Saturday, 25 October 2014

New Gate Blocking Surrey Street In Caledonia Has Been Installed at DCE

Will on a "Tim run" my reporter noticed "activity" at the Surrey Street entrance to the Douglas Creek Estates which has been occupied continuously and illegally by Six Nations supporters of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI).  Six Nations, via the signatures of 47 Chiefs in Council ceded the land on 18 December 1844.  However 170 years later Six Nations members chose to be "Indian givers" and have stolen this land, and after a violent encounter with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) on 22 April 2006, have ejected the legal owners and resisted all attempts by the Federal, Provincial and County governments to eject these illegal trespassers.  The situation has been amply detailed in multiple postings to this blog.

In approaching the Surrey Street junction with old Highway 6 (Argyle Street), it was apparent that the perpetrators were in the process of installing a decorative gate to join the two sides of the chain link fence on the north and south sides of Surrey Street.  They were in the process of removing the old barricade (e.g., the stolen and vandalized Hydro One tower stub), with two gates at the readiness to attach to the mounts that have been there since earlier in the year.  Although the Haldimand County Council unanimously agreed to remove the old barricade blocking Surrey Street, they never followed through on this "threat" to the Six Nations occupants.  The result is that once again the reality is that here the laws have no teeth.  While there the reporter attempted to flag down an OPP cruiser, and although they slowed down, they did not stop.  Therefore I called the OPP and requested that they investigate the matter.  An officer visited my home and we had a frank and open discussion about the matter.

Here follows some pictures taken of the site on 25 October 2014 at about 3 pm.

Looking south from Argyle Street to Surrey Street

Looking north along Surrey Street to gate mountings on each side

Gate element on right showing "Two Row Wampum" symbol

Gate element on left showing "Confederacy" symbol

Out with the old and in with the new - old Hydro One tower replaced

More news as it becomes available.

Update:  The installers had completed the left side by 5 pm, while an entourage of about 20 people watched while sitting on concrete blocks of barricade facing the gate.

Update:  Pictures of the installed gate, 27 October 2014:

Concrete blocks still in place, but space for vehicle to enter

Full view from the north

Right - north gate open for vehicle access

Left - south gate closed

Seeing the gates swing on the mounts, and examining the construction, it would appear that the structural design is more apropos for a 3 foot man gate opening in a fence.  It looks as if the two large (30 feet or so) sides will likely warp and twist under the weight and stress.  Time will tell, but the structures seem more decorative than functional.

It is not known how much the fence and gate cost the HDI.  The funding likely came from the money lifted from various sources (e.g., land developers).  The work was completed based on the assumption that ultimately the Province of Ontario will turn over the deed to the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) to the Confederacy - which is about as likely as the Pope turning Protestant.  Since the very act of constructing a fence and gate is a flagrant challenge to both the Provincial and County governments, and the outcome is quite uncertain, the action can be seen as an attempt to consolidate their hold on the stolen property.  It could well backfire if the laws of the land were actually enforced - which is a possibility that I doubt the HDI have contemplated since to date they have been able to do whatever they wanted at DCE with impunity.  If an eviction order is set in motion ...............


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Further Insights into the Process Adopted by the OPP During the Weekend Closure of Highway 6

Timing is everything in comedy and life.  Alas, I did not arrive early enough to witness the following interaction between a female Sergeant of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), and a member of Men's Fire (affiliated with the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council) who showed complete disdain and disrespect for the laws that keep our society running in an orderly and safe fashion.  He became a sterling advocate for "make up your own laws that suit your particular purposes" and "deny the legitimacy of the laws of Canada and Ontario", pretending that they do not apply to him because he is a member of a designated group.  This is sheer anarchy, and his actions are those of an anarchist.  The specifics of what took place are reported in "Tow Row Times" of 8 October 2014 here, under the title, Highway #6 demonstration ends peacefully.

Here is what happened on Saturday, at the very beginning of the protest blocking Highway 6 at 4th Line:

There was some tension initially when OPP Sgt. Belynda Rose read a segment of the Ontario traffic law to Men’s Fire member [the Men's Fire spokesman] in the middle of the closed highway, informing him that he and others could be charged should they not remove themselves from the road.

“We are here in support of the issue of the missing and murdered Indigenous women,” [the Men's Fire spokesperson] told Sgt. Rose. “It’s been months and years and still nobody is dealing with it.”

He then turned to what he believes is his authority and duty to protect his people.

