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.”
- Brantford Expositor, May 28/11: Kids can’t have old station: Chief
- see also: Brantford Expositor, undated (updated June 01/11): New police station reason to celebrate on Six Nations
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.”
- Brantford Expositor, undated (last updated June 02/11): Young people urged to get behind effort
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”
- Christie Blatchford, Helpless, p245
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’)
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:
- ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares’ event, Ottawa, March 22/11: Mark Vandermaas presentation, Part 1 – Caledonia’s Victims [VIDEO #1, 15:05] [PDF, 36p w/citations]
- ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares’ event, Ottawa, March 22/11: Mark Vandermaas presentation, Part 2 – Caledonia Myths & Policy Issues: Vexatious Land Claims [VIDEO #2, 14:50] [PDF, 36p w/citations]
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:
- VoiceofCanada, July 14/09: ‘The Strength of a Woman’: Six Nations Councillor Helen Miller
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:
- VoiceofCanada, March 28/11: OPP watch as natives destroy Reconciliation/Apology monument, then burn Canadian flag
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]
- VoiceofCanada, June 10/11: Six Nations Councillor Helen Miller: ‘Stop blaming colonization and residential schools’
- VoiceofCanada, June 10/11: Gary McHale to Six Nations: Beware what you teach your children
- VoiceofCanada, June 11/11: ‘Violence Against Aboriginal Women’ author agrees w/Six Nations Councillor Helen Miller re futility of blaming colonization & residential schools
- Counterpoise, May 27/11: Violence Against Aboriginal Women