Archive for December, 2008

5 Arrested in Cayuga Blocking Police Escort of Garbage onto Native Land

Posted in Repression, Resistance, Six Nations Confederacy on December 15, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

5 Arrested in Cayuga Blocking Police Escort of Garbage onto Native Land

OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) determined to escort garbage into the Edwards Street Landfill, but even after arrest of 4 supporters, Six Nations activists refuse to remove blockade. OPP violently arrest Six Nations man leaving the site.

December 11, 2008

CAYUGA, ONTARIO, CANADA – For almost five years, community members from the small town of Cayuga have been fighting to close down and to clean up the Edward Street Landfill. Haldimand Against Landfill Transfers (HALT) was formed in 2004 to prevent one of Ontario’s worst contaminated sites, from becoming an active landfill again. After having spent four years in and out of courts, petitioning and dealing with government bureaucracy, HALT approached the Six Nations’ Haudenosaunee Men’s Council to work together on this issue. Cayuga is adjacent to the Six Nations reservation and is located on Haudenosaunee land. It was last November that representatives from Six Nations and HALT turned around dump trucks, resulting in the closure of the site for the winter. This past Monday, despite flagrant noncompliance with Ministry of Environment (MOE) regulations, the dump’s operating owners tried to bring garbage into the dump for the first time in twelve months.

Monday morning, thirty activists—with groups coming from London, Kitchener-Waterloo (KW), Guelph, and Hamilton—converged at the corner of Brooks Road and Highway 3 in Cayuga, to stand with representatives from HALT and Six Nations.

“The reason there are young people here from communities across the region is because we have a responsibility to prevent the provincial government, the courts, and their enforcement – the OPP, from enabling the destruction of communities’ land and trampling on their right to protect it,” said Alex Hundert from the KW activist group AW@L.

Once the blockade had ended, a vehicle leaving the site, carrying three people from Six Nations, was pulled over by a large string of police cruisers, and one man was violently arrested. At bail-court the next morning, the Crown prosecutor admitted that the accused man from Six Nations only “passively resisted,” but still, more than a dozen officers were involved in the assault. He was ripped from the car, thrown to the ground then kicked and tasered repeatedly. He was arrested for “failure to appear” charges stemming from an incident at the Douglas Creek Reclamation site in 2006—the original charges have already been dropped. All five arrested men were released on bail Tuesday morning.

Jody Orr, a HALT representative, said that she was “distressed by what happened on Monday. We have a situation where there is evidence that the receiver is still not in compliance,” however “we have the MOE giving the receiver a week to bring in garbage while he is still in violation of the COA, and it puts the OPP in a position where they have to enforce an injunction against protesters who are protesting the illegal dumping of garbage.” Orr said she was also “really concerned in terms of what i heard about the level of force that was used.”

According to HALT’s website, on October 16 of this year, “the same day that Minister of the Environment, John Gerretsen, posted the Zero Waste Policy paper on the Environmental Bill of Rights website, HALT and others involved in the Edwards Landfill issue in Cayuga received an email that waste would be coming to the Edwards Landfill site.” HALT has shown that the Landfill does not comply with the MOE’s Certificate of Approval (COA). Still, garbage is being allowed into the site. As a result, HALT, Six Nations and supporters decided to be ready with the blockade.

On Monday after the arrests, once it became obvious that representatives from Six Nations were not going to stop preventing the garbage truck from passing (all other vehicles were permitted to travel freely), the truck company owner ordered the truck to leave the site and return home. Earlier in the morning, the driver had expressed interest in leaving the scene, however OPP ordered him to stay. Police said that they were intent in seeing that the injunction against the blockade would be enforced. Even after arresting four supporters, the OPP were not able to remove the Six Nations activists blocking the road.

