Category Archives: Hamilton Spectator

Even Clinton no Match for U.K.’s Refusal to allow entry of Lacrosse Players–Hamilton Spectator


Even Clinton no match for U.K.’s refusal to allow entry of lacrosse players

July 19, 2010
Jeremy Grimaldi
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 19, 2010)
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/810104

Six Nations members of the Iroquois Nationals field lacrosse team are back at home after a “roller-coaster ride” of highs and lows, the team coach said last night.

Speaking from the reserve, Cam Bomberry said the team had been pushed from pillar to post by the United Kingdom’s border agency as they tried to make their way to the World Lacrosse Champ- ionships in Manchester, England.

He said the agency went back on its word after originally giving assurances the team would be allowed in the country, only to repeal the promise at the last minute.

“It was as though the team’s management were the Easter bunny to these boys. We gave them hope and were optimistic on the promises of others,” said the former Nationals player. “But then at the last minute we were forced to rip that dream away from them and admit the whole thing was lost.”

During the tumultuous week, the team was initially told by the U.S. State Department they would not be able to leave the United States because they were travelling on Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois, passports that weren’t considered legitimate by officials.

The team’s hopes were then raised after one of the world’s most powerful politicians, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, decided to hand them a one-time -only waiver to travel.

And even though Bomberry says the British initially said the team would be allowed in, should assurances be given that the players would be allowed back into the U.S., he said that promise was cruelly repealed in the end.

“The tension in the room never left us,” said the coach. “First it was day by day, then hour by hour, we were up and down all week thinking several times that we would be on a plane within moments — it was torture.

“For Clinton to get involved, it showed the magnitude of the situation. We were going for a medal and were sure we would have brought one home. For her to go to bat for us showed the level of support. For England to pull a 180 and go back on their word, was a real stab in the back.”

The U.K. border agency refused to comment on Bomberry’s objections, but a spokesperson did say the team would be welcomed should they gain “valid immigration documents.”

Bomberry said many positives did come out of the trip, including the close bond the players developed on the bus and in the hotel.

“This was the best team we have ever had, and we were going to the medal rounds — what colour medal we brought home was up to the players. In a certain way this was a victory of sorts to have the U.S. government change their minds, with the support we got from the public and with the bonding the team went through, we will be a force to be reckoned with when we do finally play together.”

The local players included Alexander Hill, Cody Jamieson, Craig Pont, Delby Powless, Isaiah Kicknosway, Roger Vyse, Ryan Burnham, Sid Smith and Tom Montour.

The Iroquois helped invent lacrosse, perhaps as early as 1,000 years ago.

Members of the team had been offered passports by the U.S., but team members say they will only use papers issued by the confederacy, a centuries-old league of semi-autonomous Indian nations whose residents mostly live now in New York, Ontario and Quebec.

Paul Horn, a Canadian attending the tournament, wrote in an e-mail to The Spectator: “Public sentiment here is strongly in favour of the Iroquois. When the flag was marched in last night, it received a standing ovation. Not even the home team received one. People over here sympathize with the Iroquois.”

The Haudenosaunee is working on new passports they say will conform with international security requirements. Bomberry said that before the team’s next event in the Czech Republic in 2011, he expects “a lot of money” to be spent updating the passports.

jgrimaldi@thespec.com

905-526-3323

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Filed under Brantford, Caledonia, Haldimand Tract, Hamilton, Hamilton Spectator, Issues, Mainstream Media, Sovereignty and Haudenosaunee Passports

Rally shows who the true antiracists are, and it’s not Gary McHale and friends

April 01, 2010

Alyson Mccready
The Hamilton Spectator
(Apr 1, 2010)

Gary McHale used March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, to stage an “antiracist” rally on behalf of white people in Caledonia, showed up again the next weekend, and says he intends to keep at it.

This kind of “reverse-discrimination” logic fundamentally misunderstands contemporary power relations in Canadian society. “Reverse-discrimination” is a fallacy that assumes all groups exist on an equal playing field, outside of history. In this case, not only is the field slanted, the field itself has been stolen.

The Day to End Racism has its roots in the long and bloody struggle against South African apartheid. Most people now agree this is an obvious example of an undemocratic system of racist inequality that preserved the privilege and power of the white, colonial-settlers at the expense of indigenous Africans.

But systems of racial discrimination and inequality have a way of seeming more complex when you’re in the midst of them. International scholars and human rights activists are now referring to Canada as an “apartheid” country because of its discriminatory treatment of indigenous peoples, the racialized economic segregation of many Canadian cities, and the legacy of apartheid like laws and residential schools.

Since diverse, multicultural communities having been getting together on March 21 to mourn and to celebrate our common humanity, the Day to End Racism has come under attack by some who feel left out of the party. Some of these are social conservatives who don’t see why we have to go making a fuss about racial diversity.

It’s like Mother’s Day: your kids might say to you “why isn’t there a special day for us kids?” The answer, of course, is that children receive special recognition every day, and so it is with white people in our society. One influential scholar, Peggy McIntosh, kept track of all the invisible little “perks” that she benefited from, just for being white. Many white people around the world participate in the Day to End Racism by reflecting on these unearned privileges and participating in rallies and social events that solidify our commitment to building stronger, more inclusive shared communities.

