1492 Land Back Lane demonstrators plan to move back barricades on Highway 6 bypass
Barricades will only be moved if community consensus remains firm
Haudenosaunee land activists plan to move back barricades just outside Caledonia, Ont., that have been blocking a Highway 6 bypass.
Skyler Williams, spokesperson for 1492 Land Back Lane, said the barricades on Plank Road (Argyle Street) will be moved to let people access Haudenosaunee businesses, the Hydro One Station and the Caledonia Baptist Church.
"The bypass will be opened in an attempt to provide an opportunity to build trust that a peaceful resolution can be found without police violence," said the release.
Tuesday will mark six months since Indigenous demonstrators started blocking the McKenzie Meadows development site. They dubbed the area 1492 Land Back Lane, and said it was unceded Haudenosaunee territory.
Developer Foxgate Developments has plans for a housing complex on that land.
Defenders with the camp say the barricades, or safe area, "is in place in a direct response to the violent actions of the Ontario Provincial Police."
"The safety of land defenders is the priority of our camp, the community, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), and their continued safety from police violence will remain a priority moving forward as roads are opened," the release said.
Ontario Provincial Police raided the camp in August and enforced a temporary court injunction. They arrested several demonstrators, and in response, community members used blockades to shut down area roads and a rail line.
The HCCC issued a statement of support for the occupation following this event, and repeated calls for the federal and provincial governments to address land issues with the council.
A permanent injunction was granted on Oct. 22.
Barricades will only be moved back this week "provided that community consensus remains firm with this direction," it said.
"Our camp firmly believes in the inherent right of Haudenosaunee people to follow our laws and to determine what our future looks like for ourselves," said Williams in the release. "This includes leading de-escalation and finding a peaceful resolution, which cannot occur if Canada continues to leave Nation-to-Nation relationships in the hands of the police."
Defenders with the camp have appealed two court injunctions telling them to leave the area. Williams filed one of the appeals in Ontario Superior Court in fall of 2020.
Community survey launching
The release also said meetings in November and December hosted by 1492 Land Back Lane and people of Six Nations of the Grand River led to a community report that was delivered to every home. It was also presented to HCCC and Six Nations Elected Council.
No further meetings will be possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, the release said, and 1492 Land Back Lane defenders are launching a community survey.
It will be available online, mailed to every household, and will build off themes raised in those meetings.
"This includes advancing a moratorium on development within our territory," the release said.