“My Great Law, the Gayanashagowa, says I am entitled to do what I need to do to bring this awareness to what is going on in this country against our Aboriginal women. That is why we are here,” he told her. “If you have an issue (with this blockade) take it to your government and tell them. This is only for today and tomorrow. The next time it might be indefinitely.”

Sgt. Rose continued to try and persuade [the Men's Fire spokesman] and the 60 or more people with him to stand down, but to no avail.

“Be patient with us, and remind yourselves, of who you are and who we are,” [the Men's Fire spokesman] respectfully but firmly responded. “Because this road you are standing on is called Plank Road and it is owned by us, not by your local, provincial or federal governments. It is our land.”

Rose told [the Men's Fire spokesman], “I am asking you politely to move off the highway. We are here for your safety. You can find a better way of making your point that blocking Highway #6.” [the Men's Fire spokesman] responded, “I’m a big boy. I can take care of myself. If your government and if your cops can prove to me that there is a better way of doing this, show me. Then I wouldn’t need to be here away from my family. What about the families of the women who are missing and murdered, how do they feel? Nobody seems to give a shit about them. But you’re worried about a highway that don’t mean nothing. We are talking about the lives of our women.”

Assessment:  My take on this interaction is that Sgt. Rose, an OPP officer who I have come to respect because of her calm approach and professionalism - even under the most endurance testing of circumstances, was following protocol.  She attempted to "talk some sense" into the representative of Men's Fire - and individual who does not have any of my respect.  Men's Fire were on the forefront of fighting the installation of industrial wind turbines in Haldimand County, and for example the removal of an eagle's nest.  All this environmental concern went out the window when cash payments were offered by NextEra and Samsung - duly accepted and showing where their true allegiances lie.    The Men's Fire spokesperson, in addition to disrespecting the law, also told a FABRICATION - that the Plank Road lands (which includes Highway 6) belonged to Six Nations.  In FACT they were surrendered by 47 Chiefs in Council on 14 December 1844 (170 years ago) as the Federal Government has determined.  This fact is not disputed by the Six Nations Elected Council,  and the land surrender is recorded with all 47 Chief's signatures in the documents which are in my possession. 

So the Men's Fire representative had no legal leg to stand on, but knew that if he stood his ground, it would be difficult for the OPP to simply call in the paddy wagons and arrest him.  This approach by the OPP has been tried before (e.g., 22 April 2006) and failed - because the spokesman is only a single phone call from a group of thugs that would be only too willing to file down the open 4th Line directly (unimpeded) to the blockade site and set up a confrontation with the OPP.  The OPP know that while local residents would support them to the hilt because local people know the issues, the public at large may actually sympathize with the "aboriginal people" who have been successful in claiming victim status due to years of "colonialism", etc.  Perception is reality, irrespective of, and independent of, the truth.

Hence in this case the actions of the OPP can be supported as those best designed to "keep the peace".  Unfortunately, if Men's Fire members are not charged under the civil or criminal laws of Canada, another message will be sent out that there is one law for "Natives" and another law for "non-Natives" since it is absolutely certain that if local Haldimand residents blocked Highway 6 for any reason, they would have been arrested.  These arrests have happened in the past, and would have been applied on the 4th and 5th of October had they conducted the precise same actions perpetrated by Men's Fire.  While I may understand the rationale for the behavior of the OPP, they will simply have to bring charges against the members of Men's Fire who disobeyed a direct order based on the laws of the land - or lose all credibility.  The quote above indicates that they were told that they would be charged.  A difficult matter to be sure, but if it is not done now the fall out in terms of retaining any credibility with the residents of Haldimand County will be jeopardized.  Hence the message would be that once again our Provincial Police have allowed anarchy to prevail and the laws to be broken and unpunished for this one segment of the population who have no more rights than any other citizen (despite their own skewed beliefs).

It will be interesting to see what unfolds here, and whether Men's Fire follow through with their threat to close down Highway 6 "indefinitely" and how this will be handled by the OPP.  What a thankless job in Haldimand County where in a sense you are damned if you do and damned if you don't.  It makes sense that the only answer is to apply the law equally to all, irrespective of ethnicity.


