Category Archives: Men’s Fire

Hundreds to Gather for Peace and Friendship Walk and Rally in Caledonia on April 28th, 2012

April 28 Coalition
Media Advisory
17 April 2012

Hundreds to Gather for Peace and Friendship Walk and Rally in Caledonia on April 28th, 2012

Caledonia – April 20th, 2012 marks the sixth anniversary of the OPP raid of the Six Nations reclamation of the former Douglas Creek Estates, which cast a national spotlight on Native land disputes in Canada.

In an historic event, hundreds of non-native supporters are busing in from eight Southern Ontario cities to peacefully rally in Caledonia and walk to a celebration at Kanonhstaton, the former Douglas Creek Estates on Saturday April 28, 2012.

Following years of inaction on unresolved land and treaty issues at all levels of Canadian government, Native and non-native communities are rallying together in unprecedented numbers to demand that Six Nations land rights be respected.

Tracy Bomberry, a Six Nations spokesperson for the April 28th Coaltion says “It has been six years since Kanonhstaton (“the Protected Place”) or the Reclamation began in 2006. Much has occurred since then. Our people have stood up and raised our voices and many connections, friendships, and relationships have been built. However, at the same time nothing has been done by the Canadian Government to address our treaties and land rights.”

This day of celebration and its lead-up events are being organized by a broad based group calling themselves the April 28th Coalition. Luke Stewart, a historian and lifetime Haldimand Tract resident, is one of the group’s spokespeople. Stewart described the march as “a call to honour and respect our historical agreements, and move toward a peaceful future of healthy coexistence, not colonial subjugation and corporate land theft.” Stewart added that “the April 28th Coalition is comprised of residents of Caledonia, Oshweken, Hamilton, Kanonhstaton, Brantford, Dunville, Kitchener, and other small towns along the Grand River as well as supporters from Toronto and beyond.”

According to Caledonia resident and group spokesperson Katherine Moesker “This day can mark the beginning of the reconciliation of relationships between two communities. We cannot move forward if we all don’t take a stand and decide to work together. This event can be a powerful statement to anyone who witnesses it: we can show the world that it is possible to grow closer together as a community despite what has happened in the past.”

Tracy Bomberry and Luke Stewart are available for comment.

For more information: kanonhstaton@gmail.comhttp://www.april28coalition.wordpress.com
Twitter: @kanonhstaton • Facebook: Kanonhstaton Six Nations • Youtube.com/kanonhstaton
Phone: 905-481-0072

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Filed under 6NSN, April 28, AW@L, Caledonia, FNSWG, Men's Fire, TRUE, Unions, YOU

Community Walk and Celebration for Peace, Respect and Friendship

 April 28 Coalition
Press Release
3 April 2012

Community Walk and Celebration 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.

Whether native or non-native, all of us residing within Canada are treaty people. We have both a moral and a legal imperative to uphold the nation-to-nation agreements made on our behalf by the British Crown and Canadian government with indigenous peoples. It was treaties such as the Two-Row Wampum which gave us as non-indigenous people the right to settle in what is now called Canada, and as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirms, these treaties are still in force and they must be honored and upheld.

Six years after the land reclamation began at the former Douglas Creek Estates, the time has come to stand together and respect the words of our ancestors, to call for our treaties with Six Nations people to be honoured, and to bring together our communities and allies to celebrate the principles of Peace, Friendship and Respect under the agreements that our peoples made together – the Two-Row Wampum, the Silver Covenant Chain, and the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784.

At 2pm on April 28th, 2012, we will be gathering at Edinburgh Square, a Haudenosaunee park across from the Caledonia Fairgrounds in the Township of Caledonia and then we will peacefully walk down Argyle St. to the site known as Kanonhstaton. At the site there will be a potluck, live music, games, activities and discussions to which all people – from Six Nations, Caledonia, and all other communities – are invited to attend.

Organizers will also be hosting two events leading up to the walk and gathering. The events welcome all community members who wish to talk about the walk and gathering; ask questions about the reasons behind the event; or just want to meet organizers. There will be a BBQ in Kinsmen Park on Saturday April 7th at 1pm. There will also be a information and Q&A night at the Caledonia Public Library on April 19th at 6pm. All are
welcome.

