My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Love it or leave it! Peace.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Six Nations, Caledonia, aboriginal, protest Please contact or call 416-526-4255 or visit for more information. Please be in touch with us to register if you're planning to come to the event. DATE: 11:30AM – 5:00 PM Saturday, March 31st, 2007 LOCATION: Hamilton Horseshoe Club - 170 Brockley Dr ROADMAP: BUSMAP: Community Friends for Peace and Understanding with Six Nations, a grass-roots coalition of community and labour activists is hosting this meeting in order to create a place for trade union activists in southern Ontario to come together to build union support for the Six Nations reclamation. From the beginning of the reclamation, the trade union movement has issued statements of support and made financial donations. However, this support needs to be sustained as well as extended into the rank-and-file of the union movement, as we at the grassroots work consistently to build bridges between the common values and interests of the trade union movement and those of indigenous peoples. Members from the following unions will be present at the workshop: CAW 707, CAW 555, CAW 88, CUPE 3903, CUPE 3906, CUPE 4400, CUPE 5167, USWA 1005, and USWA 1998. 11:30am SHARP Welcoming session: - people from Six Nations welcome union activists to the event - representative from Community Friends (Caledonia) explains the purpose of the meeting - go around and introductions of everyone present 12:00pm – 2:00pm INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY AND HAUDENOSAUNEE RELATIONS WITH THE BRITISH CROWN AND THE CANADIAN STATE: THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE CONFLICT OVER THE 'DOUGLAS CREEK ESTATES'. The purpose of this session is to provide people with the historical and political background to the struggle going on and to provide people with the tools to convince their fellow union members about the justness and righteousness of the Six Nations cause. Speakers include Hazel Hill from the reclamation site, Ruby Monture, and Rhonda Hill – mother of Six Nations political prisoner Christopher Hill. Other speakers TBA 2:00-2:30pm snack break 2:30pm – 5:30pm "WHY (AND HOW) SHOULD TRADE UNIONS TO SUPPORT INDIGENOUS RIGHTS? HOW DO WE ORGANIZE WITHIN UNIONS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF INDIGENOUS ISSUES AND MOBILIZE THE RANK-AND-FILE TO GET ACTIVE IN SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY?" Some people argue that trade unions exist for the purpose of defending their membership from their bosses and should only be limited to working around workplace issues. Other people argue that "an injury to one is an injury to all" and that trade unions are powerful vehicles for social justice and solidarity on a wide range of issues not limited to the workplace. This panel discussion will address the question of how trade unions have related to indigenous struggles in the past, how they do so today, and why the union movement can be an important ally for indigenous peoples across the country. The second part of this session will focus on the nuts and bolts issues of how we can work within the union movement to build support for indigenous sovereignty in general and concrete support for Six Nations in particular and address the kinds of problems and challenges we might face in doing this work. Speakers: Lindsay Hinshelwood, CAW 707; Tom Keefer, CUPE 3903; Joanne Webb, CUPE National Aboriginal Council, and others TBA from the Trade Union Movement.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What's Happening In Caledonia

A presentation by Six Nations negotiators cast some light on the history and context of the Six Nations land claim controversy in Caledonia.

Feb. 26, 2007

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (aka Iroquois) spans the Canada-US border and includes Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, St. Regis/Oka, Awkwesasne, Kanewake, Kahnesetake, Tyendinaga/Desoronto, Wahta and possibly other reserves and communities. It includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, Tuscarora and Onondaga peoples.

After the American War of Independence, during which Mohawk warriors fought as allies of the British, the Haudenosaunee were persecuted in their New York territories and so moved north to ancestral territories along the Grand River, which were reserved for them in the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. The land was gradually taken out of their hands through a variety of sales and surrenders currently in dispute.

On February 28, 2006, members of the Six Nations claimed a construction site in Caledonia, asserting that it is unceded Confederacy land and a site of historical and sacred importance to them. The Ontario Provincial Police tried unsuccessfully to remove them on April 20, 2006. Negotiations with provincial and federal negotiators began May 9 2006, and are currently in progress.

