Wahta Community Fire vacates protest site

WAHTA – In a statement posted to their website and Facebook page, the Wahta Community Fire announced that as of Monday, September 22, 2014 they would vacate the encampment site in front of the Administration Building in the Wahta Mohawk territory and allow staff to return to their offices.

The Community Fire indicated in the statement that the reasons behind the decision to leave the protest site were: the threat of a lawsuit, a concern for the preservation of the administration building, and the existence of the “enemies list”.

The “enemies list” is a list of names of people, perceived to be supporters of the Community Fire, prepared by Karen Commandant, the appointed Senior Administrator. Those appearing on the list are to be denied community services as a result of their involvement with the Community Fire.

The Community Fire held a permanent presence at the site for nearly 140 days in an effort to compel the Elected Council to abide by the Financial and Governance codes. Before leaving the site the Community Fire invited police to conduct an inspection of the site and building in order avoid being accused of leaving it in a bad state.

The Two Row Times spoke with Ryan DeCaire, a supporter of the Community Fire, about this decision. He made clear that this does not mean the Community Fire has closed the fire or is abandoning its struggle to get the Elected Council to respect community laws, “It’s really just a beginning, or a renewal.”

Supporters of the Community Fire intend to employ different pressure tactics to achieve their goal, saying in the statement, “Although it was not an easy decision to leave, we believe this will enable us to broaden and intensify our activities to hold the Wahta Council accountable to community laws, and the basic principles of accountability, transparency, and community empowerment.”

DeCaire wanted to dispel any notion that this could be seen as a defeat, “It’s a good day when people have enough strength and power in their minds, self confidence and pride to stand [against] something that they believe is inherently wrong.”

The Two Row Times will continue to report on this story as it develops.

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