Future looks bleak for Six Nations land claims(They mean chances of our governments doing anything constructive about resolving anything are next to nil.)
August 24, 2008BY ERIC McGUINNESS The Hamilton Spectator firstname.lastname@example.org
OHSWEKEN — Bill Montour, elected chief of the Six Nations, sees little chance an impending federal election will do anything to break a land-claims logjam and end the two-year occupation of Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia or other protests stalling development in Brantford.
He’s also pessimistic that Saskatoon lawyer Tom Molloy, appointed to negotiate for Ontario, will bring about a breakthrough in talks due to resume sometime next month after adjourning in June.
“He’s a process guy; they’re going to create a process that could go on ad infinitum,” Montour told a small, (100+) mostly non-native audience at a weekend Peace and Friendship Gathering in Chiefswood Park.
Montour said the Harper government “can’t have this bubbling cauldron here” going into an election, but all that will happen is, “They will say we’ve got a process here and it will be all right with Canada’s new government (as the Conservatives have called themselves since the last election).”
Leroy (Jock) Hill, a sub-chief representing the traditional Six Nations Confederacy Council in the negotiations, also voiced frustration over lack of resolution of treaty disputes, saying: “It’s getting to the point we can’t sit back no more. They’ve sanctioned enough development and destruction of our property that we can’t tolerate it.”
Dawn Smith, one of the women who first occupied the Caledonia housing construction site, complained that “It’s been over 200 years, almost 300, we’ve been going through this and all we want is what is rightfully ours.”
She told non-native white, black and Asian sympathizers that “it’s with your government we have the fight, not you,” and urged them to “write letters, walk on Ottawa and make them listen to you.”
Smith spoke angrily about legal action against protesters, saying, “There are still men and women with warrants out on them who can’t live with their families,” people “facing trial, jail time and the threat of being arrested every day. That is their reality. We’ve never come in with weapons, we’ve never instigated the fight. You have to remember that. Our frustrations, our anger, our hurt come from deep inside.”
Both Montour and Hill said the elected and Confederacy councils have agreed to remain united in negotiations and, as Hill said, “keep Ottawa against the ropes so they can’t use one against the other.”
Montour said, “I’m totally committed to this, though I have councillors who are not. (He also said "We, the elected Council, are an administrative body." and he deferred to Leroy Hill, representing the HaudenConfederacy.) We cannot let Canada and Ontario keep the rift going.”
I am sad, because my homeland is violently imposed upon the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. g