Youth barricade of ‘reclaimed’ Six Nations police station represents teaching opportunity for elders

UPDATED — A group of youths on Six Nations have barricaded and ‘reclaimed’ the old police station on the reserve, lit a ‘sacred’ fire, and are demanding that Council turn over the keys so they can use it as a ‘youth centre.’    

Chief Bill Montour is refusing to do so because he says, “the building has health, structural and safety issues that have to be fixed.”    

One of the police station barricaders,  a young woman named Ojistaryo, is quoted as responding to the chief’s refusal: 

Band council doesn’t have any proof of their claims.”     

Not the first occupation on Six Nations    

On page 245 of her book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear And Anarchy, And How The Law Failed Us All, Christie Blatchfords recounts reading a front page story in the Jan 13/10 issue of the Turtle Island News about how a group of Six Nations residents stopped construction of the new police station:    

“Dominating the front page was a story about a group led by Dick Hill that had recently stopped the construction of a new Six Nations police station. Since Dick Hill stopping development was by then a classic of dog-bites-man, I cannot resist the impulse to ask how on earth this qualified as news”    

Irony of Six Nations occupation not lost on neighbours weary of native intimidation    

Judging by some of the reader comments to the story, non-natives are finding irony in the fact that the lawless example set by the Six Nations residents who terrorized the people of Caledonia, Hagersville, Cayuga, and Brantford is now coming home to roost in their own community:    

The kids have learned a valuable lesson from Caledonia & Brantford. Talk about living and learning about one’s heritage.” (‘Old Fart’)    

The Young Natives are learning from their Elders on how to claim something.” (texascanuk2)    

“Take over the DCE, take over Kanata, take over Ernie Palmer’s property near Caledonia, take over Six Nations land outside of the reserve, take over Hydro land for a smoke shack, take over the former Six Nations police station, it seems the radicals can’t stop themselves. Where are they learning this stuff…at the Men’s Fire School for Activists?” (‘gahors’)    

“Maybe Six Nations (SN) Elected Band Council Chief Bill Montour, the SN Elected Band Council and SN people now know how people outside of the reserve feel when SN activists take over. The SN police will probably just watch if they have been trained by the OPP.” (‘gahors’)    

“Could they turn it into a smoke shack?” (‘Stephen Morris’)    

VoC Comment     

The demand for ‘proof’ of the Chief’s claim that the building is unsafe from one of the young occupier/barricaders qualifies as the most ironical quote I’ve heard during the last four-plus years of documenting and opposing the racial policing that enabled the rampant lawlessness throughout the Haldimand Tract at the hands of Six Nations militants — over a vexatious land claim rejected over and over again by the courts:     

In fairness…    

Six Nations Band Councillor Helen Miller spoke out several years ago against the various groups responsible for Haldimand Tract lawlessness against the reserve’s neighbours, saying they don’t speak for Six Nations and they aren’t supported by the community:    

Will Six Nations elders learn from their youth’s lack of respect, or will their youth continue to learn from them?    

With a terrible legacy of attacks on non-natives (and some natives, too) to follow for the last five years how could Six Nations kids be blamed for having no respect for their own community, their elders or their neighbours?    

While it is tempting to point fingers and say ‘gotcha!’ at the irony of it all, it is better, I think, to view the situation as a teaching  opportunity. The youth occupation of the former Six Nations police station illustrates the truth in the maxim that parents will reap what they sow. Will now be the time that Six Nations leaders finally take a stand against the awful example some members of the community have set for their children?      

I had hoped this would have happened by now. Unfortunately, to this day, not one person from Six Nations has reached out to stand with us as we condemned violence, fought racial justice, and sought apologies from those responsible.    

“True healing will begin when those responsible for traumatizing Haldimand County – OPP, Ontario, and Six Nations – issue apologies to the people of Haldimand. There are no shortcuts, no alternatives. If the government of Canada can – rightly – apologize for Residential Schools then these groups can apologize for Caledonia. 

“The events in Haldimand County are a matter of historical record, and the reality that some Six Nations residents, with the support of their leaders, victimized and traumatized their innocent neighbours cannot be denied, diminished or ‘justified.’ It does neither community any good to pretend that the last four years did not happen any more than we should pretend that Residential Schools never existed.” 

