Six Nations Defendants in Solidarity With Others Being Charged For Land Rights Stands

The OPP has withdrawn its offensive in Tyendinaga and the blockade of Highway 6 at Six Nations has been taken down and rail traffic is being allowed through. For your information, some people from Six Nations who are being charged with criminal offences as a result of land rights stands made the following stand earlier this week in solidarity. From the Upping the Anti blog:

Six Nations Defendants in Solidarity With Others Being Charged For Land Rights Stands

Statement by Skyler Williams At The Cayuga Court House Six Nations of Grand River Territory

April 28, 2008
My name is Skyler Williams. I am a Mohawk, Wolf, from Six Nations of The Grand River Territory. I am speaking on behalf of myself and several others that have been charged with criminal offences in connection with defending our land rights at Six Nations.

We have instructed our lawyer today not to proceed with our legal defence, so long as police have guns turned on our brothers and sisters in Tyendinaga.

Over the past months, Canada’s efforts to criminalize those of us who are standing up for our land rights has reached epic proportions. The message is clear: participate in negotiations that go nowhere as our lands are developed and destroyed – or go to jail.

Today, Six Nations is standing in steadfast solidarity with those in Tyendinaga whose lives and freedoms are in jeopardy because they are standing up for their rights. We also stand with those in Akwesasne, Kanawake and all peoples who have joined in this stand.

Also, we stand with those leaders of Ardoch Algonquin and Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug that are in jail because they refuse to betray their people and allow for mining exploration in their traditional territories.

Canada has had generation after generation to take seriously the issues that we are raising. They continue to violate the treaties, they continue to destroy traditional territory, they continue to criminalize our people. Today, our very survival is at stake, the future of our children is at stake.

Generation after generation, my people have continued to deal with Canada in the spirit of peace and friendship. However, Canada has done more than just thumb its nose at the treaties that were made in order to define our relationship and bind our nations. If Canada will not respect the treaties and will not negotiate solutions in good faith, then we will be forced to take a stand. Canada makes this stand necessary and then arrests us for making it.

It is our intention to highlight the connection between land rights struggles and criminal charges. The weight of criminal charges on native people is obvious when we are put in jail. But, it needs to be recognized that the process of defending ourselves also has a real and profound impact.

For example, there is no part of our lives that is not affected by the bail conditions that have been imposed upon us. The intent of these conditions is to demean us, force us to learn Canadian-style obedience or go back to jail. Like generations before me, I will not, I can not be forced to surrender my identity or abandon my responsibilities to my children, my clan or my nation. I have respected the conditions of my bail because my relationship to Canada is defined through treaty and I believe it would be a violation of these treaties and of the Great Law for me to betray my word – even to Canada.

We have been, to date, denied anything that resembles adequate disclosure in order to properly defend ourselves. The police and the Crown are trying to manipulate and control what makes it to court, determining for themselves the relevance of any and all evidence.

We, as Haudenosaunee people, will not be deterred. We will remain silent no more. We will continue to stand with our brothers and sisters from across Turtle Island. And finally, standing together, our voices will be heard.

– 30 –

For more information:
Skyler Williams
(519) 445-4349


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