Six Nations chief opposes national day of action

Posted: May 28, 2008 in Brantford, Caledonia, Headlines, May 29, Natives
The Brantford Expositor
May 28, 2008

Six Nations Chief Coun. Bill Montour says he is “totally opposed” to a national native day of action planned for Thursday. (Edit: What a coincidence. The day before the National Day of Nothing falls on its face, he decides he doesn’t support it.)

“This year, the (band) council has made a resolution that there will be no day of action,” Montour said Tuesday.

Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations says the peaceful day of action is about raising awareness of the challenges facing First Nations communities.

But Montour said the national leaders have no authority to call on natives to protest, a position he said he made clear to the Chiefs of Ontario at a meeting in Toronto a few weeks ago.

“I don’t think Phil Fontaine and the Assembly of First Nations have any right to call people out to protest,” he said. “We at the community level can do that quite well on our own.”

Montour also criticized the national leaders who called for the day of action, saying they aren’t being responsible.

“The national leaders can call for a national day of action, but when it gets out of hand, the community leaders are left to clean up,” he said.

During last year’s day of action, a group of Tyendinaga Mohawks shut down Highway 401, near Deseronto, and blocked a CN Rail line. Shawn Brant, leader of the Deseronto activists, was charged with several counts of mischief as a result.

In Brantford, the Six Nations band council organized a peaceful protest at the casino last year, handing out flyers and listening to speeches.

Montour said he thinks the casino protest was not effective, and only tried to politicize people’s recreation.

This week’s day of action comes one day before lawyers for the City of Brantford will be back in court seeking an injunction that would bar native protesters from occupying local building sites.

Local native activist Floyd Montour, one of those named in the city’s injunction, said he has heard of no major local protests being planned for Thursday.

He said Six Nations leaders are busy preparing for Friday hearings into the city’s request for an injunction, which includes asking for $110 million in damages and for the federal government to put the Armed Forces on notice in the event of a violent confrontation.

“Peace is going to prevail for a while, and we’d like to keep it that way,” he said.

City police did not return calls requesting comment.

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