Tag Archives: Grand River

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

Declaration of the Onkwehonwe of Grand River Territory on the 2010 Olympic Torch Relay

Declaration of the Onkwehonwe of Grand River Territory on the 2010 olympic torch relay

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Being Onkwehonwe (people) of the Grand River Territory, we strive to uphold our responsibilities as stewards of the land; and to the coming faces. In accordance with our responsibilities we declare:

This land is not conquered. We are not canadian. Our ancestors have fought for 500 years to ensure this. Therefore asserting our sovereignty we declare that Canada and their Six Nations band council has no authority over our territory. This authority rests with the Onkwehonwe (people).

On August 20th at a Six Nations Parks & Recreation department led community meeting, Onkwehonwe present reached consensus that the torch was not welcome through our territory. Canada has ignored the voice of the Onkwehonwe, but this decision has not been forgotten.

As supporters of the people and with respect to all our relations we hereby affirm our peaceful opposition to the entry and progression of the 2010 olympic torch into and through our territory. In accordance with the Two-Row Wampum treaty we further invite any progression of the torch to proceed around the boundaries of the heart of our Grand River territory.

The 2010 olympics and torch relay do not reflect the principles of the Great Law of Peace; a law that prioritizes life and land. We honor Etinoha (Mother Earth) because she gives us life and we are bound to sustaining that life cycle. Due to the corporate and state led destruction of indigenous lands and life, we acknowledge the impacts the 2010 olympics are having on the Onkwehonwe (people). We honor the call for solidarity with those Onkwehonwe (peoples) of the territories affected by the olympics and the destructive legacy of manifest destiny.

This is not an attack on athleticism or sports; we feel that our legacy of athleticism is not being honored, a legacy which has been rooted in our traditions and spirituality for time immemorial. Onkwehonwe participation in the olympic torch relay affirms Canada’s attempt to hide the negative image they have in the international arena for their treatment of the Onkwehonwe (peoples). This has been proven in Canada’s refusal to sign the UN declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples, refusal to uphold our treaties including
the two row wampum, ongoing land claims, the effects of the residential school legacy and the continuing issues of violence against our women and children.
Through our opposition to the torch relay, we seek to enlighten and educate others of the corruption created by this façade of peace and unity with Onkwehonwe (peoples) that the olympics exhibit. We recognize that the benefit of any participation in these olympics is temporary, however the impacts will be long lasting and destructive.

In the spirit of peace and in honor of our Coming Faces,
Hoskanigetah (Men’s Fire), Ahgongweh (Women’s Fire), Grand River Onkwehonwe youth & other concerned people

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Filed under 2010 Olympics