Comment

by Bill Jackson - The Regional

February 24, 2010

While some people are saying that the Douglas Creek estates property could be turned over to Six Nations, it's important to remember the so-called government bodies and factions that took possession of it during the past several years.

The land which used to be owned by a local developer was considered to be within Haldimand's jurisdiction at one point in time, but in February of 2006 it was occupied by native protesters, from near and far, many of whom often made a point of distancing themselves from Canadian laws, the Indian Act and Six Nations' elected council.

The occupied property was eventually purchased from the developer by the provincial government. After police failed to remove protesters it served as a main point of leverage fro bringing about discussions relating to Six Nations' outstanding land claims - none of which are settled to this day - and arguably still dies.

The federal government in its wisdom has attempted to resolve some of these claims along with hereditary chiefs of the Six Nations (the Haudenosaunee Confederacy). So just how anyone thinks that discussion with Six Nations elected council could bring about a resolution regarding the use of DCE seems speculative and presumptive. Haldimand does not own the property and it is not qualified to negotiate with Six Nations. And,, even if Haldimand did negotiate a use for DCE, who would own it? Who would control it?

Unless the social and political environment on Six Nations has changed overnight, such questions are likely to pose a bit of a problem.

Handing over a piece of land to Six Nations is like handing it to Darth Vader. The Emperor will still want a say and there are all those Storm Troopers who run about in lawless splendor.

There are the Warriors, the Men's Fire, Clan Mothers, the Mohawk Nation... I certainly hope they're consulted before any decision on DCE is made final.

That isn't to belittle Six Nations' sovereign form of government. Canada's setup is just as dysfunctional, if not more so.

Apparently federal and provincial government officials have supported the idea for talks between Haldimand and Six Nations elected council, and open and frank discussion can be a good thing regardless of DCE. There are many topics and projects that can be contemplated including the possibility of becoming part of a renewable energy hub that Haldimand has seemingly been excluded from given the recent announcement of a joint partnership between Six Nations, Brant and Brantford.

After only meeting once during the last four years, both councils need discussion on such topics to promote inclusion and the betterment of one another as neighbours.

But ultimately Caledonia needs a return to lawful structure that dictates jurisdiction and control. That simply hasn't been the reality the past four years and won't likely change with mere words.

The provincial and federal governments need to take action to fix the mistakes they've made in creating this debacle and stand by their decisions with help from law enforcement when sub-groups rise up and try to hold legitimate communities hostage. Without such structure you have chaos, which makes talking and negotiating a waste of time. There's already plenty of proof in that pudding.

When the councils do meet, one subject on the agenda could be a discussion on Six Nations elected council's support of illegal occupations. If both communities are going to start being good neighbours, council members should first understand that blockades on thruways into town often counteract such progress like it did in the spring of 2008 when Chief Bill Montour supported the Men's Fire's protest on the Highway 6 bypass.

Whether councillors will have the stones to discuss such a topic is questionable, however pipe dreams for the provision of potable water from Lake Erie and waste disposal technology - items that were discussed at the last meeting of the minds - come secondary to good faith.