Barricades Taken Down Outside Caledonia, Ending Occupation

Land defenders blockade outside Caledonia ends

Barricades erected by Six Nations people near Caledonia have been dismantled, marking an end to an occupation that lasted for nearly a month.

An OPP spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that officers intercepted the development on Monday. A “verbal interaction” occurred between land defenders and OPP officers and they were subsequently instructed to leave, said Rod Leclair. Officials are on-site clearing leftover debris, he added.

The issue is linked to a contentious move by the Six Nations Elected Band Council to place a parcel of land into a federal corporation, ostensibly defaulting on a promise entered into by Ontario and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy in 2006 to stem the Caledonia Standoff, a protest that grew to a fever pitch after Indigenous people occupied a subdivision called the Douglas Creek Estates.

The unelected, hereditary council want the Burtch lands, located near Brantford, to be independent from the Canadian government, citing expropriation concerns. It validates its position through a letter signed by former Ontario premier David Peterson which says the land will return to its original state and status under the Haldimand Proclamation, an official order of 1784 that gave land to the Haudenosaunee people for their military allegiance to the British during the American Revolutionary War.

The blockade was initially located on Argyle St., a thoroughfare outside Caledonia. On Monday, the barricade was transplanted to Highway 6 and Sixth Line Rd., where it was later shut down, said Caledonia councillor Craig Grice.

“As of right now, Argyle St. is clear, Sixth Line is clear,” he said. “We’re just waiting for the reopening of the bypass. It was a small group of protestors that didn’t have the support inside Six Nations and I think that was proved last night.”

The OPP is investigating a fire that was set on Saturday on railroad tracks near the site of the botched occupation. No demonstrators were seen on Monday afternoon in the area, said Leclair, and no arrests have been made.

Grice said he is relieved, that the hope is to move on.

Torstar News Service

[SOURCE]

 

 

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Six Nations Activists Move Blockade to Highway 6 and Sixth Line in Caledonia

Members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy protest along a street in Caledonia August 10. (David Ritchie/CBC)

Protesters move: ‘in an effort to apply pressure on Canada to return to the negotiation table’

On Monday afternoon Six Nations protesters moved their demonstration and blockade from Argyle Street South in Caledonia to Highway 6 and Sixth Line in Caledonia.

At approximately 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, OPP responded to reports that a group of individuals were blocking Highway 6.

Police say in the interest of public safety, OPP have closed Highway 6 between Argyle Street North and Greens Road, and Sixth Line between Argyle Street South and Oneida Road.

Detour traffic routes are being put in place for Highway 6 traffic

On Monday afternoon, Kanonhstaton Six Nations released a statement about the relocation.

“We the people of Kanonhstaton have successfully removed the barricade on Argyle Street in an effort to unify the people of Six Nations and relieve pressure on our people and the residents of Caledonia.”

“We have also erected a barricade on Highway 6 bypass in an effort to apply pressure on Canada to return to the negotiation table in accordance with the silver covenant chain and two row wampum. We will continue to occupy the road and call on all of our brothers and sisters for support.”

Members of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy blocked Argyle Street in Caledonia Aug 10.

OPP monitor the blockade on Argyle street around the clock. They say they are preserving the peace. (Laura Clementson/CBC)

The protestors are dissatisfied with actions taken by the province to turn over former Burtch Correctional Facility land to the Six Nations band council rather than the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the traditional government, activist Doreen Silversmith said in an earlier CBC interview.

The Six Nations group has listed several demands, most aimed at the Ontario government, but one directed at the Six Nations elected band council.

“With that action, Ontario has committed fraud, lied to us, to our people. Ontario is going to be 100 per cent responsible for any actions resulting from their lies,” Silversmith said.

“Ontario’s actions bring much dishonour to the Crown and it’s in violation of the Two Row Wampum, the Silver Covenant Chain, and the William Claus Wampum.”

According to police, Argyle Street South is now open to traffic.

CBC News

Six Nations Protests in Solidarity with Standing Rock at Brantford Mall

Six Nations residents have been protesting a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota for months. Their latest protest was Friday at a Brantford mall. (Shane Powless/Youtube)

Six Nations residents have been protesting a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota for months. Their latest protest was Friday at a Brantford mall. (Shane Powless/Youtube)

Another protest scheduled in Hamilton on Monday morning

CBC News Posted: Nov 06, 2016

Brantford’s Lynden Park Mall was filled with dancing and drumming on Friday evening as people from Six Nations participated in a “flash mob” in solidarity with Standing Rock Sioux Nation’s fight against the construction of a contentious oil pipeline in North Dakota.

