Category Archives: Kitchener-Waterloo

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

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

Solidarity w Six Nations: Upcoming Events

Three upcoming events on Six Nations’ Grand River Territory

April 28: Walk and Gathering for Peace, Respect, and Friendship
Caledonia and Kanonhstaton, Six Nations Territory

April 29: Indigenous Sovereignty and Solidarity 101:
an introductory workshop
– Waterloo, WPIRG

May 4+5: Aboriginal Land Rights and the Rule of Law: book launch
Brantford, Caledonia, Ohsweken

April 28: Walk and Gathering for Peace, Respect, and Friendship

At 2 PM on Saturday, April 28, 2012 the Six Nations [Haudenosaunee] people of the Grand River territory and their allies will be holding a walk and rally for “Peace, Respect and Friendship.” The main focus of the event is to remind the Canadian people and the Canadian government that Six Nations land rights and treaties need to be respected.

(read more)

Get on the Bushttp://april28coalition.wordpress.com/our-transportation-registration-form/

April 29: Indigenous Sovereignty & Solidarity – 101: An Introductory Workshop

Waterloo, 2-5:30pm, Math & Community Building (MC), room 2034- University of Waterloo, WPIRG

(link)

The need to recognize indigenous sovereignty, land and treaty rights, and to root all of our intersectional struggles within a framework that incorporates anti-colonial perspectives, is increasingly understood to be a central feature of contemporary social and environmental justice work.

This series of workshops will introduce participants to the basics, as well as some of the complexities of engaging in indigenous solidarity work. Trainings will be interactive and will heavily utilize various popular education techniques, as well as some formal presentation.

All workshops are free, and open to both students and community members. Snacks and bus tickets will be provided, and childcare is available upon request.

Workshops will be held in the Math & Community Building (MC), room 2034- University of Waterloo. Registration is required.

Email tammy@wpirg.org to register.

May 4 and 5: Aboriginal Rights and the Rule of Law

Brantford, May 4, 7-9pm, WLU Odeon Theatre, 50 Market Street
Caledonia, May 5, 1-3pm, Haldimand Public Library, 100 Haddington St.
Ohsweken, May 5, 7-9pm, Old Council House, Fourth Line at Chiefswood.

You are invited to a book signing and author talk with University of British Columbia law student and author, Laura DeVries.

CONFLICT IN CALEDONIA:  Aboriginal Land Rights and the Rule of Law

About the book: Most people know that in 2006 an ongoing struggle in the communities of Caledonia, Brantford and Six Nations began. This book examines the way the conflict in Caledonia was publicly portrayed by those involved in its first two years. It asks why the conflict began, explores how it is linked to broader debates about Canadian law, citizenship and history, and offers ideas as to how the crisis could perhaps have been averted and why the government and Six Nations have been unable to reach resolution.

“I used chapters from this book in my third-year Indigenous history course. The book provides a wonderful analysis of the Caledonia situation.”
-Prof. Gary Warrick – Indigenous Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford Campus.

FREE ADMISSION
More Information call T.R.U.E. c/o Jim Windle at 519-732-5700

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Filed under 6NSN, April 28, Brantford, Caledonia, Development, Environoment, Haldimand Tract, Injunctions, Kitchener-Waterloo, Negotiations, Ohsweken, TRUE, WPIRG

No Olympics on Stolen Native Land

No Olympics on Stolen Native Land:

Solidarity with Six Nations and organizing against the 2010 Olympics.

Posted on Narrative Resistance

For over a year now, AW@L has been devoting much energy to our No Olympics on Stolen Native Land campaign. In October of 2008 we, along with some of our friends from Toronto, Guelph and London teamed up with a crew from Six Nations to blockade the Olympic Spirit Train. Just yesterday a friend and I (from KW ARA) worked with a group of youth activists from Six Nations to drop several No2010 banners at the Canadian Aboriginal Festival in Hamilton.

On December 27 in Kitchener, AW@L will be joined by friends from Six Nations and across the region for a rally, march and demonstration against the Olympic Torch Relay.

For AW@L Radio, every time we have spoken with any of the members of Young Onkwehonwe United (YOU),  they have stressed how central the anti-Olympics campaign was to their work at Six Nations. When Missy Elliott and John Henhawk spoke at the KW Community Centre for Social Justice (kwccsj), as when they spoke at the Rally in Solidarity with Six Nations Land Rights, they stressed the importance of Indigenous-settler solidarity in practise against the Games.

It has been suggested by some media commentators, both locally and nationally, that the Olympics as a target of protest is merely an attention getter. While the international media spotlight is part of the reason this protest movement has become so heated, it is ignorant to suggest that it is the grassroots activists who are the ones that are taking advantage of the spotlight.

The feds, BC, Vancouver, VANOC and the Olympics’ corporate sponsors are using the Olympics to send a message to world; they are all good global citizens representing the alleged Olympic ideals of unity and excellence through competition.

Their $6 Billion media stunt is nothing but a hoax.

Part of the message of the 2010 Olympics is that Canada has reconciled with First Nations—that this is a post-apology Canada. They are trying to make the world forget that we are one of only three countries that have not signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (DRIP). They are trying to make Canada forget that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs refused to endorse the Olympics, so instead a corporation called The Four Host First Nations, comprised by willing Band Council representation from four coastal First Nations, was created to host the Games. They are trying to send the same bullshit message that Harper espoused at the G20 in Pittsburgh when he stated that Canada has “no history of Colonialism.” But Canada does not only have one of the ugliest colonial histories in the world, in fact, in Canada colonialism is ongoing.

On the west coast, in so-called British Columbia, almost all of the territories are unceded, meaning that Canada has no treaties legitimizing their occupation of the land and their control of the resources. One result where treaties have been signed, recently in the case of the Nisga’a, has been the institution of private property on the res. In other places in the west, like in the land claims process across the country, the negotiations are dominated by the structures and limits imposed from the federal side, and only money in exchange for title and access to resources is on the table for “negotiation”.

And this is where it all comes back to Six Nations. The negotiations on land claims at Six Nations are a disgrace; at a total standstill with the feds being obstinate, disruptive and disrespectful. And with respect to those claims, AW@L is very cognizant of the fact that we live on Six Nations’ land.

KW is right on the Grand River, the Haldimand Tract, which is Six Nations territory. Like the Coast Salish Territories, the Grand River Territory is stolen land. The land on the coast remains unceded, and Kitchener-Waterloo, Brantford, Cambridge, and others are all partially on lands that have been illegitimately obtained through illegal surrenders.

VANOC parading the torch through the Grand River Territory, like the scheduled “Sunrise Ceremony” planned for Kitchener’s Torch stop, is an attempt to put a certain face on Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people, with Six Nations. Because, at AW@L, we believe in the importance of the stories we tell ourselves in our communities, we don’t intend to let that lie be told unchallenged. Not in our town.

We plan to support YOU and other activists from Six Nations in their stand when VANOC tries to bring the torch through the Six Nations res on December 21; we will support in whatever way we are asked. There the issue is sovereignty. Canada wants Six Nations to participate in the Torch relay as a Canadian municipality. But Six Nations is not a Canadian municipality. So we will support activists from Six Nations when they assert their sovereignty by saying that Canada and VANOC cannot dictate the terms by which an international symbol is paraded across Haudenosaunee territory.

Upriver from Six Nations, we are pleased to be able to say that we are working with our allies there to resist the Olympic Torch Relay when it comes through Kitchener, the last stop on the Haldimand Tract.

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Filed under 2010 Olympics, AW@L, Haldimand Tract, Kitchener-Waterloo, YOU