In Depth

Caledonia land claim


Last Updated November 1, 2006

Oct. 31, 2006
Federal Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice cancels a scheduled meeting with his Ontario counterpart, Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay. Prentice's spokeswoman said he was "disturbed" by the "political grandstanding" of Ramsay and Premier Dalton McGuinty. McGuinty publicly stated that land claims issues are "solely the responsibility of the federal government." Ramsay was planning to ask Ottawa for at least $25 million to cover some of the province's costs for the occupation.

» CBC STORY: Feds scrap planned Caledonia meeting
Oct. 30, 2006
Former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino, on his first day as the newly appointed commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police, says that resolving the Caledonia dispute is "beyond any scope that I could have."

» CBC STORY: OPP's job to 'preserve the peace' in Caledonia: top cop
Oct. 15, 2006
Several hundred demonstrators gather in Caledonia to protest against the native occupation and what they call police inaction. Dozens of police officers formed police lines between native and non-native protesters. Three people are arrested for crossing the lines.

» CBC STORY: Dozens of police contain Caledonia rally
Sept. 26, 2006
The Ontario Progressive Conservatives say the aboriginal occupation in Caledonia has cost the province at least $55 million.

» CBC STORY: Caledonia dispute costing Ontario $55M, Tories claim
Aug. 27, 2006
A three-judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal rules that aboriginal protesters can remain on lands they have occupied in Caledonia for at least another month.

» CBC STORY: Protesters can stay in Caledonia: appeal court
Aug. 9, 2006
A tense confrontation between aboriginal protesters and Caledonia residents is broken up by police in the early morning.

Ontario's Attorney General Michael Bryant says the province will comply with a judge's ruling that all negotiations cease on the Caledonia land claim dispute. But, Bryant says, the province plans to appeal the decision.

» CBC STORY: Protesters set up barricade after judge calls for order in Caledonia dispute
» CBC STORY: Ontario to appeal judge's order to halt Caledonia talks
Aug. 8, 2006
A judge orders that all negotiations between the Six Nations reserve and the government be suspended until the land-claims activists stop occupying the construction site in Caledonia, Ont. Judge David Marshall also orders the province to charge the protesters with contempt of court for not complying with an earlier court injunction that ordered them to leave the land.

Later, the First Nations protesters hold a community meeting and decide to continue the occupation. The land-claims activists put up a barricade on the construction site. Protesters and Caledonia residents face each other in a tense, but non-violent, standoff. There are harsh words and at one point, aboriginal protesters spray some residents with water using a firehose.

» CBC STORY: Judge orders end to talks until Caledonia occupation stops
Aug. 7, 2006
About 100 Caledonia residents and native demonstrators clash. It starts out with harsh words, but escalates when some of them start hurling golf balls and rocks at each other.

» CBC STORY: Rocks, golf balls fly as Ontario land-claims dispute reignites
June 23, 2006
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the province will pay $12.3 million to Henco Industries to buy out their investment in disputed land in Caledonia. The government will also compensate Henco Industries for the loss of future profits, an amount McGuinty said "remains the subject of ongoing negotiations."

McGuinty had previously told the legislature that he couldn't reveal the purchase price because the developer wanted to keep it a secret.

» CBC STORY: Buying Caledonia land will cost Ontario government $12.3M

June 16, 2006
The Ontario government buys out the land developers caught in the middle of the land-claims dispute in Caledonia. Henco Industries was building a subdivision on the site before Six Nations protesters took over the land in February.

The move is announced in Ontario Superior Court in Cayuga, Ont., where government representatives, developers and residents had convened to discuss a court injunction calling for the removal of aboriginal protesters from the Douglas Creek Estates construction site.

The McGuinty government also announces that it will offer $1 million — in addition to the already proposed $700,000 — to compensate Caledonia-area businesses hurt by road blockades set up by the Six Nations protesters the previous month.

» CBC STORY: Ontario buys site of disputed Caledonia claim

June 15, 2006
Negotiations resume between the province and aboriginal protesters.

