Category Archives: Unions

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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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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Invitation from non-Native allies to attend the April 28th event

from the April 28th Coalition
-March 31, 2012

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.

The fundamental source of the conflicts in Caledonia arises from the failure of the Canadian government at both the provincial and federal levels to honor the agreements the Crown has made with Six Nations. We believe that the only way to truly have peace, respect and friendship with our Six Nations allies and neighbours is for the Canadian government and the British Crown to redress these historic injustices.

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 honored, 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.

In solidarity,

The non-Native members of April 28th Coalition

For more information or to endorse this event: email:kanonhstaton@gmail.com | to arrange rides:transportation.kanonstaton@gmail.com | Website:www.april28coalition.wordpress.com | Twitter: @kanonhstaton |
Facebook: Kanonhstaton Six Nations | Youtube.com/kanonhstaton

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“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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CAW activist Steve Watson’s response to questions from McHale Supporters

Before our anti-racist rally, I engaged many of Gary McHale’s supporters in one-on-one conversation. Afterwards, I framed my speech to the anti-racist rally by way of responding to arguments that McHale supporters made to me personally. Here’s how I framed my comments – not word for word but the general ideas.

McHale supporter Argument #1: We can’t negotiate with Six Nations. They have too many groups at the bargaining table. They are not united. They have no coherent bargaining position.

My answer: Interesting argument. However, often when we negotiate, we face situations where the other side doesn’t seem to be all on the same page. I remember the CAW president expressing frustrations on a recent set of major auto talks where he said out loud at one point he didn’t know who he was actually bargaining with. Still, we got a deal. Disunity is an issue for each side to sort out in its own house.  If you want to see a really dysfunctional situation, just walk over to the other side of the table and look from the Six Nations sight lines at who’s there from “our” side of the two row wampum – I mean the non-aboriginal side. You have municipal and provincial governments passing the buck on land rights negotiations to the federal gov’t while they press ahead with development on land that is still subject to aboriginal claim. Then the federal government has resolved only one of 29 specific land claims in the Grand River. Then we have groups like the one we protested on Sunday going around saying that they have no intention of ever respecting any aboriginal rights anyhow. So, what is “our” strategy? I would say it looks dysfunctional at best. At worst, it is a pretty cynical exercise to pretend to negotiate while land that has never been surrendered gets taken away, piece by piece.

So, our responsibility on our side of the negotiations and the two row understanding is to demand that our side’s negotiators — the federal government — get serious about making a comprehensive, just and fair settlement of the outstanding land rights of Six Nations, in particular, and First Nations, generally, and that municipal and provincial
governemtns respect aboriginal title.
McHale supporter Argument #2: Look, you’re talking about stuff that happened 200 years ago. Let’s move on.

My answer. Yes, we are talking about stuff like the Haldimand Proclamation (1784) and the Royal Proclamation (1763) that happened a long time ago. A lot of things we cherish come from things that happened a long time ago – things like respect for other people’s property, laws, human rights, constitutions, representative government, right to vote, etc. Not everything that comes from a long time ago has no value. We don’t get up the in the morning, roll out of bed and make it up as we go. If we throw out commitments made more than 200 years ago to people we recognized as nations in their own right, what are we saying about respect for our own rights? The Old Testament didn’t say, “Thou shalt not steal – unless you’re stealing from an Indian.”

McHale Supporter Argument #3 Yes, I am a union member too. I have been on picket lines, but I never broke the law the way these Six Nations people did here in Caledonia. I resent union flags being flown at their protests. And I told my union that.

My answer: Actually, besides picketing, workers have had occasion to have to occupy factories and do things that look pretty similar to a native protest, but the irony is that natives might be trying to block development on land they never legally surrendered which suggests that they might actually own the land they are protesting. It would be nice if we owned the factories we have to occupy from time to time to defend our rights. (Maybe some day we will.)

So, there’s food for thought.

I thoroughly admire the way the Six Nations Solidarity Network conducted itself on Sunday. We poked holes in McHale’s arguments and made fun of a few things but we didn’t insult anyone. It was non-violent resistance at its best. It was education transformed into action. And, it was a tactical victory of sorts. McHale decided to disperse his rally rather than engage us in any debate.

