OHSWEKEN — An ongoing blockade remained in place Tuesday evening, despite instructions from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council and a request from the Six Nations Elected Council for protesters to remove barricades and allow employees to return to work.
SNEC issued a video statement on May 31 — saying that three spokeswomen from the blockade, Rhonda Martin, Colleen Davis and Celeste Smith, were in attendance at that meeting and asked to deliver a message to the people at the site to take down the barricades and allow employees to return to work.
That message went unheeded, and the women issued their own video statement saying the people would remain at the blockade until the elected council signs a letter surrendering authority to the HCCC.
That position was reinforced Tuesday after a second meeting with the SNEC and HCCC. HCCC’s Colin Martin, director of the federal financial corporation Ongwawista Dedewasnye and member of the Haudenosaunee External Relations Committee is directly involved with organizing protesters at the blockade and told SNEC blockades will only be removed if the elected council signs a letter acknowledging the HCCC as the legal governing body of the Six Nations of the Grand River.
It is not clear why Martin is demanding the SNEC sign a letter acknowledging the HCCC as a “true” government.
SNEC issued a statement on it’s Facebook page addressing some of the lies protesters are circulating across social media.
Claims by protest organizers include that the Elected Chief hired bodyguards during the community’s Victoria Day celebrations, that the Elected Chief has secretly accepted the federal government’s Inherent Rights Framework and received $439,000 in financial kickbacks for it, and that SAO Dayle Bomberry gets $800 kickbacks for loads of slag being delivered to the Six Nations Landfill site.
The Council addressed these unfactual statements — saying the Council members and their staff have unfairly been targeted with personal attacks in person and on social media as a result of the protesters claims.
Confederacy Chief Cleve Thomas acknowledged the harm spreading inflammatory and untrue statements on social media is doing to people in the community and asked protest spokeswoman Rhonda Martin to stop.
Protesters spoke to CTV last week about the blockade and told reporters they would speak on the condition of anonymity — asking their faces and identities be concealed because they were informed by the elected council that if they spoke to the media they would be arrested.
According to a source at the protest, Colin Martin told organizers that the elected council and Six Nations Police would target those who spoke to media to be arrested.
SNEC said in a statement that they have not directed anyone to be silenced from speaking to media — or that anyone demonstrating be punished for demonstrating.
TRT attempted to speak with organizers at the protest. Organizer Rhonda Martin shouted out “no comment” and demonstrators refused to speak with our reporters.
The HCCC issued a statement last week about the demonstrations but has not publicly said if they are in support or oppose the action.
At the heart of this story is an ongoing dispute between a Six Nations family and the SNEC regarding a dumping issue.
One of the demonstrators, Bobbi Jo Johnson, has been in a long-standing dispute with SNEC over soil being hauled into her property on Fourth Line.
According to community by-laws soil must undergo specific safety standards before it can be brought into the community. Likewise, the HCCC issued a 1994 bylaw putting a moratorium on all dumping on the Six Nations territory.
Johnson claims she is being persecuted by the SNEC SAO Dayle Bomberry and the Six Nations Police for bringing soil onto her property.
SNEC says Johnson has either not complied with, or fully participated in soil testing and information disclosure about the materials being brought in and how it is being done.
This long standing dispute was part of the fuel that initiated a number of community meetings to rally against the SNEC SAO and part of what launched the blockade.
Six Nations Police were at the Johnson family property earlier this year and arrested three individuals during an altercation with police.
The demonstrators have taken the position that SNEC, the SNP and the SAO have been unfairly targeting the Johnson family.
Neither SNEC nor Johnson have addressed the matter with media — however TRT was informed there is currently a civil suit between Johnson and the SAO on the issue.
Earlier this week — Six Nations men took action to stop additional trucks from dumping soil at the Johnson property. This is the second time in two weeks men have halted trucks from bringing soil to the property.