The project is the Dakota Access Pipeline and is intended to transport light sweet crude oil from the Bakken oil field near the Canadian border to Illinois.

Indigenous leaders have said the pipeline poses a threat to sacred land and to the water supply they depend on from the Missouri River. Indigenous groups from all over North America have joined them in their protest, and thousands of people are now camping there as the standoff has become more contentious.

Six Nations has been extending support for Standing Rock for months. Six Nations elected chief Ava Hill sent a letter expressing support in August.

“As the most populated First Nation in Canada with more than 26,000 members; Six Nations of the Grand River is honoured to stand with Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in opposition of the Dakota Access Pipeline,” the letter states.

And this video was posted in September:

A protest is being planned in Hamilton for Monday morning at 11 a.m. in Gore Park. Thousands of people attended a protest in Toronto on Saturday.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/six-nations-protests-in-solidarity-with-standing-rock-at-brantford-mall-1.383905

Six Nations Land Claim Dispute Heats Up With New Caledonia Development

 Hamilton Spectator file photo Members of The Haudenosaunee Confederacy want a developer to consult with them on the construction of a massive 3,500 home development on the northern outskirts of Caledonia.


Members of The Haudenosaunee Confederacy want a developer to consult with them on the construction of a massive 3,500 home development on the northern outskirts of Caledonia. Hamilton Spectator file photo.

By Red Power Media, Staff

Another land claims dispute is heating up in Caledonia

Indigenous treaty rights are at the heart of a dispute over plans for a massive subdivision that will bring thousands of new residents to the outskirts of Caledonia.

A notice was sent out by Six Nations ‘Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs saying they are unanimously opposed to a new development.

The developer “Empire Communities” says on its website that its new neighbourhood “Avalon” is coming to Caledonia this March with 3 000 homes on more than 500 acres at McClung road and Haldimand road 66.

There’s already a show home on the site and Six Nations Confederacy Chiefs say they weren’t consulted.

Empire Communities has also barred Six Nations opponents of its Avalon project from the site through a temporary injunction. They wanted no indigenous presence there during the attempted sale of the lots.

Some project opponents plan to fight a permanent injunction when the matter goes to Cayuga court on Jan. 27.

The Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs wants the developer and Six Nations to hash out the issues.

Six Nations says the province should be negotiating; not the developer

Avalon is just a few kilometres away from the former Douglas Creek Estates.

NATIVE BLOCKADE TOPIX

Six Nations protesters stand on top of their barricade moments before taking it down in Caledonia, Ont. May 23, 2006

In 2006 the same disputed land ignited conflict at the Douglas Creek Estates resulting in First Nations groups occupying the lands, tensions between Six Nations, OPP and Caledonia town residents ran high.

The Douglas Creek Estates was never built.

The Haudenosaunee claim they own the land and the Federal government contends that the land was surrendered in an 1844 treaty.

A lawyer representing the Haudenosaunee Confederacy suggests that if the Province doesn’t halt  construction of the Avalon subdivision so that issues can be resolved, things could escalate quickly.

 

Sacred Fire Honoring Those Affected By Suicide To Be Lit This Friday

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Sacred fire honoring those affected by suicide to be lit this Friday Photo: Two Row Times

In response to suicide within the Six Nations community and the surrounding area, Six Nations community members have come together to create a group known as Rekindling our Fires, or Tentsitewatsyenhon:ni (“We Will Rekindle Our Fire”) to host a Sacred Fire within a lodge built near the Old Council House, beginning this Friday, November 20 until Sunday, November 22.

The lodge has been built within the grove beside the Old Council House. The sacred fire is hoped to be lit at 7 a.m. on Friday, and will be kept burning until 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The lodge itself is yet to be completed, but the current structure is wonderfully built. One of the lodge constructors and organizers, Michael Doxtater explained that the building of the lodge holds a lot of symbolism.

