Hamilton

Six Nations elected council back at the office after a 2-month barricade

After being blocked by a two-month barricade, the elected council of the Six Nations of the Grand River is back at the office.
The protesters, shown camped out this month, were calling for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council to be recognized as the nation's "Indigenous form of accountable governance." (Dan Taekema/CBC)

After being blocked by a two-month barricade, the elected council of the Six Nations of the Grand River is back at the office.

Six Nations police accompanied elected councillors to the office at 1695 Chiefswood Rd. in Ohsweken Monday morning, said Staff Sgt. Derek Anderson of Six Nations police.

Officers were there "on standby and to keep the peace," he said. 

The protesters were "respectfully asked to leave the premises," and those who chose to stay were "escorted off the property," said a statement from the elected council. 

The move comes after the elected council filed a court injunction July 18 to order protesters off the property. Protesters who support the Haudenosaunee Confederacy have been there since May 27, seeking recognition of the confederacy chiefs council "as our Indigenous form of accountable governance," a representative previously told CBC News. The group wanted to talk about a range of issues, including taxes and alleged corruption.

The elected council said in a statement Monday that it first met with the confederacy chiefs council at the Sour Springs Longhouse on June 5. Elected council agreed to a joint working group, the statement said, but not to signing a document recognizing the confederacy chiefs council as the governing body.

Elected council will keep working with the confederacy chiefs council, it said.

"The current governance issues we face were inherited by us from the previous generations," the statement said. "We did not create this situation."

Family and friends accompanied Chief Ava Hill and elected councillors as they made their way into the building Monday. Video from the Two Row Times shows Hill and the councillors helping to dismantle a barricade made of wooden flats, then pushing a portable toilet out of the way of the front door.

About 200 community members gathered around too, many in support of the elected council, said Nahnda Garlow, editor at the Two Row Times.

The injunction ordered the protesters to remove all material brought onto the elected council property, including "flags, signs, fires and fire fuel, tents and other structures, blocking material, chairs, and drums and other instruments."

About the Author

Samantha Craggs is a CBC News reporter based in Hamilton, Ont. She has a particular interest in politics and social justice stories, and tweets live from Hamilton city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca