Homebuilder hurt in clash on Caledonia site

Updated Fri. Sep. 14 2007 7:27 PM ET

toronto.ctv.ca

A Six Nations chief apologized on Friday after a homebuilder was severely beaten by youths in Caledonia.

Sam Gualtieri was found unconscious on Thursday in a partially built house. He was constructing it for his daughter.

The 52-year-old remained in hospital in serious condition on Friday, reportedly suffering from a broken nose and a bruised skull.

Gualtieri's brother Joe, who produced graphic photographs of the victim's injuries, said he was almost beaten to death.

"I believe that my brother was one strike away from being killed," he told CTV News.

"The only reason they left is because my nephew said 'he's dead, leave him alone.'"

Friday afternoon, Joe Gualtieri attended a Six Nations Confederacy meeting, where Chief Allen MacNaughton apologized for the beating.

"We cannot condone the violent actions of a few," MacNaughton said. "We wish to express our regrets to Mr.Gualtieri's family and pray for his speedy and full recovery."

OPP Const. Paula Wright told The Canadian Press no arrests had been made so far in connection with the incident, but police are "working around the clock" collecting information and conducting interviews.

An ongoing dispute

Joe Gualtieri says someone should be held accountable for his brother's injuries.

"This has to stop. They cannot take the rule of law in their own hands and assume we will just roll over," Gualtieri said.

"Somebody has to take responsibility for this."

Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory said ongoing land disputes, like Caledonia, cost taxpayers money.

"You will bear some of the cost of what goes on when we have to have all kinds of police and other things in places like Caledonia at huge public expense," Tory said during a press conference.

Earlier this week, Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty was confronted in Hamilton by an angry developer complaining about aboriginal occupations.

McGuinty said the issue will continue to flare up until it's resolved once and for all.

"These other kinds of ancillary issues will continue to arise on an ongoing basis until we can bring a final resolution to it," McGuinty said.

The housing development where the incident occurred, south of Hamilton, is just kilometres away from a contentious Six Nations occupation that's lasted for more than a year-and-a-half.

Aboriginals said they occupied the site where Gualtieri was beaten because builders had not followed up on a promise to learn more about new development protocols.

Traditional chiefs at Six Nations say anyone planning to build in the area needs native approval.

The aboriginals were given the land in 1784 by the British Crown, but Ottawa says the vast majority was surrendered or sold by 1850.

Six Nations claim the land was never surrendered.