“The west side of the lodge is rounded, the east side is flat and that’s symbolic,” said Doxtater. “The idea is that the Longhouse is not closed off on both ends, and in fact, the east side shows there is still room to extend the rafters to build the longhouse. If you know the symbolism of ‘extending the rafters,’ you know it means adding people to the longhouse,” he explained. “It’s symbolic for the future generations and that’s why it faces east, right where the sun comes up,” he said.

“It took us ten hours,” he said, in regards to the construction of the lodge. “We had students from Grand River Employment and Training Welding School; about six of them came to help go and stake out the site, in regards to laying out where the poles would go. Then we went and cut forty-two poles and dragged them out of the bush, trimmed them up and on Sunday, we dug the holes and erected the structure,” he said. “On Thursday, the same crew is going back and we’re going to complete it by topping it off with white pine boughs, so it’ll be like an arbor with the white pine boughs on top,” he said, further explaining that the mens’ job — which also follows Haudenosaunee roles — was to maintain the fire, maintain security and build the lodge.

See More at: Two Row Times

Reclaiming Ancient Iroquois Burial Grounds In Toronto’s High Park

Chief Arnie General stands on what many believe are ancient Iroquian burial grounds in High Park. | Toronto Star

Chief Arnie General stands on what many believe are ancient Iroquian burial grounds in High Park. | Toronto Star

By Red Power Media, Staff | May 16, 2015, Updated April 21, 2016

Much progress was achieved during the May 2011 occupation to preserve Snake Mound, one of 57 remaining ancient Haudenosaunee burial mounds in Toronto’s High Park, near the edge of Lake Ontario.

For years, BMX riders had been desecrating the area, — known to the Indigenous community as Snake (or Serpent) Mounds — by excavating the mounds to build a dirt track.

In April, Chief Arnie General, accompanied by Clan mothers and Faith keepers from Six Nations, went to Snake mound to see what they believe are ancient Iroquoian burial grounds dating back 3,000 years.

“I feel very disgusted with the people here in this area,” said Six Nations Chief Arnie General. “Maybe not all are of the (same) mentality, but those who don’t care about my people.”

The Snake mounds were carved into rounded hills, jumps and dips. For the many who believe the site is sacred, it was the ultimate disrespect.

BMX course photo Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society

BMX course photo Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society

The Haudenosaunee community and the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society (THPS) had been lobbying the city of Toronto for over eleven years, to protect the sacred grounds and restore the area.

In April, a meeting was set up between the THPS and Toronto City Councillor Sarah Doucette where she was presented with information about the Snake Mound, and that the City of Toronto’s main archeologist Ron Williamson, was working under a suspended license. The state of his credentials had not been denied. Doucette said she would research the issue and then respond, however, there was no subsequent contact.

In early May, a group of residents local to High Park formed the Friends Of Snake Mound (FOSM) to support the work done by the THPS. The two groups hosted an information event that garnered a flurry of media attention both good and bad. The mainstream media perpetuated the lack of scientific rigor and ethical handling of the situation by the city and Toronto Parks Board by parroting the position that there is no archeological site at Snake Mound. Fortunately, there was one point of agreement: that the BMX activity was destroying the natural environment.

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While many members of the BMX community acknowledged the special environmental and historical value of the site, many others remained intransigent.

Despite concerns within the Snake Mound-support community as to whether further changes in the landscape might adversely affect the site, it became evident that taking down the jumps was the only way to stop the greater danger of cycling.

In order to see the site repaired, it was agreed that Peacekeepers from the Native rights group Red Power United would be brought in at request of the Clan mothers, Chief Arnie General and the THPS — to take on the dismantling of the bike jumps and help with reconstruction of the mounds.

While each party’s motivation were starkly different, the ends would be the same.

A camp setup amongst BMX bicycle jumps on what many believe are ancient native burial grounds in Toronto’s High Park, Monday afternoon, May 16, 2011.

Red Power United peacekeepers set up a camp in middle of the BMX track and amongst jumps made on what many Indigenous people believe are ancient Iroquois burial grounds in Toronto’s High Park, May 2011.

On May 13th, the peacekeepers with support from the FOSM and THPS started to occupy the disputed burial grounds at High Park.

Harrison Friesen, a spokesperson and Red Power United peacekeeper, told BASICS, “This has been an issue that has been going on for eleven years.” — Trying to get the jumps taken down and get the city to keep the bikers out.

“It came to a head when we had a meeting with city hall and the Toronto police. A decision was made amongst our peacekeepers that enough is enough.”