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Men's Fire are Prepared to Block Highway 6 "Indefinitely"

Apparently I was correct in asserting that the militant action of the 4th and 5th of October was a "wash out".  Things were so distressing to Men's Fire that they have decided to up the ante.  So instead of a "mere two days" of blockading a major Provincial Highway, their plan this time is to stretch things out to "indefinitely".  So, in other words, their plan fizzled so instead of coming up with an appropriate strategy such as a march on Ottawa, the decision is to go back to the same spot and do it all over again.  As a medical specialist, there is a neurological condition that I have dealt with  called "perseveration" - a classic frontal lobe syndrome.  It is where an individual (or in this case group) does not learn from their experience and show any flexibility, but instead continues engaging in the same behavior - rather like batting one's head against the wall over and over (in some it eventually and perversely comes to provide pleasure).  I will use this analogy in the present situation.  How often do Six Nations factions have to block roads before they realize that, "hey this doesn't work".  At this point I don't expect that they could give a tinker's damn about those of us who live in Caledonia or Hagersville or who use Highway 6 to get to, for example, Port Dover (it is the only feasible route).

Should some think that, "surely you are kidding" please see the article of today in "The Sachem" entitled, Protestors seeking inquiry into missing and murdered women as seen here.

The "take" on the public relations disaster by Men's Fire is as follows: 

“We didn’t shut this highway down,” said [the name of Men's Fire spokesman], a member of the Six Nations Men’s Fire.

Any vehicles that approached the intersection were stopped just long enough for protesters to give the driver a flyer detailing the issue.

“We’re allowing traffic to travel on Highway 6, and we told the OPP that we wouldn’t impede emergency vehicles,” said [the Men\s Fire spokesman].  “We’re here to bring awareness… this is a peaceful demonstration.”

That is a novel interpretation.  They did not block the Highway because the OPP beat them to the punch and forced all traffic to detour west to Cayuga Road or east to McKenzie Road.  So what will Men's Fire do now?  This is the quote from "The Sachem" in relation to what the Men's Fire spokesman said:

He noted that the Six Nations Men’s Fire is prepared to blockade Highway 6 “indefinitely” if an inquiry is not started soon; he said he could not give a time frame as to when, but that the OPP would be informed if that were to happen.

It is interesting to learn of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) response to the newest threat by Men's Fire.  The reporter questioned what was the OPP view of the blockade on the past weekend, the response obtained here is very interesting or evasive (I am not sure).  When asked whether or not the protest was illegal, [the OPP spokesperson] was only able to say, “We will continue to investigate.”  Right, investigate ........................

The Men's Fire spokesperson added that, “We need to call on the politicians, and put them to task,” said [the spokesperson], adding that he hopes people in the surrounding communities, such as Caledonia, Cayuga, Hagersville, etc., will also contact their Members of Parliament to ask for an inquiry.  “We want to be part of it as well,”.

The spokesperson for Men's Fire really doesn't get it at all.  Does Men's Fire not realize that far from encouraging people from Caledonia, Cayuga etc. to contact their members of parliament about the perceived issue of missing and murdered women, blocking roads will ONLY trigger more resentment and yes even hatred towards Six Nations members (it being impossible for the average citizen to differentiate the troublemakers from other Six Nations residents).  Since Men's Fire have treated Haldimand residents with contempt, do they seriously believe that residents will rally around their cause by once again inconveniencing them.

Another fact that does not seem to have reached conscious awareness in Men's Fire is that Prime Minister Harper cannot respond to a "demand" by this or that group when the message is delivered via illegal acts such as blocking a Provincial Highway.  If he did, it would mean that groups across the country would come to believe that the way to get a message across is to engage in anti-social acts.  It is a basic principle of psychology that behaviours that are reinforced (rewarded) are likely to be repeated.  There is no difference from the rationale for not negotiating with terrorists.  If you give in to them (their "demands") they will repeat the act again and again because they have learned that they can get their way by say holding someone for ransom.  Many of us who live in Caledonia feel as if we are constantly being held for ransom by militant groups.

As it stands, at the present time, I hold all who would completely ignore the needs and wishes of the residents of Haldimand, and who fail to recognize the trauma they have caused us by 8 years of harassment and bullying, in utter contempt.  I do not think that this is unreasonable; and I do not think that this is an uncommon reaction.


Monday, 6 October 2014

"Walk for Change" and Other Less Disruptive Ways of Advocating Against Violence - No Roads Blocked

In the previous two postings I reported on the Men's Fire blockade of Highway 6 at 4th Line to bring awareness of missing and murdered aboriginal women to the Harper Government.  Clearly this action inconvenienced local residents and visitors, but accomplished little if anything.  I thought that I would contrast this approach or tactic with the method used in another recent protest involving Six Nations residents - who used an entirely different approach to increase awareness of violence against aboriginal people (although in truth violence against women is a world - wide problem not confined to Canadian let alone Six Nations "aboriginal" women).

