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|
|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.