against Land Transfers), to make sure no more waste is added to the dump.

Historically, they’ve taken the same approach that activists and the Council of Canadians are now taking with the North Simcoe Landfill: namely, they’ve filed legal challenges and, whenever trucks arrived to pile on more waste, they physically blocked access to the dump site. Fortunately, the trucks always turned back.

Their reason for opposition is straightforward, and too familiar for indigenous people in Canada: There are a number of serious health concerns among people living in the region of the Edwards landfill and several other nearby dump sites believed to hold waste from the former Resin Plan.

Commonsense (and basic human rights) tells us that each and every report should be investigated by the government and that the sites themselves, particularly the Edwards landfill, should be remediated.

Unfortunately, like the radar contamination sites effecting the Mushkegowuk Cree Nation, it just hasn’t happened.

And now, the Hoskanigetah warn, preparations appear to be underway for the landfill to receive more waste in the near future.

Read the full piece here:

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Filed under Edwards Landfill, Environoment, Uncategorized

A message from the Hoskanigetah (Men’s Fire) of Six Nations

Hoskanigetah Of the Grand River
P.O. Box #158
Ohsweken, Ontario
N0A 1M0

July 20, 2009

To all concerned,

By the process of consensus, be it known that the Hoskanigetah of the Grand River have come to one mind that the contamination that came from the former Resin Plant of Cayuga is a hazard to all life wherever it was illegally dumped.

As such we the men:

• Will not permit reactivation of the Edwards Landfill site located in Cayuga.
• Will undertake the supervision of our own Environmental Review of contamination and its effect on life within Cayuga.
• Will uphold the rites given to us by Shonkwaia’ti:son (The Creator) as protectors of the land.
• Will assert our jurisdiction and Soveriegn rights confirmed, outlined, and guaranteed in perpetuity by the language of the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, and the Two Row Wampum of 1604.
• Will look to have our concerns, but not limited to the following, addressed.

Concerns that:

• The illegal dumping from the former St. Lawrence Resin Plant occurred at as many as six other sites (including Edwards) in and around Cayuga.
• A plume exists beneath and around not only Edwards Landfill, but other places within Cayuga.
• Dead animals have been found close to the Edwards Landfill.
• People living near these sites have been and still are at risk of illness and cancer.
• Former workers at the St. Lawrence Resin Plant, had or are having illness and/or cancer.
• Higher than normal rates of illness and/or cancer exist as compared to the national average.

Concerns that:

• Women living near these sites have premature births.
• Women living near these sites have had miscarriages in either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd trimester.
• Deformities of a physical or mental nature have occurred.
• A higher or lower ratio of male to female birth rates have occurred.
• These sites (including Edwards Landfill) have and still are contaminating aquifers, underground streams, the water table, flooded gypsum mines, the Grand River and other communities down river including the St. Lawrence river system.
• There are possible deformities and/or illness of any kind among livestock by any means through the consumption of food and water and any other means.
• There are possible deformities and/or illness of any kind among household pets.
• The integrity of the same liner used at Edwards Landfill has been breached at other sites including the U.S., where it has been used.
• There is no contingency plan in case of liner failure.

Be it recognized that in holding with the consistent actions of the Hoskanigetah of the Grand River, that we uphold, follow and adhere to the Kianerekowa (the Great Law).

Be it further recognized that we the Hoskanigetah will no longer endure the attempted subjugation of our responsibilities, freedoms and collective rights.


Acting Recording Secretaty

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Filed under Edwards Landfill, Environoment, Men's Fire

Protected: Worth a look…

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Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Caledonia, White Supremacists

Sachem News coverage

[again, another report from someone who left the event before more than half of the protesters arrived, but at least it reports one OPP officer claiming that we were the “most organized, prepared rally” they had ever seen.  It should also be noted that near the end of the protest an off-duty officer came up to us and said that they were very proud of what we were doing, to keep up the good work, and that if their parents were alive today they would have been on our side of the road]

Out-of-towners rally against ‘militia’

By Stefanie Wallace, The Sachem

June 26, 2009

Over 70 people from Hamilton, Kitchener- Waterloo, Guelph, Toronto, Six Nations and the Haldimand-Norfolk area travelled to Cayuga on June 23 for a rally that started and ended just the way everyone hoped it would: as peacefully as possible.

“This is the most organized, prepared rally I’ve ever seen,” one OPP officer joked as the group of protesters handed out bottled water and snacks to one another.

The rally, which was initiated by the Canadian Union for Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3903 First Nations Solidarity Working Group, and organized by Tom Keefer, was to protest the formation and the first meeting of what Gary McHale and Doug Fleming originally called the Caledonia Militia.

“The only way to get media attention in this country is to use a word like militia,” McHale said, explaining that the group he and Fleming formed will now be known as the Caledonia Peacekeepers.

