by S. da Silva – 28 February 2011.
February 28 is not just the anniversary of Canada’s invasion and military occupation of Haiti, and the kidnapping of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Feb 28, 2004). It’s the anniversary of an colonial struggle against Canadian imperialism within Canada’s (illegitimate) borders. On February 28, 2006, protesters of the Six Nations reserve began a protest against the unceded land upon which was being constructed the suburban housing development known as the Douglas Creek Estates.
Support for the small protest quickly grew amongst the people of Six Nations, especially after April 20, 2006 O.P.P. raid at the reclamation site which led to the arrest of 21 people. Later that day, hundreds of people from Six Nations reclaimed the site and drove back the police officers.
Five years later, the dispute has yet to be resolved, and reclamation site remains open.
Yesterday, Sunday February 27, a small demonstration was organized by Gary McHale, a long-time outside agitator from Richmond Hill who has worked to turn Caledonia’s white residents against the struggle of the Six Nations people. McHale’s demonstration – more of a media stunt than anything else – had planned to erect a monument at the Douglas Creek Estates that offered an “OPP Apology” and “Six Nations” apology to the people of Caledonia. McHale’s supporters were no more than 15-20 and were outnumbered by some one hundred non-Native supporters from Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, and Toronto, including delegations from the United Steelworkers and Canadian Autoworkers.
McHale has worked tirelessly to whip up a rightwing populism that paints the residents of Caledonia as the the victims of Six Nations “terrorists” and “thugs” and victims of the seeming indifference of police forces and the provincial and federal governments to the issue. McHale’s calls for the “rule of law” to be implemented in Caledonia does not include a support for those treaty obligations that Canada and the British Crown have made in the past with Six Nations.
Afterwards, supporters of Six Nations attended a pot-luck at the reclamation site for a couple hours before returning home.