Archive for September, 2008

Tyendinaga Mohawks stop installation of police facility

Posted in Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on September 24, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Native protesters stop building
Installation of police facility delayed ‘until further notice’

Posted By STEPHEN PETRICK, THE BELLEVILLE INTELLIGENCER
Posted Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A group of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory women set up this blockade at the site where a new police building was to arrive this week. Intelligencer photo by Stephen Petrick

The installation of a new police building here has been delayed “until further notice,” after a group of band members set up a blockade Tuesday to protest its arrival.

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte officials were preparing to have a 4,635-square-foot building shipped from a Hamilton-area manufacturer this week and put together on a gravel pit on York Road, just west of Quinte Mohawk School.

But a group of about 50 people were at the site Tuesday afternoon, vowing to block officials from placing a prefab building they feel the community was not consulted about.

“Our people never sanctified it, ratified it or condoned it,” Bryan Isaacs told The Intelligencer from just outside the protest site. “There’s no one in favour in our group because we were never consulted.”

Inside the site, several women were sitting in lawn chairs. They said they were upset the band council made plans for a roughly $1.9-million facility when the money could have been spent to address the lack of safe water in the territory and poor housing conditions.

“You have kids in the school out there without water,” said Evelyn Turcotte, pointing to Quinte Mohawk School. “There are housing issues and mold issues.”

Another woman, who did not give her name, said, “I’ve been buying water for 30 years.”

The group, which identified themselves as the Kanyen’kehaka women of Tyendinaga, also issued a press release calling on Prince Edward-Hastings incumbent Daryl Kramp as well as Minister of Indian Affairs Chuck Strahl and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to listen to their needs.

“Canadians overwhelmingly support clean water efforts, funding for education and safe housing for Native people, and yet, while all of those concerns remain ignored, this multi-million dollar investment proves only to ‘fix’ an otherwise unwarranted problem.”

The comments came as the Mohawk band council gathered for a special meeting to discuss what to do with the facility.

The building has already been put together by NRB, a modular building company in Grimsby, Ont.

The band was expecting it to arrive Monday, but found out Tuesday the trip had been delayed as the company still needed to obtain some Ministry of Transportation permits to make the drive.

Armed with that knowledge, the band requested the company to hold onto the building until the conflict is resolved.

“The council made a decision that it would remain there in storage until further notice,” Maracle said, moments after the meeting.

He also scoffed at comments that band leaders are not making clean water a priority or holding enough consultation on the building.

Had the building arrived Monday, he said, a “community ratification process” would have taken place to determine whether the building meets the approval of band members. It would have sat on the site “unhooked” until at least Oct. 31, Maracle said.

That ratification process, he added, would have followed a series of public meetings on the issue earlier this year.

He also said he agrees with protesters that water quality on the territory needs to improve.

“That’s why I started a water study many years ago — to document the condition of the water so we could make a case to the government for some funding for water,” he said.

He added that Indian Affairs has committed money for a new water treatment plant and project workers are now deciding what technology needs to be used before construction can begin.

The new police building is intended to allow Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Services to expand from eight to 11 officers.

The band is contributing close to $980,000 toward its costs, with the final $900,000 coming from the provincial and federal government.

Despite the commitment, the department will be operated solely by Mohawk people, Maracle said.

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Charges dropped against Six Nations teen

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on September 24, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Charges dropped against teen accused in Caledonia beating

September 24, 2008
Paul Legall
The Hamilton Spectator

The Crown has dropped the case against a Six Nations teenager who was charged last year after a violent confrontation that landed Caledonia house builder Sam Gualtieri in hospital with severe injuries.

Assistant Crown attorney Mitchell Hoffman withdrew charges of assault and break and entry against Byron Powless, 19, at the conclusion of Powless’s preliminary hearing in Hamilton yesterday.

After hearing the evidence of a key prosecution witness, Hoffman said the case wasn’t strong enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the teenager was involved in the incident.

“There no longer is a reasonable prospect of a conviction,” he told Ontario Justice Norman Bennett, who endorsed dropping the charges.

Powless was charged with attacking Dominic Gualtieri during an altercation at his uncle Sam’s partially-built house. He was one of three teens charged in connection with the September 2007 incident while police were trying remove Six Nations protesters from the Stirling Woods subdivision in Caledonia.

The turn of events has frustrated and angered the family of Sam Gualtieri, 53, who was allegedly attacked with a large club by another teenager. He suffered facial injuries, a fractured shoulder blade and two skull fractures. He is suing the OPP for failing to protect him against protesters occupying the site.

“It hurts us that justice wasn’t served,” Sam’s younger brother, Joe Gualtieri, said yesterday.

Gualtieri family members were in court Monday and yesterday when construction worker Duane Davies testified for the Crown. He was in the house during the altercation and was considered a key witness in identifying Powless as the man who attacked Domenic Gualtieri.

