SIX NATIONS ‑ A long train of dump trucks loaded with soil suspected to contain waste materials from off reserve, was stopped on Third Line Road at Cayuga Road by members of the Men’s Fire last week.
Earl Johnson, a resident of Third Line Road, had already received dozens of truckloads before the process was stopped and the trucks were turned around by the Men’s Fire.
Although Johnson insists he has gone through all the right channels, he respectfully declined an interview with Two Row Times until after he seeks an audience with the Haudenosaunne Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) and speaks with Band Council concerning the matter. But in the meantime the trucks are not rolling.
The Men’s Fire fear possible toxic industrial waste, such as asbestos and other industrial contaminants, may have been mulched in with the soil, which contains a high percentage of visible wood chips.
Theoretically, there is opportunity for someone at Six Nations, where by-laws are not enforced, to charge a fraction of the normal dumping fee and still make money by accepting soil while hiding the toxins within the mulch.
This may or may not be the case, but until that is determined, the Men’s Fire have vowed not to allow another truckload on the reserve.
According to Elected Chief Ava Hill, Mr. Johnson has never come to council with his plan to receive the mixed soil from Toronto, as the Men’s Fire suspect.
It appears to members of the Men’s Fire that Johnson has coat-tailed his project to that of neighbor Troy Monture, who has received clearance through the Elected Council to receive clean filler soil.
“I hope Band Council understands that if they allowed toxic waste onto the reserve, they are liable for any health conditions that may arise,” says Bill Monture of the Men’s Fire.
Although there are by-laws already in place regarding receiving outside garbage, because there is no by-law officer, there is no one to enforce it except the people themselves.
Elected Chief Ava Hill agrees that this situation must change and a by-law officer be put in place, but in the meantime she commends the Men’s Fire for doing so.
“Earl Johnson has not put any of this before council,” she says. “Troy Monture has, but not Earl. I don’t think he should be allowed to receive this material. We’ve got to get to the bottom of this. We have to figure out a way to enforce the by-laws around here. The community has to take some responsibility too by obeying the by-laws.”
According to Men’s Fire member Wilf Davey, “Two weeks ago, we met with HDI (Haudenosaunee Development Institute) and Chief Blake Bomberry and Earl Johnson. He said he would wait until the results from a soil sample could be processed. We don’t know what’s in that material.
“Yesterday, we counted over 100 trucks coming in before we stopped them. Until we know what’s in it we don’t want these trucks bring anything in. Earl does not have authority, paperwork, or a weigh bill,” he says.
There is also concern about the wear and tear that hundreds of heavily loaded dump trucks put on roads not designed to carry that sort of traffic.
“You can’t just open up your field and start dumping,” says Davey, “If that’s the case, we’d all be in business.”
To date, no more loads have been delivered.