SIX NATIONS — The barricade system that stands at the edges of the Six Nations community are believed to have helped to keep the low ratio of Covid-19 cases, one of the lowest in the area. But the sheets used to enter the reserve could be exploited, prompting the SNGR to replace them with barcode cards.
Residents were able to gather extras over the weekend if the single card already received in the mail wasn’t sufficient, as Chief Mark Hill’s announcement on Jukasa Radio last Friday gave the parameters for the cards, which later ran out over the weekend. Line ups were extended far.
But aside from just improving the barricade system, the system has also given back.
Mitch Henhawk is a young father living on Six Nations, who currently works with a partner on the Fourth Line barricade. Working as blockade security has given him the opportunity to protect the community with the time that he would have used to work.
“My job shut down because of the virus,” said Henhawk. “I was a labourer and right away I asked Mike if I could work for him and he asked me if I could work the Fourth Line, Highway Six blockade and I said I would.”
The particular barricade Henhawk works is one that allows members to exit and re-enter the community from the highway with a direct link to Ohsweken, home to many in the vulnerable sector.
“We just keep an eye on who comes in — we only let residents and essential workers on reserve. So far it’s pretty good,” he said.
Henhawk added that his entrance hasn’t had any major issues, “yet.”
“Sometimes we get people who just drive right by and then we have to go and stop them and escort them back off of the reserve,” he said. “Most people turn back with ease.”
He added that he had heard about people printing copies of the former passes to sneak onto the reserve, and thinks that the new passes are a good way to stop non-residents from entering the community. He said that the passes will be delivered by mail for residents, and that residents can grab extras at the Six Nations Bingo Hall this coming weekend.
“As long as you’re a resident and you show them proof that you live down here, you can get another one if need be,” he said.
Henhawk added to remind that the blockades aren’t there to enforce discrimination, but to protect those vulnerable in the community.
“Just as council says, we’re trying to protect our elders because our elders have a lot of knowledge. If they die, so does that knowledge,” he said.