Then there are far-right and fascist groups that are ideologically committed to maintaining and guarding white privilege, who mobilize against this day (and others) to try to intimidate people of colour and antiracist activists, such as the demonstration in Calgary last week. They often claim to be against racism themselves, only against racism-against-white-people.

McHale used this opportunity to once again bask in the light of public notoriety, staging an “anti-racist” rally on behalf of Caledonia’s white people and claiming that they experience racism and victimization by police and government. McHale has yet to explain why it is that his rhetoric is so appealing to known white supremacists who attend his rallies.

McHale and company erect a “straw man” of “native lawlessness” to steer public attention away from the source of the conflict: The failure of the Canadian government to live up to its obligations to Native people under international law.

International treaty laws, upon which our nation was founded, are the only thing that gives Canada legal legitimacy as a sovereign nation. When we break them, we are actually breaching the terms of our own sovereignty. Canada has allowed settlers, over several generations, to move in on land it swore to reserve and protect, at a time when Natives were prevented from even hiring lawyers. It set up a land-claims system that sees the Canadian government play the accused, judge, jury and executioner.

Numerous international legal scholars agree that Canada’s treatment of Native people constitutes genocide under Article Two of the Geneva Convention and the UN Convention on Genocide (which, shamefully, Canada still refuses to sign).

In a way, it’s no wonder that some Caledonians have supported — or wearily tolerated — McHale billing himself as their spokesman: there is an appalling lack of public education about our shared Indigenous-settler history.

In addition, Caledonians have been largely abandoned by a government that is trying very hard to find a way to avoid honouring its legally binding promises, because of the size of the price tag. Caledonians have been sacrificed to a history of racism and apartheid against Native people that our government refuses to take responsibility for redressing.

To put it bluntly, whether non-natives like it or not, Native people aren’t going anywhere. Neither is the history that led us to this point, nor the legal and moral obligations Canada has to rectify the situation. Rather than just a “Native issue,” this is a settler issue, likely the Canadian issue of the 21st century. It’s about how we want our own communities and governments to behave. Anti-racism means taking this history and responsibility seriously.

McHale and his dubious associates do nothing except fan the flames of racism, ignorance and violence. His demonstration on Sunday was overshadowed by the presence of genuine antiracist activists who condemned his bombastic showmanship and demanded just and lasting solutions from our government, solutions that would prevent future situations like this.

They, and not McHale, acted in the true spirit of the Day for the Elimination of Racism.

Alyson McCready is a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. She studies Canadian national identity, colonialism and critical race studies.

http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/746238

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Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Caledonia, CANACE, Gary McHale, Hamilton Spectator, Racism, White Supremacists

More Cayuga coverage – Hamilton Spectator

[again, more of the same, although they let Niki slip in an excellent little soundbite]
Not militia, just Peacekeepers

June 23, 2009

Paul Morse

The Hamilton Spectator

CAYUGA – A call to form a “Caledonia militia” was a publicity stunt to draw attention to the OPP’s “refusal to enforce the rule of law” in native disputes in this town along the Grand River, organizers say.

But local activists Doug Fleming and Gary McHale said they want to organize a citizens’ group called Caledonia Peacekeepers which would be willing to use reasonable force to protect private property from trespassers.

“But the fact is that there have been armed militia in Haldimand County for the past three years … who mask themselves and carry weapons,” said McHale, a well-known anti-native occupation protestor who has drawn the OPP’s ire over his activities. He was referring to native groups involved in occupying or blocking development on land they claim as their own.

At a meeting tonight at the Cayuga Lion’s Club attended by 25 to 30 local residents, McHale said the group’s real purpose was to tell the OPP that “we are not going to allow someone to occupy our land. Either you arrest them or I will. You have five minutes.”

While vague on details, Fleming, a local entrepreneur, said the Peacekeepers would respond to owners’ requests to patrol their property and ask any trespassers to move.

“You ask the person to leave … and if they refuse, all you have to say ‘You are under arrest,’” Fleming said. If they refuse, citizens have the legal right to escalate “reasonable force” to the point of restraining the person, and to even use plastic handcuff-style ties, he said.

At the same time as the meeting, about 70 vocal protesters arrived on buses from Toronto and Kitchener to rally against Fleming’s Caledonia Peacekeepers with shouts of “Go away, KKK.”

“These people have been attracting the support of neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” said Hamilton’s Niki Thorne, an organizer from CUPE  Local 3903’s First Nations Support Working Group.

McHale and Fleming said the citizens’ group will create neighbourhood watches and report criminal activity to police.

They will also patrol certain “high crime areas” just like the Guardian Angels, to discourage crime and, in extreme cases, to carry out a citizen’s arrest “which is done hundreds of times each day in Canada,” McHale said.

“This group has to focus the law on the OPP to get them to understand residents will not give up.”

Source: http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews/article/588329

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Filed under Anti-Native Activism, Cayuga Anti-Militia Protest, Hamilton Spectator