Retired Judge Kent to speak on reconciliation and land claims

BRANTFORD – It still is not clear what political and legal time-bombs still lie beneath the soil of what is known historically as “The Johnson Settlement.” This represents a 7,000-acre piece of land in the North East a portion of which Brantford and the County of Brant have wrestled over for years.

Considering the solid Six Nations claim to the Johnson Tract, which is still in the courts somewhere under a stack of dusty files, Brant County may have gotten the better end of the stick in the long run.

Of all the registered land claims over most of what is now known as Brantford, the Johnson Settlement claim is believed to the strongest.

Wednesday, Nov. 22, retired Justice James Kent will speak at Laurier University on Six Nations land claims and related issues. It is a topic he knows well.

Kent presided over cases involving Six Nations land claims and will share his views about the potential for reconciliation of land claims and how we might find common ground though and alongside our treaty obligations.

It will be a free event beginning at 7 p.m. in Room RCE 004 in the Research and Academic Centre, Laurier Brantford, 150 Dalhousie St. at Charlotte.

The lecture series is sponsored by “Save the Evidence”, a capital campaign to raise awareness and support for the repair and renovation of the Mohawk Institute building. The campaign is in response to devastating roof leaks, which caused significant damage to the interior and exterior of the building. It is currently undergoing the first of three phases of renovation.

After its closure in 1970, the former Mohawk Institute reopened as the Woodland Cultural Centre, which operates as a museum, gallery, and cultural hub for indigenous history, language, education, art, and contemporary culture. The Save the Evidence campaign has received support from Six Nations Elected Council, the City of Brantford and the Province of Ontario, as well as from individuals and organizations

According to the media invitation, the goal of the lecture series is to educate people and promote a community dialog about the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School and reconciliation, said Rob Knechtel, vice-chair of Friends and Neighbours, who is co-ordinating the series. The Mohawk Institute, on Mohawk Street in Brantford, operated as a residential school from 1828 until it closed in 1970.

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