Convoy says no to development in Brantford

A convoy of Six Nations people and allies said ‘no’ to development in the City of Brantford Saturday afternoon.

Dozens of vehicles made stops at various construction sites throughout the city with two Six Nations women – elder Norma Jacobs and Bonnie Whitlow – issuing statements at each stop expressing their reasons for opposition to development.

The group, who bore the slogan “Grand Back” as they visited each development site, to raise awareness of a recent call for a moratorium on the development of lands within the Haldimand Tract along the Grand River.

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The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) called for a moratorium last month with the caveat that proponents must obtain consent from the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) before proceeding with any development of the Haldimand Tract, six miles on either side of the Grand River, comprising over 900,000 acres from Lake Erie to Dundalk.

“We are here because we’re upholding the moratorium by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and we’re here to get our voices heard because this is our land and our voices have been kept silent for a long time,” said Jacobs.

Jacobs said treaties between [Five Nations] Six Nations and the Crown calling for peace and friendship have been broken.

“That hasn’t happened for a long time and we’re tired of it,” she said. “We’re going to make sure this land along the Grand River is going to be kept sacred for our people and those coming generations.”

Whitlow said developers must obtain consent from the HCCC before proceeding with development on the Haldimand Tract.

“No development can proceed along the Haldimand Tract without the consent of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy,” Whitlow said, reading a statement from the HCCC at a housing development site on Garden Ave. in Brantford. “We understand that we share these lands with our allies and we all agree to uphold the agreements to live in peace, friendship and trust. The Haudenosaunee intend to exercise our jurisdiction over our lands and waters in a way that maintains the delicate balance between creation and humans, focusing on sustainability.”

She said Six Nations Elected Council should not be consulted on land developments.

“SNEC is meaningless in this situation,” said Whitlow. “They are not acting in accordance with the Great Law. While they may think they are, they are sadly mistaken. The elected council exists to undermine and undercut our traditional people. They do what Canada wants, not what we want and not what our traditional council wants.”

Brantford residents were largely supportive of the caravan throughout the afternoon, honking, waving hi, and shouting support.

A Brantford citizens’ group, the Friends of Arrowdale, accompanied the caravan and supported the moratorium, as the group opposes the sale of the Arrowdale Golf Course, a large, 32-acre green space in the middle of the city. The city hopes to use the proceeds of the sale to build affordable housing and wants to develop a portion of the former golf course into a community park. The golf course also sits on Six Nations land within the Haldimand Tract.

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