OPP Closes Wyman’s Road in Tyendinaga

TYENDINAGA – The OPP, the Canadian Military and the RCMP have surrounded Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in response to a series of protests. On Friday, February 28th, Wyman Rd was closed by police when members of Tyendinaga lit a fire to request a response to Shawn Brant’s letter to the Prime Minister asking for a National Inquiry into the more than 825 missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada.

Demonstrator Dan Doreen stated, “it is a good start to the campaign to bring an inquiry to murdered and missing [Indigenous] women.” At around 8:00pm the fire was extinguished and demonstrators wrapped it up without incident, according to police.

Late Sunday, afternoon there was some concern when elements of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment (Reserves) were in the immediate affected area. The regiment travelled in armoured personnel carriers down York Road, which is the main artery that runs diagonally through Tyendinaga from Highway 2 and Shannonville Road to Highway 49. Some Mohawk demonstrators chased them down and told them to leave the territory, which they did.

Then Sunday night, Tyendinaga community members held a meeting to discuss further campaign action. Later that night, they started another fire and erected a teepee at the intersection of Hinchey Rd and Shannonville Rd and then further down Shannonville Rd to Highway 2. There was a high OPP presence at the intersection of Shannonville Rd and Hinchey Rd and anyone going to Tyendinaga, by way of Highway 401 or Airport Pkwy were affected.

The demonstrations comes after Shawn Brant, a Mohawk Warrior, wrote to Prime Minister Stephan Harper demanding a national public inquiry into the over 800 missing and murdered Indigenous women from across Canada. “Maryann Pearce…documented over 3000 deaths but she was only able to conclusively identify 824 of them as being of First Nations ancestry,” stated Brant. The Vancouver Sun writes, “The Native Women’s Association of Canada documented 582 cases. With three more years of cases in her database Pearce has documented 824 cases.”

Pearce created a database of missing and murdered women in Canada both Native and non-Native. While Native women account for just 2% of the entire Canadian population they account for almost a quarter of Pearce’s database.

Last year a Special Parliamentary Committee was mandated to further examine the issue of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls. Native organizations and the Tyendinaga demonstrators do not hold out for anything beyond a report.

Brant asserts, “the Prime Minister doesn’t place any value on [Native] women or girls” and “the perpetrators…do so believing that they can do it with impunity and [without] consequences. The police don’t adequately investigate the courts don’t adequately prosecute”

Barricades have been a common tactic used by the Warriors, as such, people are no longer shocked. Brant had this to say, “I believe that people can become desensitized to this as a tactic, it’s hard to believe that you have to put up barricades and put your life on the line simply to call for justice to 824 dead First Nations women.”

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