KANONHSTATON/CALEDONIA — The barricade in front of the former Douglas Creek Estates site near Caledonia, has been removed … kinda. Maybe the better word would be that it has been repurposed.
“We took the old hydro tower apart piece by piece and gave it to Bear Iron Welding, of Six Nations, and they have refitted that material into the new front gate,” said Six Nations land protector Jeff Henhawk.
The up-rights for the new gate were installed Monday and the front gates will be fitted soon. From the uprights at edge or the roadway into the site, more chain-link fencing will be going in along Argyle Street as soon as the front gate is completed, according to the Six Nations welder, who did not want his name published.
As of Monday, there had been no negative response from the Province or Haldimand County.
Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt has been relatively quiet on the situation after he and his council reacted to the installation of the chain-link fence along the Northern boundary of the Kanonhstaton land. Kanonhstaton is a Mohawk word meaning “the protected place” which has been adopted by Six Nations land protectors.
On April 20th, 2006, Six Nations residents dragged a partially constructed hydro tower across Argyle Street to protect the land from another possible assault by police or outraged Caledonia citizens. This was done in response to the early morning OPP raid on protesters occupying the site of a housing development being built, without consultation, on land the developers knew was under registered land claim and was never surrendered for sale.
The situation escalated into a standoff between Caledonia citizens, OPP, and Six Nations that made headline news across Canada, the USA and even into England. There was barricades set up across Argyle Street, blocking off Highway #6, except for local traffic and emergency vehicles.
Caledonia citizens set up their own blockade after Six Nations had removed theirs from the highway on the Victoria Day weekend. An incident resulted in one of the leaders on the Six Nations side was punched in the face by a Caledonia citizen, which prompted the tower to be dragged across the street again as tempers flared into a near riot.
Former Ontario Premier, David Peterson, negotiated a peaceful settlement with Six Nations Confederacy Chiefs to take down the blockade in exchange for land promised to be returned to Six Nations, in Burtch, South Cayuga and other locations.
But other provocations by certain Caledonia residents backed up by high profile white supremacists who were invited to Caledonia by agitator Gary McHale, caused Six Nations to keep the hydro tower close by just in case it might be needed again.
For several years since, the old tower has been sitting at the front entrance of the Kanonhstaton site while Caledonia residents and Haldimand Council have been trying to get them to haul it away.
Recent antics by McHale and his small group of followers have caused the situation to flare up again. To keep the piece, the Confederacy Chiefs authorized a fence to go around the site to protect the land and a Six Nations resident assigned to remain on the land to hold in on behalf of the people of Six Nations.
The Chiefs also authorized the removal of the hydro tower, but it was to be replaced with the installation of a gate across the entrance to the site. Someone came up with the idea of repurposing the hydro tower to continue to serve as a protective barrier, but in a new, more aesthetically pleasing reincarnation.