Over the past year and more, HALT has been involved in complicated legal proceedings with the site’s operators and the MOE. Since 2004, those efforts have cost over $100,000. For more information about those proceedings, ongoing developments, and the environmental impact at the site, visit HALT’s website, http://www.haltthedump.ca.
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Contacts:
Cayuga – Jody Orr, HALT, info[at]halthtedump.ca, http://www.haltthedump.ca,
Kitchener-Waterloo – Alex Hundert, alex[at]peaceculture.org, http://www.peaceculture.org

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Barriere Lake Algonquin a ‘Political Prisoner’

Posted in Algonquin Nation, Repression on December 15, 2008 by wiinimkiikaa

Blockade leader says he’s a ‘political prisoner’

JOE FRIESEN
Globe and Mail, December 15, 2008

Speaking from a jail cell, deposed native leader Benjamin Nottaway says he is a political prisoner, targeted for his outspoken opposition to the governments of Canada and Quebec.

He is the latest casualty of a power struggle that has included allegations of a political coup, fire bombings and several interventions by riot police.

It reads like a tale ripped from the headlines of a war-torn dictatorship. Instead, it’s the story of the Algonquins of Barriere Lake, a Quebec community of 450 people three hours north of Ottawa.

Mr. Nottaway, imprisoned for 45 days for leading a highway blockade, says that although he misses his children, he is being treated with respect in jail, where fellow inmates refer to him deferentially as the “chief.” But the question of who actually is the chief of Barriere Lake is far from clear.

Mr. Nottaway alleges that he was deposed by an ambitious group of plotters led by Casey Ratt, who launched what Nottaway supporters call an “administrative coup d’état” this year and installed themselves as the band government.

He calls Mr. Ratt a “puppet” and a “government agent,” propped up by officials in Ottawa and Quebec City who see him as a soft touch when it comes to defending aboriginal land title and resource rights.

Mr. Ratt laughs at these suggestions, and says there is no leadership crisis in Barriere Lake, save for the grumblings of those who have lost their grip on power and have enlisted non-native activists to push their case in the news media.

He says he came to power in January after a three-month leadership review, which he launched because he was upset that Mr. Nottaway’s group had closed the band school, a move he perceived as motivated by their own political aims.

“It’s no good for our kids to use them as political pawns,” Mr. Ratt says. “A lot of people didn’t agree with those tactics.”

After Mr. Ratt was declared chief, his opponents said he had hijacked the traditional selection process and tried to push him off the reserve. His house burned down in suspicious circumstances, he says, as did the band office.

“But I’m still in the community,” he says. “It’s a steady struggle.”

Barriere Lake does not elect leaders according to the one-member, one-vote system set out in the Indian Act, but instead uses a selection system led by a council of elders. The federal government says it has no role in adjudicating that system, but has acknowledged the election of Mr. Ratt’s group and says it will conduct business with his council.

After several escalating protests against Mr. Ratt’s government, the Nottaway group blockaded Highway 117 twice in recent months. In October, riot police were sent in by the provincial police force and were accused of using violent tactics to disperse the protesters. In November, Mr. Nottaway and four other prominent political opponents of Mr. Ratt were arrested by riot police for staging another highway blockade, which they called a tactic of last resort. They were asking the federal government to appoint an independent observer to oversee a new leadership selection.

“When I was in court my lawyer told me, ‘The Crown wants you to suffer, they want you to feel the pain.’ They asked for 12 months, but I got 45 days,” Mr. Nottaway says. “I’m a political prisoner, and they know that. It’s all politically motivated.”

The people of Barriere Lake have never signed a treaty with Canada, and they say they have never received a fair share, or had a say, in the resource revenue extracted from their traditional territory, which they estimate at $100-million a year. For its part, the community suffers crippling unemployment and is not connected to the power grid, so it runs on diesel generators.

Mr. Ratt says he wants to put the power struggle behind him and work toward finding both short- and long-term solutions for his community.

Mr. Nottaway says he can’t allow the band to be led by a chief he considers illegitimate. His goal is to see a 1991 trilateral agreement on resource management honoured by the province and the federal government.

“The government imposed a minority faction on our community,” he says. “That’s not what we want and we’re never going to accept it. Even though I’m in here, we’re not going to stop fighting.”

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http://barrierelakesolidarity.blogspot.com