Author Archives: alex hundert

About alex hundert

Organizer w AW@L and the KW Community Centre for Social Justice, media activist.

April 28th Coalition


A Statement from the April 28th Coalition

On Tuesday May 29th, Francine “Flower” Doxtator – a Haudenosaunee [Six Nations] land defender, grandmother and member of the April 28th Coalition – appeared in court in Cayuga, Ontario, as a result of charges stemming from an incursion by Gary McHale and the OPP at Kanonhstaton – the Six Nations reclamation site in Caledonia – on February 18th, 2012. As Flower and a group of about 15 of her supporters left the court room, they were approached in the lobby by a group of OPP officers, one of whom grabbed Flower by her broken arm and tried to re-arrest her.

Flower and her supporters were outraged and demanded to know what the new charges were. After a tense discussion in the lobby of the court-house, the officers finally explained that they had evidence that Flower had been present at Kanonhstaton on April 28th…

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April 28 Report Back: Walking for Peace, Respect and Friendship along the Grand River

Honouring our historical agreements through shared action

by Dan Kellar, The Dominion, May 14

On April 28th 2012, a thousand Canadians from across Southern Ontario participated in the Walk, Rally, and Potluck for Peace, Respect, and Friendship and joined with Indigenous land defenders and families who are tired of the inaction and disrespect shown by all levels of Canadian government, to demand that Six Nations land rights be respected.

KITCHENER, ON—If you travel south along the winding 50-kilometres stretch of the Grand River between Kitchener and Caledonia, you will pass farms fields, forests, a sprawling patchwork of towns with their own industrial sites and golf courses, finally coming to the edge of the Six Nations reserve, and eventually, Kanonhstaton, the “protected place”—a site of Haudenosaunee land reclamation and defense. A brief walk from Caledonia’s downtown, the site is still identifiable by the downed hydro tower at the entrance just off the highway, and the skeleton of the trailer burned in early 2008 by a gang of anti-reclamation settlers.

Located on the boundary between the Six Nation reserve and the settler town of Caledonia, Kanonhstaton has brought Indigenous land rights to the forefront of national attention over and over again in the past six years, gaining prominence rarely seen in land occupations since the 1990 Oka standoff.

Kanonhstaton is about reclaiming the land and stopping a housing development known as the Douglas Creek Estates. The initial action by the group of around twenty, mostly woman Indigenous land defenders was met with little protest locally, and instead garnered widespread support from settler allies.

But on April 20, 2006, the Ontario Provincial Police carried out a violent raid on the site, during which OPP tore open tents, tasered, pepper sprayed, beat, and ultimately, arrested 16 Indigenous people. That day, hundreds from the reserve flooded to the site in response to the raid, ejected the police, and proceeded to build road blockades. Following this unsuccessful eviction attempt, groups of white settlers began organising citizen councils and anti-native and anti-reclamation rallies, under a call for a return to the “rule of law and order.”

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Filed under 6NSN, April 28, April 28 Coalition, Caledonia, Haldimand Tract, Kitchener-Waterloo

New Interactive Map! – Haldimand Tract

Haldimand TractLINK

This map seeks to outline the territory of the Six Nations as set out in the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 and the recent struggles to fight off developers planning to profit on stolen land.

The map divides the Haldimand Tracts into smaller tracts based upon the history of land theft orchestrated by the colonial state. The accompanying text outlines the specific claims to that specific tract – contrary to the claims of the state. This history and the geographical boundaries are based upon the research of Phil Monture.

The geographical lines on this map are not 100% accurate and are made as general representations.

The markers indicate various specific land defense hotspots (most of which necessitated the use of direct action). Red markers indicate sites of struggles currently unfolding. Blue markers indicate sites of struggle that are slightly less active – although very much still sites of struggle.

The map has been compiled by a settler ally.

larger map includes detailed legend

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Filed under Brantford, Caledonia, decolonization, Development, Haldimand Tract, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ohsweken, Uncategorized

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On “keeping it local” and “keeping it peaceful” in Caledonia

blog post by Laura McDonald, Kitchener-Waterloo

Yesterday, I participated in a “Peace, Respect, and Friendship” celebration, including a march from Caledonia to Kanonhstaton, the reclamation site just outside of town, and a gigantic party including a bouncy castle, spoken word, speeches, music, and a gigantic potluck.

It was overwhelmingly – no, exclusively – positive. The event was wonderful. I find it bizarre that we needed to reassure people that it was going to be (and now, that it was) “positive” and “nonviolent”. It frustrates me that anyone would assume it wouldn’t be. But I will reassure you anyway: the onlyhositility I witnessed at all today was from people opposed to the event.

But I don’t want to talk about that.

