Caledonia land claim
Last Updated November 1, 2006
Six Nations natives and developer Henco Industries are involved in a land dispute over a 40-hectare tract near Hamilton, Ont. Here is a history of the land in question:
For its loyalty to the British Crown during the American Revolution, the Six Nations is allowed to "take possession of and settle" a strip of land nearly 20 kilometres wide along the Grand River, from its source to Lake Erie, totaling about 385,000 hectares.
Henco Industries now says the so-called "Haldimand Grant" (named after the commander of the British forces) was merely a licence to occupy the lands, with legal title remaining with the Crown. Six Nations dispute that claim.
Lt.-Gov. John Graves Simcoe reduces land grant to the Six Nations to 111,000 hectares.
Six Nations grants its chief, Joseph Brant, the power of attorney to sell off some of the land and invest the proceeds. The Crown opposes the sales but eventually concedes.
The Crown approaches Six Nations about developing Plank Road (now Highway 6) and the surrounding area. Six Nations agrees to lease half a mile of land on each side for road, but does not surrender the land. Lt.-Gov. John Colborne agrees to the lease but his successor, Sir Francis Bond Head, does not. After 1845, despite the protests of Six Nations, Plank Road and surrounding lands would be sold to third parties.
The government recommends that a reserve of 8,000 hectares be established on the south side of the Grand River and the rest sold or leased.
Jan. 18, 1841:
Six Nations council agrees to surrender for sale all lands outside those set aside for a reserve, on the agreement the government would sell the land and invest the money for them. A faction of Six Nations petition against the surrender, saying the chiefs were deceived and intimidated.
Six Nations would challenge that claim in a 1995 lawsuit and it is part of the basis for the current protest.
A petition to the Crown said Six Nations needed a 22,000-hectare reserve and wanted to keep and lease a tier of lots on each side of Plank Road and several other tracts of land in the Haldimand area.
Dec. 18, 1844:
A document signed by 47 Six Nations chiefs appears to authorize sale of land to build Plank Road.
May 15, 1848:
The land where the current development, Douglas Creek Estates, now sits is sold to George Marlot Ryckman for 57 pounds and 10 shillings and a Crown deed is issued to him.
The Crown passes a proclamation setting out extent of reserve lands, about 19,000 hectares agreed to by the Six Nations chiefs.
Under the Indian Act, the Canadian government establishes an elected government on the reserve.
Henco Industries Ltd. purchases a company that owned 40 hectares of what it would later call the Douglas Creek Estates lands.
The Six Nations sue the federal and provincial governments over the land. The developer calls it "an accounting claim" for "all assets which were not received but ought to have been received, managed or held by the Crown for the benefit of the Six Nations."
The subdivision plan for Douglas Creek Estates is registered with title to the property guaranteed by the province of Ontario.
Feb. 28, 2006:
A group of Six Nations members takes over the housing project, erecting tents, a teepee and a wooden building.
» RELATED: Timeline of recent events
Sources: Canadian Press, Hamilton Spectator, Henco Industries Ltd., Six Nations Lands & Resources