OHSWEKEN – Elected Chief Ava Hill went on CKRZ radio this week with an update from Elected Band Council in which she addressed a number of issues including a report from the summit meeting between the Province, Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt and Six Nations Elected Council. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs were invited to participate, but declined to do so.
“The HCCC were invited to last night’s meeting but they chose not to attend,” she said. “They sent them a letter to say they were not going to come and said that they were relying on a communication protocol that was signed between them and, then provincial Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Kathleen Wynne,” who is now the Premier of Ontario.
“Haldimand Council released a statement that they were going to remove the Barricade at the DCE site,” she explained. A further release states they are going to be reviewing their draft bylaw, which will remove the public access on that road, known to Haldimand as Surrey Street. As of now, no further official action has taken place.
She acknowledged two weeks ago, anti-native rights activist, Gary McHale was at the site, once again creating a disturbance.
“I don’t think anybody wants to see another violent situation erupt,” she said.
“Last night we did meet with Minister Zimmer, Mr. Duguid, and Mayor Hewitt. We talked about the situation with Haldimand County, and our position is very clear to them that that land has to be turned back to Six Nations.”
She considered that Mayor Hewitt’s major priority at this first summit was to discuss the use of the land as opposed to the ownership, and hopes the former DCE land be used for something that is “going to benefit both communities.”
“We can “blue sky” on that,” said Hill, “ but I made it quite clear that even if we go that route, it is still paramount that the land has to be under the control of Six Nations before we can do that.”
Although she referred to the tri-lateral meeting as “historic and precedent setting,” she was disappointed that the federal government did not participate.
“We know the federal government was missing with respect to the land rights issue,” said Hill. “So even if we park that and deal with the immediate situation, we still need to find ways of getting that land back to Six Nations.
“I said I know the land is in the province’s hands right now, you can look at steps in transferring it to Six Nations, even if it is done through an Memorandum of Understanding, so long as we are in control in our name until such time as we can eventually get the land issue resolved.”
“Even if we get this DCE issue resolved there are still all the other unresolved issues,” said Hill, indicating that there could be protests at other locations if outstanding claims are not responded to.
According to Hill, another tri-lateral meeting is scheduled in a few weeks, one which she hopes the Confederacy would reconsider their position and attend.