“We basically had to let them know that we don’t work for the city, we don’t work for the police. This ain’t nine to five for us, this is part of our culture, part of who we are as native people.”

Surprisingly, there was no animosity directed towards the bmx bikers.

Rastia'ta'non:ha (aka David Redwolf)

Rastia’ta’non:ha (aka David Redwolf)

“It’s a very good thing that’s happening down there,” [Snake Mound] said Rastia’ta’non:ha (aka David Redwolf), executive director of the THPS.

Rastia’ta’non:ha, whose name means “Protector of the Ancestors,” had been assigned by Clan Mothers, the task of protecting the mounds and to get Toronto officials to designate snake mound and other historically significant sites, off limits, so that they could be restored and protected.

Rastia’ta’non:ha and the peacekeepers used what’s known as the 1792 ‘Gun Shot Treaty,’ which allowed Native people the right to camp and hunt within sixty-six feet of any lake or river.

Within days, the City of Toronto provided permits to have fires to keep warm, a port-o-potty and a shed to store tools. While the City rejected any idea of a native burial ground it appeared they had given into the occupiers.

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City of Toronto. Parks, Forestry & Recreation staff, stand beside a Unity /Warrior Flag.

While much of Manitoba was fighting back epic floodwaters and Albertans were witnessing raging wildfires in Slave Lake, the Battle of Snake Mound was making headlines in Toronto.

“The Natives are revolting!” cried the people.

“Yes they are!” agreed the press.

Toronto’s public High Park had been torn apart —literally limb by limb— by BMXers using their off-road mountain bikes as a destructive force against a piece of inner-city nature.

But, instead of condemning these miscreants, the media had instead turned on a small group of Native rights activists who, with the city’s invitation and permission, had put up an encampment and had begun repairing the damage caused by a youthful gang of cyclists with little or no respect for public property.

It even made the front page of the National Post.

Toronto Sun columnist, Joe Warmington, even cited the Natives’ “illegal campsite” — a pejorative slightly less provocative than “occupation” — as a land claim grab (it wasn’t), and then he wondered where the protesters would find their next bogus traditional burial ground within Toronto’s urban plain.

Several News crews arrive the High Park occupation.

Several news crews arrive at the High Park occupation.

As the media questioned both the validity of the Natives claim to the site being a burial ground and the city of Toronto’s testing, Friesen said that he wasn’t concerned with the media or the city’s tests, as “we follow our traditions and oral history, the things that are passed down from generation to generation, tell us that this is a sacred burial site.”

Amongst Native people oral history is as important as scientific proof.

Friesen also put into question the legitimacy of the tests, “we don’t agree that they’ve tested in this area. They say they’ve done 40 tests in here, but it wasn’t in here. It was around various parts outside of the area. And the guy that did the testing wasn’t licensed. He didn’t have a license to do the testing.”

William Chief of Red Power United is one of the native men and women who have begun to dig to rehabilitate an area in the south end of Toronto?s High Park that they call Snake Mounds. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

William Chief of Red Power United is one of the native men and women who have begun to dig to rehabilitate an area in the south end of Toronto?s High Park that they call Snake Mounds. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

To bring an end to the dispute the city negotiated with the group, who said they would leave once a temporary fence was put in place to protect the area and provided they could return each day to help with restoration, they believe resembles the original burial ground.

Finally, after eleven years, the city of Toronto employees were at the site, putting up the requested fence.

One of the Native rights activists remarked, that he had never seen a fence go up so quickly. “Apparently, the city won’t listen to you unless you act.”

The self-described First Nation’s occupiers of High Park have promised to tear down their illegal campsite wrote Warmington in Sun News.

“If they are true to their word, it very well may have been the fastest Native land claim settlement in Canadian history.”

The next day, the Natives, to their credit, packed up their tents, extinguished their ceremonial fire just as they had promised at the outset and ended their five-day occupation.

Red Power United Peacekeepers take down flags after the reclaiming of the Snake Mounds in Toronto’s High Park. May 2011

Red Power United Peacekeepers take down flags after the reclaiming of the Snake Mounds in Toronto’s High Park. May 2011

In the end, Margaret Dougherty a city of Toronto spokeswoman said “We do not recognize it [Snake Mound] as burial ground nor is it recognized by authoritative experts as such.” She said the province also accepted the city’s conclusions.

