Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Caledonia Occupation Context

Here is a good summary of some of the background to the struggle by Six Nations people in Caledonia by Toronto-based activist Justin Podur of The Killing Train.

I would correct the second last paragraph -- the Mercier Bridge to Montreal was blocked by Mohawks from Kanewake Territory, and in Tyndinega they blocked to rail lines that go through their territory.

Anyway, it's short but well referenced and good context.


chokecherrygalleagle.blogspot.com said...

I express my whole-hearted support for Six Nations, having been raised at Scotland, Ontario near them.By listening to the clan mothers and chiefs the right things will come

Anonymous said...

They shouldn't be taking their issues out on the citizens of Caledonia

Scott said...

First of all, it's not at all clear that they are "taking their issues out on" anyone. It's their land, they are occupying it. Yes, it is causing difficulties for the developers that were illegitimately using the land, but that springs from the illegitimate nature of the title upon which the developers are basing their activities. As far as I can tell, the citizens of Caledonia have had to put up with some traffic-related inconvenience, and that's about it...and even at that, the Six Nations people have been letting people get into their church and whatever, and generally being quite respectful of their neighbours. And the blockades on the road only went up out of tactical necessity, to make it more difficult for the OPP to try and reenact once again the centuries-old settler tradition of military/paramilitary forces clearing indigenous peoples from their own land, as they unsuccessfully tried to do a few weeks ago.

But I think equally important is the fact that the citizens of Caledonia are not innocent. Nor are you, presuming you are not an indigenous person. Nor am I. All of us who are settlers benefit from the fact that indigenous peoples have been displaced from their land (and slaughtered and subjected to all manner of cruelties over the years). The citizens of Caledonia are very much complicit in the theft of the Haldimand Tract from the Haudenosaunee...they are benefiting from it. So framing them as innocent, as that sentence does, is just not accurate.

And if you look at the conduct of the Six Nations occupiers, it has been solicitous to their neighbours and has not initiated violence against people. The same cannot be said of the settlers' actions, particularly on Monday.

Finally, a lot of responsibility needs to be placed at the foot of the state...for example, the reason why many of the settlers in Caledonia and in the rest of the country have such a distorted view of the actual issues is because the Canadian state has no interest in telling them what is really going on. It therefore becomes that much easier for a peaceful, unarmed occupation of indigenous peoples of their own land to be constructed as "taking their issues out on the citizens of Caldeonia" while vicious racism and actual physical violence perpetrated by those same citizens against indigenous people is often treated as being understandable and not really that serious.