Steve Watson, CAW.

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Six Nations Solidarity Network, Brantford, Eagle Place


Floyd Montour (left) of Six Nations shares some of the ordeals he’s gone through while taking part in protests at developments where the property is under a land claim. He was speaking at a gathering Sunday afternoon at Kanata Village where people met to deliver information pamphlets about development in the Eagles Nest tract, and a public meeting on March 28th at Bellview School.

From the Brantford Expositor, March 15

Anything Eagle Place residents want to know about an unresolved native land claim that bears the name of their neighbourhood and developers’ plans for massive subdivisions, they can learn at a public information meeting at Bellview School gym on March 28, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

About 30 social activists from native, non-native and union groups gathered at Kanata Iroquois Village for a strategy session on Sunday, then hit the pavement of most streets in Eagle Place, distributing flyers advertising the event.

The Brantford-based peace group TRUE -True Row Understanding through Education -is mounting the event to educate the public about the 200-year-old Eagle’s Nest Tract claim that is at the heart of a dispute that is pitting Six Nations Haudenosaunee activists, the city and builders against one another in occupations, work stoppages, arrests and stymied development.

The organizers also want to ensure the neighbourhood is aware of peaceful native intentions, and the extent of plans by a group of developers to bring nearly 1,200 homes to the area, despite the claim.

The southern part of Eagle Place is also a key area of concern in a waterfront master plan that a council and consulting team has been working on for the past nine months, which could curtail development in the area.

“We stand by the principle that there is a legitimate claim, it should be respected and it should be negotiated,” said Steve Watson, national representative for the Canadian Auto Workers, who was at the head of 15 activist union members.

“The rights of the claimants should not be ignored. Unions have to fight to get respect for their rights. We have a convergence of interests.”

Seven times the city has tried to run a water and sewer line across Erie Avenue to service a 99-home subdivision by Birkett Lane that is still stalled. Each time, activists have been there to stop them.

The developers believe they have clear title to the land, and show deeds from the land registry system tracing ownership back to the original person they claimed acquired it legally.

Tom Keefer, with the Canadian Union of Public Employees and co-ordinator with the First Nations Solidarity Working Group, which brought eight activists, said that organization has been supporting Six Nations since the occupation of a housing project in Caledonia four years ago.

He hopes the educational exercise over the Eagle’s Nest Tract claim will head off the angst that has engulfed Caledonia.
“This is an expression of union solidarity with indigenous struggles,” he said. “We see a lot of similarities in this case as elsewhere. The government breaks treaties like employers break collective agreements.”

Bill Squire, with the Mohawk Nation, complained that organization is not allowed at the table in negotiations since Caledonia that have yielded no result.

“We are on the outside, not able to participate in the negotiations,” he said, while expressing his gratitude over the arrival of non-native, union and other groups.
“Development in Brantford has been running amok,” Jim Windle, head of TRUE, told the gathering.

“The problem has been that is on land under claim that has never been surrendered. Negotiations have been going on, and while that is happening, development has been taking place anyway.
“As a human being, I can’t sit and watch this continue to happen. There is an injustice here and we’re trying to bring the truth out.”
– – –

BY THE NUMBERS
The Erie Avenue-Birkett Lane area is a green stretch of contested, mostly floodplain, territory on the south end of Brantford. It also is where developers have filed plans of subdivision to build a total of nearly 1,200 housing unit:

West of Erie Avenue and north of Birkett Lance -428 unit subdivision plan submitted by Harry and Helga Noderer in 1992, conditions not yet fulfilled.

Northwest corner of Erie and Birkett -99-house subdivision by Cambridge Heritage Management Corp. approved, but repeatedly stalled by native protests.

147 Birkett -219-unit subdivision planned by Stirling Bridge Ltd., application in progress.

339 Erie -60-unit townhouse complex by Multani Homes, application in progress.

Dover Avenue -38-unit townhouse complex by Multani Homes, application in progress.

104 River Rd.-Eight-house subdivision by Jack, Ruth and Ross Shrum, plan of subdivision conditions not yet fulfilled.

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