by Niki Thorne (published in Mayday Magazine #53 September/09)
The situation in Caledonia became the subject of intense conflict and debate with Six Nations’ reclamation of Douglas Creek Estates (Kanonhstaton) in February of 2006. Shortly after the reclamation, Caledonia Wake Up Call (CWUC) was formed by a number of angry citizens, as well as with the support of prominent non-Caledonian anti-native sovereignty activists including Gary McHale and other founders of CANACE (“Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality”). In his biography, Gary McHale, editor of Caledonia Wake Up Call and co-founder of CANACE, describes himself as “a full time Civil Rights Advocate working to stop violence and OPP [Ontario Provincial Police] racially based policing during Aboriginal land claims.”
CANACE and CWUC claim that non-native citizens of Caledonia are being oppressed by native “terrorism” and “lawlessness”. As of June 23rd, 2009, such claims have been the basis for the formation of the Caledonia ‘Peacekeepers’ (called the Caledonia ‘Militia’ in previous press releases),headed by Caledonia citizen Doug Fleming. Fleming states, “Enough is enough! Due to the ongoing reality that the OPP refuses to enforce the Criminal Code with regards to people’s property rights I am forming the Caledonia Militia to ensure that the criminal code is upheld.” He states that the Caledonia “Militia”/ “Peacekeepers” would patrol areas of Caledonia by car and by foot, with uniforms and radios, and would use “reasonable force” in conducting arrests when informed of native lawlessness. They intend to focus on the Douglas Creek Estates (Kanonhstaton) site, which Fleming calls a “safe-zone for native criminals” and their stated goal is to provoke confrontation, forcing the police to act.
The existence and activities of this group rests on the claim that there is two-tiered justice and oppression of non-natives, while natives are above the law. In actuality, First Nations are five to ten times more likely to be incarcerated than non-natives in Canada. They are more likely to be investigated, and to be charged. They are also more likely to be denied bail, to be given jail time, and they tend to be given longer sentences than non-native Canadians. There is a historical and systemic background that has resulted in the over-incarceration of Aboriginal people—the Supreme Court ruled in Regina v. Gladue (1999) that the Canadian criminal justice is racist. This is in legislation.
Despite this, Gary McHale, Mark Vandermas, and others continue to depict unarmed native protesters as “terrorists” and “insurgents”, in order to incite fear and panic, alluding to savagery and barbarism. One article on McHale’s “Homeland Security” webpage (www.caledoniawakeupcall.com/homeland/index.html), entitled “Introduction to Terrorist Threat in Caledonia”, states “These web pages are created to educate the American people to a Real Terrorist Threat just north of your border”. In another of his articles, entitled “Power Grid Terrorist Threat—Previous Attacks”, McHale portrays the native protesters as violent and murderous. He states that a guard was “swarmed by a number of the protesters who smashed the security car while he was inside the vehicle, threatened him with death if he did not leave, then put gasoline on the car, lit it on fire”, implying the killing of the security guard. He also writes “This Native element is extremely well organized and weaponized”.
In his article “Why the Natives have Won?” McHale states that “women and children are living in fear and in direct danger to their lives.” In “McGuinty Negotiates with Terrorists” he states that “the very reason they don’t want to send in the police (there will be bloodshed) proves that the people protesting in Caledonia are well armed and well motived to commit such violence…The OPP and the Ontario Government are convinced that these particular protesters in Caledonia will respond with open war—bloodshed is their fear.” He also states that “Native Laws and Native Constitution gives them [the natives] the right to attack the occupiers [Canadians], to attack those who are guilty of genocide. Natives teach their children these things.”
This is obviously a gross misrepresentation, and a fabrication of a non-existing “Native Law” (Contrast with Kaianere’kό:wa, or the Great Law of Peace, often referred to by the Haudenosaunee protesters). The security guard was not lit on fire, the ‘Native element’ is not ‘weaponized’, nor are they attacking.
McHale has fabricated his own version of Native law to incite and promote fear and discontent, and with it, an escalation of the possibility of violence towards native people. The recent formation of the Caledonia “Peacekeepers”, headed by Doug Fleming, with the support of both Gary McHale and Mark Vandermas, represents a further, and very tangible threat of violence and escalation to both Caledonia and Six Nations communities.