Well, unsurprisingly, Men's Fire, which is a militant Six Nations group affiliated with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), has once again attempted to cause "trouble" at the Empire Homes Development at the corner of Highway 54 and McClung Road east of Caledonia.
It will be recalled that they have done all in their power to be a thorn in the side of the developers (e.g., questioning the archaeological assessment process; asserting that the development cannot proceed without consultation and accommodation with the HCCC). Their actions have resulted in proactive steps by the developer (not wanting a repeat of the Douglas Creek Estates fiasco in 2006 which permanently halted development at that site) by securing Court Injunctions - about which more later.
In the 13 April 2016 edition of Turtle Island News, includes and article entitled, Six Nations Men's Fire shuts down water hook-up to development we learn that, The Six Nations Men's Fire shit down construction Wednesday morning on a water hook-up site to the controverial McClung Road housing development in Caledonia. Workers were back Thursday morning but Six Nations Men's Fire spokesman [B.M.] said the men will be back. Just when was not indicated.
Furthermore, The move came just after a Cayuga judge upheld an injunction barring a number of people - including the Men's Fire - from stepping foot onto the housing development site after the Men's Fire tried to appeal the injunction, which was granted in October 2015.
Since the Court Injunction is quite specific, it is questionable as to how Men's Fire could pull this off without contravening the law (although that has not stopped them before), and being arrested and charged by the Ontario Provincial Police. Men's Fire (and the Haudenosaunee Development Institute - HDI) are specifically noted in the Injunction. However, according to the spokesperson for Men's Fire, the water hook-up site -which is located on Hwy, 54 at McClung Road - is not part of the land subject to the injunction. I know the site pretty well, and Men's Fire may be correct in the specifics, but the wording of the Injunction would need to be inspected clause by clause to be sure. It all depends on where the shut off occurred, and where the boundaries of the development site are aligned.
The article states that, The 3,500 home "Avalon" development aims to draw water from the Grand River, just across the road from the water hook-up site. At present the hook-up works appears to have caused a back up of water along the flats between the site on the north side of Highway 54 and the River (in other words between Highway 54 and the River), however as of yet there does not seem to be any significant environmental damage beyond the "diggings" associated with the water intake.
The bottom line is that Men's Fire, HDI, and HCCC are angry that while the developer has not taken any but the most perfunctory steps to communicate with them (or the Six Nations Elected Council - SNEC) for that matter. In the view of the developer, McClung Properties Ltd., have done all that is necessary by, sending notices to the elected council and the HCCC and that no further consultation is legally required of them.
Of course the crux of the matter has nothing to do with the impact on the environment or any such matter, only perceived "land rights". Surprisingly, Men's Fire or others have not mentioned that the lands involving the development are "unsurrendered" (as was the case with Douglas Creek Estates in 2006 which resulted in a rash of violence, vandalism, arson, confrontations and so on). It is a mystery to this author why they have not gone the "this land was never surrendered" route - perhaps by now they have read the primary documents and seen the signatures of the chiefs of the Six Nations in the 1840s and realized that it was properly surrendered, and legal patents issued - that seems like a remote possibility, unless the Lands Office has revealed the truth to the HCCC and other groups who seemed to think that you could just wish these documents away, and set the truth aside.
For the moment the focus is on the "tow path" lands which were part of the defunct Grand River Navigation Company lands - Six Nations being one of the primary shareholders (and left holding the bag when the company went bankrupt). The spokesperson for Men's Fire, says any attempt to draw water from within Six Nations' "tow path" lands - 66 feet on either side of the Grand River - infringes on Six Nations' land rights. They maintain that, The tow path lands were never legally surrendered by Six Nations and constitute one of 29 land grievances band council has filed against the Crown.
The development company seems entirely undeterred by any of this since they are pushing ahead at full tilt, and have held an open house at the site.
Men's Fire and others don't seem to have a plan at present to put some teeth in their warnings about dire consequences if the developer does not consult with the various Six Nations factions. So, we will wait and see what is the next event in the saga - or whether it will simply fizzle out when faced against a site relatively remote from the Reserve, and little to no legal legs to stand on, and with a Court Injunction that this time may be enforced.