Phone: 905-481-0072| Email: april28info@gmail.com |Website: http://www.april28coalition.wordpress.com |Twitter: @kanonhstaton|Facebook: Kanonhstaton Six Nations |Youtube: Youtube.com/kanonhstaton

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“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

“Truth and Reconciliation” Rally, Caledonia/Six Nations, February 27th, 2011

“Truth and Reconciliation”

Caledonia/Six Nations, February 27th, 2011

Gary McHale organizes a “Truth and Reconciliation” rally in Caledonia, demanding that the OPP, the government, and Six Nations people apologize to the “victims” of Caledonia.  They attempt to erect an “apology” monument at kanonhstaton (the reclamation site).

McHale has approximately 20 supporters.

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A message from the Hoskanigetah (Men’s Fire) of Six Nations

Hoskanigetah Of the Grand River
P.O. Box #158
Ohsweken, Ontario
N0A 1M0

July 20, 2009

To all concerned,

By the process of consensus, be it known that the Hoskanigetah of the Grand River have come to one mind that the contamination that came from the former Resin Plant of Cayuga is a hazard to all life wherever it was illegally dumped.

As such we the men:

• Will not permit reactivation of the Edwards Landfill site located in Cayuga.
• Will undertake the supervision of our own Environmental Review of contamination and its effect on life within Cayuga.
• Will uphold the rites given to us by Shonkwaia’ti:son (The Creator) as protectors of the land.
• Will assert our jurisdiction and Soveriegn rights confirmed, outlined, and guaranteed in perpetuity by the language of the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, and the Two Row Wampum of 1604.
• Will look to have our concerns, but not limited to the following, addressed.

Concerns that:

• The illegal dumping from the former St. Lawrence Resin Plant occurred at as many as six other sites (including Edwards) in and around Cayuga.
• A plume exists beneath and around not only Edwards Landfill, but other places within Cayuga.
• Dead animals have been found close to the Edwards Landfill.
• People living near these sites have been and still are at risk of illness and cancer.
• Former workers at the St. Lawrence Resin Plant, had or are having illness and/or cancer.
• Higher than normal rates of illness and/or cancer exist as compared to the national average.

Concerns that:

• Women living near these sites have premature births.
• Women living near these sites have had miscarriages in either the 1st, 2nd or 3rd trimester.
• Deformities of a physical or mental nature have occurred.
• A higher or lower ratio of male to female birth rates have occurred.
• These sites (including Edwards Landfill) have and still are contaminating aquifers, underground streams, the water table, flooded gypsum mines, the Grand River and other communities down river including the St. Lawrence river system.
• There are possible deformities and/or illness of any kind among livestock by any means through the consumption of food and water and any other means.
• There are possible deformities and/or illness of any kind among household pets.
• The integrity of the same liner used at Edwards Landfill has been breached at other sites including the U.S., where it has been used.
• There is no contingency plan in case of liner failure.

Be it recognized that in holding with the consistent actions of the Hoskanigetah of the Grand River, that we uphold, follow and adhere to the Kianerekowa (the Great Law).

Be it further recognized that we the Hoskanigetah will no longer endure the attempted subjugation of our responsibilities, freedoms and collective rights.

Danetoh,

Acting Recording Secretaty

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Six Nations Men and Caledonia resident Ken Hewitt share perspectives

From the Dunnville Chronicle

There was standing room only when four members of the Six Nations Mens Fire began to speak about their role as protectors of land. When they finished, Caledonia resident Ken Hewitt explained his petition asking for an inquiry into the actions of the OPP and OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino.
Three years ago such a session was beyond anyone’s imagination. On the eve of Feb. 28, people from the two communities shared information in the Wilfred Laurier University Theatre in Brantford.


Later Mayor Marie Trainer heralded this as a start of something. Resolution will come from the grass-roots, not Toronto or Ottawa, she said.
In her introductory remarks, organizer Marilyn Vegso said the evening was an opportunity to hear from Six Nations and Caledonia citizens and to move people toward understanding and friendship. Resolution can only be reached by the communities of Six Nations, Brantford and Caledonia, she added.