“He’s fighting individuals … he couldn’t say 100 per cent,” Joe Gualtieri said, adding that identification is complicated by the fact that Powless has a twin brother.

He suggested there were three other witnesses inside the house who could have strengthened the Crown’s case.

Outside the courtroom, Powless said he was elated by the decision. He still faces other charges, laid Monday, of mischief and disguise with intent in relation to a highway blockade in Caledonia in April. He is out of custody and was ordered to return to court in Cayuga.

Richard Smoke, 19, still faces charges of break and entry and aggravated assault in connection with the attack on Sam Gualtieri. Smoke is to return to Cayuga court Oct. 15.

A 16-year-old also faces charges in connection with the incident.

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Big day today in Court for Byron Powless. He was accused of breaking and entering into a home on stirling street last September 13, 2007 as well as assaulting a 6ft 300 lb man.

Today in a Hamilton Court House, ALL CHARGES WERE WITHDRAWN. There was insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial.  (He wasn’t even in the house when our two young men were attacked.) Needless to say his accuser couldn’t even identify him!

Also, last Friday the OPP stormed Kanonhstaton to arrest one of our men. In the midst of this attack officers pointed their loaded guns at the heads of two of our women.

On Sunday during a ceremony at Kanonhstaton, a non-Native male climbed a fence onto Kanonhstaton and brandished a knife and physically and verbally threatened the life of 10 yr old boy who was partaking in the ceremony.

On Monday at Kanonhstaton a non-Native Male who resides in a house in front of Kanonhstaton was drunk, erratically driving an ATV onto the site. He then began threatening our women. He was calling them derogatory names and told one of the women, ” I know your husband is in jail, but I’ll finish the job for him…” Basically sexually threatening an Indigenous woman. As far as I know, as of yet, there have been no charges laid.

This man also was witnessed grabbing a gas can and trying to set his own house on fire.

All in all, a very eventful weekend to say the least…

janie jamieson

September 23, 2008

Six Nations people say man’s arrest breaks deal

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on September 20, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Natives say man’s arrest breaks deal

September 20, 2008
John Burman and Rachel De Lazzer
The Hamilton Spectator
CALEDONIA

OPP officers have arrested a native man on Douglas Creek Estates, the first arrest on the site since an ill-fated raid more than two years ago fuelled a protracted land claims dispute.

Reading from a prepared statement yesterday at the site, native spokesperson Dawn Smith said the OPP broke an agreement made on April 20, 2006 not to enter the property.

That was the day dozens of OPP officers entered in a pre-dawn raid, arresting 16 protesters at the Argyle Street South subdivision they had by then occupied for eight weeks. It sparked native blockades and violent clashes.

Smith compared yesterday’s arrest of Kenneth Greene with the police tactics in Ipperwash that led to the death of native activist Dudley George in 1995.

“Today rings of Ipperwash all over again,” said Smith, surrounded by native supporters. “In our eyes, it was a direct act of aggression and hostility against all Haudenosaunee. The OPP were ready to shoot.”

Haldimand OPP Constable Paula Wright could not confirm that police pointed guns at anyone.

Greene, 43, of no fixed address, is charged with disguise with intent, four counts of assault with a weapon, three charges of uttering death or bodily harm threats, two counts of intimidation and four counts of mischief.

The charges are in connection with events on Labour Day, when the arrest of a prominent Six Nations spokesperson and two others in Brantford triggered a chain reaction that led to parts of Caledonia being barricaded.

The arrest follows a separate incident on Thursday when Dana Chatwell, who lives in a home at the edge of the property, alleged Greene threatened her husband Dave Brown with a gun.

Six Nations group stops work at Eagle Place housing site in Brantford

Posted in Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on September 17, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Work stopped on Eagle Place housing site

‘We’re here to make sure that no shovel is put into the ground’

Posted By VINCENT BALL AND MICHAEL-ALLAN MARION, EXPOSITOR STAFF
Brantford Expositor
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Six Nations group blocked an attempt to begin work Monday on the site of a new housing development at Erie Avenue and Birkett Lane.

Up to 30 members of the Haudenosaunee Men’s Fire gathered at the site of a 99-home subdivision at about 6 a. m. and didn’t leave until early afternoon.

Their efforts prevented city work crews from beginning work to provide servicing to the site, which is one of five designated no-go zones in bylaws passed by the city and an injunction obtained in Ontario Superior Court prohibiting activities that stop construction work.

“We’re required to be here. It’s our duty to be here, ” said native spokesman Dahwehido:geh, also known as Phillip W. Skye.

“This land is part of the Eagle’s Nest Tract. It has never been surrendered, ceded or given up and it’s our duty to protect it.

“We’re here to make sure that no shovel is put into the ground.”