While walking through Caledonia, I saw a restaurant with a sign saying “Keep it local. Keep it peaceful.” A friend of mine took this as a semi-positive thing – at least they were engaging with the issue in a not-overtly-hostile way. That’s a valid way of looking at it, for sure. I, however, saw it as representative of some pretty big misunderstandings that I want to address.

1. Keep it peaceful. I’ll do this one first because it’s easier (and because it’s not what I really want to talk about). Combined with the guy carrying the “anarchists go home” sign all over the place, I saw this as reflecting a common lack of understanding of who activists and anarchists are and what they do.

Always being told to make sure our protests are “peaceful” (and thus “valid”) takes away any agency that we have in just being peaceful because we were going to be anyway. It’s always a surprise that we were peaceful, or assumed that we were forced into being peaceful by the police presence. Like with the recent rainbow demo at UW, this assumption that we need to be told to be peaceful is really insulting and perpetuates a lot of dangerous myths about activism – and people in general. (It also perpetuates a lot of problematic ideas about what constitutes a valid form of protest or civic engagement, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms!)

More specifically, people apparently thought “G20 Anarchists” were going to come to town and smash windows. Um, what? If you know anything at all about anarchists, you know that’s an absurd (and I mean really absurd) thing to think with respect to this event. But most people don’t know very much about anarchists, and don’t try to. For the record, these “G20 Anarchists” were there. Some even played key roles in the explicitly peaceful event, because THIS (walk, make giant banners, prepare food for giant potlucks, arrange busses, show support, etc) is what they do, far more often than smashing windows.

I also think this “keep it peaceful” statement could reflect a fundamentally racist assumption (which is also, importantly, rooted in a complicated experience that I absolutely cannot speak to) that anything relating to Six Nations and the reclamation site is likely to NOT be peaceful. This is clearly wrong, and I hope today helped clear that up.

I think there are reasons people have these misguided notions, in both cases. I hope we can all keep working to dispel these illusions.

2. Keep it local. This statement was clearly directed at the hundreds of people who bussed in from other cities. This says “you don’t live here; you don’t understand; this isn’t your issue”. I fundamentally disagree with this argument pretty much across the board. Indigenous rights, environmental destruction, “development”, nuclear power, civil rights, human rights absuses, whatever – we are all affected and thus have a stake in these things no matter where they’re happening. It’s incredibly dangerous to think we can only fight for justice in our own communities, and we can’t let people tell us that’s how it should be. The boundaries that denote “local” issues are false, in many ways, and I think we all have the right (and duty) to have a say in things going on elsewhere and also to ask others to join in solidarity when dealing with so-called “local” conflicts, as non-native allies were asked to join today.

But in this case there’s also a much more specific reason this bothered me. This is what I want to talk about. While I get why people in Caledonia might feel this way, to an extent, I don’t think that many people (in Caledonia, or here on Facebook) understand that this is local for me. This is local for all of us. Yesterday wasn’t just about Caledonia, or Six Nations, or Kanonhstaton. This is about the entire Haudenosaunee territory, on which I live. On which many of the people who came to the event live. This is about all of the territories on which all of us live.

This event was about the treaties to which we are all beholden, and which we, as settlers, need to fight for, because they have not been upheld by our government, at any level, and it is our responsibility to change that. It is our responsibility to recognize the tremendous harm that has been done – and is still being done – by the immense and intentional dismissal of these treaties by the Canadian government.

We are all treaty people, and we need to start acting like it.

*for more photos from the event see http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/photo/marchrally-solidarity-six-nation-reclamation-april-28/10683

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Filed under 6NSN, April 28, Caledonia, decolonization, Haldimand Tract, Kitchener-Waterloo, Racism, Uncategorized

Respecting historic agreements with the Haudenosaunee and walking to Kanonhstaton for peace

AW@L Radio: A discussion with Luke Stewart

Rabble Podcast Network, 20 April 2012

LINK:  http://rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/awl/2012/04/respecting-historic-agreements-and-walking-peace-april28net-discussion-hi

Show Notes:

The feature of today’s show is our discussion with radical historian Luke Stewart on the upcoming Rally, Walk, and Community BBQ taking place on April 28th in Grand River Territory of the Six Nations, hosted by the April 28th Coalition (http://april28.net). This discussion looks at the the intentions of the event organizers (both indigenous and settler), respecting historical friendships and honouring our treaties (such as the Silver Covenant Chain, The Two Row Wampum, and the Haldimand Proclamation) and the resistance to the event from business interests and white citizens’ councils, among other topics.