The Feb. 27 session was organized by TRUE established by Vegso and her spouse, Jim Windle. The name is an acronym for Two Row Wampum understanding through education.
Members of the Mens Fire sitting on the panel were Wes Elliott, Gene Johns, Kelly Curley and Stan Farmer.

With the purple and white beaded Two Row wampum draped over his hands, Farmer explained that it represented two people living side by side but not interfering in the others laws and customs. The treaty was first struck with the Dutch in the early 1600s and then adopted later by the French and British.

“This document I hold here in my hand is a living document,” Farmer said. “This was supposed to last forever.”
Elliott pointed out that under Section 35 of the Canadian constitution, treaty law supersedes Canadian law. Last February, provincial and federal negotiators told Six Nations negotiators that they were at the table under the Two Row and the Silver Covenant Chain, another treaty of friendship, he added.

Farmer and Curley offered a brief overview of Six Nations history. Before the peacemaker arrived, nations were at war. When the Great Law was created, it became a way of life and is not a religion, explained Farmer.

The Men’s Fire is thousands of years old and was rekindled three years ago after OPP raided Douglas Creek Estates in 2006.
“We are to promote peace at all costs. Once peace is broken it is our job to protect it,” Farmer said of the men’s role. “We were born to protect the earth, to protect our families, our nations, our clans. We can’t surrender nor will I ever.”

At this point, Hewitt took his place on stage. He pointed out that Caledonia residents know very little history and very little about their native neighbours. This has led to racism in some, he added.
Hewitt laid responsibility on governments who did nothing while watching protests, violent clashes, road closures, halted construction and personal attacks. Communities must stop battling it out with each other and put their joint efforts into pressuring government to act, he p>Believing the Ipperwash inquiry policies have failed, Hewitt hoped his inquiry will bring out the truth in Caledonia and the surrounding area and will lead to better policies.

In launching the petition for an OPP inquiry, he gave people in both communities the opportunity to push for the truth. With Brantford and Six Nations endorsement of the petition, their case for an inquiry will be stronger, he added.

Expressing concerns about local economies and social costs, he called on leaders and adults to act responsibly, put “local nonsense” aside and find solid ways to move community interests forward.
“My passion and my hope is that one day we will be the beacon for all others sharing the same struggles,” said Hewitt. “Haldimand, Brantford and Six Nations will be known for its successes in working together rather than its failures.”

Brantford resident Garry Horsnell asked why Six Nations men protect land they will not get back because the federal government will not expropriate land from third parties. Curley responded saying Six Nations had a right to that land even if is a house on it but only if no people are living in it.

Ruby Montour of Six Nations challenged Hewitt on two tier policing. He said that’s not how he describes policing but he has seen mistakes made by police toward both sides. The confusion comes from police ranks above, he added.

Developer Steve Charest presented a few documents to members of the Men’s Fire. One outlined a 1997 agreement between Six Nations and Brantford for economic benefits to both communities. Six Nations protests began in the 1990s, he added.

Then Cheyenne Williams was honoured for bringing awareness to DCE in 2005. She was a 17-year-old mother of a two year old and realized places for children to live in Six Nations were not plentiful.

In Oct. 2005, she and Janie Jamieson began an information mission about the Haldimand Tract. On Feb 27, 2006, they stayed in DCE and then decided to remain there.
“As a woman, I’m a keeper of the land and I bring new life,” she said. “Our women are very strong and they stand beside our men.”

After the session, H-N MPP Toby Barrett said comments about land protection and the Great Law were made by Williams and others when he visited DCE in March 2006. He carried that message from the site to the Governor General of Canada.

Brantford resident Brian VanTilborg has attended TRUE meetings since they began last year. “I realized a solution would not be found without a dialogue with Six Nations,’ he said.
In his opinion, tension and racism has not reached the level arising form DCE. VanTilborg, who was a Brant NDP candidate in the federal election, noted that TRUE is now bringing Caledonia and Brantford issues together creating an opportunity to work together to get government to do its job.

Copyright © 2009 Dunnville Chronicle

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