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Solidarity with Haudenosaunee and Six Nations Land Defenders

By: 
Kim McAuley

October 1, 2020

October 9 is an important day for the mobilization to stop development of McKenzie Meadows – a real estate development on Six Nations land on the border of the town of Caledonia, inside the Haldimand Tract, which is unceded territory of the Six Nations’ Haudenosaunee people.

McKenzie Meadows is one of several housing developments within the area which are violating the rights to the land of the Haudenosaunee. With construction of the “Sold Out” development close to beginning, on the evening of July 19th, 2020, land defenders moved onto the unceded Haudenosaunee territory – now renamed by land defenders as 1492 Land Back Lane. 

The land defenders and many Haudenosaunee people dispute the deal the Six Nations Elected Council made with the developers, and denounce a consultation process that did not engage a majority of people, noting there has never been free, prior and informed consent from the people to develop these lands. Construction would eradicate any chance of the Haudenosaunee keeping it. 

An interim injunction was handed down by Superior Court on July 31 ‘instructing’ the land defenders to leave and allow construction to begin. On August 5, police tried to enforce the injunction – bringing violence through force, with guns and rubber bullets, arresting and forcibly removing peacefully protesting people. And many were not wearing masks while confronting the land defenders – who were respecting the new social norm and “Rule of Law” of wearing them. 

Despite the intimidation and violence, the people returned that evening. The Injunction was made permanent on August 7. Since August 5, at least 23 people have been arrested or charged for the work stoppage, effectively criminalizing civil disobedience and peaceful protest. Three well known, popular First Nations journalists have been arrested. 

On August 24 a statement from a group of concerned Haudenosaunee Women outlined “we are rightful title holders, and injunctions deny us our inherent right to our land. Injunctions also authorize police violence against our people. Our sovereignty is inherent while Canada’s perceived authority is a product of violent colonialism and genocide. Injunctions seek to make this reality invisible, a tool of the court to sanction more violence and dispossession.”

Settlers in Canada vocalize land acknowledgments in schools and sports venues; at social gatherings and Prime Ministerial events across the country.  They have become hypocritical, standardized lip service as the Superior Court continues to disregard land rights of First Nations; enforce the “Rule of Law” and a majority of settlers have yet to become allies to First Nations struggling to assert their inherent rights to the land.

Everyone who is or would like to become an ally is being made welcome to show support at demos across Canada on October 9th.

Skyler Williams – a prominent Haudenosaunee Land Defender – posted on the 1492 Land Back Lane page on Facebook:

“We keep seeing our people arrested. The weight of this hangs heavy on all of us. This is our family that’s getting dragged away. Told to have no contact with us. And they can’t come home to their lands.

Landback is not for any one family or group in our community. It’s for everyone. The more we strive for peace and unity. The harder we fight for this. The more possibilities open up for us.

It is time to come together as a community. We are all in this together. This is Haudenosaunee land!!!”

Please continue to add to the legal fund, as this is soon to be a big necessity. Find 1492 Landback Lane on gofundme. Or send etransfers to the camp at landback6nations@gmail.com”.

For those of us who are not Haudenosaunee or other First Nations - on another recent post on the page “to be an ally is to take on the struggle as your own; stand up, even when you feel scared; transfer the benefits of your privilege to those who lack it; and acknowledge that while you too feel pain, the conversation is not about you”.  Now is the time for those of us who live in Southern Ontario to stand up and become real allies of the people whose land we benefit from living on. 

For more information please see: https://www.facebook.com/1492LandBackLane

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