April 25, 2006. VANCOUVER: Today, hundreds of people gathered on Coast Salish Territory outside the Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver to show their support for the Six Nations in Caledonia, Ontario. The action was organized to serve as a deterrence to prevent any further police escalation against the Rotin'oshon'ni Six Nations. People from all races joined the Vancouver Native community in a show of solidarity for the demands of the clan mothers of the Six Nations for an immediate cessation of all construction by Henco Industries on Six Nations territory.
BACKGROUND (The following background info is from The Timeline and Info on Calendonia Six Nations Struggle)
On March 3rd, 2006, Rotin'oshon'ni Six Nations people set up camp on the Haldimand Tract, located at the entrance to Douglas Creek Estates, a 71-lot subdivision under construction by Henco Industries Ltd. on Six Nations territory.
"Six Nations" refers to the six nations that are part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy: Gayogoho:no (Cayuga), Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk), Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Onoda’gega (Onondaga), Onodowahgah (Seneca), and Ska-ru-ren (Tuscarora). The traditional territories of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy crosses the colonial US/Canada border, including parts of “Ontario”, “Quebec”, “Pennsylvania”, “Ohio”, “New York”, and “New Hampshire”.
There are many Rotin'oshon'ni communities. The Six Nations reserve is in the area known as southern “Ontario”, near the towns of Brantford, Caledonia, and Hagersville. Other Rotin'oshon'ni communities include Kahnesatake (a Mohawk community near the town of Oka, which the Canadian government laid siege to in 1990), Kahnawake, Ganlengeh, Tonawanda, Allegany, Cattaragus, Akwesasne, Tyendinaga, and Gibson. There are also many Rotin'oshon'ni living outside these areas.
Canada’s Ongoing Theft of Six Nations Land
- 1784: In recognition of Six Nations support of the British Crown during the American War of independence, the Crown issues the Haldimand Proclamation officially recognizes land stretching six miles on either side of the Grand River from Lake Erie to Dundalk (approx. 950,000 acres of land) as Six Nations land.
- 1795: Lieutenant-Governor John Simcoe decides to reduce the area formally recognized as Six Nations land by the Crown to 275,000 acres.
- 1924: Department of Indian Affairs imposes band council system on Six Nations, to undermine hereditary systems of governance and facilitate land theft.
Since 1795 the Crown has continually stolen more and more land for occupation by settlers, sale to developers, and road construction. The area officially designated by the Canadian government as the Six Nations reserve is now less than 5% of the original area promised by the Crown in 1784.
Brief Chronology of the Camp
- June 13, 2005: The province of Ontario passes the Places to Grow Act. The act provides a legal framework for the provincial government to designate any area of land (including unceded First Nations land) as a “growth plan area” and decide on its development. A regulation was also passed identifying the “Greater Golden Horseshoe area” (which includes unceded Six Nations land) as the first area for which a growth plan will be prepared.
- October 25, 2005: Six Nations people and supporters hold an information picket at Douglas Creek to raise awareness of the ongoing theft of Six Nations land.
- November 24, 2005: The Ontario Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal releases the Proposed Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Unceded Six Nations land is part of this development plan.
- February 28, 2006: Six Nations people and supporters reoccupy the land to block further construction by Henco Industries, saying they will stay until jurisdiction and title over the land is properly restored to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Apr 20, 2006: Police invasion fails, Six Nations resistance holds against military and racist mob
At 5 AM over 150 heavily armed Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) invade the camp, using Tasers, batons, tear gas, and pepper spray against unarmed Six Nations people and arresting 16 individuals. The people at the camp courageously resist and force police to retreat. Supporters from across North America pledge to come to the camp to stand in solidarity. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the police action is "completely independent'' and that his government didn't learn of the raid until it was already in progress.