Haudenosaunee Farmer Kris Hill, her employees and farming equipment are to be evicted from the Burtch Lands in Brant County after a ruling in court last Friday.
Hill was found in contempt of court for continuing to farm the Burtch Lands that she received a lease from, from the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), even though the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and a numbered company it formed had placed an injunction against it.
Justice John Harper’s rulings were read on September 22, in Brantford’s Superior Court.
The Burtch Lands are part of three parcels of land the government gave back to the Six Nations during negotiations over several land claim issues in 2006 including one known as the Douglas Creeks Estates (DCE), a subdivision near Caledonia. During that time Six Nations protestors blockaded bridges and shut down a section of Highway 6.
The Burtch Lands were given to Six Nations as part of the resolution between the government and Six Nations to see the reopening of the highway and bridges. The land was to be given back and worked, but more issues arose between which governing body on Six Nations should hold the land — SNEC or the HCCC.
While Harper read his rulings to a courtroom less than half filled, and mostly with members of the media, a man could be heard outside in front of the courthouse singing and playing a drum. Looking outside the window a group of people from Six Nations were set up on the lawn holding signs.
Harper said Hill “willfully” breached four parts of the injunction placed against her farming the Burtch Lands until the courts made their decision: failure to vacate the land; continuing to farm; failure to remove equipment; and causing security to prevent authorities to access the land.
Harper advised the lawyers for both the plaintiffs and defendants to discuss the cost of the trial proceedings and to determine a date with help from the trial co-ordinator where Hill will learn of the penalties she faces at a later date.