“The space is ecologically significant, and we’ve reminded bikers that off road biking isn’t allowed and we intend to enforce our bylaw.”

According to Dougherty, cooperating with the Natives wasn’t a sign the city recognized their claims to the area. Despite, at the time city staff had no problem with Native groups — which were not sanctioned by the city as community organizations — helping dismantle the BMX ramps,  or agreeing to the condition that they be allowed to assist in the rehabilitation of the site.

Gary McHale with the Canadian flag in hand and CANACE

At the end of May, extreme right-wing anti-native activist Gary McHale arrived in High Park from Caledonia to “protest” what he called “Mohawk Warriors” who he falsely claimed were occupying the site and who, he claimed, wanted to keep everyone who is not native off the land.

In a Joint News Release by CANACE and the Caledonia Victims Project, Mchale said “We will begin with speeches and hand out literature. We will then march down towards the illegal occupation and – in keeping with the new City of Toronto policy – post signs declaring “No Whites Allowed,” “No Jews Allowed,” “No Blacks Allowed.” Literature will be handed out to local homeowners about the danger near their homes.”

The morning of May 28th, Toronto Police contacted McHaleabout his plans and also informed him that people were not allowed in the fenced off area. At the same time the Toronto Police made it clear to him that no one would be permitted to attack him personally or any member of his group.

While McHale’s distortions appear ridiculous, they result from and flourish under the attitudes of government, the Parks and police who all did their part in suppressing the Iroquoian history of Toronto, and in attempting to deny access of Indigenous people to their sites.

Snake Mound New Fence Looking east July 10, 2011

Snake Mound New Fence Looking east July 10, 2011

According to Jon Johnson, an adjunct professor at York University, High Park is one of the few places in the city that hasn’t been developed, and documented, undisturbed burial grounds have been found there.

To Indigenous people, burial grounds are to be given proper respect and should never be disturbed. It is also understood, the living have a responsibility to ensure protection of their ancestors remains. In return their ancestors continue to guide and protect present and future generations.

Despite the attack on authenticity of the Snake Mounds by national media and racist groups, the five-day occupation by First Nations forced the park and city officials to uphold their responsibilities for protection of the area surrounding the Iroquois burial mounds in high park

Sadly, David Redwolf, director of the Taiaiako’n Historical Preservation Society and keeper of the Mounds passed away Jan 22, 2012. Arnie General, Chief of the Onondaga Beaver Clan also died peacefully in Hamilton on April 10, 2016 in his 84th year.

Chief Ava Hill Takes Six Nations Case To UN

Six Nations elected Chief Ava Hill and Coun. Darryl Hill address the United Nations 14th session of the permanent forum on indigenous issues

Six Nations elected Chief Ava Hill and Coun. Darryl Hill address the United Nations 14th session of the permanent forum on indigenous issues.

By Michael-Allan Marion | Brantford Expositor

Canada’s failure to provide sufficient services to Six Nations or respect its treaty rights are at the root of elevated suicide and self-harm among its youth, elected Chief Ava Hill told a United Nations forum.

“We are a proud Iroquoian nation with many successes, but with many ills also. Youth self-harm and suicide being one,” Hill said in a five-minute presentation to the United Nations 14th session of the permanent forum on indigenous issues in New York earlier this week.

“The unaddressed needs in education, training and employment opportunities certainly are contributing factors. In the last 10 years alone, 3,210 students were denied a post-secondary education as we are under-resourced to meet this need. Unemployment on Six Nations is recorded at 25% with many giving up and turning to social assistance.”

It was the second consecutive presentation to the forum for Hill, this time accompanied by Six Nations Coun. Darryl Hill and land rights consultant Phil Monture. It was also the fifth time that a representative from the elected council appealed to the UN for land rights.

“While a lack of resources for training, education and jobs are affecting our youth, Canada, the Province of Ontario and municipalities collect in excess of $4 billion annually in taxes and revenue from our original Haldimand Treaty lands of the Six Nations,” Hill told the forum.

“We are left with less than 5% of our land holdings promised us ‘which them and their posterity are to enjoy forever’ through treaty for fighting as allies alongside Great Britain throughout the American Revolution, long before Canada would become a settler state.”

Six Nations has tried for decades to reach a settlement of its land rights, Hill said.

