Good Morning from Grand River. The sun has just peaked over the tree line and the world is looking beautiful and serene. Inside my house everyone is busy getting ready for school and work. Bus schedules are getting used to and the need of school fee’s for art, drama, science, music etc. is being discussed while lunches are being prepared. That little glance outside is a gentle reminder, and helps bring about the balance inside of me, for the sometime chaos we feel in life. But that is the type of chaos we would never do without. The simplist things in life that might at times feel like chaos, but they are exactly what and who makes this life worthwhile. Our children, and the time that we get to spend with them. The time that while we may think we’re teaching them all the valuable lessons in life, they are in fact teaching us. As I watch them go off to school and think about the sacrifices even they are making for the future of our people, I am filled with pride but also sorrow. How much of ‘our’ time has been taken away for meetings and interviews and time spent on site. In the end when we talk about it, we can all agree that we would have it no other way.
Yes, school is back in and all of the concerns about the school nearest the reclamation site have been voiced, from parents who feel threatened by our presence, to others who claim the terrorism and violence has put the fear of life into their children. But when the school bell rings, and the silence echoes through the site and school yard, i have to wonder what exactly is there to fear. I was always told the only thing to fear, is fear itself……….and of course the boogey man. I never once thought that I was going to be the boogey man! The fact of the matter is, the boogey man is being created in the minds of a few who, like when we were children, let their imaginations get the better of them, start telling their friends the made up stories in their head, they in turn tell their friends, who tell their friends, and so on until pretty soon the story is has now become quite a tale and is presented as factual and posted on their blog site. What makes it worse, is people also report to newspapers as if it were facts and rather than check it out or try to verify it, the papers run it! We had our side table talks interrupted on Tuesday because the minister was ‘scrummed’ with gossip about the school yard fence that was being built having been halted because the workers were threatened by the people on the site. But action on the site spoke a different story. The workers were busy cementing in the posts, police were on hand watching the work progress, and our security went over to verify that none of the workers had been bothered and to make sure everything was ok. The newspaper who printed the story about work being stopped obviously didn’t go and gather the facts, they printed what was going to sell their papers. And that has been what we’ve been dealing with since the reclamation began. No matter how we try to get the truth from our perspective out there, we are overwhelmed with gossip, rumours and fairy tales about how the poor people of Caledonia have had enough of the noise, lights and visibility of those ‘terrorists’ or ‘occupiers’ at the site. Gossip and rumours. These are the things that hamper our daily lives. But it is also what has plagued the actual Truth about the reclamation from being printed, and unfortunately, it is also what that the three panel of judges will be looking at when it is determined whether or not the appeal should be granted. And that my friends, is exactly what is being counted on. If the judges squash the appeal because of whats being printed, then the negotiation process has in effect been stopped, and it is only a matter of time before the opp or whatever armed force is ordered to remove us from our land.
I want to take a minute to share a bit of what hasn’t been printed and what is really going on. Last Thursday, Ministers Ramsay and Prentice released a joint letter, through the media, to Chief Alan MacNaughton and our Confederacy Council demanding that the atv’s stop, the noise stop, the fireworks stop and the lights stop at the site. It was a political tactic to gain votes, but it was also a tactic to give the impression to the rest of the world watching that this is actually what is happening on the site, continuously! First of all, the men and women’s council at Kanonhstaton have already reduced patrols, have been respectful of neighbours, have pretty much respected and addressed every concern that is brought to our attention by the OPP or the provincial and federal reps at the negotiating table and we do so immediately. We have counselled over many issues, and have even had to ask some of our own people who have violated that peace to remove themselves from the site. We are doing our best to conduct ourselves in accordance of the Kaienerekowah. But what happens when our concerns are put to the other side. Who brings those people to task? Since the release of the ministers letter which in effect threatens the peaceful negotiation process on Thursday, we have been on a continual yellow alert. Friday night we received a telephone call from the OPP advising us that two busloads of non-supporters were headed our way from Hamilton. Caledonia residents were shooting off fireworks randomly, and people began gathering at the Canadian Tire plaza and Tim Hortons again. Saturday night it was pretty much the same with a report of 40 or more carloads of people threatening similar action. An Onkwehonweh couple who stopped in at Tim Hortons for an evening cup of tea which they were trying to enjoy in their vehicle, had a woman with a video camera in their face presumably to get ‘evidence’ that they were somehow threatening their lives by being there, and another Onkwehonweh woman who was trying to enjoy a meal in Ancaster overheard a conversation of another non-native party who mentioned ‘give me 15 good men and there won’t be an Indian problem and I have my alibi because my wife will verify that I was home all evening’. Around the same time, the Globe and Mail runs a story in which Caledonia resident Steven Tong was quoted as saying that he has his gun out with the safety off, ready to use it on the protestors at the site. Meantime, Mayor Trainer is on national televsion stating that two women from Haldimand Township come into her office making a similar statement about the use of weapons if the government isn’t going to remove the people from the site, they will. Exactly who is threatening the safety of the people not only on the site, but also the children that they claim to be protecting and the people in their neighbourhood. And again, who is taking these people to task for their threats. The threat of violence is real, but it is not coming from the people on the site. The ministers who jointly made the demands of our confederacy council had better take a look in their own backyard and get that message out to their own people including MP’s such as Toby Barrett who I understand was right amongst the people who were gathering on the week-end to take matters into their own hands.
Which brings me to a request from Kanonhstaton. We’re asking all of you who are supporting the PEACEful negotiation process, to bombard all of your MP’s offices, the Ministers’ offices, the Prime Minsters office, the lead negotiators Jane Stewart and Barbara McDougal, and any and all government offices including the Governor General and the Queen, with letters demanding that these threats of violence by Caledonia citizens and their supporters be addressed, and that Canada uphold their responsibilities to the Treaties that have been handed them through the Crown. The reclamation of our land and all of the fraudulent land transfers and sales of Onkwehonweh land will only be addressed if the people of Canada and all of our world wide support demand that Canada take responsibility for its’ actions. We didn’t create the situation, we are only trying to rectify it, for our children and future generations. We have taken action and have re-claimed land that is rightfully ours. We are there in Peace, and have been since February 28th. Now that the Crown has finally recognized and agreed that the land at Kanonhstaton is in fact on the table and needs to be addressed, they also need to hear from their constituents that so too is the honour of the Crown. Will Canada allow the hatred and violent displays of racisim of its citizens to continue and possibly create another Ipperwash, or will it use the lessons of the past to ensure that the violence stops and admit to their citizens that it is through their own actions and abuse of assumed power that we are in this situation today.
In Peace, Love and Light,