1)  On Saturday, 27 September 2014 the 3rd annual "Walk4Change6NAY" took place at the intersection of 4th Line and Chiefswood Road on the Six Nations Reserve.  Here participants walked from the four directions into Veteran's Park.

According to an article in "The Sachem" of Thursday 2 October 2014 entitled, "Walk for Change promotes ending violence", the goal of the march was to promote, ending violence against women, men, children and youth, partner violence, bullying, violence in sports, cyber - bullying, elder abuse, sexual assault or any other form of violence.  The article does not appear to be online at this point, however I found an excellent description in "The Brantford Expositor" seen here.

Part of the chant by the participants was "Ganonhkwasra" in English "love among us".  The entire process is embedded in traditional practices.  A sign carried by marchers noted, "respect, caring, sharing, kindness, peace, good mind".

So here all people who are concerned with what is obvious to anyone who lives in the area - that violence in many forms is a serious problem that must not be swept under the carpet or blamed on "colonialism" or other such abstract entities - came together in a positive way to increase awareness of the problem and seek community solutions.  The violence is prevalent and needs to stop.  A wonderful positive message was sent out to the community, and in a way that did not disrupt anything - except perhaps the mindset of perpetrators of violence.  As Elected Chief Ava Hill said, it is up to us to come up with an action plan to combat violence.  No one was playing the blame game here.  All realized that solutions come from within the community, not a Canadian government enterprise.

The march was supported by Ganonhkwasra Family Assault Support Services (GFASS), a non-profit group offering services to those at Six Nations who have experienced family violence.  Their focus is to get clients to "accept personal responsibility" for their own change, and to make these changes within the context of traditional healing methods.

2)  "Never to be forgotten vigil" taking place in Hagersville, and adjacent lands on the Mississaugas of the New Credit Reserve, finally moving to the Community Hall at New Credit on Saturday 4 October 2014.  The highlight perhaps was the display of the 1200 faceless dolls representing the missing and murdered aboriginal women of Canada.  See the article in "Two Row Times" here.

However, what was disturbing was when a Six Nations speaker took to the podium and went off on playing the "blame game" about colonialism and the Harper government.  This militant stance took away from the message as the issues were deflected elsewhere.  She spoke of her own family where violence was a way of life when growing up.  So she doubtless carries the scars of this experience as do millions of women around the world - including unknown numbers of women who are members of other communities in Canada.  Acknowledging that the root cause was dysfunction within her own family, she reported that she is a survivor of violence and molestation within her own family.  Somehow she believes that the hated Harper government should be stepping in to conduct redundant inquiries.  It is extremely odd that she would not recognize that she had put her finger on the source of the problem.  Specifically, the inaction within aboriginal communities to address this urgent problem that stems from dysfunction within, not from "colonialism" or other convenient sources of blame. Taking personal responsibility and effecting local changes is the route to change - but it is a great deal easier to blame, blame, blame - which has become a way of life for many across the board.  A community will never heal until it recognizes how it has contributed to the suffering of its members.  Address substance abuse and domestic violence and you are well on your way to finding the solution.  How can an external body or a Canadian Prime Minister impact what is essentially a local, family and community issue?  This I have never understood.

3)  The Murdered and Missing Women's Vigil at Six Nations (see here for further information from an article in "Two Row Times").  Also this past weekend, a host of speakers spoke about the MMIW matter spoke at Veteran's Park.  Here, Approximately 80 community members gathered to honour Onkwehon:we women with a candle light vigil and feast on Sunday evening at Six Nations Veterans Park.  While the approach was great and some of the speakers spoke with knowledge of the roots of the problem, once again there were those who were there to foster militancy and play the blame game - including the woman noted above (who is a lawyer, and very bitter).  It gets tedious to constantly point fingers at Prime Minister Harper, when the reason why the problem continues to exist is all around them.  Another speaker followed suit, saying, “I’m getting sick and tired of begging for assistance from a government that is not my own, and all I get are excuses. Harper is turning a blind eye".  Granted that one speaker noted that men have an important role to play since they are often the perpetrators of the violence.  I doubt that anyone, except those with an obsession about the ills of the Federal Government (alas there are many whose mind set lies in this direction).  At least there is a glimmer of light in a number of corners which will place the blame squarely where it deserves to be centered. 

It occurred to me that any of these grassroots approaches, especially when the organizers and speakers do not simply engage in "group think" where all have agreed beforehand that the villain here is the Harper Government.  Any approach, other than disrupting the lives of innocent people, will hit the target audience far more directly than blocking a local road and expecting that miraculously the Federal Government in Ottawa would accede to various demands.


