Here we go again. As has happened so many times before since 2006 with the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) take over, and over the subsequent 13 years, the Six Nations of the Grand River has been able to obtain land and money from developers (land and green energy) based on extortion / threats, whether direct or indirect. It has become clear that this process will never end in Caledonia and surrounding areas. The most recent instance is reported in the 24 April 2019 issue of Two Row Times (TRT) under the title, "
The origins of the "problem" extend all the way back to the 2006 Douglas Creek Estates debacle. Here a group of Six Nations activists succeeded in overrunning an ongoing housing development and "dispersing" the Ontario Provincial Police sent to enforce a Court Order. They claimed, against evidence, that the land was never surrendered. To this day Six Nations activists still occupy this property (after trashing everything of value on the land) with the consent of the Ontario Provincial Government. When all was said and done these criminals (who committed theft, arson, assault ....... ) prevailed, setting a very dangerous precedent that lingers to the present day, and which underlies the situation discussed here.
As documented in numerous postings to this blog, between 2006 and 2019, both major competing factions at Six Nations (the supporters of the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council and the Six Nations Elected Council) have extracted millions of dollars from the Canadian Government (the Crown), the Ontario Provincial Government (the Little Crown), and individual developers of green energy projects and housing tracts. All of this based on the claim that the lands given to the Six Nations for occupancy and located in the Haldimand Tract were never surrendered to the Crown and that all land patents are illegitimate. To further extend the unwarranted claims, these groups have had the audacity to use a bogus document to put forward a claim to rights to all lands in Southwestern Ontario. What is so infuriating is that no one is willing to stand up to the criminal activities of these groups, likely out of fear that activists will be sent to "enforce" their will upon the developers, or that those who speak the truth will be shouted down by being called "racists" - or perhaps the (very real) worry that physical violence will ensue.
Ballantry Homes has given 42.85 acres of farm land and $352,000 to the Six Nations Elected Council as part of the accommodation deal to approve two housing projects: Beatties Estates and McKenzie Meadows on the east and west sides of McKenzie Road in Caledonia." To rub salt into the wound (for those of us who had to endure the 2006 to 2016 fall out of the Douglas Creek Estates anarchy), the development is immediately across the road (Argyle Street South, the scene of numerous blockades and confrontations) from the DCE property.
It is not clear at present how much total money would be involved (turned over to Six Nations), but in 2015 an offer of 1.35 million dollars was turned down. By law (since the land was legally surrendered by Six Nations in 1844 and the monies placed in their Trust Fund) this is an illegal (certainly unnecessary) aspect. As to the land give away, the above 43 acres is at Little Buffalo just west of Hagersville. Apparently there is a "formula" developed for these cases now (after the deal by threat involving the massive McClung Avalon Homes development north and east of Caledonia). In other words land traded for the promise not to disrupt the development with protests and blockades. Here this involved, "seeing Six Nations receive payment in the form of property that is half the value of the developable land in the proposed project."
It is amazing that the developers do not continue to challenge the actions of Six Nations (whatever faction they happen to be dealing with) in Court. At least with a Court Order the Ontario Provincial Police, especially since we have a new Conservative Government, may actually enforce the provisions and arrest all protesters and the Court will hand them severe fines. So clearly Ballantry doesn't have the "stones" to proceed in that direction but rather see it in their best interest to give in to the demands of the Six Nations. It makes no sense economically, except for the fact that it will probably be the taxpayers of Ontario who are the ones who suffer most. Every time land is taken out of the tax base and given to Six Nations a process kicks in and ultimately the land will no longer be taxed and the tax burden falls on the taxpayers of Haldimand and Ontario. Amazing how timid developers and taxpayers are considering that the payments are entirely unnecessary.
It must be remembered that the actual data (evidence) could not be more crystal clear in relation to the legitimacy of the actions of Six Nations here - all of the lands in the Haldimand Tract have been surrendered, beginning in the 1780s, and peaking just before the consolidation of the present Reserve in 1847. The present author has posted scanned copies of key surrenders (e.g., for the lands upon which the Douglas Creek Estates are situated) to this blog, showing the signatures or marks of all of the Chiefs from all Nations residing on the Grand River at the time (see later for references). The signatures were witnessed by the Chiefs who were literate, and most particularly Jacob Martin (Mohawk) who was the interpreter. Over 170 years later descendants of those who legally and fairly sold the land are saying it never happened. In the TRT article, the land researcher for Six Nations stated, "All of these lands under the Haldimand Tract are under land claim no matter where it is. Douglas Creek is no different than MacKenzie Road. Oneida Township was never surrendered but it went out of our possession in 1845. It’s been in third party hands since then. All these lands were patented in the 1850s and 1860s." That statement is absolutely incorrect. The records are there for all to see in the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, RG10 Indian Affairs collection. Surrenders were debated in Six Nations Council by all Chiefs and over the years they signed off on surrenders of ALL lands except those they chose in 1847 as a consolidated Reserve (Tuscarora Township, and part of Onondaga Township in Brant County; as well as the most westerly part of Oneida Township in Haldimand County) - IR 40 the present Six Nations Reserve. As long as no one challenges the statements of the land researcher, people will come to assume that what they say must be correct - but it is not, it is outright wrong and can easily be proved! To make matters worse the land researcher, in the recent TRT article, states that the Courts are saying that there is a statute of limitations on these matters and that is why it is useless for Six Nations to go to Court. Not so, the reason is that the Court would decide (as they already did in 2009) that the claims of the land not being surrendered have no merit. Somehow this decision by Justice Arrell of the Superior Court in Brantford, based on the Holmes Report of 2008 using the documents from the above RG10 records in Ottawa, has failed to set a precedent. There is a huge scope for a legal challenge - but no one to initiate it.
A comprehensive summary and meta analysis on the matter of land surrenders and treaties can be found in an earlier posting to this blog seen here.
There is plenty of blame to go around in this ongoing situation - but ultimately it is those unwilling to stand up to being used and abused who need to be the targets of the finger pointing.
When will taxpayers, developers, or the Government put forward a challenge to the false statements coming from Six Nations? Wish I knew the answer, but so far "never" seems to emerge as the most likely scenario. For those who respect the truth beyond anything else, the matter is ultimately infuriating as those who speak falsehoods hold sway.