As he spoke, Skye had a replica of the Two Row Wampum draped over his arm.

He said development of the site would damage the area’s eco-system and he encouraged city officials to move away from developing vacant land.

Skye said Men’s Fire members were at the site as ambassadors to peacefully and respectfully present their view.

They met with police to discuss safety during the blockade, Skye said.

The Men’s Fire received a boost from a visit by Six Nations Chief Coun. Bill Montour.

“It looks like it’s on a flood plain,” Montour said of the housing development. “What are they trying to do here, build another New Orleans?” The proposed development is another example of how good farmland is being ruined and replaced by concrete, he said.

Six Nations people have an obligation to protect the land and the environment.

“Concrete doesn’t allow you to grow good crops and, on behalf of most of us on the elected council, we’re behind you on this one,” Montour said.

City Mayor Mike Hancock declined to comment, citing the fact the bylaws and the injunction.

“It’s a matter for the police,” he said. Coun. John Bradford, who represents the area of contention, said he talked with various residents.

He said some in the area are supporting the activists, mainly because they either oppose the development or are in sympathy with them.

“These people perhaps naively don’t understand that they are hurting the economic development of Brantford,” he said.

“Even though they think they’re doing a good service in their backyard, they’re not. One group of neighbours is working against another group.”

Callout for Support – 6 Nations in Brantford

Posted in Repression, Six Nations Confederacy on September 10, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

URGENT CALLOUT FOR SUPPORT – 6 NATIONS in BRANTFORD

This morning, the Brantford Police arrested two young activists from 6 Nations, aged 17 and 19. The two were arrested in transit while trying to leave the campsite on Fen Ridge Court. Twenty cops in 8 unmarked cars pulled over the vehicle they were travelling in, and arrested the two teenagers who are currently in jail. Activists at the site in Brantford have asked for supporters to come to the site tonight and/or tomorrow.

The Hampton Inn site on Fen Ridge has been shut down completely for two weeks. It had also been shut down several times over the last few months by various representations from 6 Nations including Ruby and Floyd Montour, the Confederacy Council, the Men’s Fire, and now grassroots activists including Boots Powless and a newly dubbed NYM-6 Nations. The current callout comes directly from the activists on site.

The group has maintained the site beside the Hampton Inn development site in a tepee for over 60 days, upholding the declaration put forward by the Men’s Fire that these sites should be shut down pending settlement of outstanding land disputes. Further, all three sites that have been targeted from the base camp have been sited as posing ecological threats; the Fen Ridge industrial development area and the Oak Park Road development site are located in an environmentally sensitive area less than a kilometre from the Grand River.

A Callout for supporters to be physically on-the-ground as early as tonight has been issued from the camp. They are also asking for food and phone cards (“solo” brand).

To get to the site:take the 403 to Brantford, exit at Oak Park Road, turn right at the T junction off the exit, then take the first left onto Power Line Road; the site is down the road a few hundred meters, and should be evident across from the King & Benton site. Look for the tepee, Boots has asked people to meet there first.

Wednesday September 10, 2008
BRANTFORD, Ont.

Today at approximately 11:00am my one year old son and I were leaving the King and Benton site in Brantford, Ontario. My sister left the site a few seconds behind me. Two youth were travelling with her. I stopped at the stop sign and then proceeded through. I checked my rear view mirror to see how far behind my sister was.

When I looked I saw a non-Native man with a closely shaved head pulling on her truck door with one hand while punching the driver’s side truck window with his other hand. He had a closed fist and was hitting the window with full swings. With all the threats made against our people and the violence and abuse we survive, I thought she was under attack by a group of skinheads, as there were several unmarked cars blocking her in.

I drove up to a spot where I could safely turn around. When I got back to the corner all vehicles were gone. I turned right because traffic was slow in that direction. Sure enough, the same cars had her truck surrounded but now the skinhead that was viciously, forcefully trying to attack them earlier had on an OPP vest and a belt loaded with weapons.

By then there were approximately 8 cruisers both marked (OPP and Brantford City Police) surrounding my sister and the two youth. They had one youth handcuffed. Moments later they handcuffed the second youth.

I told the police our youth are under our authority and jurisdiction as Ogwehowe women and the police had no right or authority to kidnap our children on our own territory. The police were informed our youth had EVERY authority to uphold our traditional laws.

The police were then told to cease and desist their armed invasions of our people. They were also told the kidnapping of our children needed to stop as well. They were told they keep trying to escalate things with our people and the tactics they are using is nothing short of declarations of war.

We were told how everything they were doing was “standard”. (Yes, even for an allegation of “mischief”.) As hard as it was to believe it was standard police practice, I do believe it. It was almost a year ago 9 of our people were attacked at Stirling Street for upholding their land rights by 200 fully armed RCMP, OPP, OPP Riot Squad and the Hamilton City Police . The acceptable standard to deal with our people for minor offences was most recently set in 1995 in Stoney Point when Dudley George was murdered by a paid sniper.