These members of the Six Nations assert ownership over the entire Haldimand Tract. They also assert that their aboriginal sovereignty was never ceded.

What's happening in Caledonia? was the title of a presentation by three Haudenosaunee Confederacy negotiators from Six Nations, sponsored by Amnesty International and the Community of Friends of Six Nations and organized by Dr. George Sorger, a McMaster professor and member of both groups.

Chief Allan McNaughton spoke of the history of Six Nations and their alliances with the European settlers in North America for respect, peace and friendship. The Two Row Wampum Treaty with the Dutch clarified the relationship as "like brothers ... and neither will try to steer the other's boat."

This treaty was carried forward and renewed as the Silver Covenant Chain and is now recognized by the Constitution of Canada. However, this treaty and others were not honoured by Canada. As more and more white settlers encroached on native territory, lands were forcibly surrendered and trust fund money for those lands was embezzled and used to build Canadian institutions and infrastructure.

Sub-Chief Leroy Hill spoke of the 385,000 hectare Haldimand Tract and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy plan for leasing lands to provide income for the "perpetual care and maintenance" of their people via a trust fund. The Confederacy made their plans to afford self-sufficiency for their people. The Canadian settlers and governments failed to honour and undermined these plans:

  • Four sections (blocks 1 to 4) were leased for 999 years but payment has either not been received or has been taken from their trust fund with no accounting for the funds.
  • Two other sections (blocks 5 and 6) were simply encroached upon by settlers with no payment. They were later granted deeds.
  • The Plank Road, a one mile strip along Hwy 6, was leased to settlers on renewable 21 year leases, which were never paid. The government eventually issued deeds for those lots though it had no proper ownership.

Clan Mother representative Hazel Hill talked about the Clan Mothers who are the title holders. The Clan Mothers are responsible for caring for the children and the land that will sustain them, while the men look after the safety of the women and children. She spoke of how the reclamation of the land February 28, 2006 reflects these responsibilities to care for the land for future generations.

The reclamation was supported by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council which is still the government accepted by the people. In their view, the Band Council system is Canada's government imposed on them in 1924 to facilitate the theft of land and fraudulent misuse of their trust money.

In later years, Canada passed laws forbidding aboriginal groups from using the courts to reclaim land. It was not until 1979 that the government installed the current land claim system. However, many aboriginal and other Canadians feel that the system is so slow and cumbersome that it is not a good faith initiative.

Dr. George Sorger asked participants to sign a petition to the federal government to place a moratorium on lands in dispute. Our governments continue to approve development, logging, mining and other destructive activities on land in dispute, leading to confrontations like Caledonia and Desoronto.

Speakers left ample time for questions and answers from the multicultural crowd of students, staff and faculty. Most questions indicated support for the reclaimers and concerns about the behaviour of our governments. The final question was, "Do you believe our federal government is negotiating in good faith?"

Chief Allan McNaughton responded carefully by saying that the government negotiators have delivered a "legal position" that the Plank Road land was surrendered, but they have not produced documentation to support that, nor have they adequately evaluated the oral history prepared by Six Nations and the accompanying documentation. Consequently, negotiations on that land are at stalemate.

Haudenosaunee negotiators, thus, have begun reviewing the framework for the negotiations and the commitments of both parties to determine whether this agreed-upon negotiation protocol is being followed, or whether there are areas of concern.

Chief McNaughton identified one concern: The negotiations are to occur under the Two Row Wampum Treaty, which specifies that "neither will try to steer the other's vessel".

UPDATE: Chief MacNaughton has now further stated that the federal negotiators have been sent to the table without the authority to negotiate a mutually acceptable resolution to the Plank Road claim. This is in violation of the mutually agreed upon protocol for the negotiations. The Federal government has offered only money, and the confederacy does not have a mandate from its people to accept a money settlement for what is to them sacred land.

My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.