  •  Tekawennake News op-ed series by Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas, Merlyn Kinrade & Doug Fleming, July 14-21/10: Healing Two Communities [PDF, 7p] 

The leaders of Six Nations – political and religious – have refused to acknowledge the crimes against Caledonia even after they were documented in Helpless, even when the occupiers of the Douglas Creek Estates swarmed us, destroyed our Truth and Reconciliation monument and burnt our Canadian flag on March 27/11 when we tried to reach out with a message of hope for a better day:    

One of the best gifts the leaders of Six Nations could give to their children and their community would be to issue an official apology to the people of Caledonia to symbolize the importance of respecting their fellow human beings.    

Now, that would be a shining example for Six Nations children to follow.    


  • Mark Vandermaas speech, ‘Remember Us’ protest, Caledonia Lions Park, Oct 08/07: Natives are victims of Two Tier Justice [VIDEO 18.29 mins, PDF]
  • 2010 New Directions in Aboriginal Policy forum, Mount Royal University, May 05/10, Mark Vandermaas presentation: Listening to Victims: A Fresh Approach to Healing and Reconciliation [PDF, 21p]


Mark Vandermaas, Editor

3 responses to “Youth barricade of ‘reclaimed’ Six Nations police station represents teaching opportunity for elders

  1. In 2006, I had an opportunity to discuss the actions of the radicals on DCE with one of Six Nations elders. My comments went something like this; “my biggest fear for the Six Nations people is that the behaviour of a few will cover all and will bring nothing but shame to the good people of Six Nations. I also went on to say that if there is no respect for authority or your neighbour, what follows is no repect for family and friends.” It may take years for the people of Six Nations to live down the actions of a few and I fear many don’t realize just how much damage has been done.

    VoC: Hi Donna, nice to hear from you. I recall you telling me something about that discussion. I don’t know how all those egging on, or excusing the violence against non-natives thought it wouldn’t come back to bite them in their own community.

    I’d like to meet just one 6N person willing to help us open some lines of communication with the goal of promoting a realistic process of healing based on truth, justice and apologies so that both communities can live in peace and create opportunities for one another. I know apologies won’t take away the pain, but we’ve got to start somewhere. Where are the peacemakers on 6N – as opposed to the peace-talkers?

    First thing 6N needs to do after apologizing to their neighbours is to run Tom Keefer and his CUPE 3903 gang of anarchists, Marxists, and Hamas supporters back to Toronto. They were the some of the worst agitators of all – another bunch of whites using natives, this time for their own anti-capitalist/anti-West agenda. They didn’t give a rat’s behind about how 6N would be affected as native people – especially the young – bought into their ideology that violence and vandalism was OK as long as it was directed at the ‘evil’ white-privileged, colonialist, capitalist, settler monsters.

    For five years native children have learned that they don’t have to respect the law, the truth, authority, or other human beings to get what they want. It’s going to take time to de-program them, and I can only pray it begins ASAP.

    Regards, Mark

  2. You’ve stumbled upon the legacy of 6N embracing the ideals of radical Marxist-Anarchism. Let’s call it the “Keefer-Horn effect”. It can be seen in this latest act of antisocial behavior by 6N youth against their own. They have been indoctrinated/conditioned into the anarchist ideals of belligerent-oft-criminal confrontation, civil disruption, vandalism, trespass and extortion as being legitimate tools to get what they want.

    Could sowing the poisonous seeds of anarcho-marxism in 6N yield anything less than poisonous fruit?

    VoC: Hi Bill. Not likely. Mark

  3. Of course I understand that positiveness is in every Canadian’s blood, but it’s been wasted on the natives. 6 years is a long, long time for law enforcement, even if it’s in Ontario. Only a politician in you may still be holding onto patience straw which gets the community nowhere.

    VoC: By the time Dr. King delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech in 1963 he already had many years invested in the civil rights movement, and he would invest a few more before his assassination, which still was not the end of the struggle.

    It takes time to completely reverse a racial paradigm. Some people in Caledonia thought/think that it takes one protest, one letter, one meeting. Ending systemic racism of the type that allowed Caledonia to be victimized is a long process, not an event.

    For nearly five years we protested, we used the courts, we used the media, we documented and we educated. And it’s going to take even more time. Malcolm X and the Black Panthers wanted to use violence as a shortcut, but King wanted to change hearts and minds of a country. In the end he was proven right, and that is the path we follow.

    As for being a politician, not for me. Mark