Ontario: 6 Native Nations, and None Have a Word for Suburbia

Stan and Sandy Anonby stan-sandy_anonby at sil.org
Tue Aug 29 22:41:27 UTC 2006

It can be tougher to make a living in a paradise rich in moose and deer, 
than in suburban sprawl.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
To: "Language Policy-List" <lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 10:01 AM
Subject: Ontario: 6 Native Nations, and None Have a Word for Suburbia

> >From the NYTimes, August 17, 2006
> Caledonia Journal
> 6 Native Nations, and None Have a Word for Suburbia
> CALEDONIA, Ontario, Aug. 10 Blame it on the American Revolution.  At the
> time, six Indian tribes that had lived for centuries in what is now
> upstate New York sided with the British Crown, lost and were forced from
> their lands. For their troubles, however, Britain granted them a paradise
> rich in moose and deer, across the new border, in southern Ontario. Today
> the game are largely gone. The wilderness has been transformed into
> suburban sprawl. The once pristine lands of the so-called Six Nations
> Reserve have been whittled away. This year, one more housing development
> on the edge of town was one too many, and the Native Canadians decided to
> make a stand.
> Since February, hundreds have blockaded roads, set bonfires, confronted
> the police with bags of rocks and lacrosse sticks, cut the maple leaf out
> of a Canadian flag and refused to obey court orders to vacate. During the
> height of tensions, a van was driven into a power station and set on fire,
> leaving residents in the dark for days. The protests have become the
> knottiest of Canadas many native land disputes and paralyzed the local
> economy.
> Some businesses are down 30, 40 percent, said Neil Dring, who publishes a
> weekly newspaper here. This has really hurt. For the Native Canadians,
> however, the dispute is a matter of mending a broken promise by the
> government to manage the land on their behalf.  Through the years, our
> people said, You can come here, you can settle here, but that didnt mean
> they could take over, said Hazel Hill, who lives on the reserve. Police
> officers brought in from all over the province now watch the occupied site
> around the clock, while town residents whose backyards border the land
> must show identification to be allowed down their street.
> Confrontations have been laced with racial slurs and crude signs. Native
> Canadian protesters have surrounded the site with traditional flags, and
> many don fatigues when tensions are at their highest. In early August,
> Native Canadians used a fire hose to repel crowds who marched to the site
> from the town to protest their refusal to obey a court order to leave the
> disputed land. People who live near the site are stressed beyond belief,
> said Jason Clark, who lives in town. They see flags flying and people
> wearing camouflage its intimidating.
> A mile down the road from the site, downtown Caledonia is slow moving and
> rich in history. Canadian flags line the main street and businesses are a
> mix of restored heritage buildings and newer developments that have come
> with the towns growing status as a bedroom community for cities like
> Hamilton and Brantford. We had a tremendous amount of housing growth in
> recent years, Mr. Clark said. But thats come to a complete stop. That
> occupation is creating a lot of economic hardships in Caledonia. The
> police conducted a raid on the protesters in April, but they retreated
> when waves of Native Canadians arrived to reinforce the occupation. They
> really did us a favor, Mrs. Hill said of the raid. Thats when internal
> politics were put aside and everyone came together.
> The occupied land covers 100 acres among tens of thousands taken over by
> the government from the Native Canadians in the 19th century after a
> disagreement that lasted decades over whether the Native Canadians had the
> right to sell their land to British settlers. The Native Canadians filed a
> lawsuit over the land in 1995, on behalf of the Six Nations: the Mohawk,
> Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida and Tuscarora. But, tired of waiting
> while housing developments encroached on the land, they took matters into
> their own hands.
> A younger generation of Native Canadians has led a resurgence of
> indigenous culture across the country. Unlike many of their parents and
> grandparents, these Native Canadians did not attend residential schools,
> where Native Canadian students were often hit with a strap for speaking
> their own languages. Entire generations of culture were submerged. The
> revival has not only restored pride; it has also opened old wounds over
> how the British and, later, Canadian governments negotiated land deals
> with chiefs. In one such deal, chiefs had signed a document that the
> British interpreted as surrendering the land where Toronto now sits, but
> it was later disclosed that the chiefs had signed a blank piece of paper.
> Native bands elsewhere are watching Caledonia, wondering if the protesters
> here have found a new way of forcing governments to settle land claims, or
> at least expedite them. The brash and confrontational nature of the
> dispute contrasts with the glacial system the Canadian government uses to
> settle land claims with its Native Canadian population. Of the 29 claims
> filed by the Six Nations since the 1970s, only one has been settled. There
> are some 770 outstanding claims across Canada, with more than twice as
> many claims coming in each year as are being settled.
> They've created a system to deal with these land disputes, but they take
> years in the courts, Mrs. Hill said at the barricaded entrance to the
> occupation. Theyre the ones with the money who can afford that process. We
> decided it was time to deal with things differently. Whether their
> approach will work depends on politicians, the behavior of protesters on
> both sides, and the response by the police. Nearly six months into the
> occupation, the Native Canadians have persuaded the provincial government
> to buy the disputed land from developers while forcing both sides to begin
> negotiating a settlement.
> The question is whether, in the meantime, the Native Canadians and the
> townspeople can keep the peace. Im concerned that at some point were going
> to see more violence, said Mr.  Clark, the Caledonia resident. Thats not a
> threat, thats just reality.  People can only withstand so much.
> http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/17/world/americas/17canada.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin
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