June 12, 2006
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty calls off negotiations with aboriginals protesting at the Caledonia site, saying that public safety has been compromised by Friday's violence. He says the province will only return to the table when the barricades come down and native leaders assist police in finding seven suspects in connection with Friday's incidents.

In response, native protesters use heavy machinery to remove one barricade made of tires and tangled metal. Another barrier at the Douglas Creek Estates housing development remains in place.

The Ontario Provincial Police announce that they are looking for copies of confidential documents that were taken from the U.S. Border Patrol vehicle that was stolen during the violent incidents June 9. The documents — which included identities of undercover officers and information from confidential informants — were returned to the provincial police, but not before photocopies were made.

» CBC STORY: McGuinty says time for Caledonia blockades to come down

June 11, 2006
The Six Nations Confederacy releases a statement denouncing the violence of the previous day. The Confederacy says the suspects are known to them and have been asked to stay away from the occupation. There is speculation that the suspects may be staying on the Six Nations reserve. The OPP have a protocol not to enter the reserve.

» CBC STORY: Caledonia suspects may be holed up on reserve

June 9, 2006
Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Maurice Pilon alleges that three violent altercations occurred within an hour of each other.

The first incident began after a couple in their 70s from Simcoe, Ont., pulled their car over near the protest site. Police allege that native demonstrators surrounded the couple and stole their car. The man was taken to hospital when he experienced chest pains.

The second incident occurred when two news-camera operators from Hamilton's CH television approached the couple in front of a Canadian Tire store in Caledonia for an interview. Police allege that native protesters attacked the two camera operators in front of the store, took their camera, removed the videocassette and returned the camera.

One operator is taken to hospital with cuts and bruises, requiring stitches to close a head would. One of the camera operators would later launch an official complaint against the OPP, alleging police officers did nothing to stop him from being assaulted.

In the third incident, police allege that native protesters swarmed an unmarked U.S. Border Patrol vehicle, forcibly removed the officers inside and drove the stolen vehicle toward an OPP officer. Sometime during this incident, internal provincial police documents containing classified information — including identities of undercover officers and information from confidential informants — are taken from the vehicle.

Three people are arrested on charges of breaching the peace and police say they are seeking seven other people on charges of attempted murder, robbery, theft of a motor vehicle, intimidation and assault causing bodily harm.

» CBC STORY: Police hurt, swarmed in Caledonia clash

June 4, 2006
Two Ontario Provincial Police officers who were new to the Caledonia protest drive into an area that police agreed not to enter. Their cruiser is surrounded by aboriginal protesters and area residents. The crowd disperses hours later.

» CBC STORY: Tempers flare again at Caledonia standoff

June 1, 2006
Superior Court Justice David Marshall says he will compel Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice and Attorney General Vic Toews to become involved in the land claim dispute. Prentice releases a statement saying Ottawa would "co-operate fully with the courts."

» CBC STORY: Ont. judge wants Ottawa involved in land claims dispute

May 29, 2006
Ontario Superior Court Justice David Marshall orders parties involved in the Caledonia standoff — including the provincial police, the attorney general of Ontario, First Nations leaders and developers — to a special court session to explain why his initial court order for aboriginal protesters to be evicted from the site, issued in April 2006, was not enforced.

» CBC STORY: Judge wants to know why Caledonia order not enforced

May 24, 2006
Power is restored to most parts of Caledonia at about 6 a.m. EDT. A Hydro One spokesman says fewer than 200 customers are still without power.

May 23, 2006
Hydro One spokeswoman Laura Cooke says it will likely be days before electricity can be fully restored after vandalism and fire shut down a local power transformer. School boards serving Caledonia, Simcoe and Waterdown close 17 schools because of the ongoing power disruption.

Later Tuesday morning, Six Nations protestors begin to dismantle the roadblock and two demonstrators – an aboriginal and a non-native – tell police and non-native protestors that the native barricade would come down and the road would be reopened.

Ontario Provincial Police clear demonstrators, reporters and onlookers off of Highway 6 around 2 p.m. EDT.

