Toronto Solidarity Rally on April 28: Protest Indian Affairs Minister

Rally against Minister of Indian Affairs Jim Prentice in solidarity with Six Nations

Friday April 28th
6:30 at Kings College Circle
north of college (in the field)
west of university ave.

As solidarity actions are taking place in Tyendinaga, Vancouver, and Montreal, including the blockading of the railway in Tyendinaga, its our responsability to bring as much public pressure as possible to bear on Jim Prentice, the Indian Affairs minister, as he comes to Toronto to speak on "First Nations self-governance". This is the colonial master who had the ability to end the threats by the OPP yet refuses to end this matter in a just and responsible way, and has chosen to use paramilitary force instead. So join people on Friday to bring this message to the minister. We need as many people as possible to help build this protest.

For 55 days now, the community of the Six Nations Haudensaunee Confederacy has held a blockade to defend land that is rightfully theirs from further encroachment by real estate developers and the Canadian government. Early Thursday morning, the OPP tried to break the blockade in a pre-dawn raid by sending cops with guns drawn to pepper spray, beat and arrest community members. The government hoped to remove resistance to the development of Six Nations land by Henco Industries Ltd. The Six Nations community mobilized in response and drove the OPP out, restoring the blockade.

The community has asked or outside support, as they know that the OPP/Military could seize upon any sign of weakness to move against the blockade again--night times are particularly vulnerable.

Every night for some time, Six Nations community members have been on alert against the possibility of police attack. Forecasts suggest it might be raining, and people from Toronto are going to provide support through the night to those who have been defending this blockade for several weeks.

For more information,
call 416-997-1562 or
email ocap @ ocap@tao.ca

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BACKGROUND

On March 3rd, 2006, members of the Rotinoshon’non:we (“Iroquois”) people set up camp on the Haldimand Tract, located at the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates, a 71-lot subdivision under construction by Henco Industries Ltd. on Six Nations territory.

This land has at no point been surrendered to Canada, and was formally recognized by the Crown as Six Nations territory as part of the 1784 Haldimand Deed. The Plank Road Tract was subsequently registered as a land claim with the federal government in 1987. The Six Nations, in their submissions to Ottawa, stated that the reserve was never properly compensated for land sold to non-natives and land that was taken to build the Hamilton to Port Dover Plank Road. The Six Nations reserve now covers less than 5 per cent of the original tract of six miles each side of the Grand River from the mouth to the source. Meanwhile, the province of Ontario passed legislation allowing this tract of land to be developed as part of a scheme to draw 4 million settlers into the Golden Horseshoe area.

Henco Industries successfully obtained a court injunction last month to have members of Six Nations who are camped out on the territory forcibly removed by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). A revised injunction issued by an Ontario Supreme Court Judge on March 28th states that those who refuse to vacate the property are guilty of criminal and civil contempt, and will be fingerprinted and photographed as part of a probation order. In delivering his judgment, Provincial Court Judge David Marshall said this to the Clan Mothers: “What’s the matter with you people? Why don’t you forget all about the past and listen to me?” On the evacuation deadline date issued by Justice Marshall, there were roughly 300-500 people lined up at the road in support of the Six Nations. The Clan Mothers held an action that had 50 women blocking the construction crews from building.

In the face of mounting police presence at Six Nations – including two dozen marked and unmarked police vehicles parked outside a nearby elementary school currently being used as a command post, a number of police cruisers scattered throughout the neighbouring town of Caledonia, and scores of undercover officers around the periphery of the Six Nations reserve – and a mobilization of the state reminiscent of the lead-up to the murder of Dudley George by the OPP at Ipperwash in 1995, the Clan Mothers and Six Nations community have requested solidarity in their struggle to affirm their inherent right to self-determination and sovereignty on the land. "Canada must stop using guns to resolve its legal disputes with the indigenous people," states Jacqueline House.

The clan mothers have mostly recently issued the following statement:

The Women, being Title Holders to all lands of Turtle Island, assert our constitutional jurisdiction over the Haldimand Tract. We have never and cannot ever give up our land or our sovereignty.

1. The Six Nations are distinct original nations. We are to be dealt with on a nation-to-nation basis by the Crown and all other nations.

2. The Crown must respect our original relationship as set out in the Two Row Wampum, our jurisdiction as provided in our constitution, the Kaiannereh’ko:wa, and as respected by Sections 109 and 132 of the BNA Act, 1867 and according to international covenants that Canada has signed.

3. We are to be dealt with on a nation-to-nation basis, as was the custom before Canada separated from the British Empire. Respect for the independent international status of the Six Nations by Canada was established before Canada achieved recognition as a state or gained the ability to sign treaties on its own. The independent international identity of the Six Nations identity has never been legally extinguished.

4. The band councils were established with procedures that violated international law. They continue to function as colonizing institutions. We have never consented to their establishment nor their representing us.

5. Canada and all its politicians, bureaucrats, agents, assignees and appointees should cease and desist immediately their attempt to criminalize and apprehend our people for defending what is rightfully ours, the land to which we hold title. Any further action by Canada, Ontario and their agents shall be viewed as being a direct violation of the Two Row Wampum, the constitutional accord between the Ratino’shon:ni and Canada and international law.

6. The claims of Canada and the province of Ontario to have a right to legislate for the Rotino’shon:ni Six Nations and to grant private title to our land has no foundation in law.