We brought an interesting video to the Six Nations information session at the Montreal Native Friendship Centre. The land and historic issues behind the reclamation of land at Six Nations were well explained. The video showed how, early in the dispute, hundreds of young people from the nearby non-Native town of Caledonia were lured to the Indigenous barricade by such enticements as beer, marshmallows and hot dogs. At first the kids were reasonable and talked about how they wanted to organize things. As the night wore on, things started to break down. The crowd became loud and raucous.
The kids were frustrated by the police blockades, which stopped them from getting home or made them travel 35 miles out of their way. They correctly identified the police blockades not the “Indians” as the problem. Whoever was fomenting civil disobedience, however, deftly manipulated their frustration into hatred of “Indians.”
The Caledonians became excited and worked themselves up to a fever pitch. All their lives they have been oppressed. Here, for once, they were not the target. They had a chance to experience the other side of the evil, hierarchical game. As the evening wore on, the kids got drunker. They started to realize they were being empowered by authority, and their ravings towards Indians became increasingly hysterical.
This breakdown of social order and disrespect for fellow human beings reminded us of those kids in the famous novel and film, Lord of the Flies. Those kids were from rich families and went to private boarding schools. Their plane crash-landed on an island. In the jungle they eventually reverted to behaviour that reflected the ways in which they had been mistreated in their schools.
The Caledonians are angry and upset. They bought houses on the Haldimand Tract, which were cheap because there was no clear title. Crooks conned them into thinking this would not be a problem. The fear that they will lose their homes and their savings feeds their hysteria. The value of their houses has gone down drastically, and they’re blaming us. They aren’t asking why the Ontario government misled them. This is the same government that paid off Henco, which was knowingly involved in the con game.
There needs to be a public inquiry about the history of land title at Caledonia and Six Nations. We have to go right back to the beginning.
There also needs to be a public investigation into Henco Industries, which illegally tried to build a housing project on Six Nations land. Henco and Ontario knew that the title to that land known as “Douglas Creek Estates” was not valid. Henco was conning people into buying luxurious homes upon land to which it didn’t have title. There’s plenty of hard evidence of this fraud.
The people of Ontario ended up paying over $15 million in compensation to Henco for this duplicity. Ontario is trying to plaster over the fraud it’s like putting new aluminum siding over rotten wood. Henco may have also knowingly destroyed an archaeological site and a gravesite. Desecrating graves is a criminal offence. They should be investigated and charged.
Other developers on the Haldimand Tract (southern Ontario) must be hysterical, now! Our questioning of their schemes will interfere with their fantasy of making obscene buckets of money. They have caused serious problems for us and for other people. They’ve turned the Grand River into a sewer that has killed who-knows-how-many people, animals and natural life. Cleaning the rotten wood out of Canadian government institutions will pave the way for cleaning the environment.
This article appeared in the November/December 2006 issue of Canadian Dimension (Canada: A New Imperial Power?).