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Eleven years since reclaiming Kanonhstaton

Eleven years since reclaiming Kanonhstaton

KANONHSTATON – It was 11-years ago on a cold morning on Feb. 28, that the reclamation of Kanonhstaton, or the native take-over of the Douglas Creek Estates housing development in Caledonia, began. But that would depend on who you ask. Tuesday morning, traffic on Highway 6 was disrupted by around two-dozen marchers and a train of

KANONHSTATON – It was 11-years ago on a cold morning on Feb. 28, that the reclamation of Kanonhstaton, or the native take-over of the Douglas Creek Estates housing development in Caledonia, began. But that would depend on who you ask.

Tuesday morning, traffic on Highway 6 was disrupted by around two-dozen marchers and a train of cars in the annual memorial march from the former Silver Pines camp on Sixth Line Road, to Highway 6 before entering the now fenced and gated Kanonhstaton land.

After several attempts by Six Nations to seek proof of title from the developers, Henco Homes, a handful of Six Nations women and a few men in support, stopped construction and began the occupation of the site. In 2006 and 2007, after almost two years of tense stand-offs between Caledonia citizens and Six Nations, Ontario stepped in to cool down the whole affair by buying up the property from the developers for a premium price, successfully stopping the housing development in its tracks.

Today, 11 years later, the land in question is quiet and peaceful but the issue of who has underlying title has still not been resolved. Ontario believes it owns the land, Caledonia believes it still owns the roads that were built in advance of the development, and Six Nations looks at the entire episode as the successful reclamation of a piece of their traditional Haldimand Tract land, never properly surrendered for sale.

The situation has boiled over a number of times since 2006, but today’s memorial march was warm and peaceful. It seems the provincial and federal governments are in no hurry to challenge Six Nations claim on the land in court, but have “allowed” Six Nations to occupy the land without pressure to remove them. After several attempts to incite trouble, orchestrated by a small group of Caledonia citizens known as CANACE under the leadership of Gary McHale and Mark Vandermaas, that too eventually stopped and peace returned.

After Tuesday morning’s march, there was a fireside gathering where those who were instrumental in the reclamation, who have passed since, were honoured.

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Jim Windle

Jim Windle

Jim Windle is a veteran news and sports reporter who has been published in a number of mediums and publications. contact Jim: windlejim@rocketmail.com

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