Sunday, 5 October 2014

Highway 6 Blockade - 5 October 2014 - Day 2 - Double Standard Still in Place

At 1:30 pm Sunday 5 October 2014 I decided to re-visit the locations I saw yesterday and note any changes or observations of potential importance.

I did not bother to stop at the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) barriers at 5th Line where there was hardly any vehicles so no need for officers to be out of their vehicles directing traffic.  I then proceeded to drive west on 5th Line to Cayuga Road, take a left here, and a left turn at 4th Line (the specific location of the protest blockade) heading east to the tent site of yesterday. 

OPP barricade at 5th Line along Highway 6 on Sunday

Once again there was no police (e.g., Six Nations Police) at the corner of 4th Line and Cayuga Road, so anyone who wanted could travel down to the location where Men's Fire had their "operations center".  No OPP were on 4th Line west of the protest site (before it becomes Reserve land), only on the opposite side of 4th Line (east of Highway 6).  There were also no barriers anywhere approaching the site, as seen below.  The tent was obscured by the utility vehicle on the immediate right.  Three men were speaking to drivers and again a woman had the flyers I spoke of yesterday to hand out to all who passed through the "check point".  Out of respect, I did not take any potentially "intrusive" pictures.

Cluster of people on the north side of 4th Line at Highway 6

A sign which I did not see yesterday

View from barricade tent north on Highway 6 - no vehicle with flags today

View of Highway 6 looking south - no vehicles nearby

View down 4th Line from Highway 6 - two OPP vehicles

Things were a bit quiet today, and it seemed that only the stalwarts were there - no Confederacy or Mohawk Warrior flags.  Chatted a bit with those present and asked if it would be ok to come back after my trip to Hagersville.  The answer was sure, as long as the police allowed me through and good luck with that.  There was no presence at all to impede vehicles.  However I don't know if any non-Native people were coming down 4th Line, or whether the very large Native man would have let them through to Highway 6. 

I then turned right on Highway 6 and headed to Hewitt's Dairy to pick up some ice cream.  On my way back to Caledonia I decided to stop and inquire as to the policy of the OPP concerning who could proceed along Highway 6 past their check point.

OPP barricade and check point at 3rd Line and Highway 6 looking north

I parked and approached one of the vehicles asking the officer whether, since I had just come from 4th Line along Highway 6 and passed by their check point (on the far left of the picture above), whether I could proceed back along Highway 6 to the 4th Line.  What I was told was very interesting.  The officer said that only those with the "Man Fire" could proceed.  I said that if I produced a "status card" would that be sufficient.  The officer asked to see a card.  I said that it would not say "Men's Fire", but that the people at the barricades at 4th Line told me I could come back.  The officer said that as long as I was "with" the people there I could proceed.  I thanked the officer and decided that I would prefer to take the detour up 3rd Line to 5th Line and return home that way.

Assessment:  Today was pretty "low key" compared to yesterday (where even then little was happening).  There does not seem to have been any media reporting relating to Sunday's activities at the barricades.  It does not appear that the issue captivated the folks at Six Nations and New Credit since there were very few participants.  One of the "problems" for the protest organizers is that the OPP kept the public as far away as possible from the 4th Line and so only Six Nations residents got the literature on the subject while traffic from other sources was ushered around the protest site via detours (completely unmarked once the drivers got to Cayuga Road or McKenzie Road - so good luck to them).  This must have been a source of frustration to Men's Fire (not that I have any sympathy with their methods).  So like a tree falling in the forest, who was there to hear the message?  However if the OPP did allow drivers to go past the 4th Line barricades, there would undoubtedly have been some unpleasant incidents as local residents vented their anger and frustration.  The OPP deflected what would otherwise have been a certain problem, and the risk to public safety was defused.

The police presence was half of what it was the previous day with, for example, neither of the two vehicles at the corner of Argyle Street and the Highway 6 bypass at the south end of Caledonia.  Not only were there fewer OPP vehicles, but there were no Native vehicles blocking Highway 6.  I am not sure whether the whole thing had just fizzled out.  There were no media persons there.  It was all very serene (on the surface at least). 

What I think was most important was to learn that by being identified as Native (although I never said I was Native, only asked hypothetically about what would be allowed in terms of passage along Highway 6 with a status card) meant that you were given the "privilege" of unrestricted access, whereas White folks (non-Native) could expect to be funneled along one of the detours.  The traffic, however, for whatever reason, was extremely light at around 2 pm.

