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Getting Nasty In Caledonia


SevenSeasJim
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Aboriginal protesters return after pre-dawn eviction

Last Updated Thu, 20 Apr 2006 09:35:29 EDT

CBC News

More aboriginal protesters arrived at a construction site in southwestern Ontario Thursday morning, hours after police staged a pre-dawn raid to break up a seven-week-old occupation.

Protesters say the land was granted to Six Nations more than 200 years ago and was never officially transferred to non-natives. (CBC)

Ontario Provincial Police arrived at the Caledonia site before 5 a.m. EDT in several large rental vans with their guns drawn, and armed with tear gas and Tasers, protester Mike Desrouches told CBC Newsworld.

"They covered the entire area within seconds. They gave virtually no chance for people to leave at all," he said.

Desrouches said a number of people were subdued with electric shocks from Tasers, and that he saw about a dozen arrested.

A couple of hours later, several hundred protesters arrived at the site, setting a pile of tires on fire on a nearby two-lane highway. Large plumes of black smoke are billowing in the air as the protesters gathered.

Protester Janie Jameson vowed to stay "however long it takes."

CH News has reported that the OPP is regrouping in the nearby town of Caledonia, and that roughly 1,000 police officers have been placed on standby.

The situation led local officials to close an elementary school in the town.

The protesters had been camped out since Feb. 28 on the site where new homes are being built, about 90 kilometres southwest of Toronto. They say the land was granted to the Six Nations more than 200 years ago and was never officially transferred to non-natives.

The province says aboriginals gave up the land in 1841 to make way for a new highway.

In late March, the protesters ignored an order from an Ontario Superior Court judge to end the occupation. Talks to end the standoff broke down on Tuesday.

Six Nations filed a land claims suit over the area in 1999.

Police did not immediately comment on the raid, but were expected to do so later Thursday. Henco Industries, the property developer, hasn't commented on the day's events.

* INDEPTH: Ipperwash

In 1995, another OPP raid on a native occupation made national headlines when an unarmed protester was killed by a police sniper.

Dudley George's death at Ipperwash Provincial Park became the subject of an ongoing inquiry, which has heard testimony from former Ontario premier Mike Harris. Aboriginal protesters return after pre-dawn eviction

From CBC

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Out in the desert where the wind never stops

A few simple people try to grow a few crops

Trying to maintain a life and a home

On land that was theirs before the Romans thought of Rome

A few dozen survivors, ragged but proud

With a few woolly sheep, under gathering cloud

It's never been easy, or free from strife

But the pulse of the land is the pulse of their life

You thought it was over but it's just like before

Will there never be an end to the Indian wars?

It's not breech-loading rifles and wholesale slaughter

It's kickbacks and thugs and diverted water

Treaties get signed and the papers change hands

But they might as well draft these agreements in sand

Noble Savage on the cinema screen

An Indian's good when he cannot be seen

And the so-called white so-called race

Digs for itself a pit of disgrace

You thought it was over but it's just like before

Will there never be an end to the Indian wars?

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its pretty shitty that they started the tire fire. but look at it from their viewpoint. if youve got cops kicking you off YOUR land, are you gonna go willingly? or are you gonna put up a fight? anyone with some backbones gonna stand up. and take whatever measures they need to.

its a big mess up there by the sounds of things. fucking shame it has come to this

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its pretty shitty that they started the tire fire. but look at it from their viewpoint. if youve got cops kicking you off YOUR land, are you gonna go willingly? or are you gonna put up a fight? anyone with some backbones gonna stand up. and take whatever measures they need to.

woah, easy now! Have all diplomatic options been completely and utterly exhausted yet?

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The thing that kinda gets me is that this should be settled in the courts (as mentioned above). 1000 police officers to take back land that was stolen in the first place seems like a waste of taxpayer money to me. Especially since it's for the direct benefit of a company that stands to make a profit. Like the construction company gets it's very own little army at the taxpayers expense. I say this because the only one that will profit from this is the contruction company. This (probably very expensive) gathering of police folk is being paid for by us to free land so that a company can make profit. The general population gets nothing good from it (especially since it's for some more suburb housing of whitch there is way too much already). If the natives are breaking the law and they did actually hand the land over then they should technically accept it (yeah, I know). It would be nice if someone smart looked over the documents to see if the native's claim (that they didn't TRULY give the land up) is valid or not and then told me in completely non-professional speak what the verdict is.

I just don't like the money influence here. We have already taken everything away from the natives and pretty much destroyed their way of life. We've penned them up in small areas away from the rest of us and now, if their claim is valid, we're taking away these small pens for the purpose of money and profit. At taxpayers expense, nonetheless.

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Did someone actually think the oil fields pic was Caledonia? LOL

When we were in Caledonia this morning it was pretty crazy, especially the OPP, who weren't going to allow us in, thinking we were attempting to join the protest. My buddy wanted to get his son outta there (he lives on the rez & is 14), it took alot talk to be able to get him out.

I spoke with my ex-girlfreind's brother at Tim Hortons who has been involved with this since get go 8 weeks ago (he was also involved in Ipperwash years back) and he thinks it's going get worse before it gets any better. Sad to see this happening again out there, seems every decade or so our gov't attempts to screw the 1st nations people over a little bit more.

woah, easy now! Have all diplomatic options been completely and utterly exhausted yet?

I'd say when OPP move in with automatic weapons, use tazers on highschool students then I'd say any diplomatic options have been exhausted.

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I am very sympathetic to this situation, but I will admit that I found the tire fire to be upsetting. I mean Hagersville is not that far away... I wouldn't think that such tactics are the best way to tap into the powers of the "creator"

...desperate measures I suppose...

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Federal government intervention might not be an ideal option. Saskatchewan CPC MP Maurice Vellacott has been picked for Chair of the House of Commons Aboriginal Affairs committee. He has a long and distinguished history of being a prick to Natives, including putting up a vigorous defense of cops that drive Natives out of town to freeze to death.

Aboriginal Leaders Cool to Vellacott Nomination (CBC Sask.)

Appointee Has Charged Past on Native Issue (Globe)

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ya, the tire fire is pretty sick and kinda against what you'd think they would be more for ie. preservation of land and environment...but i am still behind them one hundred percent...all the power to them! I just hope things don't have to turn violent or that we end up with another ipperwash sitch on our hands.

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Yeah, I would agree with you totally that Federal involvement would by no means secure native interests, but at the very least it would be the level of jurisdiction that is supposed to be dealing with these types of issues. As far as I know (and I stand to be corrected) this is outlined in our constitution

Everyone seems to be passing the buck on this one, no one wants to take responsibility for the situation. In my opinion, the Feds continuing to ignore things will only increase the chances of this erupting into a hostile or even violent affair (which I hope can be avoided)

On a slightly separate note, it disheartens me to hear how the general public appears to be responding to this situation. There does not appear to be a great deal of compassion or understanding towards the First Nation community (referring to general public outside of this forum). I mean this issue lies much deeper than this isolated incident, or this specific housing development. There really is a lack of knowledge (myself included) about all of the underlying factors contributing to this problem.

What I have gathered from the few anecdotal conversations that I have had, or have overheard about this issue, people seem to harbour a great deal of frustration and resentment towards the First Nation community.... as if some tax relief should automatically erase all of their concerns...

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