In early 2006, the Haudenoshaunee (“Iroquois”) people of the Grand River Territory began a reclamation struggle to halt the “Douglas Creek Estates” housing development on the outskirts of Caledonia, Ontario, which was being constructed on their unceded lands. Since then, people from Six Nations have continued organizing and have blocked over $2 billion worth of other “developments” in other parts of Six Nations territory, particularly in nearby Brantford, Ontario.
Over this period, the Canadian government has demonstrated that it has no interest in expediting the resolution of its hundreds of outstanding land claims cross the country, and certainly not those of Six Nations, and this has left the people of Six Nations, and the Canadians living alongside them, extremely frustrated.
As a result, some non-Native residents of Caledonia have at times over the last three years gravitated towards the calls and rallies of anti-native, white supremacist, and even neo-Nazi forces. And now, some of these forces are calling for the formation of a Caledonia militia to police the natives directly, Doug Fleming, one of the militia’s initiators, wrote on June 14, 2009 that “Due to the ongoing reality that the OPP refuses to enforce the Criminal Code with regards to people’s property rights I am forming the Caledonia Militia to ensure that the criminal code is upheld in Haldimand County.” Fleming conveniently omits the fact that the owners of the land in question in Haldimand County are the people of Six Nations, who are the true title-holders of the 950,000-acre Haldimand tract that runs through southwestern Ontario. Today, the people of Six Nations control only about 5% of that original tract. The conflict between white working-class settlers and natives stems from the fact that the Canadian government permitted the sell-off of land that it had no right to.
There is evidence that Fleming and other anti-native organizers in Caledonia, such as Gary McHale, receive substantial support from local developers and real-estate interests. At a time when workers in Canada are experiencing attacks on their economic and social interests on all fronts, the institutionalization of racism and settler chauvinism in the form of an anti-native militia will be a serious political blow to the interests of working-class people, especially in one of the most rapidly deindustrializing regions of Canada.
The way forward must be to unite our class and resist attempts to have us divided through racism. The real enemies of working people are not the native peoples of the land, nor the Canadians who have settled on indigenous territories, but the past colonial landlords and the current capitalists who benefit from the ongoing theft of people’s lands and resources.
Let’s stop the formation of this racist militia and start organizing working-class people against our real enemies: the bourgeois class and its repressive arm, the Canadian state.
On Tuesday, June 23, people opposed to the formation of this militia will be making their way from Toronto, Guelph, Hamilton, and Kitchener-Waterloo, to stage Cayuga to stage a peaceful protest at the founding meeting.
A bus will be leaving Toronto at 4:30PM on Tuesday, sharp, from the north east area of Dufferin Mall parking lot (Dufferin, south of Bloor). Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, to endorse the protest, or to reserve a space on the buses. A $10 seat fee is requested, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.