Category Archives: Dunnville Chronicle

April 28th Coalition BBQ A Success: Walk for “Peace, Respect and Friendship” draws condemnation from local Caledonia politicians

from: Toronto Media Coop,
April 16

On Saturday April 7, 2012, the April 28th Coalition held a community BBQ and passed out information on the upcoming walk and celebration for “Peace, Respect and Friendship” on April 28, 2012.

The walk is a commemoration of both the 6th year anniversary of the reclamation of Kanonhstaton (former Douglas Creek Estates) of February 28, 2006, and the Ontario Provincial Police armed raid with automatic weapons, pepper spray, and tasers against people from Six Nations who were peacefully reclaiming disputed land near the town of Caledonia, Ontario, on  April 20, 2006. The land claim remains unresolved.

The community BBQ at Kinsmen Park was a fitting place along the Grand River to hold the BBQ and it was busy with families and others taking walks, people fishing, and those just enjoying the beautiful spring day. “We spoke to hundreds of people enjoying a beautiful long weekend along a beautiful river. Everyone was polite and attentive,” said Eugene Jonathan from Six Nations. “We had to buy more hot dogs and photocopy more flyers to give out. The day was a success.”

Two days before the BBQ, officials from Haldimand County emailed the April 28th Coalition urging the group to cancel the BBQ for “important public health and liability considerations”. The day of the BBQ, a Caledonia city councilor voiced his displeasure with the BBQ taking place in his Ward and the O.P.P. even showed up to see what was happening. The officer left after he was given some information about the event.

The walk has been the focus of many rumours and organizers of the April 28th Coalition handed out flyers promoting the public info night on Thursday April 19 at the Caledonia Public Library. “The Coalition is working hard to inform Caledonians about what we are planning for the walk,” said Laura Lepper, organizer with the Coalition. “One of the most important parts of our outreach work includes one-on-one conversations with Caledonians’ about the issues and the 28th event. This successful work has shown that we can’t underestimate the power of this method of grassroots organizing.”

The walk itself has caused stirrings in town as Mayor Ken Hewitt has urged Coalition members to cancel the walk, referring to the current situation as a “quagmire”. Mayor Hewitt told the Dunnville Chronicle on April 3, 2012 that he could “appreciate the intent” of the April 28th organizers, but that “I believe taking this into the heart of the community is not the right way to do it.” As the date for the walk gets closer, Hewitt’s condemnation grows sharper. On April 13, 2012, Hewitt told the Chronicle:

“They have no idea what they are doing or could possibly do to the relationships that are just starting to come together … They don’t care. They’re so entrenched and selfishly absorbed in their own agenda that nothing else matters. At what point does the desire to stand up for their rights infringe on our right? I believe they’ve crossed it and as I’ve said to them before, stay out of my community. You’re not welcome.”

Luke Stewart, an organizer with the April 28th Coalition and lifelong settler on the Grand River, has stated into response to Hewitt’s claims that outsiders are not welcome:

“What happens in one region along the Grand River watershed impacts and influences the whole watershed. I can think of no other group of people to organize for Six Nations land rights and to build relationships with than those whose traditional territory we inhabit and those who have settled on the Grand River. Incidentally, none of this will matter if our grandchildren, native and non-native, cannot drink the water, breath the air, or grow their own food because of politicians with short-term solutions and unrestrained land developments. We need to organize our communities around our watersheds and the health of those watersheds – not for the profits of land developers.”

The Coalition has said that it is not asking for anything more than the treaties and agreements with Six Nations be respected and that the solution to the “Caledonia crisis” can be found within those treaties.

For more information, visit: www.april28.net

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Filed under April 28, Brantford, Caledonia, Dunnville Chronicle, Haldimand Tract, Organizations, Racism

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

Posted By BOB LIDDYCOAT , CHRONICLE MANAGING EDITOR

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.”

Source: http://www.dunnvillechronicle.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1626658

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