Six Nations Police attempt to move smoke shack

The Regional

February 11, 2009

On the morning of Thursday, Feb. 5 members of the Six Nations Police Service attended a "Smoke Shop' located on the Fagan property, which is part of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, according to a press release from Six Nations police.

The Smoke Shop was erected and has been operating since the summer of 2008, without the approval of the Six Nations Band Council. In December 2008, the Six Nations Confederacy Council also addressed the issue. The confederacy Council was reported to agree that retailers must be on lands that they own or lease.

Mr. Jesse Farnham was identified as the operator of this particular shop. Mr. Farnham had been put on notice that his actions constitute the criminal act of  mischief.

Six Nations Police Chief had agreed to take no enforcement action until the Confederacy Council had the opportunity to discuss the issue and make their position known.

This being done, Six Nations officers went to the smoke shack to give Mr. Farnham the opportunity to leave voluntarily or face criminal charges.

Mr. Farnham agreed to leave. Six Nations Band Council had made arrangements to have the small structure moved off the property.

However, as this was being done, a number of people arrived at the site and refused to allow the structure to be moved from the location. Officers at the site estimated there were 50-60 people present.

Many of the people there felt the Confederacy Council had not discussed this issue.

The Six Nations officers decided to leave the structure on the site and address what appears to be an issue of communications before any further action is taken.

"This is not an issue about tobacco sales. Some people may have been under that impression and that's why we were involved," Six Nations Police Chief, Glenn Lickers states. "This is about Mr. Farnham arbitrarily occupying land that isn't his. Just a few, like Farnham, have set up shop on property that doesn't belong to them. There are a few other tobacco huts on or near Plank Road. The one on the Fagan property is the only one that falls within the Six Nations Police Services responsibility to police.

"Working with our community leadership, we must resolve this issue. Failure to do so could have dire consequences for our band members and our community as a whole."