While we were talking about 5 officers (without permission) began searching my sister’s truck for “weapons”.

I put tobacco in the hands of the youth and told them to hold onto it and not let it go. The police told me I couldn’t do that and to get rid of it. The youth held onto it and were then placed in separate cruisers and taken to the Brantford Jail.

One youth may get out today. The other young man is up for bail tomorrow at 9:00am at the Brantford City Court on 44 Queen Street.

Also, Bawa Construction (Hampton Inn & Suites) has resumed construction despite being given several warnings they are building illegally on traditional territory in Grand River Country. I’ve been told construction will be shut down soon.

We are asking for support in the form of supplies and people both at the construction site (ASAP) and at the courthouse tomorrow. To get to the construction site take the 403 west towards London, Ont. Exit off Oak Park Road. Turn left and drive over 403. Construction site is immediately on the right hand side.

Boots Powless’ son was one of the young men targeted and arrested today.

Our people have upheld their words regarding maintaining peace. At no point have any of our people stepped out of the Kaiienarekowa. The developers and the police continuously escalate events by targeting our children, women (mothers and grandmothers) and men. There is a consistent effort to attack our women and children to protect the finances of local and international corporations.

Just like the targeting of our people and constant attacks by fully armed civil servants continue, we, as ogwohwe will continue to uphold our great-great grandchildren’s right to exist.

We are justified.

Janie Jamieson
Grand River Country

Arrests spark Six Nations blockade in Caledonia

Posted in Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on September 2, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Arrests spark tension in Caledonia

Natives, residents take turns erecting blockades

September 02, 2008
Dana Brown
The Hamilton Spectator
With files from Elisabeth Johns
CALEDONIA

The arrest of a prominent Six Nations spokesperson and two others in Brantford triggered a chain reaction of events yesterday that led to parts of Caledonia being shut down for hours.

The event is the latest in a series flareups since the occupation of the former Douglas estates 2 1/12 Years ago.

The blockades started yesterday around 9 a.m. when Six Nations protesters set up barricades on Argyle Street South and blocked the Highway 6 bypass.

After the barricades were removed, angry Caledonia residents refused to let traffic resume on Argyle Street South. The bypass was open sometime during the afternoon, but Argyle was not fully open to traffic until nearly 6 p.m., after a brief standoff between residents and about 50 OPP officers.

“I cannot stress enough our priority is to preserve the peace and maintain order, not to resolve land claims issues,” OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino said in a statement.

Yesterday morning, Stephen Powless, 43, and two teens were arrested in Brantford for allegedly being on the construction site at the Hampton Inn on Fen Ridge Court, next to the Kingspan Insulated Panels development site from which they are barred.

Kingspan, the Ireland-based company, is building its North American head office and a factory on the property.

Powless has been the spokesperson for the Brantford actions.

Police said the trio are under a court order to stay away from the land and were all charged with breach of a court order and mischief.

Clyde Powless, a spokesperson for Six Nations, said the arrests were a “catalyst” for the blockades, but that the community is also frustrated by the slow pace of land claim negations with the provincial and federal governments.

“Our fight is not with this town, (nor) is it with Brantford or any other town within our (Haldimand) Tract,” he said of the 10 kilometres on either side of the Grand River to which the natives lay claim.

“Our fight is with the government and that is where it will remain, with the government at the negotiating table.”

Powless said Six Nations leaders were working hard to keep the community calm.

In response to the Six Nations blockades, frustrated Caledonia residents gathered on Argyle about a half kilometre from the former DCE site.

“Something happen(ed) in another town and we get held hostage again,” shouted William Romberg, a resident for 12 years.

Residents were separated from the rest of the street by a single line of OPP officers spaced across the road.

In addition to the blockades, traffic was also slowed because of ongoing work on the town’s main bridge.

Progressive Conservative MPP Toby Barrett said Caledonia seems to have become “a whipping boy” for issues that have nothing to do with the town.

At one point, OPP met privately with Romberg and Caledonia resident Dana Chatwell, whose home abuts the DCE land.

Shortly after, police asked residents to leave the road. That was followed later with another request, an ultimatum and a stronger show of force by officers.

Residents complained police were being heavy-handed with their blockade, while not showing the same force to native actions.

Eventually, police and residents agreed to leave the road, with officers exiting first and residents following.

A young man from the residents’ side was arrested and has been charged with mischief and resisting arrest.

It’s alleged he ripped a native flag from the antenna of a car trying to cross the residents’ blockade.

Six Nations spokesperson Hazel Hill said a tentative date of Sept. 11 had been set to resume negotiations with the provincial and federal governments, but she had not received word if the meeting would go ahead.