“Yet Canada stands before the world professing to be honourable and practising ‘in good faith negotiations’ in land disputes with the indigenous peoples of Canada.”

In 1995, Hill said, Six Nations “had enough insults and lies” from Canada promising to uphold the “honour of the crown” principle and “good faith” negotiations, and took the country to court.

“As recently as December 2014, Canada and its representative thwarted efforts by Six Nations to return to the negotiating table to address our land rights issues in a fair and just manner.”

Hill pinpointed as a major problem the fact that Canada’s claims process is meant for land claims of less than $150 million, and that settlement requires the First Nation to accept that rights for future generations on the land are extinguished.

Six Nations is seeking an accounting for 950,000 acres of land in the Haldimand Tract, Hill said.

“We have nowhere to go for negotiations.”

Going to the United Nations is a way of shaming Canada, says Hill.

For more information, or to obtain a full copy of Chief Hill’s speech to the United Nations, go the Six Nations website at http://www.sixnations.ca/UnitedNationsApril2015PresentationChiefHill.pdf.

Source: Brantford Expositor

Protest highlights native women’s plight

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By Michael-Allan Marion | Brantford Expositor

A contingent of Six Nations residents and others are expected to converge Friday on Hamilton as one of 22 cities across the country targeted by a movement called #Shut Down Canada.

Operating under the name Shut Down Hamilton, the group led by Kawaowene (John) Garlow is organizing a rally to take place at the intersection of King and Main streets, near Gage Park.

The main aim of the protest is to gather support for a continuing demand that the federal government call an inquiry into the number of murdered and missing aboriginal women. The RCMP has pegged the number at about 1,200.

The organizers are directing the Hamilton action through the Facebook page ShutDownHamilton. The page contains a map of the general area in the city’s east end and instructions on which Hamilton city buses to take for those not coming by automobile.

The protest is scheduled to start at 2 p.m. Arrangements are being made for a sacred fire to be lit.

The organizers understand that many at the event may not be native.

“Please also be advised that missing and murdered indigenous women is predominantly a native issue and deeply affects native women more than any other group,” viewers are informed.

“We ask that everyone attending respect and honour the lead position of these women in this concern and follow their suggestions as to peaceful and orderly conduct.”

Garlow was not available for comment, but he has a online posting that reads: “Remember the 300 Nigerians went missing. kkkanada (the native term for supremacist Canada) tried to make itself look good by offering money and assistance.

“Meanwhile, the people whom they oppress and try to assimilate ain’t nothing been done and yet the number has grown while no money or assistance has been offered.”

It continues: “It seems the native women of turtle island are looked upon by kkkanda as less than human??..even tho their lives were most likely taken on invaded lands therefor the invader (Canada) should be held responsible so too the rest of you whom calls your self Canadian what is your choice, justice or genocide????”

In Ontario, demonstrations are also planned for Toronto, Sarnia, Niagara Falls and Ottawa. Other places across Canada include Vancouver, Prince George, B.C., Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon and Montreal.

 

Judge rules in favour of traditional medicine

Andrew Koster, executive director of Brant Family and Children's Services, and Mark Handelman, council for the agency, discuss Friday's court decision regarding the care of a Six Nations girl with leukemia outside Ontario Court in Brantford.

Andrew Koster, executive director of Brant Family and Children’s Services, and Mark Handelman, council for the agency, discuss Friday’s court decision regarding the care of a Six Nations girl with leukemia outside Ontario Court in Brantford.

NOVEMBER 16, 2014

An emotional dispute over a family’s decision to pull their cancer-stricken daughter out of chemotherapy ended Friday with a potentially far-reaching constitutional decision, as a judge ruled First Nations people have a legal right to seek out traditional native remedies.

That right under the Constitution extends to eschewing modern medicine in the process, suggested Ontario Justice Gethin Edward.

He rejected a request by the hospital that had been treating the 11-year-old girl to force the local children’s aid society to apprehend her so she could resume chemotherapy. Doctors have said her kind of leukemia has a 90 per cent cure rate with modern treatment, but is an almost certain death sentence without it.

Earning applause from many in a packed courtroom Friday, the judge said traditional health care is an integral part of the family’s Mohawk culture and therefore protected by the Constitution. He cited Section 35(1), a provision that recognizes “existing aboriginal and treaty rights,” but is more often associated with native fishing and hunting practices than treatments for deadly diseases.