Native demonstrators fill in a trench dug across the road a day earlier, and the largest piece of the barricade, a piece of a metal electrical transmission tower, is moved from the road to the entrance to the construction site. The removal of the blockade doesn't mean the end of the occupation of the disputed tract of land. Two other aboriginal barricades on a highway bypass outside Caledonia remain in place.

» CBC STORY: Aboriginal protesters remove Caledonia blockade

May 22, 2006
Native protestors take down their blockade around 8 a.m. EDT, calling it a gesture of goodwill after the government of Ontario bans construction on the site.

A spokeswoman for the Ontario Provincial Police says Highway 6 must undergo a safety inspection before it can be reopened.

Around noon, non-native residents form a human barricade across Highway 6, preventing Six Nations members from passing through. Soon, aboriginal protestors re-establish their blockade using an electrical transmission tower, and use two large backhoes to tear a trench across the road.

Native and non-native demonstrators trade punches and insults. A van driven by a Six Nations protester tries to force its way through the locals, prompting a fistfight. Each side accuses the other of using racial slurs.

Dozens of Ontario Provincial Police officers form a buffer between the two sides.

Provincial negotiator David Peterson arrives at the scene around 4:30 p.m. and appeals for calm.

Vandals shut down a transformer station in Caledonia, cutting power to thousands of residents in surrounding Norfolk and Haldimand counties.

In the evening, the Emergency Response Team of the OPP arrives in riot gear to shore up the police barrier between the native and non-native protestors.

» CBC STORY:Tensions flare as Caledonia standoff continues

May 21, 2006
Six Nations spokeswoman Janie Jamieson says plans to take down the native blockade across Highway 6 for the Victoria Day weekend are on hold because of a parallel blockade set up by non-native residents of Caledonia.

May 19, 2006
The government of Ontario sends a letter to the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy Council, declaring an indefinite moratorium on construction at the site of the native protest. A lawyer for developer Henco Industries says the company was not consulted about the construction ban.

A small group of non-native residents of Caledonia set up their own blockade across Highway 6, preventing members of the Six Nations from getting to the native blockade.

May 16, 2006
Native protesters take down part of the barrier, allowing local traffic on one lane of Highway 6. They make ID cards for people who live behind the barrier.

In the afternoon, an accident closes the detour road around the barricade. Protesters allow all traffic to pass through the barrier for a few hours, stopping each vehicle, but not checking for ID.

» CBC STORY: Caledonia blockaders open one lane for traffic

May 5, 2006
Developer Henco Industries says it has been offered the return of corporate records looted from its offices on the site of the native protest if it pays for them.

» CBC STORY: Stolen papers offered to Caledonia developer � for a price

May 4, 2006
The Ontario Provincial Police says a pamphlet being handed out around Caledonia inviting people to a Ku Klux Klan meeting to discuss a "final solution" to the "Indian problem" is a hoax.

» CBC STORY: Racist pamphlet in Caledonia a hoax, police say

April 30, 2006
Former Ontario premier David Peterson is appointed to help resolve the standoff. "It's not a question of counting blame or finding fault, it's a question of finding a solution," he says at a news conference.

» CBC STORY: Peterson to help resolve Caledonia dispute

April 29, 2006
The Canadian Press reports that the Ontario government has offered compensation to the land developers and builders affected by the Caledonia occupation. The details of the proposed deal are confidential.

» CBC STORY: Ontario offers to compensate Caledonia developers: report

April 28, 2006
About 500 Caledonia residents gather to demand the removal of the native blockade.

» CBC STORY: Non-native Caledonia protesters vent frustrations

April 25, 2006
Haldimand County Mayor Marie Trainer infuriates protesters when she tells CBC Newsworld that Caledonia residents "have to get to work to support their families. If they don't go to work, they don't get paid and if they don't get paid then they can't pay their mortgages and they lose their homes.

"They don't have money coming in automatically every month," she continues. "They've got to work to survive and the natives have got to realize that."

Video: Mayor Marie Trainer says frustration is building. (Runs 4:23)

After Trainer makes the comments, Haldimand County Council votes to replace her with deputy mayor Bob Patterson as its spokesperson on the issue.

