Haudenosaunee Territory: Brantford, Ontario, Canada

Since the original Haldimand Tract—ten kilometers on either side of the Grand River source to mouth—was deeded in 1784 for the benefit of "the said Mohawk Nation and such others of the Six Nation Indians" for their allegiance to Britain during the American Revolution, agents of the British and successor Canadian governments have seized land and misappropriated funds from leases held in trust for the Haudenosaunee.  Less than 5% of the Tract now remains under the control of the Haudenosaunee.  Of the twenty-nine well-documented land claims registered with the Federal government on portions of the other 95% of the land, only one has been settled.  Claims have languished in the Canadian federal government's hands for as long as thirty years with no meaningful attempt at resolution on the part of the government.   
 
It seems to be to the government's advantage to prolong the land claim negotiations because the “lack of a resolution maintains the status quo and does not lead to additional costs.” “Aboriginal groups are often forced to spend millions of dollars and decades of time to negotiate their agreements...When negotiations break down, the only recourse for Aboriginal groups has been expensive court proceedings.” Furthermore there is a conflict of interest in that the “federal government is both a party to and the ultimate judge in the dispute.” Also, as is seen in the case of the Haldimand Tract, often the government actually leases or sells the lands to corporations for development while the negotiations drag on.  (“Land Claims: Stuck in Never-never Land” by Lorraine Land and Roger Townshend Nation to Nation p.56-57)
 
In February, 2006, in response to a housing subdivision development in Caledonia on disputed lands known as the "Douglas Creek Estates", some Haudenosaunee demonstrators claimed this land, renaming it Kanohstaton (the Protected Place). Provincially recognized owners of the land, Henco Industries, sought and obtained a court injunction prohibiting the encampment. Early in the morning of April 20, 2006, Ontario Provincial Police raided the camp leading to several violent arrests. In the events that followed, the Haudenosaunee remained on the land. The June, 2006 provincial government payment to developers Henco Industries for the property, enabled a cessation of the court injunction, and; while ownership of the land remains in dispute, development has stopped.
Since 2006, some members of the Haudenosaunee, under the auspices of the Haudenosaunee Hoskanigetah (Men's Fire), have blockaded entrances to five development sites on disputed land in the city of Brantford. The city of Brantford responded to the non-violent work stoppages and occupations of lands earmarked for development, with an injunction (June 2, 2008) prohibiting the Haudenosaunee to demonstrate in specific locations or in any way disrupt construction. Over 150 people have been arrested with intimidation and mischief charges for trying to block development on lands legally registered as land claims. Haudenosaunee land protectors have also established periodic blockades in other threatened locations within the Haldimand Tract such as Hagersville and close to Cayuga (Edwards Street Landfill). These work stoppages  have been similarly met with arrests.


CPT first visited Kanohstaton in April, 2006. Clan Mothers encouraged support for the reclamation, without requesting a specifically mandated CPT presence, and members of CPT responded by periodic visits to the site over the blockade's duration.


In the autumn of 2009, several organizations and unions (including CPT) formally entered into a coalition called the Six Nations Solidarity Network (SNSN). Throughout CPT's engagement with Six Nations, it has participated in anti-racism, education and advocacy work (paying particular attention to the role of the church), including letter and article writing, public speaking, participation in support rallies, and attending court proceedings.

 

Related Sites:

 

Solidarity with Six Nations

Six Nations Solidarity

Solidarity and Resistance