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How will Caledonia and Six Nations people heal rift?

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  • Don
    ... From: Rarihokwats To: undisclosed-recipients: Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 7:21 AM Subject: Hamilton Spectator - How will Caledonia and Six Nations people
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2006
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Rarihokwats
      To: undisclosed-recipients:
      Sent: Monday, May 01, 2006 7:21 AM
      Subject: Hamilton Spectator - How will Caledonia and Six Nations people heal rift?


      How will Caledonia and Six Nations people heal rift?
      By Evelyn Myrie
      The Hamilton Spectator(May 1, 2006)
      A friend told me he felt "ashamed to be a white man" as he watched the disgusting behaviour of more than 500 people last week who marched toward the blockade set up by native land-claim protesters.

      The march came after more than 3,000 Caledonia and area residents attended a rally to express their frustrations at the protest.

      Media reported that a mob jeered the 100 Ontario Provincial Police who were brought in to ensure safety for all. Had the police not kept the two sides apart, the results could have been devastating for all.

      After a peaceful rally degenerated into the march and chaos, some people kicked a police car and one person was arrested in the fracas.

      There is no question that native land claims are causing major frustration for residents living in the area. The plan to build 250 homes on the 40-hectare subdivision has been stopped by the protesters, who say the site is native land.

      Frustration has set in and the actions of some local residents is cause for concern. Based on what I have seen of news reports and images, I am concerned that relationships between those living on the Six Nations reserve and Caledonia residents will need a major repair job after this whole affair has ended.

      Innocent people are caught in the land-claims disputes between government and natives, and that causes much strain on relationships. Long-standing residents says they are being inconvenienced by the protests and that their children feel unsafe. Businesses say they are suffering. The developers say they are on the edge of bankruptcy.

      It is sad but true that protests often cause major inconveniences in people's lives. Bystanders are often caught in disputes that they have nothing to do with directly.

      The land-claim protest and the highway and road blockades are not only inconveniencing some residents of this community, but are also creating fear and anxiety among people who live close to the disputed site.

      They must be wondering if their house will be next.

      According to residents and politicians, the Caledonia and Six Nations communities have co-existed as good neigbours for years. If friendships and relationships were good before the protest, why has it gotten this bad so quickly?

      In a conversation I had with a non-native a few weeks ago, he wanted me to know "the natives are a conquered people ... who should accept it."

      He said he was so disgusted by the blockade that if he had a gun, he would "shoot them all." (I don't think he meant it literally).

      I stood there horrified. I was lost for words. He then went on to let me know that "these people" are a bunch of "glue sniffers," which is why they amount to nothing.

      The hate was palpable. This incident has stayed with me since that day, especially as I listen to local call-in radio and TV shows and I hear the hateful comments from many callers.

      People caught up in the protest are upset and they have a right to be.

      They should spend more time pushing their governments to take action to settle the many outstanding land claims across this country instead of aiming their anger at a people who have been, and continue to be, victimized in their own land.

      Freelance columnist Evelyn Myrie lives in Hamilton.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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