The Caledonia Peacekeepers will protect citizens by using unarmed force to remove trespassers from private property.

Fleming said the group was only meant to help the situation, not make it worse.

Across the street from the Cayuga Lions Club Hall, protesters flooded the street chanting, “Go away, KKK,” and waving signs and banners that read, “With 6 Nations Against Racism” and “Canadians say NO to Anti-Native Vigilantes.”

“The Caledonia Militia, or Peacekeepers, and Gary McHale are strongly supported by openly Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups,” said Niki Thorne, a protester from Hamilton.

“This militia isn’t good for either Caledonia or Six Nations, so we’re calling for the Canadian government to resolve land claims fairly, swiftly and peacefully.”

McHale said that he has openly denounced support from Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups.

“The fact is that there has been an armed militia in Haldimand County for the past three years … a group of people who go around wearing masks, carrying baseball bats … who believe they are above the law,” McHale said, referring to the Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire, a group that was involved in the land occupation and road blockades.

The formation of the Caledonia Peacekeepers group is not supported by the OPP.

“The OPP has been acting to preserve the peace, maintain public safety and investigate criminal wrongdoing. That’s what we have been doing and will continue to do so,” commented OPP Constable Paula Wright. “The formation of a militia will benefit no one.”


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Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Cayuga Anti-Militia Protest, Sachem

Basic Background of Cayuga Protest

[The following is taken from independent documentary photographer Allan Lissner who does an excellent job providing some background to the issue, but make sure to visit the source of this piece ( to check out some great photos]


Tensions on the rise again surrounding Six Nations’ land claim in Caledonia

By Allan Lissner,

Tensions are on the rise again surrounding the three-year standoff over a first nations land dispute in Caledonia, Ontario.  Non native residents of Caledonia recently announced the formation of the “Caledonia Militia” in response to the lack of progress in the land dispute with the intent to “follow established procedures on the use of reasonable force to remove illegal trespassers”. The formation of the Caledonia Militia has caused a great deal of concern over the potential for violent escalation in the already tense situation.

The Douglas Creek Estates is the strip of land at the centre of this dispute. The land in question looks much like any other suburban construction site being developed across Canada, except that members of the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy point out that the land rightfully belongs to them.

This is one of hundreds of indigenous land claims being disputed across Canada.  The Six Nations’ claim to this land dates back to 1784 when the British were fighting the Americans during the War of Independence; The British, who had always dealt with the Six Nations Confederacy on a nation-to-nation basis, asked the Six Nations’ to fight alongside them and offered a large area of land in return.  The 380,000 hectare tract of land promised to them covered an area of six miles on either side of the Grand River. Today, less than five percent of the land promised to them is in their possession, making up what is now the Six Nations Reserve.  The Government of Canada’s official position on the matter is that “the Six Nations validly surrendered all the lands that are not now part of the reserve.”

The women of the Six Nations Confederacy, however, argue that the land in question was never legally surrendered. The Six Nations Confederacy has been called the oldest surviving participatory democracy on earth, and according to their constitution the women are the ‘Title Holders.’ One of the women active at the blockade describes how decisions are made: “There are fifty chiefs who represent the Confederacy Council and they have a clanmother with each chief. It is the people whose voice the chiefs and clanmothers carry. Any decision regarding land comes first from the women, and then to their clans; and through the process of our council, when all are in agreement, or when consensus has been reached, only then does the decision stand,” she says. “In our history of the Haldimand Tract, this has never been done.”

“The idea that British Colonists or their descendents–like Canadians–were the only people who had ‘law’ is a legal fiction,” says Kahentinetha Horn, a Mohawk elder from Kahnawake. Canada “has totally disrespected our laws and agreements to conduct a nation-to-nation relationship.”

Construction stopped on February 28, 2006, when members of the Six Nations moved in to block construction on the site and reclaim the land.  They have remained there for over three years now with little progress being made in negotiations with federal and provincial governments.  Both federal and provincial governments have been dodging the issue by claiming that the issue lies in the others’ jurisdiction.  With the government completely avoiding the issue, the racial tensions continue to mount between the native and non-natives in the surrounding area.  Both sides are growing increasingly worried about the potential for violent escalation.

The formation of the Caledonia Militia has been met with strong criticism from the Canadian Union of Public Employees’ (CUPE) First Nations Solidarity Working Group, who argue that the formation of the Caledonia Militia “represents a major escalation in regard to the conflict at Six Nations … [increasing] the possibility of violent conflict between natives and non-natives.”  To show their opposition, CUPE’s First Nations Solidarity Group brought busloads of protestors from Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Guelph to gather outside the Lion’s Club in Cayuga, Ontario, where the first meeting of the militia was being held.


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Filed under Caledonia, Cayuga Anti-Militia Protest, Development