Six Nations of Grand River Reclamation, Caledonia, 2006

On February 28, 2006, a group of Haudenosaunee Six Nations from the Grand River Territory protested the Caledonia construction site based on the claim that the development of the land by Henco Industries infringes on Six Nations territory (CBC.ca 2006a). Henco Industries attempted to develop the subdivision of the Douglass Creek Estates on the disputed lands in Caledonia (CBC.ca 2006b). The protest was for the reclamation of the land and for land rights of the Haudenosaunee (Canadian Press News Wire 2006).

The protests in Caledonia began with a small group of native protestors, including three chiefs from the Six Nations Confederacy who set up barricades (building a teepee, a wooden building, and setting up tents) to prevent the construction workers from entering the Douglass Creek Estates (CBC.ca 2006b; Canadian Press News Wire 2006). This caused Henco Industries to obtain a court order on March 10; which ordered the protesters to leave the site by March 22. The protestors refused to leave and continued their occupation of the construction site (CBC.ca 2006b). Tension increased, by March 28, a court order was made which stated that protestors would be charged for criminal and civil contempt if they do not end the occupation (CBC.ca 2006b). On April 20, the Ontario Provincial Police raided the protestors and made arrests; however the protests by the natives continued. The continued occupation of the construction site escalated into traffic blockades by the natives which prevented entrance into Douglas Creek Estates, more confrontations between the police and protestors, and violent native and non-native confrontations (CBC.ca 2006c). On June 23, the province of Ontario, under Premier Dalton McGuinty, bought out the Henco Industries investment on the disputed land in Caledonia for 12.3 million dollars (CBC.ca 2006b). On October 31, after weeks of continue protest, which also got more violent, Premier McGuinty stated that the land claims are the sole responsibility of the federal government (CBC.ca 2006b).

The main premise for the occupation of Caledonia was for the reclamation of the construction site because it was on land that was granted to the Haudenosaunee in the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 (Hill 2009: 481). The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, was constructed to keep the loyalty of the Haudenosaunee to the British Crown during the American Revolution by recognizing the settlement of Haudenosaunee along the Grand River; about 385 000 hectares  from north of Lake Ontario to Lake Erie (CBC.ca 2006a). The Proclamation also proclaimed that the Crown would protect the land rights of the Haudenosaunee in the Grand River Territory (Hill 2009: 483). Henco Industries claimed that the Haldimand Proclamation was purely a license for the Haudenosaunee to occupy and settle on the lands but the Crown had legal title to the land (CBC.ca 2006a). The Haudenosaunee state that the land in dispute was never legally relinquished to the Crown to sell (Hill 2009: 485).

The Six Nations protestors want to reclaim land that was granted to them over two hundred years ago. They claim the land was never formally relinquished to non-Natives and that the governments and corporations should respect their Six Nations sovereignty and land treaties (Hill 2009: 485).

References

Canadian Press News Wire. 2006. “Native Protestors Occupy Land They Say Encroaches on Six Nations Confederacy.” Canadian Press News Wire. February 26.  Retrieved October 11, 2012 (http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/cbcacomplete/docview/359821427/139D174AE97119583FE/2?accountid=15182)

CBC.ca. 2006a. “In Depth: Caledonia Land Claim: Historical Timeline.” CBC.ca. November 1.  Retrieved October 9, 2012 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/caledonia-landclaim/historical-timeline.html)

CBC.ca. 2006b. “In Depth: Caledonia Land Claim: Timeline.” CBC.ca. November 1.  Retrieved October 9, 2012 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/caledonia-landclaim/index.html)

CBC.ca 2006c. “Tensions Flare as Caledonia Standoff Continues.”. CBC.ca. May 23. Retrieved October 9, 2012 (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2006/05/22/caledonia-blockade.html)

Hill, Susan M. 2009. “Conducting Haudenosaunee Historical Research from Home: Shadow of the Six  Nations Caledonia Reclamation.” The American Indian Quarterly, 33(4): 479-498. Retrieved October 9, 2012 (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/aiq/summary/v033/33.4.hill.html)

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