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Haudensaunee land defenders retake 1492 Land Back Lane

Six Nations land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane
Maggie Tomaszewski

August 7, 2020

On July 19, Six Nations land defenders began occupying a planned 1000 unit Mackenzie Meadows building site on unceded Haudensaunee land near Caledonia, ON. Reclaiming the land as 1492 Land Back Lane.This is near the site of the 2006 Douglas Creek Estates blockade.

Foxgate Developments, which plans to build the first roughly 200 units on the site, obtained an injunction which was served to the land defenders by a county sheriff and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) on July 31.

On August 5 dozens of OPP officers invaded 1492 Land Back Lane and arrested 9 Land Defenders. They were later released.

In response, more Six Nations land defenders shut down the Highway 6 bypass, part of Argyle St. and Sixth Line as well as the train tracks which run through Caledonia. They set up road blocks with burning tires to prevent the OPP from arresting more people.

Police violence

The OPP then resorted to violence, shooting at least one rubber bullet and using tasers against the land defenders. They also blocked the road to the site and prevented more land defenders from entering 1492 Land Back Lane. The OPP allege that Land Defenders threw rocks at them and threw an outhouse over a bridge onto a police car.

The irony seemed to be lost on Premier Doug Ford at a press conference on August 6 when he said, “There has to be a two way street here. You can’t just go in and just take over people’s future homes. It’s wrong.”

Twitter user @OneDishOneMic shared their letter to Doug Ford in response to his comments at the press conference. “Despite your perception of the relationship you hold with Regional Chief Archibald, you should be made aware that the office she holds is irrelevant in this current land reclamation. Despite Canada’s attempt to paint First Nations communities as a monolith, they are not.” 

The Six Nations Band Council made accommodations for the sale of the 42.3 acre site for $325,000, though many community members have not consented to this. Land Defender Yotakahron Jonathon on Twitter said, “If you honestly think that Indigenous Nations accept the government enforced Elected Band Council system as a voice of the people and not an extension of the government itself, you are part of the problem.”

Solidarity needed

Land Defender Alicia Elliot had these suggestions on Twitter for those who would like to help. “If you have money to go towards bail funds, legal fees, food, gas, wood, plz send e transfers here: ...If you have time and energy to give, please consider emailing your political leaders - municipal, provincial and federal and asking them what they will be doing to address this issue.” She also shared some Six Nations community members reactions.

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