» CBC STORY: Mayor's comments anger aboriginal protesters in Caledonia standoff

Protesters say the land was granted to Six Nations more than 200 years ago and was never officially transferred to non-natives. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

April 24, 2006
About 3,000 Caledonia residents hold a rally in the evening, calling on authorities to end the standoff. Later that night, about 500 residents confront police and native protesters at the blockade.

Some in the crowd head toward the barricade, but about 100 police officers keep them away. Some of the demonstrators smash a police vehicle. One person is arrested.

» CBC STORY: Caledonia standoff enters 57th day after angry rally ends in arrest

April 23, 2006
CBC News reports that the barricades around the Caledonia construction site will remain in place for at least two more weeks.

Protesters allow local residents to cross the barricades to attend services at Caledonia Baptist Church.

» CBC STORY: Native barricades to remain for 2 weeks in Caledonia

April 22, 2006
After 18 hours of talks, representatives from the Six Nations and the federal and Ontario governments sign an agreement to talk about setting the land claim issues behind the Caledonia occupation. Within two weeks, the three parties will each appoint a "principal representative" to negotiate.

Protesters and OPP and RCMP officers remain in place around the barricades.

» CBC STORY: Natives, governments to continue talks over Caledonia occupation

April 21, 2006
Overnight, about 50 protesters from the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve light bonfires beside the CN tracks on their territory in eastern Ontario, near Belleville. CN freight trains are blocked and Via Rail announces that trains from Toronto to Kingston will be replaced with shuttle buses.

Friday morning, negotiators for the Six Nations and the federal and Ontario governments begin talks to settle the land claim issues behind the Caledonia occupation.

Sam George, whose brother Dudley was killed by an OPP sniper during a stand-off at Ipperwash Provincial Park, calls for calm and urges authorities to treat the protesters fairly.

In the afternoon, CN announces it has obtained an injunction from an Ontario court ordering protesters to remove the blockage from its rail lines.

» CBC STORY: Trains halted as standoff continues in Caledonia

April 20, 2006
Around 4:30 a.m. EDT, Ontario Provincial Police officers conduct a raid on the protesters occupying the housing project, arresting 16 people.

Protesters say police were armed with M16 rifles, tear gas, pepper spray and Tasers, and subdued a number of people with shocks from the Tasers and pepper-spray. A spokeswoman for the protesters said one female protester was "beaten by five OPP officers." OPP would later deny that excessive force was used.

Hours later, protesters return to the site numbering in the hundreds by 9 a.m. Protesters use piles of burning tires and a dump truck to block the road into the development. They climb on vehicles and wave Mohawk flags. Police helicopters roared overhead.

Police hold a news conference and say they conducted the raid because an "escalation of activity" posed a risk to public safety, but didn't provide any further details.

A group of Quebec Mohawks raise a banner and Mohawk flags on a bridge near Montreal in support of the occupation in Caledonia. The demonstration disrupts traffic for about a half hour.

As the night falls, a busload of supporters from other Ontario reserves arrives on the site. Four members of the Hells Angels arrive and speak with native protesters.

» CBC STORY: Tensions grow as native protesters return to Ontario site

April 19, 2006
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty says the land dispute will be settled in a "peaceful manner."

April 4, 2006
A rally of 500 people, including people who bought homes in the development, gathers in Caledonia to demand an end to the stand off.

March 28, 2006

The court order is changed such that protesters will face criminal contempt as well as civil contempt if they don't leave the site.

March 22, 2006
Native protesters continue their occupation of the Caledonia construction site as the court-imposed deadline passes.

» CBC STORY: Native occupiers stay at Ontario site as deadline passes

March 17, 2006
Protesters are given until March 22 to leave the construction site.

March 10, 2006
Developer Henco Industries obtains an injunction ordering protesters off the site.

Feb. 28, 2006
A small group of Six Nations protesters from the Grand River Territory reserve move onto the Caledonia construction site, erecting tents, a teepee and a wooden building.

Oct. 26, 2005
Six Nations Chief David General writes to Henco Industries, warning of the dangers of developing the Douglas Creek Estates subdivision on native land.

» RELATED: History of the Caledonia land dispute

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