I simply don't quite know what to make of the "protest".  It all just seemed to be quite futile.  If the message was for Prime Minister Harper then the correct venue would have been Ottawa or his riding in Alberta.  Here again, a matter that has nothing to do with people in Caledonia or Hagersville or the larger number of confused travelers who seemed (when I stopped to talk with officers) lost and disoriented (who seemed to predominate).  Perhaps locals made other plans. 

I expect that the action has been a great disappointment to Men's Fire.  Some undoubtedly did believe in the stated cause, although I wonder about others who may be opportunists who would see this as an opportunity to apply more pressure on the unresolved Douglas Creek Estates issue (or maybe "kill two birds with one stone" here - I simply don't know the motivation). 

Some further reading about the matter can be found at the "Brantford Expositor" here, and a broader view (related protests included) in "The Hamilton Spectator" here.

While I acknowledge that the approach used by the OPP on this occasion did "work" by keeping confrontation out of the equation, the reality is that their actions still reflect the "double standard".  So still to this day, there is one response for Natives and another quite different one for non-Natives.  OPP policies and procedures continue to employ two - tiered policing.  Hence the question can be asked, "What would happen if a group of Haldimand residents were to shut down Highway 6 to bring to public attention the 8 years of suffering, including physical and psychological abuse, perpetrated against Caledonians and others at the hands of Six Nations members?"  In other words, what would the response of the OPP be to the very same actions or tactics if employed by local Caledonia residents?  I am almost certain that I know the answer to this question based on my observations and personal involvement since 2006 - arrests and paddy wagons for all non-Natives.


Saturday, 4 October 2014

Highway 6 Blockade - 4 October 2014 - Day 1

A very cold day where the temperature has dropped precipitously, the wind is very brisk, and there are occasional cloudbursts of rain.  Not the best weather for this, the first day, of the blockade of Highway 6 at Fourth Line by Men's Fire, Hereditary Council, Six Nations (Haudenosaunee).  Apparently this action was part of a larger protest involving a group at Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville (see here).

I had the opportunity to speak with a number of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers stationed at various points along Highway 6, and access roads.  Coming from Caledonia the barricade involves two police vehicles and cones, and a very friendly Sergeant and a Constable.  They were directing traffic, half east along 5th Line to McKenzie Road where people can circumvent the blockade, and the other half west up to Cayuga Road on the Reserve where they can turn south and return to Highway 6 by 3rd Line (or 4th Line at the time I was there - more on this later).

Officers at 5th Line directing vehicles toward Cayuga Road

A few minutes later at 5th Line (Haldimand County supplied sign and barridade)

Since I wanted to take pictures of the actual blockade site, the very helpful Sergeant obtained a number for another Sergeant at the Cayuga Detachment who would speak to me.  I went home and called.  The Sergeant explained the situation (exactly as I knew it to be) and indicated that the OPP were still trying to negotiate with the leaders of the blockade to obtain a more suitable plan that would not impede traffic along Highway 6.  All media was apparently being stopped - confirmed by an on site officer who said that one of the Reserve newspapers had tried to get through but were denied access via Highway 6.

However there was an inconsistency which allowed any Six Nations member to access Highway 6 from the Reserve unimpeded.  Specifically, there were no OPP officers at any point along 4th Line on the west (Reserve) side.  So after turning left on Cayuga Road from 5th Line I turned left (east) on 4th Line within the Reserve.  I sailed through and came upon what was obviously an expanding set up which was blockading Highway 6 at 4th Line (Willow Grove).  They were established amidst the homes and businesses of non-Natives and had more or less taken over the surrounds.  There were police cars on both sides of 4th Line on Highway 6. 

View coming down 4th Line at Highway 6
To repeat, coming down the 4th Line from Cayuga Road on the Reserve, there was no barrier of any description and no OPP anywhere in this vicinity except on Highway 6 as seen below.  The tent above was set up blocking the west lane of Highway 6.  What follows are other views of the blockade.
Vehicle with Mohawk Warrior flags blocking Highway 6 north side of 4th Line

OPP vehicles to the north of above vehicle

Tent blocking Highway 6 - Looking south

Sign looking north toward tent

Vehicle with Mohawk Warrior and Confederacy flags blocking Highway 6 on south side

OPP vehicles and road block at 3rd Line looking north

4th Line and McKenzie Road looking west

Assessment:  The OPP officers I met were all friendly and professional and were dedicated to keeping any confrontation from occurring.  All perfectly understandable.  What is frustrating (other than being blocked from access to Highway 6 without having to take a giant detour) is that Six Nations members could funnel down 4th Line to Highway 6 and at the time I was there, could drive north or south without impediment.  In other words - "Natives" were given a free pass to access Highway 6 (all who passed the tent were given a handout entitled, "Why is Highway 6 being blockaded today?  Information sheet for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls"), while non-Natives were forbidden from any access to Highway 6 from 3rd Line to 5th Line. 

