Thursday, June 08, 2006

Appeal Letter from the Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty

This is an open appeal letter from the Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty in support of Indigenous struggles on Turtle Island (Canada). Highlighted are the issues concerning Kanenhstaton (the Protected Place), which continues to be peacefully occupied by the Six Nations community, and an appeal for funds needed to provide buses to the reserve for the June 16th concert.

Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty

June 1, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

We are writing to you on behalf of the Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty to ask for your support. We are coalition of very diverse solidarity and community groups that has come together to support Indigenous struggles on Turtle Island (Canada).

You may be aware that at this moment, members of the Six Nations of the Grand River community have been engaged in land reclamation in Caledonia, Ontario. This tract of land had been illegally sold by the province to the Henco Corporation for the purpose of building a residential complex. Henco proceeded to remove the topsoil, fill in the creek flowing through the property and construct homes. No traditional leader at Six Nations gave permission for this land to be sold or developed. In addition, this territory is currently included in an unresolved land claim and under federal law cannot be sold or developed. Nonetheless, as it often has been the case, the judicial system systematically disregarded First Nations claims.

Consequently, on February 28, 2006 the Six Nations community peacefully reclaimed the site. Rather then deal with the issue politically, the government decided to move in with police and on April 20, 2006 the OPP attacked the camp, armed with tasers, pepper spray and automatic weapons. A lot of people were injured and a few were arrested. Astonishingly, the community was able to peacefully re-establish the camp. They subsequently blocked all roads leading into the tract of land in an act of self-defense.

Negotiations are currently underway between members of the Six Nations Confederacy (traditional government), the federal and provincial governments. A 90 day moratorium suspending further development or police actions is currently in effect. However, it would seem that the government is quite reluctant to negotiate in good faith and we fear that another military action has not been ruled out.

In the meanwhile, the site has been renamed to Kanenhstaton (the Protected Place) and it continues to be peacefully occupied by the Six Nations community. Many groups across Canada have mobilized to lend support to this struggle. As part of this effort, First Nations artists will be offer a Concert for Kanenhstaton (The Protected Place) on June 16, from noon to 10 p.m. (see attached poster).

We believe this is a crucial time to show the government of Canada that we support the just struggle of First Nations people. In this spirit of solidarity, we would like to provide transportation to people who want to be there but do not have access or cannot afford transportation. We are aiming to rent two buses to take people over to the concert. This will cost approximately $1,000.

We are asking for your financial support and solidarity. The Canadian government must be forced to negotiate in good faith and peacefully with First Nations peoples. And we need to show that First Nations people do not stand alone and we are ultimately responsible for whatever may happen to the Elders, women, men and children of the Six Nations of the Grand River. We need to take action now.

If you need further information please contact Magaly San Martin at 416-532411 ext. 248 or

Cheques can be made payable to OCAP with ‘June 16th Buses’ specified on memo line. They can be mailed to 10 Britain Street, Toronto, ON, M5A 1R6.

In Solidarity,

Magaly San Martin

Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty

PS: The Coalition includes: Al-Awda Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, Arab Students Collective U of T, CKLN Community Radio, Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty-Indigenous Caucus, CUPE 3903, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Ontario Public Interest Research Group, New Socialist Group, No More Silence Coalition, No One is Illegal and Sumoud.

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