A 54-year-old woman from Six Nations has been charged with arson in connection with the ongoing Land Back demonstrations in Caledonia.
Police say the woman turned herself in to the Haldimand OPP station on Monday and was charged with arson, two counts of mischief, disobeying a court order and failure to comply with an undertaking.
She becomes the 23rd person that police say has been arrested and charged with violating ongoing court injunctions that prevent Six Nations land defenders and their supporters from entering the McKenzie Meadows construction site in Caledonia or blocking roadways in Haldimand.
Land Back spokesperson Skyler Williams says that — by his count — at least 26 people have been arrested.
Haldimand OPP Const. Rod LeClair said in an email that the arson charge against the Six Nations woman “is in relation to demonstration activities off-site from McKenzie Meadows.”
LeClair declined to provide more details about the alleged arson, citing an ongoing investigation.
“I am not able to provide evidentiary information or circumstances which resulted in any of the individuals being charged,” he said.
The accused was held for a bail hearing at the Ontario Court of Justice in Cayuga before being released.
Supporters of the group living at McKenzie Meadows, which they renamed 1492 Land Back Lane after moving in July 19, put up barricades on Argyle Street and Highway 6 and lit several tire fires on the street in response to police forcibly moving land defenders off the site on Aug. 5.
Protesters also blocked a rail line running through Caledonia and lit an excavator on fire.
The court orders remain in force, while an online legal fund for arrested land defenders and their allies has raised over $133,000.
“We’ve got lots to do to support all those who have been dragged into the courts,” said Williams, adding that criminal courts “are not the place” to address the issue of Indigenous land sovereignty, which underpins the dispute.
J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator