OPINION: Stopping the road is halting business on Six
In 2006 the road being blocked in Caledonia was a protective response by land defenders after OPP assaulted some of our own. We, the people of Six, were halting the OPP from coming back and hurting anyone else.
In this current action the halting of traffic is also halting local commerce in an area that is disconnected from the current list of demands by the group. And let’s be very clear. This is a very small group of people – and not a reflection of the opinions of the community at large.
In a survey conducted by the Two Row Times 85% of respondents said they want the barricades removed. Over 75% of the people surveyed said they do not agree with the road being blocked in the first place.
Businesses on the east end of Sixth Line are losing money and laying people off just like those on the south end of Argyle Street. Shops have posted signs saying they have to close.
When it comes to the list of demands the community is equally divided — nearly 50% agree and nearly 50% do not agree or are undecided on all three points.
Several people from Six Nations have raised these concerns with the members of the group of protesters on social media and in person. And the response has commonly been that “people need to stop their bitching”. And that right there is what makes this whole thing no good.
A “sucks to be you” attitude is not a proper reflection of who the Haudenosaunee are. Whether you are a traditional person, a Christian, agnostic, a band council supporter or just some kid from the upper end — the thing that makes Six special is this love among us. Ganonkwa’sra. We saw it in ’06. It extends within our community. Its supposed to extend to our neighbours and anyone else who wants to sit with us under the tree of peace.
We should never ever be a “sucks to be you community” when it comes to one another and our common struggle. We should be an “I see your pain” community and give each other empathic responses.
The thing is we’re all struggling against the loss of land, loss of culture, ceremony and language. We’re all sick and tired of the colonial and paternalistic responses to our Six Nations issues everywhere we turn. But we still have to be reasonable and use good minds before going rogue and taking matters into our own hands. This is a long distance race and not a sprint to the finish line. Like it or not cousins, we’re gonna be fighting this forever. It’s what we’ve been given to carry by our ancestors and it’s equal parts curse and blessing.
This is not a stand of national sacrifice. This is not an action made after careful consensus by a group of people working together for the greater good of this community. It is an unendorsed action by a small group of people who are lost for a better way of fighting an impossible enemy.