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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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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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Christians Supporting Six Nations’ Struggles for Peace and Justice

On February 27th, 2011, Christian Peacemaker Teams participated in the rally supporting the people of Six Nations in response to Gary McHale’s so-called ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ Rally. In response to McHale’s letter to Christian leaders, two members of the CPT had the following to say:

Speech by Julián Gutiérrez Castaño:
My name is Julián Gutiérrez Castaño. I have come here from Colombia and I work for Christian Peacemaker Teams. I was invited to a rally responding to McHale’s so-called ‘Rally for Truth and Reconciliation’ in Caledonia. I also see that he and some of his people are trying to inaugurate a monument of apologies for the rightful reclamation of Kahnonstaton. When I first (mis)heard about the apology, I thought, “good, finally we are going to apologize to the people from Six Nations”, because they are the people who deserve an apology and the reasons can be easily found in the history of this place. If the apologies are not being made to them, this can not be a rally for Truth and Reconciliation. Rather, it would be a rally for ‘Lies and Violence’.

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From the Six Nations Solidarity Network
(Leaflet handed out at Feb 27th “Truth and Reconciliation Rally”)

We are here today in a spirit of reconciliation and truth. Tomorrow
marks the 5th year since the reclamation began. As non-natives, many
of us today have been actively involved in various ways with people here
over the years. We have:

• Talked with residents on their doorsteps about their concerns, when
the barricades around the reclamation site were still up;

• Attempted to defuse potentially violent conflicts as tensions flared
on Argyle Street in the early days of the reclamation;

• Worked extensively with community members from Six Nations,
around a wide range of youth, women’s, environmental and social
justice issues;

• Organized speaking events, potlucks, and forums where people from
both Six Nations and Caledonia have given their take on the conflict,
and tried to find ways to build dialogue and understanding between

Our consistent aim has been one of encouraging dialogue, peace, and understanding between all the various communities involved in this conflict. It is our perspective that the primary reason for the existence and continuation of this conflict lies in the failure of our provincial and federal governments to undertake serious negotiations with the people of Six Nations. The root of this conflict is one of colonial oppression: Six Nations have had their resources, traditional forms of government, and their culture taken away by the actions of the Canadian government. The legacies of land being sold off in illegal deals without community consultation, Confederacy Chiefs being deposed by the RCMP at bayonet point, and children being forced into residential schools, forbidden to speak their language or practice their culture, are evident today.

A genuine attempt at reconciliation and peace thus needs to recognize that this conflict did not begin five years ago. It is rooted in the European colonization of the Americas which began some 500 years ago, and continues today. Because of this, what has happened in Caledonia and Six Nations over the past 5 years is not a simple policing issue, or an issue of the “rule of law.” Rather, it is a political conflict, involving different kinds of societies, with different legal systems, cultures, and understandings of how we should live with our environment.

Today, people across Canada are recognizing that indigenous peoples have been treated unfairly by different federal and provincial governments over the past 200 years. Yet, while successive governments have not kept their promises, many of us have not cared to remember these promises either, that were made in our name, by our elected representatives. Because of this, a solution will not come from encouraging the police to crack down on native protesters who are protecting their lands from property developers, or who are trying to ensure a better future for their children. If anything, such an approach will make things worse and heighten the level of confrontation and disruption in towns like Caledonia.

As such, we have come here today because we want to make it clear Gary McHale (and his cronies) do not speak for all non-natives – whether in Caledonia or elsewhere in Canada. McHale’s agenda is one that is self-serving and egotistical. We believe that it is based on trying to cause conflict and trouble between communities. Why do we say this?

Today, Gary McHale will try to erect his own monument directly in front of Douglas Creek Estates. Here he wants to inscribe apologies from Six Nations and the OPP to the people of Haldimand County. This question of apologies is interesting. Not once has McHale…

– Considered that the OPP (and those in elected office responsible
ultimately for their orders) should apologize for the armed raid at DCE on April 20th, 2006.

– Suggested that the Canadian government should apologize for historically failing to live up to the treaty obligations that our nation undertook with Six Nations;

– Understood that, as any adult knows, to begin a process of true
reconciliation, one must begin with making an apology for one’s own

This is the truth about McHale and his gang: nowhere does McHale offer an apology for his bullying and harassing behavior over the years. He has never apologized for:

– Silencing and intimidating Caledonia residents who do not toe his line.

– Having organized events in Caledonia that have been regularly attended by neo-Nazis and white supremacists;

– Calling native people “terrorists” and “thugs”;

– Planning protests and rallies to inflame an already tense situation.

McHale’s rally today is an attempt to produce more confrontation and conflict. Whenever things quieten down, and people attempt to move on with their lives, reconciling and dialoguing with one another in their daily activities, McHale rolls in town to fan the flames of conflict and aggression. Putting up his so-called monument in front of DCE is nothing more than an attempt to antagonize the OPP into arresting him so that he can continue to claim martyrdom, and/or attempting to provoke the people of Six Nations into some act of violence, that he can then use to paint them as “terrorists”.

We are here today to say that there is a better way. Reconciliation can come about. However, we believe that this will only be through us all recognizing the errors of our past actions, and understanding the history of the land we live upon. Reconciliation and truth needs to begin with compassion and
humility, and it has to recognize the grave injustices that indigenous people in Canada have faced for so long – and continue to face. If we are serious about resolving these issues, grassroots people from both Six Nations, and the surrounding communities across Ontario need to come together and demand that
our governments act in good faith to resolve these issues.

In friendship and solidarity,
The Six Nations Solidarity Network
For more info: http://www.6nsolidarity.wordpress.com or email 6nsn@gmail.com

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