Evidence showed the mother, from Six Nations reserve, is “deeply committed to her longhouse beliefs and her belief that traditional medicines work,” Edward said. “This is not an eleventhhour epiphany employed to take her daughter out of the rigours of chemotherapy,” he said. “Rather it is a decision made by a mother, on behalf of a daughter she truly loves, steeped in a practice that has been rooted in their culture from its beginnings.”

And that right is not dependent on the treatments being proven to work according to the “Western medical paradigm,” Edward said.

The judge did not address the fact the girl’s parents also took her to a private Florida clinic run by a nonnative businessman whose only licence is reportedly for providing massages but who claims he can treat cancer.

Regardless, the ruling was hailed as a major victory by local aboriginal leaders, who said the girl is faring well outside of the hospital.

(She cannot be identified under a court-ordered publication ban.)

“This is monumental for our people right across the country, and we’re going to get the news out right away,” said Ava Hill, elected chief of Six Nations band.

The hospital offered a muted response to the decision.

“We have always supported this family’s decision to use traditional aboriginal healing practices in conjunction with conventional medical treatment,” it said. “We remain committed to support this child’s treatment with compassion and respect.”

Juliet Guichon, a University of Calgary bio-ethicist, was more blunt, saying the case seems no different than those where the courts have ruled a religious belief – like that of Jehovah’s Witnesses – is no justification for denying a child needed treatment.

“The real issue is not whether the mother has a treaty right to practise traditional medicine, but whether the child has a right to life and to medical decisionmaking that can help her live,” she said.

http://www.leaderpost.com/health/Judge+rules+favour+traditional+medicine/10384161/story.html

 

Three men charged in connection with Highway 6 closure

Protesters block the Skyway Bridge on Highway 49, connecting Tyendinaga Territory and Prince Edward County. (Tom Harris / CTV Toronto)

Protesters block the Skyway Bridge on Highway 49, connecting Tyendinaga Territory and Prince Edward County. (Tom Harris / CTV Toronto)

Nov 6, 2014

CALEDONIA – Three men have been charged in connection with a demonstration on Highway 6 last month to pressure the federal government to call an inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The demonstration at Highway 6 and the Fourth Line in the hamlet of Willow Grove led to the closure of the highway for 36 hours on the weekend of Oct. 4 and 5.

It’s the first time in memory that Ontario Provincial Police have charged anyone in connection with the closure of Highway 6, which was also shut down at the height of the 2006 land claims dispute at Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia. It was closed in 2008 to support natives in a standoff with police in Eastern Ontario and in 2013 to support natives in a standoff with police in New Brunswick.

Last month’s demonstration was part of a series across the country, including one that closed Main Street outside the John Sopinka Courthouse in downtown Hamilton.

OPP Constable Mark Foster said in a release Wednesday that it affected public safety, and police responded with officers from Haldimand County and the West Region OPP.

“Due to the safety concerns,” he said detour routes were set up at the Third Line to the south and the Fifth Line to the north.

He noted the closure continued into the evening of Sunday, Oct. 5 and after that, the highway was reopened to the public.

Foster said police began a criminal investigation as a result of “the interference on the highway” and it led to three people being charged.

At the time, demonstrators insisted they were not closing the highway.

HALDIMAND Traffic on Highway 6 at Fourth Line Road was shut down by the Six Nations Men’s Fire. The idea was to draw attention to an estimated 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada over the past 30 years. Photo: tworowtimes

HALDIMAND Traffic on Highway 6 at Fourth Line Road was shut down by the Six Nations Men’s Fire. The idea was to draw attention to an estimated 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada over the past 30 years. Photo: Two Row Times

William Monture of the Six Nations Men’s Fire told the Grand River Sachem the demonstrators were allowing traffic to travel on the highway and would not impede emergency vehicles. They indicated they were only stopping vehicles long enough to give the driver a flyer detailing the issue.

“We didn’t shut this highway down,” Monture told the paper. “We’re here to bring awareness… this is a peaceful demonstration.”

Charged with mischief are William Monture, 58, of the Six Nations of the Grand First Nation; Glenn Green, 52, of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation; and Cody Fero, 35, of Hamilton.

The three men will appear in Cayuga provincial court at a later date to answer to the charges.

http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4962538-three-men-charged-in-connection-with-highway-6-closure/