Archive for May 10, 2007

Unbowed by federal government threats to cut funding, First Nations across the country continue to make plans for a one-day shut down of the railway system that could spread into weeks. (link-Official announcement of a day of terrorism)

Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice’s aggressive stance on First Nations demands have pushed relations to a new level of acrimony.

“The Conservatives have united First Nations across the country,” said Terrance Nelson, chairman of the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council Chiefs, which represents nine Manitoba First Nations. “They have pissed off one hell of a lot of chiefs.”

Anticipating the actions of the Conservative government, the Assembly of First Nations overwhelmingly passed a resolution in December calling for a day of action on June 29.

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much more at

Tensions are rising over native land disputes, but federal funds to settle them would drop under newly released spending plans. Basic funding for related settlements is set at about $159 million this fiscal year. That amount is slated to drop to just under $153 million next year and to $143.1 million in 2009-10.

An exhaustive Senate committee report earlier this year urged the Conservatives to commit at least $250 million a year. The alternative, it warned, is the flare-up of more potentially ugly clashes like the one that pitted native against non-native in Caledonia, Ont., last year over a housing development.

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Canadian National Railway’s decision to launch a lawsuit against Mohawk activists who twice blocked a main railway line through
Ontario will intensify confrontations and force militants underground, say some First Nations chiefs.

“Individuals will do unorganized, random and clandestine type of blockades where no one will be able to see who is doing what,” said Chief Terrance Nelson, chairman of the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council, which represents nine Manitoba First Nations. “It’s like poking a stick at a hornets’ nest.”

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posted by the Kingston Whig Standard – a native publication

Letter: Hallelujah. Ontario Progressive Conservative leader John Tory has found the solution to Caledonia-like occupations and similar protests: the civil court system. We can only assume he was being serious when he declared in an interview that native or other protesters should be sued to recover the costs of any illegal protests or occupations.

Too many declarations as silly as this one and Tory won’t ever have to worry about being premier.

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A former administrative assistant to Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer has filed a $1.37-million wrongful dismissal suit against the mayor and the county. Janice McLachlan and her husband, Allan, filed their statement of claim in Superior Court in Cayuga April 23. In it, they claim Trainer harassed her and created a poisoned work environment after being elected mayor in 2003.

Allegations outlined in the statement of claim have not been proven in court.

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CN Rail has taken the unprecedented step of suing the Bay of Quinte Mohawks for disrupting freight delivery and passenger traffic by twice blocking a busy rail line near Deseronto. The rail company lodged the action, which specifically names Shawn Brant, the main spokesman of the protesting Mohawks, with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice yesterday.

“Blocking the rail line is the only historical means to get the government’s ear,” said Brant, who was released on bail after his arrest. CN’s financial concerns are legitimate, Brant says, but he warns that the lawsuit isn’t going to stop natives from speaking up.

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A information meeting was held at the Deseronto Lions Club on Monday to help answer questions surrounding the Culbertson Tract Specific Claim. The First Nation’s claim alleges that about 827 acres of land, referred to as the Culbertson Tract, were improperly alienated from the First Nation in 1837. This land lies under and around portions of the town of Deseronto.

“We’re here for information,” said George Root, who has lived with his wife, Doris, in Desoronto since they were married 47 years ago. The Roots are concerned about losing their home and their plot of land.

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Brantford and Brant County politicians were chided Tuesday for not heeding messages from their historic meeting with the Confederacy last Saturday, and continuing to carry on with their plan for boundary changes and strategic growth. “You came down to see us and we treated you with respect,” native spokeswoman Ruby Montour told a gathering of city and county councillors at a public meeting in the Branlyn Community Centre on the letter of intent between the two municipalities that will see huge tracts of rural land from Powerline road to Governor’s Road and east of Garden Avenue transferred into the city’s jurisdiction for growth.

“We told you we wanted development to stop until this situation (about unresolved land claims) is sorted out,” she continued. It carried many of the same warnings about restless aboriginal youth and a native population at Six Nations.

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After fifteen months of failed negotiations in the Caledonia dispute, veteran aboriginal affairs negotiator Jane Stewart is being replaced. According to Dalton McGuinty, the Federal Government is in a “conflict of interest” should they fail to hire an independent body to settle outstanding land claims like Caledonia.

Dalton The Gimp fails to mention that the land disputed in the Douglas Creek Estates has not been crown land for over a hundred years until his government purchased it with other people’s money prior to consulting with the federal government.

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The CNR is passing out pamphlets telling people it can be fatal to trespass on CN property yet for 30 hours it was done and yet nothing was done about it. Their own police service people just stood around and watched and waited for the trespassers to leave the tracks. Then, I suppose they were waiting for the OPP to remove them with their court order, but then we all know that will never happen.

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Ontario residents can be forgiven if they’re confused about the province’s approach to the Caledonia land claim negotiations. The departure of Jane Stewart from the negotiating table Monday will do little to reduce the fog. Ontario’s governing Liberals – and Premier Dalton McGuinty, in particular – have repeatedly said the province cannot resolve the Six Nations land claim that led to the 15-month occupation of Douglas Creek Estates, while at the same time paying Stewart a well-publicized $1,300 a day to represent them.

David Ramsay, Ontario’s minister responsible for aboriginal affairs, said Stewart will be replaced by Murray Coolican. This is the same David Ramsay who said last week he would explore bringing in a mediator to try to settle the dispute. That sounded at the time like an admission that the costly negotiation process wasn’t working.

The same Premier Dalton McGuinty who has been saying that only the federal government can resolve land claims like Caledonia declared Tuesday that Ottawa is in a conflict of interest when it comes to resolving land claims…

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