Filed under: Action, Featured, Indigenous, Land, Ontario, Police
Starting on July 19th, indigenous Six Nations land defenders launched a “Land Back” reclamation of the McKenzie Meadows development which borders the town of Caledonia and the Six Nations reserve, under the hashtag, #1492LandBackLane.
I support 6 Nations Land Defenders encampment at #1492LandBackLane they r taking back stolen land! Canada’s land claims & self-Gov’t policies r fraudulent. I support the Land Defenders exercising their right of self-determination. What happens at 6 Nations happens to all of us! pic.twitter.com/0tv11v8nyP
— Russ Diabo (@RussDiabo) August 11, 2020
According to a site raising funds for those arrested:
We have taken this peaceful direct action to call attention to the ongoing aggressive development of our lands. Mackenzie meadows housing development is one of several approved developments surrounding our community. Friday July 31st ,2020 our land back camp was served with an injunction order. On August 5th, 2020 the OPP brought violence into our community and enforced the injunction. Several arrests were made, and the community of Six Nations took direct action to protect our people and several roads were blocked, the CN railways was blocked and the OPP was walked out of our territory.
On August 5th, so-called Canadian police forces attempted to enforce an injunction by raiding the land reclamation site, but were met with mass, militant community resistance. According to Real People’s Media, people surrounded police cars and pushed them out of the area. Tires were set on fire on the roadway and train tracks; creating burning barricades. That night, construction equipment was also set on fire. Police made several arrests and rubber bullets were also fired. Media reports that clashes with police also broke out, leading to rocks being thrown. According to one report, someone is also reported to have “thrown a porta-potty onto a police car from a railway bridge.”
One day after police forcibly removed self-styled Six Nations “land defenders” from a construction site in Caledonia’s south end, the group is back reasserting their claim to what they say is Haudenosaunee territory.
“We have retaken 1492 Land Back Lane,” said Skyler Williams of Six Nations, referring to the group’s name for the disputed land, which is slated for development as 218 detached homes and townhouses.
“When you take guns and weapons to peaceful people reclaiming their land, this is the result. They brought the violence to us and our community responded unarmed, but with the intent to make their voices heard. Now, highways and train tracks running on the outskirts of our community are shut down.”
According to the statement on the fundraiser page:
The current situation in Six Nations is very intense as the ongoing threat of violence against us has been granted again by the Courts. On Friday August 7th Haldimand County was granted an injunction for the roadways to be cleared of our people. CN also received an injunction for the railway through our community.
The interim injunction for 1492 Land Back Lane was also extended to a permanent injunction. These injunctions only serve as a colonial mechanism to disposes us of our lands and resources, which fundamentally violates our rights as sovereign Indigenous people. We will remain at 1492 and hold strong. We urge you to donate what you can to assist us in our legal fund to support Land Defenders facing current charges and any future charges that may result from the numerous injunctions against us in this particular issue.
Resistance to the construction at McKenzie Meadows is part of a broader struggle against land theft and continued colonial displacement, reports Real People’s Media:
The land, at the corner of Fuller Drive and McKenzie Road on the edges of Caledonia is across the road from Kanonhstaton – “the protected place” – the site of a 2006 land reclamation that made international headlines. If allowed to continue, the McKenzie Meadows development would see the building of 700 homes on a 108 acre parcel of contested lands. This multi-national reclamation is occurring hot on the heels of the Highway 6 bypass shutdown, which were held in support of Mohawk Warriors in Tyendinaga who were raided by the OPP for standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en.
A handful of community members were informed in April 2019 that the Six Nations Band Council (SNEC) had accepted an agreement on the previously dead deal for less than what was offered in 2013. The Six Nations Elected Band Council is a product of the Canadian government’s Indian Act and is directly accountable to the Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller. It was imposed on the Six Nations of the Grand River in 1924 by the RCMP. As a Federal Government entity the band council doesn’t hold any treaty rights, inherent rights, legitimate authority, over Onkwehon: we people to make decisions regarding their lands and rights.
Currently, despite legal threats and calls from the Canadian State to dismantle the blockades, the land reclamation continues as structures are being built on the site for the long haul and people have set up a Facebook page at 1492 Land Back Lane in order to mobilize broader support and request supplies. Street blockades also remain in effect and police continue to be stationed throughout the area.
— Russ Diabo (@RussDiabo) August 10, 2020
As The Expositor wrote:
The blockade put in place last week by indigenous protesters had grown in size with more tires and concrete blocks strewn across the right of way.
Donate to legal defense fund here.