December 09, 2008
Negotiations over Six Nations land claims will likely resume in the new year, but Canada's chief negotiator has signalled it will not entertain a $500-million proposal natives put forward this fall to settle a Dunnville land claim.
One year ago Canada offered $26 million to resolve payment for the flooding of land Six Nations once controlled along the Grand River in the 1820s. The 1,000 hectares was flooded in 1829 to help build the first Welland Canal and Six Nations had been promised compensation five years earlier. It didn't get it.
"Negotiations are the way to go and we're anxious to get back to the table to resolve it," Ron Doering said.
"We still believe the $26-million offer is a fair and reasonable offer and we'll be back stating that when we get to the table."
Canada, Six Nations and Ontario had aimed to return to the talks today, but Six Nations' chief negotiator and Mohawk chief Allen MacNaughton said some members of his team are away. He said Doering, who plans to present a federal response to the $500-million offer, had suggested talks resume in January, but Doering said it could happen before then.
MacNaughton said his team is not avoiding the talks, although he admits he finds it frustrating. He said the $500-million offer is "definitely" open to negotiation and he hopes Canada has the same view of its $26-million offer.
"I would hope so because, if they're not, that's really not negotiating, is it?" said MacNaughton.
"The best solution is a negotiated solution. I would like this thing to be successful, not shoot it down the drain. We're waiting to negotiate, we're not waiting to be dictated to."
The three sides have not met since June when talks adjourned, partly because of native dismay over developments in Brantford on lands Six Nations claims and moves by the city to get an injunction to halt protesters from stopping work projects. Work stoppages, however, have continued.
The talks began in May 2006, in the wake of a native occupation of a Caledonia housing project.
It's my understanding that the injunction hearing is in Brantford Superior Court on Tuesday, Dec 23.