Land protector Clyde “Bullet” Powless passes

SIX NATIONS — One of the main Six Nations voices and faces during the 2006 conflict between Six Nations residents and Caledonia residents has died. Clyde “Bullet” Hotchinheh Powless, passed away May 30th.

Shortly after Six Nations residents and supporters took over the site of what was to become Douglas Creek Estates housing development, on Highway no. 6,  just outside of Caledonia, one of the first men on the scene to take charge was Bullet, who helped organize the people after the OPP broke its promise to give those still on the site 24 hours to vacate or be arrested.

Instead, the OPP sent in a well-coordinated attack on those sleeping in tents and sleeping bags arresting anyone who resisted. This unwise and dangerous decision was made with the tragedy of Dudley George and Ipperwash still fresh in the minds of Onkwehonwe (Native) warriors across Turtle Island (North America).

The first call for help went out around 4:45 am, and before the sun rose, there were hundreds of Six Nations men, women and teens standing face to face against a row of OPP, backed up by snipers who had secretly climbed trees around what was called the Silver Pines station, guarding entry to the site.

Bullet arranged for a large dump-truck to block highway no.6 to prevent what was feared to be a second wave of attack after Six Nations residents drove the OPP back off the land later that day.

As a faith keeper himself, Bullet went to the Baptist church that was inside the first barricade to assure the Pastor that he and his parishioners would not be prevented from Sunday worship. Six Nations land protectors were told by Powless to respect the church like it was a longhouse. Even in the heat of those troubled days, there was a good relationship maintained between the Six Nations guards protecting the reclaimed lands and the church, partially due to the respect that was shown by Powless at a very important time.

It was Powless who ordered the barricade back up after it was taken down by Six Nations as a gesture of peace. Despite the highway being reopened, the angry mob in Caledonia surrounded a van on Argyle Street, on Bread and Cheese Day, 12 years ago, and threatened to tip it over with two elderly Six Nations occupants still inside. Powless trying to come to the aid of the elders and took a punch in the face for his efforts.

Looking back, it was his leadership, especially in the early days, along with the stoic presence of the late Dick Hill and others that may have kept the volatile situation from boiling over on many occasions.

Clyde “Bullet” Powless was 51.

Related Posts

1 Comment

  1. So sorry to hear of Clyde Powless passing. As one of the non-native organizers of support for the Six Nations land claims in Caledonia. Clyde, Dick, Michael, Sleeper, Floyd, Rudy and others were the first to accept our support from Local 1005. I have fond memories of the talks and interactions that we had. He came across as a very proud man that put the safety of people first at all times.
    Steve Kucha (Retired Chair of the Human Rights Committee of USW Local 1005)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *