Archive for June 26, 2007

Like in a 1950s western movie, Canadians are holding their collective breath in anticipation of native protests scheduled to be held nationwide on June 29th. Canada’s so-called “First Nations” are planning the day of protest to draw attention to unresolved land claims, poverty on native reservations and a plethora of other issues native leaders and their advocates are claiming to be in a crisis mode.

Terrance Nelson, Chief of the Roseau River reserve near Winnipeg has vowed to block rail lines and disrupt the movement of goods and people across Canada. Nelson believes that the only way to get action is to force multinational corporations to force the Government of Canada to resolve the natives’ issues and the only way to achieve this goal is through the disruption of business.

That could well be the case. But, there is another possibility, one that maybe Canada’s first aggrieved hadn’t thought of. The whole thing might backfire, as many Canadians, particularly those who are struggling to make ends meet, just might say, “enough is enough”. If you’re the average Canadian family paying 45% of your entire income in taxes to keep this rickshaw we call Canada running, the last thing you want to hear is how poorly people who are not obligated to pay any taxes are being treated.

Not wishing to minimize the plight of aboriginals who languish in poverty on distant reservations, it is important to point out that Canadian taxpayers are coughing up somewhere in the neighbourhood of $8,000 for every aboriginal man, woman and child living in Canada today. In addition those with native status are entitled to a wealth of other benefits that include free college/university education, free prescription coverage, economic opportunities in the form of Indian-owned casino gaming venues, etc., etc. Clearly, something is amiss, but I can’t believe that that something has to do with Canadians not doing enough for aboriginal people.

Another novel thought is to hold natives to the same standard to which the rest of Canada’s citizens are being held and force natives to obey the laws.

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A prominent B.C. native leader warned yesterday that conflict over the fate of the University of British Columbia golf course – set to be ceded to the Musqueam band as part of talks with the province – could lead to an Oka-style conflict.

At the same time, two supporters of Premier Gordon Campbell who have gathered hundreds of names on a petition to express their concerns, urged him off giving up the golf course, suggesting that the Liberal government has to put any plan up for public scrutiny before signing off on it.

“When people are at the point when they feel they have to protect their natural resources, the frustration is such that those things can always happen.”

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A crucial highway and rail line that moves tens of thousands of people daily around Central Canada will be subject to a crippling blockade on Friday, a spokesman for the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve in Eastern Ontario says.

The protesters are considering shutting down the CN Rail mainline that runs between Toronto and Montreal, as well as Highway 401, as part of the national day of action called by the Assembly of First Nations.

Other potential “targets” include Highway 2 and the road that leads to nearby Deseronto, which is midway between Kingston and Belleville.

“Certainly, it’ll be one, two, three or all of those targets,” Terrorist spokesman Shawn Brant said last night.

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Teepee at Legislature puts focus on logging, mineral exploration

Aided by environmental activists, two First Nations from northern Ontario pitched a huge teepee on the Legislature’s front lawn yesterday afternoon to protest logging and mineral exploration on aboriginal lands.

A member of the Rainforest Action Network suspended herself from the top of the teepee tripod, enduring stifling heat, in a bid to make it harder for security officials to take down the tent.

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Former Barriere Lake chief Harry Wawatie is a veteran of the Indian wars. Now 72, Wawatie resigned from his position last August because he didn’t have the health or stamina “to fight with the federal government.”He is no stranger to blockades, marches and sit-ins that have punctuated the recent history of his community. Now, with the stirrings of a possible restless summer across the nation growing louder, Wawatie’s community is again gearing for confrontation.

“There’s a lot of things happening,” says Wawatie. “I guess that’s life.”

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A native smoke shop recently opened within the borders of Brant County has led to charges that the municipality is unwilling to uphold its bylaws for fear of reprisal from Six Nations.Middleport resident Dino Giudice, who lives next door to the smoke shop, at 1151 Highway 54, said the business is likely breaking county laws regarding road setbacks and signage.

Middleport residents first contacted the county about their concerns regarding the smoke shop on April 12 and have yet to receive a response, Giudice said. He accused council of a lack of leadership and followup in dealing with the issue.

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In a show of support for First Nations communities, a mostly non-native group of Kingston activists is organizing a demonstration at the VIA train station during Friday’s national “Day of Action” that could bring rail travel to a halt.

“I assume that there will probably be some members who will choose to stand on the tracks to symbolically show their support,” said Jeff Welsh, spokesperson for the Kingston Mohawk Support Group. “It’s also my assumption that the rails very well might not be running anyway.”

Shawn Brant, a First Nations Terrorist from the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, said that when Fontaine first called for the “Day of Action” as a “campaign of economic disruption, we made our decision to participate.”He said he and his group have identified a number of potential targets in the area, including the CN main line, Highway 2 and Highway 401, as areas for action on Friday, although plans are not yet definite.

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The federal government has settled five specific B.C. first nation land claims worth a total of $7 million, Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice announced Monday

The two largest settlements are with Skeechestn Band near Kamloops, which receives $4.8 million from Ottawa for failure by the Department of Indian Affairs to enforce a land improvement project by a private developer, and a railway trespass on its reserve.

Other settlements are with the first nations Oregon Jack Creek, southwest of Cache Creek, Osoyoos in the Okanagan, and Mamalilikulla Que Qwa Sotem on Vancouver Island.

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TORONTO (CP) – Activists from two northern Ontario First Nations groups erected a nine-metre teepee on the front lawn of the Ontario legislature Monday, four days before a planned national aboriginal day of protest. The protesters did not say how long they planned to keep the teepee in front of the legislature in place.

Edit: Did they get a permit as anyone else would be required to do?

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Travellers in the Montreal-Toronto-Ottawa corridor may have to adjust their Canada Day weekend plans after a native group said it will go ahead with a road or rail barricade on Friday, likely between Belleville and Kingston. 

Spokesman (EDIT:Known Terrorist) Shawn Brant confirmed Monday that protesters from the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve near Deseronto, Ont., plan to set up a blockade of either Highway 401 or the national rail line, close to the town on Lake Ontario’s Bay of Quinte, or will block access to Deseronto itself.

‘This is the power we have’

“We’re gonna be able to say to the government, ‘This is the power that we have,’ ” said Brant, whose group has occupied a quarry near Deseronto since March to protest an unresolved land claim.

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A uranium mining company has put its operations on hold in an eastern Ontario community, leaving residents with mixed feelings.

Frontenac Ventures left North Frontenac Township, about 110 kilometres southwest of Ottawa, last week, after local First Nations threatened to hold a day or multiple days of protest. Frontenac plans to develop uranium deposits in the area.

The company is trying to negotiate with the Sharbot Lake First Nation, But it is not concerned about protests from the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, which has no legal claim to the land the companying is eyeing,

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