Introduction: While Men's Fire have been on the front lines of opposition to the huge development which will double the size of Caledonia, the HDI (Haudenosaunee Development Institute) has been conspicuous by its absence. Last year a Provincial Court Injunction dictated that members of Men's Fire were not to trespass on the McClung lands. The Injunction at Douglas Creek Estates in 2006 was ignored, and anarchy and all its ugly attendees broke out. The dynamic was different then, and in particular it was possible to funnel hundreds of protesters down 6th Line from the Six Nations Reserve directly to the site. With the site of the McClung Road development being on the opposite side of the River and a considerable distance from the Rez, most realize that 2006 will never happen again (the protesters would be "swamped" by locals). Most also realize that things had changed after the 2009 Injunction of Justice Arrell of the Brantford Superior Court, who issued very stiff fines for disobeying the Order, which were enforced by the Ontario Provincial Police when Six Nations members ventured off the Rez. Now "protesters" risk the real prospect of fines and jail time, and most have tred lightly around the McClung Road project. Some exceptions involve Men's Fire. They appear to have taken over the "militant role" from the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI). Their actions prompted an Injunction, and there is no indication that they are willing to risk getting arrested so far from the Reserve and reinforcements. They did put up a token resistence a few weeks back in shutting down the water intake project for the development (along Highway 54 and technically not on Avalon lands). There have been "rumblings" from the HDI, the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) and the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) about the matter with veiled warnings about the need for "accommodation" and other such concepts, as well as reminding all that there are outstanding (if invalid) land claims that must be addressed. So, as I have stated before many times, there will be no Caledonia 2006 on the north side of the River. Never again would the hell that was 2006 repeat itself, at least away from direct access to the Reserve. So how will each faction at Six Nations react to the new realities? We already know what Men's Fire have done, and now we learn of the actions of the representatives of the HCCC, the controversial (see previous blog posting) HDI, and as well SNEC.
Agreement Reached for McClung: This is the title of an article of 5 May 2016 on page 7 of The Sachem. Here it is announced that SNEC has issued a press release stating that, Six Nations Elected Council and McClung Properties Ltd. have arrived at a benefit agreement regarding the Avalon Homes development property on McClung Rd. in Caledonia.
As to the details of the agreement, The Benefits agreement includes:
1) The "contribution" of 200 acres to the Six Nations of the Grand River by McClung.
2) Opportunities for Six Nations members in home construction trades, from landscaping to framing.
3) Environmental and cultural heritage features will be protected over the entire project area.
The "Rider" Clause: All of the above "benefits" are to be, without prejudice to Six Nations Claim against the Crown in court action No. 406/95. Of course Six Nations are grasping at straws here since the documents, which I have personally examined, show without any doubt, that Six Nations have zero valid claims beyond the present boundaries of I.R. 40, the Six Nations Reserve.
Assessment and Conclusion: McClung cannot be faulted in wanting to take the easy way out - memories of 2006 haunt all developers in the area. However the "deal" is incredibly short sighted. The one positive, where both Six Nations and Haldimand County residents will benefit, is the setting aside of about 180 of the 530 acres for environmental purposes. The writing is on the wall. The development will proceed - it is already well underway as seen two postings down. Since there has been little if any direct citizen activism by Haldimand residents, this is really a "gift" and will reduce the chances of any saber rattling by activists (such as myself). I still detest everything about the project, but am much more likely to keep my mouth shut if environmental and cultural aspects are respected (and my tax bill is not increased as a result of McClung, and the traffic issues are adequately dealt with).
1) What is essentially taking place here is EXTORTION, meaning, if you agree to give us the land we want, we will ensure that the goons and thugs don't descend on your property, as happened at Douglas Creek in 2006. Giving in to extortion only opens the door to more of the same.
2) As I have amply documented in this blog, Six Nations have absolutely no valid treaty rights, or claims to land within the Haldimand Tract in particular or Southern Ontario in general. Any competent historian or lawyer can easily check the documents and verify the validity of my statement. As a matter of fact, Justice Arrell of the Superior Court of Brantford requested a report on the matter by Joan Holmes and Associates, and reported that their findings were enough to be in a position to state that there is little to no hope of Six Nations ever winning a legal challenge - the land was properly surrendered in the 1840s. There is no reason or need to give away any land.
3) It is unclear where this 200 acres is located. If within the McClung Development prospective purchasers there might be strongly advised to look elsewhere. You do not want Six Nations on your doorstep. Many do not recall 2006, but the anarchy that broke loose has every potential of happening again near Reserve property.
Even if the land is somewhere say along the boundary of the present day Reserve, then it is within the Counties of either Brant or Haldimand. The 200 acres would be taken out of the land tax base and the lost revenue would have to be made up by the property owners of the County in their property tax assessment - unless the Provincial or Federal Governments decides to ante up.
4) Whatever agreement is made by the Elected Council, it is a uncertain which Hereditary Council factions will honour it, and which won't. Men's Fire is not happy; but HDI has unaccountably signed off on the deal. It is possible here that the secretive HDI has come to some separate agreement (yet to be illuminated), hence the anger expressed by Men's Fire against the lawyer for HDI as noted in my previous blog. There is bound to be "acrimony spill over", and if McClung thinks they have clear sailing ahead, they need to think again.
Edit: According to The Haldimand Press, 5 May 2016, p. 2A, Don Boyle, Chief Administrative Officer, Haldimand County (no one else involved appeared willing to be specific), has stated that the location of the 200 acres is NOT in Haldimand County. Furthermore he said that, it is my understanding it may be near the Burtch Correctional Facility. This would place it in Brant County likely adjacent to the parcel of land that the Ontario Government was coerced into giving Six Nations in 2006 in exchange for the removal of the barricade on Argyle Street. Ill gotten gains! I feel sorry for the people in and around Mount Pleasant, Brant County if their region will "host" new (more) Reserve land. They may wish to look to 2006 to see what sort of neighbours will be on your doorstep. No apology has ever been offered from the elected or hereditary council to the residents of Haldimand County for the suffering that a significant number of Six Nations members perpetrated. The area at Burch is within easy access to the present Reserve, much as the Douglas Creek Estates were in 2006.