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DCE land belongs to Province of Ontario

Garry Horsnell, Brantford
Published on Mar 01, 2011

In her article ‘No resolution to Douglas Creek Estates five years later’ (February 24), Natalie Clewley reported that Six Nations Chief Bill Montour said “There needs to be a mutual agreement between Haldimand and Six Nations” when it comes to the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) land.

But, how can Haldimand County make an agreement with the Six Nations about the DCE land?

Haldimand County does not own the DCE land. The Ontario government bought, paid for and now owns the DCE land.

And why is there any dispute about that land?

According to the Six Nations’ very own claims booklet called “Land rights, Financial Justice, Creative Solutions”, Claim 16 about Oneida Township says, "June 24, 1842- In a petition of the Chiefs of the Six Nations, they reserved for their future residence all the lands on the south side of the Grand River lying between the Township of Cayuga and Burtch's Landing (includes Oneida Township) except a tier of lots on each side of the contemplated Plank Road and on the north side of the Grand River, land presently occupied by the Six Nations".

In addition, the fourth item in an 1843 report to the Executive Council of government says, "The Chiefs further represent that they are desirous that the reservation for their future residence be on the south side of the Grand River of all of the lands excepting a tier of lots on each side of the contemplated Plank road leading from Hamilton to Port Dover".

That seems to confirm the information in the June 24, 1842 petition that the Six Nations chiefs were willing to give up the land on each side of the Plank Road as early as 1842.

Also, the Canadian federal government says the Six Nations surrendered use of the land on each side of the Plank Road (now Highway 6) between Hamilton and Port Dover, including the DCE land, for sale in the 1840s.

Furthermore, the Ontario government bought the DCE land. The Ontario government says it stands by its land titles system and now says it owns the DCE land. If that is the case, Ontario government lawyers must have done a title search to show the Six Nations validly surrendered use of the DCE land back to the Crown and all land transactions thereafter were legitimate without liens or claims. Otherwise, the Ontario government cannot say it bought the DCE land legally or say it owns the DCE land legitimately.

So, what dispute is there about the DCE land and why would anyone have to share the DCE land with the Six Nations or give the DCE land to the Six Nations?

Given the history, shouldn’t that land simply be returned to Haldimand County?