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Haudenosaunee set up blockade in Caledonia over land transfer

Clan mothers have set up a roadblock in Caledonia (which is located about 10 kilometres south of Hamilton, Ontario).

The Hamilton Spectator reports, “Doreen Silversmith and a 12-member group of mostly women — supporters of the Six Nations hereditary government known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy — [established the blockade on August 10].”

That article adds, “Reading a statement to reporters, Silversmith said the barricade is a direct consequence of the Ontario government’s failure to live up to a negotiated land settlement that led natives to dismantle barricades they set up during an intense occupation of the Douglas Creek Estates [DCE] housing project in 2006. The new barricade is at the entrance of DCE, which was never been resolved.”

The CBC notes, “[Argyle Street] has been home to a contentious protest before. In February 2006, members of the nearby Six Nations reserve began a blockade of a residential development in Caledonia called the Douglas Creek Estates. They argued the land was theirs. The protest sparked a bitter standoff that lasted two years and at times flared into violence, injuries and property damage.”

The province of Ontario had promised that the title to the Burtch lands — the former provincial Burtch Correctional Facility land — (about 154 hectares of land west of the Six Nations boundary) would be returned to the Haudenosaunee people as per the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784.

But this past April the province passed the lands to the Six Nations Elected Band Council rather than to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy traditional government.

A Facebook post explains, “To clarify, the problem with giving title of the land to Band Council is that the land then becomes/remains ‘Crown’ land and effectively remains under the control of the Canadian government. Returning the land to our Traditional Chiefs (as was promised by the Province) would make the land sovereign and under our control.”

The matter is expected to be heard in court on August 22.