Demonstrators Vow to Maintain Blockade For ‘As Long As It Takes’

Friday marked the second straight day of protesters blocking off one of the main roads into Caledonia.

“We’re still here, and we’re staying here as long as it takes,” said Doreen Silversmith, one of several protesters who spent the day at the Argyle Street blockade.

The site carries a lot of significance in the area, as it’s the same spot blocked for several weeks during the 2006 dispute over the Douglas Creek Estates.

The protesters are supporters of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, who are backing Kristine Hill.

Hill has been farming on the Burtch lands, a Brant County property that once housed a correctional facility, for the past three years.

Earlier this year, the province turned the land over to a corporation controlled by the Six Nations elected council – which has been working to evict Hill.

That case has been making its way through the court system. It was most recently in court Thursday, for a hearing on a contempt of court motion alleging Hill was on the property after being told to stay off it. That hearing was adjourned with no decision made.

The chiefs council says the Burtch lands were supposed to be given to them, instead of the elected council, as part of the resolution of the 2006 land dispute.

The protesters have demanded that the elected council stop pursuing legal action against Hill, that the Burtch lands are returned to the Haudenosaunee council, and that the provincial and federal governments return to negotiations with the Haudenosaunee council.

Through her lawyer, Hill told CTV News that she was not involved in the blockade and had nothing to do with its formation.

Police say they’re monitoring the situation closely.

“We’re working with the groups involved, and we’re just asking the public to remain calm and patient while we work through this,” OPP Const. Rod LeClair told reporters.

With reporting by Nicole Lampa

CTV Kitchener

[SOURCE]

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Frustration Mounts as Land Dispute Continues in Oka, Que.

A sign is erected in Kanesatake, Que., where a housing project threatens a piece of land known as The Pines. (Steve Bonspiel/Facebook)

Residents of Mohawk community call on federal government to intervene in dispute over housing development

CBC News Posted: Aug 02, 2017

Frustration continues to mount in Kanesatake, Que., where residents of the Mohawk community are once again rallying to protect a stand of trees known as The Pines from encroaching development.

A protest was held on Tuesday near a housing project, Domaines des Collines d’Oka, about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The development is on land which is part of the Kanesatake Mohawks’ decades-old unresolved land claim.

The tension comes nearly three decades after an explosive and historic conflict erupted in the same area between the community, Sûreté du Québec and the Canadian Army.

Now, the Mohawks want Canada to intervene.

“The government and all the Crown actors need to act to stop the land fraud that’s been going on for 300 years,” said Ellen Gabriel, a resident of the community who become known to many as a spokesperson during the Oka Crisis in 1990.

“Stop the development that is depriving this generation and will deprive future generations from enjoying our lands as they become privatized and urbanized.”

Minister invited to community

Gabriel said that on July 15, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett agreed to visit the community, but no date for that visit was set.

According to a news release issued by the Mohawks involved in Tuesday’s protest, “Minister Bennett also stated that she did not know what ‘they could do.'”

CBC News asked Indigenous Affairs if the department would be intervening in the situation at Kanesetake, but has yet to receive an answer.

Mohawk leader Ellen Gabriel, far left, listens to Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon during a protest on July 12 at the site of the Collines D’Oka housing development. (Matt D’Amours/CBC)

On July 12, the developer said the project is already three-quarters finished and an additional 20 homes are planned for the disputed land.

“[The federal government] is talking about reconciliation, but this is not a good example of reconciliation as far as we’re concerned,” Gabriel said.

[SOURCE]

Brazilian Army Called To Keep The Peace After Death Of Indigenous Leader

Leader

Members of the Guarani-Kaiowá tribe carried a coffin on Tuesday to protest against the killing of Semião Vilhalva, a leader of the tribe. PHOTO: UESLEI MARCELINO/REUTERS

By JOHN LYONS

Member of the Guarani-Kaiowá tribe was killed amid a land dispute near the border with Paraguay

SÃO PAULO—Brazil has ordered its Army to keep order in a town on the nation’s western soy-growing frontier after a land dispute turned deadly, the latest clash between farmers and indigenous people in the South American nation.

Authorities said Semião Vilhalva, a leader of the Guarani-Kaiowá tribe, was killed on Saturday during a conflict with men who sought to remove him and hundreds of other tribe members from two of several farms that the tribe occupied earlier last week near Brazil’s border with Paraguay in Mato Grosso do Sul state. Mr. Vilhalva was shot dead, activists said. The Federal Police are investigating the case.

The owner of the farm where Mr. Vilhalva was found dead told local reporters that the men who sought to expel the Indians weren’t armed. The owner wasn’t immediately reachable for further comment.

Land disputes between Indians and farmers are increasing on Brazil’s far-flung frontiers, as a decade-old push to demarcate more big reservations for Brazil’s growing population of indigenous people meets resistance from farmers working the lands, in some cases for generations. In many instances, legal cases to resolve the disputes stall in Brazil’s circuitous and slow courts.

Occurring in remote regions where law enforcement is scarce, the disputes can turn violent when opposing sides lose faith in the country’s institutions to resolve the conflicts and take matters into their own hands, observers say.

“The excessive delays in the demarcation of traditional lands … and the violence indigenous people suffer for their complaints, are among the principal reasons for violent conflicts,” Amerigo Incalcaterra, a regional United Nations human-rights official, said in a statement.

In 2005, Brazil’s Indian protection agency declared 9,300 hectares (22,971 acres) near the Mato Grosso do Sul town of Antônio João a Guarani-Kaiowá reservation. But farmers working part of the land appealed the move, arguing the land was farmed continuously in many cases since 19th-century pioneers settled the region. Indian agency lawyers contend that land titles dating to that era were nullified by a 1988 constitution granting broader rights to indigenous peoples.

The legal case, which is before the Supreme Court, has sat unresolved for a decade. Adding to the pressure, the population of the Guarani people is outgrowing the relatively small reservations they were granted in the mid- and early 20th-century—often squalid camps with poor access to health and other services.

Last week, Guarani-Kaiowá groups occupied several of the farms to pressure for more land and a resolution to the demarcation case, authorities said. Days later, farmers returned to two of the farms to dislodge the protesting Indians. The conflict in which Mr. Vilhalva died ensued, authorities said. Military and justice ministry officials are now seeking to broker a peace.

Brazil has one of the world’s largest populations of indigenous peoples, and conflicts between settlers and tribes are an undercurrent in its history. As recently as the 1970s and 1980s, government efforts to develop the vast and sparsely populated Amazon region put settlers and isolated tribes in contact with each other.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/brazilian-army-called-to-keep-the-peace-after-death-of-indian-leader-1441311906