By Chris Pickup
(fb photo above by J.L.Jamieson)
In what should have been expected as a no-brainer, given the history of native action in Caledonia, the OPP removal of native occupiers from the McKenzie Meadows residential building site on Wednesday sparked retribution by supporters.
Police were out in force blocking access to demonstrators not already on the McKenzie Meadows site triggering a lot of swearing and stone throwing at OPP cruisers.
Another group of natives then took to the streets in Caledonia, torching tires on Argyle Street South near Douglas Creek Estates and the Caledonia bypass, blockading roads in surrounding areas and the train tracks, and turning back a train.
Ironically, the police media release notes only “Following its court-endorsed Framework for Police Preparedness for Indigenous Critical Incidents, throughout the incident the OPP Provincial Liaison Team was engaged in significant collaborative and respectful dialogue aimed at bringing about a peaceful resolution, while ensuring everyone’s safety and preserving their respective rights guaranteed by Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The protesting group see themselves as protectors of Six Nations territory. “Mackenzie Meadows is one of several housing developments within the area that are directly violating the sovereignty of the Haudenosaunee,
“We remain firm in our stance that action must be taken to stop the ongoing development of our lands”.
However, the Six Nations elected council, who endorsed the development after substantial negotiations, sees things differently. They note the band has been accommodated in two ways for the development.
The two companies developing the site, Ballantry Homes and Losani Homes, transferred 42.3 acres to Six Nations in 2016, says a community update released on July 24. The builder also transferred $325,000 to the elected council to be put into a land banking account for future purchases in 2019.
Thursday the protestors were back on McKenzie Meadows, and barricades continue to block several area roads, including Highway 6 between Fourth Line and Greens Road and Argyle Street between the highway and Braemar Avenue.
As noted earlier this week, the site’s on track to become another devastated Douglas Creek Estates.
One thing’s for sure. If the two factions on Six Nations cannot get their act together, this is going to happen again and again. And the natives have just as much to lose as the Caledonia population.
The anger is out there again, and it’s building.