KANONHSTATON – Despite some frantic and grossly exaggerated posts on local blogs, only a couple of families with property abutting the former Douglas Creek lands, now known at Six Nations as Kanonhstaton, have been in any kind of verbal conflict with Six Nations people at the edge of the contested site, near Caledonia.
Aside from the complaints and allegations of Caledonia resident Donna Reid, her friends and relatives, it has been relatively peaceful since the installation of fence posts along the Northern perimeter of the lands began last week.
The latest engagement between one such neighbour and Six Nations residents was over a Native flag installed behind the home of Reid on land that she infringed upon when she built a garden extending onto the contested property.
Caledonia resident Randy Fleming warned those at the site Friday that unless fence posts across what used to be the Northern entrance road to Kanonhstaton, were removed, there would be “action”, Fleming did not specify what that would entail.
Friday night passed, as did Saturday, Sunday and Monday, and to date the fence posts are still up and awaiting the chain link fencing to be installed this week, which will separate the Thistlemore Street backyards from the Kanonhstaton land.
Other neighbours have voiced no complaint about the fence and have even helped with the cleanup of the “no-go-zone” established between the OPP and Six Nations to keep the peace between them. Some children from the Thistlemore area and Six Nations have also played a few impromptu baseball games together during the clean-up phase.
Both Reid and Fleming are known supporters of anti-Native rights activist Gary McHale, who has been confronting Six Nations people at the site for years with unwelcome publicity stunts designed to provoke reaction.
McHale and his followers believe all who live in what is known as Canada are Canadians and are equal in the eyes of the law. Although that statement seems valid and reasonable to many, the fact is that Onkwehon:we people do not see themselves as Canadian. Likewise, the Federal Crown in Right of Canada and the Province in Right of Canada, have legislated and proclaimed a very real separation between Canadian and the Onkwehon:we people living on traditional lands they occupied since long before European contact.
In order for McHale and his followers’ world view to be true, existing treaties and agreements with the Mohawks, the Five Nations, and the Six Nations Haudenosaunee Confederacy, as protected under the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the British North American Act of 1867, the Canadian Constitution Act of 1982 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2010, as well as the Indian Act which Canada depends upon in its relationship with First Nations, would all have to be ignored and abandoned.
To the displeasure of some, there actually are two sets of laws at work whenever if comes to dealing with Six Nations, especially within the Haldimand Tract of six miles on either side of the Grand River, from source to mouth.
The blog states that the writer’s 71 year-old grandmother has been terrorized by Native protesters for nine years. The reclamation of Kanonhstaton actually did not start until February of 2006, eight years ago, but still a long time on anyone’s calander.
It states she has been targeted for “standing up for herself”. She also accuses those on the site of being in her back yard, or patrolling the area, “sometimes with guns”.
This is an allegation that is bluntly denied by Six Nations land protectors at Kanonhstaton who strictly adhere to a no-guns policy at all times.
The blog continues with the usual McHale style rhetoric that the OPP idly stands by and watches the Natives’ “illegal activities” and does nothing about it.
The blog writer calls for help, which is hoped will rally some kind of action against the Haudenosaunee at the site.
The blog says the fence is being built through Mrs. Reid’s garden, but does not say that the garden and the land the fence is going through are not part of her property at all. Reid says that she has received permission to extend her garden past her property line onto the contested land by local officials and indigenous leaders. But there has been no indigenous leader we have been able to find who has given such permission to do so. The province remains silent on the issue.
The Province holds Ontario Land Registry deed to the land after purchasing it from Henco, the original developers. The Haudenosaunee Development Institute, which oversees the site on behalf of the Confederacy Chiefs Council, says the province was well aware of the plan to build the fence and at one point even suggested a wooden fence be installed.
Someone is clearly not telling the truth here, or perhaps it’s everybody involved. But either way, it is not helping to prevent the situation from flaring up into open conflict again.