– Check http://april28.net for more information about the upcoming rally, walk and community celebration in Caledonia and @Kanonhstaton, Southern Ontario.
– Audio of the invitations for this event Indigenous Land Protectors and their Settler Allies.
This podcast is part of the weekly 2-hour radio show AW@L Radio on CKMS 100.3 http://soundfm.ca from 16:00-18:00 on Fridays.
Check the whole episode at: http://peaceculture.org/drupal/radio/aw@lradio-2012-04-13-fe.mp3

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Filed under April 28, AW@L, Caledonia, Haldimand Tract, Sovereignty and Haudenosaunee Passports

“We are not the criminals”

Dick Hill and Gene Johns on being found “guilty” of mischief

April 2, 2012

Dick Hill and Gene Johns, Rotiskenekete of Six Nations of the Grand River, were charged with mischief in relation to housing developments protected by an injunction granted to the City of Brantford. They were both arrested and released by the Brantford Police on conditions preventing them from going within 1.5 kilometers of any “land claim protest.” Through a year long Charter challenge, they fought that condition and Justice K.G. Lenz reduced the zone to 100m. In a criminal justice system that would silence Onkwehonwe (native) voices, these are their words.

Today, we are telling the court that – yes, we attended at development sites and caused a delay in construction.  We appreciate that a judge will find us “guilty” of mischief under Canadian law.  At the end of this long court process, we are affirmed that there is no justice.

When a Canadian judge recognizes that there is development happening on treaty land and there has been no negotiation or consultation prior to shovels in the ground, we are the criminals for attending at the site and demanding pause to allow for some discussion to occur with Six Nations?  This is not justice.  This is more of the same.  This is the reason why Onkwehonwe people cannot trust the police, the courts or the Canadian governments.

Our experience shows us that we cannot trust the words offered to Onkwehone people.  Stephen Harper’s Apology on behalf of Canadians for the Indian Residential Schools system, Canada’s commitment to United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – these are recent examples of words that fly in the face of how the government is actually treating our people.

We hear these words spoken in court – that the “honour of the Crown” is always at stake when dealing with Onkwehonwe people.  Treaties were made because the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) chose to be Allies with the Crown.  The City of Brantford, the Province and Canada behave like these treaties never happened.  In our case, the judge recognized that no negotiations or consultations have occurred on any of the sites listed in the City of Brantford’s injunction.  Every one of these sites has been recognized by the federal government as part of a legitimate “land claim” and the jurisdiction, ownership and interests in the land is unsettled.  No reconciliation, no benefit or consideration whatsoever to Six Nations – only arrest, jail and the appalling experience of being prosecuted in a criminal court.  Where is the honour in this?

We know directly from City officials, including former councillor James Calnan and sitting Mayor Chris Friel, that the City of Brantford has a strategy to use criminal law to stop any Onkwehonwe protests.  That strategy, developed with the direct participation of the Brantford Police Service, came to a head with bail conditions preventing anyone who was arrested from coming within 1.5 kilometres of any “land development site…in which a land claim protest is taking place”.  You forced us to go into a Canadian court to have this condition challenged knowing that your side is chewing up the land with no regard for treaties, no good faith efforts at negotiations and consultation, and no options for us but to sit back and watch the land destroyed.

When Canada and Ontario play games instead of negotiate in good faith, when our land and our future is bargained away without the slightest courtesy to our inherent rights – what options are we left with?

In our lifetimes, we have seen the size of Brantford double and Caledonia grow from a bunch of houses on the river.  Despite the fact of our treaties, this development goes ahead without any involvement from Six Nations.  Canadian law says that there must be negotiation to settle the long-standing issues and consultation before anything.  Who holds Canada accountable for failing to live up to their legal promises? No one.

There is no justice for us in any Canadian court, only towers of lawyers and bottomless pockets ready to use the club of Canadian law to continue your assumed jurisdiction over our land and our people.

We have no voice in the Canadian criminal justice system; we could sit in court talking until we are blue in the face but no one is listening because the Onkwehonwe voice does not fit into Canadian law.  Growing up native is about looking over your shoulder because a justice system says “we are going to getcha”.

We are not against development, we are against the all out attack on our children and the future of our people as we get more and more land-locked on the “reserve”.  As Haudenosaunee men, we live by our responsibilities under the Kaianereh’ko:wa (Great Law of Peace) and we understand what needs to be done.  We will protect this land until such time that the sun does not shine, the rivers do not flow and the grass grows no longer.  There is no judge, no court that will ever stop us from doing our duty to our people and the Creator.

Six Nations of The Grand River

For more information or to arrange for an interview, contact:

Sarah Dover
Counsel to Dick Hill & Gene Johns
(519) 751-4789
sarahdover@sympatico.ca

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Filed under Brantford, Development, Men's Fire, Sovereignty and Haudenosaunee Passports