Friday, April 21, 2006

A Line In The Sand

**WARNING** If you're looking for your daily chuckle I suggest you move to somewhere more upbeat. Today is a bit of divisive, political chaos.

This could be a crazy weekend in our region! Our city is being rocked by our proximity to a political situation we haven't seen for quite a while now. The nearby town of Caledonia has been torn apart by conflict and protest. I don't know if this has made it past our borders in the news circles, but it's across Canada as the native people of Canada occupy protested lands in Caledonia. Yesterday morning saw an effort on the behalf of the OPP to uproot the protesters that only fanned the flames. What was a small and fairly contained occupation has escalated to a larger area and the closure of several schools in the area for the safety of the town's children. Blockades have been erected from all manner of materials from wood and vehicles to piles of flaming tires. I can't say as I can take any one side in this conflict as I have little information and that which is available is charged with bias and suggestion. Time will tell who is right, but the sleepy little town who's previous crises were the arrival of a McDonalds and a WalMart is slowly looking like it's staging up for a bigger conflict.

As each side stages their "troops" and prepares to see who will blink first, tensions rise and tempers begin to flare. Residents are being blocked from their homes by protesters and being forced out of the conflict areas by police as well. While the two sides claim to be seeking a peaceful solution they are certainly prepared for a solution that is anything but. The natives are yelling at people that they are unarmed and One lady on the news said it was like watching the coverage of Iraq for real. While I have no desire to trivialize the situation, a real war is far worse and most Canadians are blessed to have not seen one up close and personal. While this isn't a war yet, the wrong decisions could certainly trigger a larger response. Given our track record, let's hope that all parties involved can come to a better solution that those we all remember in Oka and Ipperwash. It's not hard to think of these prior conflicts when looking at the images in the media.

So far we have been lucky an nobody has been fatally wounded, although there have been some injuries sustained in the police action of yesterday. What's it all about? Here's a very short versions with apologies for anything I've overlooked.
  • Protesters claim lands that are part of the Haldimand Tract(a piece of land given to Joseph Brant because his people fought on the British side during the American Revolution consisting of It was 6 miles on either side of the Grand River) have been stolen, while the Elected Band Council disagrees with allegations of theft.
  • Elected council claims lands were transferred legally in 1841, but natives were not fairly compensated for the transfer and want federal and provincial governments to settle up.
  • The real problem lies in the authority of the band. Traditional chiefs don't recognize the authority of the Elected Council and some have put their support behind the protesters, stirring the pot and triggering the initially peaceful occupation.
  • Yesterday morning in the rising sun, the OPP stormed the occupation and botched a raid intended to break it all up, triggering a larger scale occupation.

Now we all wait to see what happens next. With family in the area I'm really hoping things don't get out of hand for the safety of not only the family but all the residents who have no control over the situation of their homes in the affected areas. The truth will evolve and one day we all will learn about the true origins and resolution of this whole mess. Which side is right? Likely both and neither at the same time. Let's all hope everyone involved can cool down and sort out their gear before we have to witness another tragedy of ego versus logic shall we? May I suggest someone blink soon before all of our eyes begin to water from the tragedy of it all.


Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Yeah, let's hope for the best. Good luck with your family.

9:24:00 AM  
Blogger Martini said...

I can tell you this: whoever is right, it doesn't matter. The government will never give up land that it thinks is theirs. Remember Oka? (1995 I think). Even with the death of a protester, the government did not give up the land.

It's a shame that the protesters are endangering people's lives. I want to believe they have just cause, but it's hard to be on their side if they threaten the lives of their neighbours and the police.

1:39:00 PM  
Blogger Rowan said...

I know! I also mentioned this on my blog (I mean, not much usually happens in Hamilton-Wentworth does it?). I agree, there have got to be more positive ways to deal with this than the way it's being dealt with. My sister lives in Hagarsville...hope she'll be alright.

3:48:00 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

I didn't know this sort of thing was still going on. It's good that the native people are standing up for their land, as the Maori in NZ always have - although I can understand what a threat they are posing to the safety of innocent people living there.

12:16:00 AM  
Blogger glomgold said...

I hadn't heard anything about this in our papers though I have been avoiding the news to some degree lately. It's just all too depressing to take, especially the US stuff b/c of all the BS our administration has been getting away with.
I hope reason wins out and things resolve peacefully. (and sorry I haven't stopped by in awhile; lethargic lately).

9:44:00 PM  
Blogger redheaded said...

somewhere, i thought i posted a huge comment about this....but i see it isn't here. dang.

10:46:00 PM  
Blogger katie said...

I hope everything simmers down and your family is okay.

9:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to see a blockade erected in support of the citizens of Caledonia who are being held hostage by this situation. May I suggest on Rama Road????? Imagine how fast things would be dealt with if the money stopped coming into an indian casino. It appears they do not want to play by our rules. So, maybe we should play by their rules.

1:02:00 PM  

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