In addition, coming down 4th Line, the Six Nations residents avenue, there were no militant political signals.  However, via the approach which the participants expected the local people to take, Highway 6, there were the familiar Mohawk Warrior and Confederacy flags long associated with the assault on Caledonia by Six Nations - and seen for 8 years from the "reclamation" at Douglas Creek Estates. 

So "the message" of the blockade was provided in the form of information sheets for Six Nations residents; and in the form of vehicles bedecked in symbols of militancy facing the vehicles that would be driven by residents of for example Hagersville and Caledonia.  The physical set up here could not be more clear.  The local residents were once again being taunted by the symbols associated with the suffering of so many years and there was not one single sign that spoke of the pretend issue (missing and murdered aboriginal women).  Only on a single truck was there a small banner about this matter, and it was indirect (something about missing sisters), and at the time of my visit hidden from the Caledonia approach via Highway 6. 

So on Saturday, if you were a resident of Six Nations, no problem, just take an info sheet and be on your way.  There was a clear double standard in place here, where members of Six Nations did not have to worry about being inconvenienced.  Without a doubt there would have been bitter and acrimonious exchanges had this group attempted to block any at Six Nations - many at Six Nations have no tolerance for certain "sub-groups" of the Hereditary Council.  They will likely stay away - many are likely displeased at again putting Six Nations in a negative spotlight.

Here though, in the morning of the first day of the protest, all Six Nations present on 4th Line appeared to be on the same page. There appeared to be more men than women at the barricades - many older males.  Those at the blockade, about 20 or so at the time I was there, were having a fine time laughing and joking - of course at the expense of Haldimand County residents - but do they care?  I will allow readers to come to their own conclusion here.

During the evening CHCH TV had fairly extensive coverage of the Native protests at Highway 6, Hamilton, and Tyendinaga as seen here.  Here one woman pulls the same old chestnuts out of the drawer of ignorance saying that "Harper does not care".  Actually, that is not the case.  He has made the correct assertion that the RCMP and others including academics have studied the missing and murdered women matter in depth and the answer is always the same - social dysfunction in the family and community of origin.  Many Native leaders are calling for an end to the blame game and an acceptance that change has to come from taking personal and collective responsibility, not expecting government to solve all problems (all the while bitterly criticizing government).  Also the supposed "fact" of Canadian racism and genocide were mentioned.  If racism was true, Six Nations would have been dispersed to Manitoulin Island and the American West as was proposed and as was occurring in the 1840s - but government stepped in and established the Reserve system to allow Native communities to remain intact.  Racism indeed.  As to genocide, there was none, never.  The only true historical acts of genocide have been perpetrated by Native on Native violence where for example the Haudeosaunee completely destroyed the Huron / Wendat, Attiwandaronk, Erie, Wenro and other nations in the 1640s and 50s.  They were "wiped off the map" since they were competitors in the lucrative beaver market of the time.  The truth does not paint a pretty picture of the Six Nations, but if you can get Canadians to believe the spin - well then sympathy and support can be expected.  So often truth gets in the way of what has been taught for years - the same c*^p I was taught and believed until I searched the original records then the house of cards tumbled before factual information.

It is unknown how the organizers will attempt to change things up for Sunday.  They could have a few tricks up their sleeves to make their protest more effective.  In reality, those driving down or up Highway 6 only knew that there was a problem ahead and that the OPP had established a detour.  They would not have a clue as to the nature of the problem unless they had read about it in a local newspaper.  Most people I saw as I stood at the OPP barricades just appeared confused or angry.  The idea that the Harper Government (Federal) is going to be influenced by this very strange protest where those inconvenienced have no clue as to why they had to take a detour makes absolutely no sense.  Even if the true intent was to put more pressure on the Wynne Government (Provincial) to settle the DCE matter in favour of the Hereditary Council - the actions can have no foreseeable impact.

One thing is certain in all this.  The Ontario taxpayer was forced to once again expend untold sums of taxpayer dollars to "police" the protest.  The sum should be added to the amount deducted from any potential settlement of fiscal issues surrounding the questionable land claims from 170 years ago.  Surely fairness dictates that there have to be consequences when those who do not pay taxes to support, for example, the OPP services and the upkeep of for example Highway 6, put the burden on the shoulders of those in Caledonia and elsewhere who do pay taxes.

Without any doubt there is a double standard that works in favour of the Six Nations.  How much longer will members of the Haldimand community be willing to tolerate this skewed state of affairs?


Thursday, 2 October 2014

The Protest to Stop the Destruction of Bala Falls, Versus the Blockade of Highway 6 by Six Nations Militants

I just returned from a trip to Muskoka to see the glorious fall changing of the colour of the leaves.  While there I noticed signs around the town of Bala saying that it was not too late to change course in the plan to tame the awesome Bala Falls and channel the water into a hydro electric dam facility.  Signs pleaded with Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne to listen to the people and to see that this misguided part of the ill conceived "Green Energy" policy will destroy the entire character of the town and forever destroy the heritage of this area for us and our descendants.

My point in writing this blog posting is to contrast the above campaign in Muskoka with the planned protest this weekend by Six Nations Men's Fire to block Highway 6 at Fourth Line to supposedly increase awareness of missing and murdered Native women (from Northern Reserves).  First, this issue has been studied to the hilt and anything to be learned has been learned and is published for all who care to read the findings.  So the cause of the protest is questionable.  Also the cause is not local, yet it will only be local residents of Caledonia, Hagersville and other areas of Haldimand County who will suffer.  So for the, I can't possibly count the number of times, Caledonians will be kicked around by Six Nations members for this or that reason - and they want us to believe that this has nothing to do with ongoing disputes with the Liberal Government about ownership of the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) just north of 4th Line.  Many of us are not quite that stupid.  We know when we are being employed as pawns in the "game" being played out by the Hereditary Council and its components such as Men's Fire.  They hold us in absolute contempt, and to "frustrate" or "inconvenience" us is not even taken into consideration.  In their eyes we don't count - although useful to bounce around hoping that the Government will take notice and out and out give the Hereditary Council (not the Six Nations Elected Council) total control of the DCE property.  They can pretend it is about something else, but only those who are very naive or do not know Six Nations politics would buy into the stated rationale of "missing and murdered women". 

Also, this has to be the most uncreative plan to address whatever point Men's Fire are trying to make.  Blockades (road and rail) have been used over and over either here or at Tyendinaga and with no other effect than to cause millions of dollars of economic damage - and with absolutely no consequence to the perpetrators.  IT DOESN'T WORK.  Of course this is more likely to evoke sympathy than telling the truth and saying that they are going to purposely aggravate Caledonians to the point where they, considering the history over the past 8 years, will probably get angry.  Men's Fire know full well that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), who did nothing at a similar blockade last October, will not arrest any "Native" if there are large numbers present - just arrest "non-Natives" who are less likely to be able to make life miserable for them.  Two tiered policing - 8 years and counting.

Contrast the above to what I saw today at Bala.  The protest has been ongoing for 31 days.  No road has been blocked - it would be futile and the protesters know it.  So how are they proceeding to get their message across?  Lets look at what is creating the controversy - the beautiful Bala Falls - now endangered.

First, there are in fact no roads being blocked.  The protesters are respecting the transport systems, and the local people are working with a common goal - to stop the Liberal Government using its "Green Energy" policy to ram these destructive views down their throats.  The people who live and work there value the heritage and environment and put them before the limited benefits that might accrue from a hydro electric facility.  This "project" would wipe the falls off the map and remove a significant part of that which makes Bala so special.

Protest site completely off the road

Train traffic unaffected

Secondly, there is a discrete camp, where information can be given to visitors.

Tent where protestors have remained for 31 days

Third, local people are working with residents of nearby Wahta Reserve Mohawk Territory (aka Gibson Reserve), and Anisinaabe groups and have set up a non disruptive camp for 31 days now on the land between the arms of the falls (what amounts to a small island crossed by road and rail traffic).

Fourth, there are an array of informational signs with specifics included as seen above and in more detail below.

The message is pretty clear here

One of many signs that inform

More facts

All peoples of Bala have a right to be angry here

Will we allow the government to take this away from our grandchildren?

Why does Men's Fire insist on using a proven ineffective method to get across a message about a subject that has been studied ad infinitum and that has already been answered?  Why would they not see that the methods used by the people of Bala and nearby Wahta and the Anishinaabe community are more effective and cause the least disruption.  Either they are lacking in certain respects, or their agenda is not that which is being advertised.