Author Archives: unclet7

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

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

Brantford Expositor coverage

[Fleming points out that white supremacists need not apply and that he “despises” their beliefs, but-as mentioned elsewhere-he needs to face the elephant in the room: why do these actions attract such company?  McHale and Fleming can talk until they’re blue in the face about how much they despise such ideologies of hate, but the simple truth is that their rallies, marches, and now possibly militias, draw out a certain crowd like bees to honey]

Call us ‘Peacekeepers’


June 24, 2009

This town became Caledonia for an evening as two bitterly opposed groups faced off Tuesday night with insults and warring news releases at the Lions Club Hall.

Inside the hall, about 30 people in a group that was holding a first organizational meeting of the Caledonia Peacekeepers. A couple of weeks ago the group started by calling itself the Caledonia Militia.

Caledonia protest personality Gary McHale and Doug Fleming, the Peacekeepers founding leader, launched a critique of the OPP’s “race-based policing” that they say goes easy on crimes committed by First Nations people.

They also explained how the new group would monitor and report on crime in Caledonia, be prepared to make citizen’s arrests and carry out an information program to educate people about “what is really going on” in the name of the native land claims dispute.

Above all, Fleming and McHale emphasized that the Peacekeepers would not tolerate anyone in its membership who expresses racist views.

“I’m going to be very blunt, here,” said Fleming.

“My grandfather’s generation fought a war against Nazi Germany to combat that type of thinking. If any of you here have bought into this racist doctrine, I just want you to know this: I despise your beliefs. I couldn’t disagree with you more, and this is not the group for you.”

Outside the hall and across the street, about 100 demonstrators had bused in from various southern Ontario communities to condemn the new group in speeches, signs and literature as racist neo-Nazis, or people who “definitely” had leanings and connections to more prominent organizations of the same ilk.

The protesters, from Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Hamilton and Toronto, were bused in by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3903, First Nations Solidarity Working Group.

They took full advantage of the new Caledonia group’s early choice of “militia” in its name, as they carried signs reading “Canadians Don’t Want Anti-Native Vigilantes,” “Klan Meeting in Progress,” “Militia Go Home,” and ”,” the website of a reputed white supremacist organization.

“I’m not saying that Gary McHale and Doug Fleming are neo-Nazi,” but their motives are questionable, one spokesman, Davin Charney, insisted to the media, while police were moving the protesters across the street as they descended from the bus.

Questioned further, Charney said that McHale and Fleming were at least “guilty by association.”

“We oppose the threat of violence and escalation of the problem,” said Niki Thorne, a York University graduate student and member of the First Nations Solidarity Working Group.

“This is a bigger issue. This is not just about Caledonia. We need to settle all land claims in a crisp, peaceful and fair manner.”

Fleming and McHale both said they first decided to call their group a “militia” to get the media’s attention.

McHale said that there has been a native militia in Caledonia for three years.

“Whether they call themselves the Mohawk Warriors, or the Men’s Fire, or the Protectors, or whatever name they want to use, they have been acting an armed militia, using baseball bats and other weapons to intimidate people,” he said.

With the OPP unwilling to enforce the law, the Peacekeepers are dedicated to the “restoration of law and order,” he said.

The new group’s meeting was held in Cayuga, partly because McHale is forbidden by a court order from carrying on his activities in Caledonia.

Tuesday’s confrontation is the latest incident in a re-escalation of tension in Caledonia, more than three years after the occupation of a former housing development by Six Nations Haudenosaunee activists, which they call a “reclamation.”

Last Thursday, the fledgling group staged a silent march past the site, with an equal number of Haudenosaunee activists standing quietly at the entrance.

The march, against the OPP, was a response to the arrest of Fleming’s brother, Randy, about a week earlier for trying to walk down the same road with a Canadian flag.


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Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Brantford Expositor, Cayuga Anti-Militia Protest

Dunville Chronicle coverage

[I like the typo near the end of the piece citing Fleming’s assertion that “Hotheads need apply”–and if it isn’t a typo it’s even sweeter]

Protestors descend upon Cayuga


June 24, 2009

The formation of a militia in Caledonia is being met with opposition from points across Southern Ontario.

Last week Caledonia resident Doug Fleming announced he would be forming a citizens’ militia to address problems he perceives as being ignored by the Ontario Provincial Police. In a published release Fleming said, “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 in Haldimand County.”

The action stems from his contention there is a two-tiered justice system in Caledonia which favours Six Nations residents and penalizes property owners in Caledonia by arresting non-native trespassers while ignoring occupations by Six Nations members.

At press time a meeting was taking place in the Cayuga Lions Hall for anyone interested in joining Fleming’s private group of law enforcers.

Scheduled to coincide with the meeting a protest rally was taking place outside the building by non-natives who oppose the idea of a militia.

Busloads of protesters arrived from Toronto, Kitchener, Guelph and other areas around 6 p. m. Monday evening. The protest was organized by the Canadian Union of Public Employees 3903, First Nations Solidarity Working Group.

Spokesperson Tom Keefer told The Chronicle he believes the idea of a militia is really being coordinated by activist Gary McHale who has often been at the centre of controversy between Caledonia and Six Nations residents.

“I believe McHale is the driving force behind the militia. He will be speaking at the meeting and is their self-appointed legal expert,” said Keefer.

He also doubts McHale’s motives saying, “I believe McHale is financially benefiting from this situation and is fanning the flames. If he lets things quiet down then he and his group will be out of business,” he said.

Keefer said his protest group is composed entirely of non-natives. He claims their efforts are completely peaceful.

“We are not strangers to the issue. We have been there practically on a weekly basis over the past three years. We have been working in the area with pot luck dinners, and community meetings but we’ve never seen fit to add fuel to the fire. We feel McHale is dangerous and disruptive but we’ve never interrupted his activities before. Flag raising is one thing but the formation of a militia is entirely different,” he said. “A call to militia is a dangerous escalation. This time they’ve gone too far,” he contends.

“How will a milita help anything?” asked Keefer. “Do they expect the Six Nations to just roll over?”

Fleming’s call for members stated, “Hotheads need apply. We’re opposing terrorism, not engaging in it. We will follow established procedures on the use of reasonable force to remove illegal trespassers. Trespassers will be arrested and turned over to the OPP for the prosecution of their offences.”

OPP Inspector David McLean told the Chronicle, “We certainly do respect that everyone has the right to a peaceful protest. We hope if both groups do show up, they respect each other, do their thing and pack up without incident. If that happens it will be a success.”

McLean added, “We will be there monitoring the situation. Both have indicated they want it to be peaceful so we hope that it is and they don’t disrupt the neighbourhood more than they already have.”


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Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Cayuga Anti-Militia Protest, Dunnville Chronicle