Court puts Six Nations land defenders on notice

·2 min read

Officials from the court sheriff’s office posted a pair of Superior Court injunctions at two barricades in Caledonia on Monday.

It’s the latest legal move in the ongoing effort by Foxgate Developments and Haldimand County to remove Six Nations land defenders who have been occupying the McKenzie Meadows construction site — which they claim as unceded Haudenosaunee territory — since July.

The injunctions, which Justice R. John Harper made permanent on Oct. 22, also order the barricades to come down and name 1492 Land Back Lane spokesperson Skyler Williams responsible for paying $168,000 in legal fees.

Now that the injunctions have been served, the onus is on the OPP to enforce them.

Police have arrested 33 people for allegedly disobeying the court orders. But things have been quiet since an attempted arrest near the back entrance to the McKenzie lands on the night of Oct. 22 turned violent. Land defenders to dug up roadways in and around Caledonia.

Const. Rod LeClair of the Haldimand OPP confirmed that officers accompanied the court sheriff to the Argyle Street barricade and the McKenzie Road site to serve the injunctions.

“At this time, I do not have any information regarding enforcement of the court injunctions,” LeClair said by email.

In a video posted to social media Monday morning, Williams said the land defenders see the OPP’s presence as a threat.

“People need to start to understand that when push comes to shove here at Six Nations, it’s not just Six Nations that you’re messing with,” he said, pointing to “solidarity actions across the country” by members of other First Nations.

Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt rejected Williams’ argument that the occupation is peaceful or that it is the police instigating the violence. The mayor urged the federal government to insist that land defenders clear the streets before talks over the disputed territory continue.

“The current road blockades and damage to (the roads) need to be resolved immediately, and anyone who believes in a just and fair society where laws have meaning should be advocating to the province to take appropriate steps in this regard,” Hewitt said.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator