Sunday, 3 November 2013

Samsung / Six Nations Renewable Energy Project - the Rape of South Cayuga

As with Caledonia, the small entirely rural township of South Cayuga near Dunnville has been a place where groups chose to impose their will, without any consultation with the locals most impacted by these "projects".

In the 1970s the Provincial Government designated Nanticoke in Norfolk County (then known as the Haldimand - Norfolk Region after amalgamation of the two former counties) as a location where a major industrial complex would be built.  The project included a steel manufacturing plant, a coal fired electrical generating establishment, an oil refinery and other industries.  All of these were eventually built.  Of course if one has a massive industrial complex of this nature, there would be a need for residences for the workers.  Two locations were pinpointed.  The first was Townsend near Jarvis, and an infrastructure (e.g., highway from the Nanticoke complex) was put in place leading to the farmland where new homes would be built.  Last I heard there were 40 or some homes situated on this site.  However the Government, in one massive blunder, created a huge white elephant in South Cayuga Township where the "ancillary" residential area was to be sited.  The "vision" included two bustling cities of over 100,000 people each that would each become home to a hive of workers affiliated in some way with the Nanticoke industrial complex.  Hence the Government purchased thousands of acres of prime farmland to accommodate this perceived need, and expropriated farms that had typically been owned by the impacted family for over one hundred years.  To make a long story short, the land in South Cayuga was never needed for its intended purpose and so the farms were leased back to the original owners if they chose to stay.

In the 1980s the Provincial Government decided they needed a place where they could construct a toxic waste dump. Knowing the NIMBY (not in my back yard) factor would be a serious concern, and that the voters in the Greater Toronto area would never stand for it, they selected a safer venue - South Cayuga Township.  A bonus was all of the Government land in that location "left over" from the dormant Nanticoke plan - just lying fallow.  As the specifics of the plan were revealed it became apparent that this "facility" would potentially have a huge impact on the environment of the Grand River watershed.  The locals gathered to form HOPE (Haldimand-Norfolk Organisation for a Pure Environment).  They gathered data on the gas wells, many abandoned, that dotted the entire township and which could provide a portal through which any potential spill could infiltrate the water table and the toxic waste could potentially impact an area much larger than just South Cayuga Township.  Other pertinent information, such as the location of Indian burial sites, was also added to the rationale presented to the Provincial Government as to why the project should not move forward.  The citizens were successful, and the project died a natural death.

Surely not again!  South Cayuga again being "selected" for another questionable mega project, a wind generator farm, and this time the locals were left with no options - this endeavour was to be constructed on sacrosanct Six Nations unceded land.  The problem, never once during either of the above two matters was any Native - owned land ever brought into the picture.  There is a reason for this.  In all of my research, I have never seen any shred of evidence that there is even one half of one acre owned by the Six Nations.  The lands had been surrendered in 1844 - lock, stock and barrel, and the Crown, represented by Lord Elgin, submitted a final report on all the Six Nations surrenders, and the description and accompanying map do not show any lands whatsoever in South Cayuga Township that had not been surrended to the Crown by the Six Nations in Council.  The specifics of the surrenders involving South Cayuga and other Townships, which include a list of all relevant documentary materials, will be the subject of a later blog post.  The bottom line is, however, that although Six Nations do claim "Cayuga Township South Side of the Grand River", Claim 18 of a total of 29 as seen here on page 24, there is no validity to this claim.  Despite this fact, they are proceeding as if the Federal Government had recogized this claim as legitimate.  This is false, and thus all deals with the Six Nations in relation to lands in South Cayuga can well be ruled illegal.

So once again South Cayuga is being ravished, and being made to take it up the keester while outsiders reap the benefits and walk away leaving the residents to deal with the fall out.

Let me be clear on this, wind generators are a blight on the land.  No one in their right mind would chose to live anywhere within sight of these monstrosities.  There are for sale signs peppered everywhere near these towering giants with their perpetual roar (actually more akin to a hum that surrounds you and drives you mad), their unknown medical effects, their bird killing arms (thus providing a job for someone to collect the bodies of these hapless victims) that become caked with ice in winter that can be flung hundreds of yards.  For a sense of the true effect on migratory and endangered birds, see here for a very sobering example from Montana, and the devastation wrought upon the eagle population.  NIMBY again, and for good reason.  The issue here, however, is the role of the Six Nations.

Bottom line, the Six Nations is perfectly willing to sacrifice the residents of South Cayuga, without a word of consultation not a penny of compensation.  The Six Nations have made a deal with Samsung to construct the Samsung Renewable Energy Park on lands they claim, but in fact do not own - and the Government is allowing this absurdity.  Why would they do that.  Oh, silly question.  The money.  Turtle Island News of October 30, 2013, page 5 reports that, Six Nations people can expect to receive about $75 million over the next 20 years.  So without being a party to any of the discussions, South Cayuga residents can thank the Six Nations for the 67 wind turbines and 400,000 solar panels and directly impacting 700 acres in the beleaguered township.  However, one might ask why these controversial plans were not slated for territory that is actually owned by the Six Nations - on the present day Reserve.  Oh yes, NIMBY - someone else's, who cares.  The cheek of it.

If one drives through South Cayuga Township including the Lakeshore Drive with all the cottages, what you will see are signs that read, "Wind generators make bad neighbours".  I guess another sign might soon be seen, "The Six Nations make bad neighbours".  And lucky Six Nations, apparently, there will be a good chance the revenues will be non-taxable.  Great, everyone else pays taxes on earnings of this nature, but the Six Nations get a free pass on this one.  Apparently, It is a huge project but it is respectful of the existing trees and foliage there.  However it is NOT respectful of the residents of South Cayuga who were merely pawns in this game.

For the range of wind generation projects with which Six Nations are involved, see here.

Update:  The front page of Turtle Island News, November 13, 2013 shows a very familiar picture, whose caption reads, Samsung had more than 30 workers on their South Cayuga Road site near Dunnville ............... the work is being done on the wind component of the project.  It must show my naivety because about three weeks ago I was driving along that very Road and saw a large number of orange jacketed individuals doing what was obviously (I have been involved in these projects previously) an archaeological site survey.  I had assumed that this was part of an academic study, probably the work of Dr. John Triggs who I knew was working on sites occupied by the Delawares in the 19th Century.  Never for a moment did I think that Six Nations would allow lands near the Fredenburgh Tract (formerly that of Sgt. John Dochstader) to be defiled with these wind behemoths.  Of course in a choice between respecting Mother Earth and money, well, I guess it is a no - brainer.  What a shame that the local people have not organised, as they did in the 1980s to keep the Provincial Government from using the land as a toxic waste dump.  I think I know what the reason might be, but without a firm basis upon which to make a claim, I will leave the matter stand.  So these are the "unceded lands".  That is a very sick joke.  The lands were ceded legally by the Six Nations in 1841, and they have absolutely no claim on the land.  My guess is that this particular property is one that the Provincial Government bought up in the 1970s in preparation for the building boom anticipated as a function of the development of the Nanticoke Industrial Park.

With total disgust.


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