Six Nations erects barricades and checkpoints to keep non-residents out amid COVID-19

A large number of non-residents entering the territory to buy cigarettes and gas prompted elected council and its emergency control group to install barriers immediately.

Six Nations of the Grand River is also asking all non-essential businesses to close

Six Nations of the Grand River has started installing barricades to protect locals from people who don't live in the territory from entering and potentially bringing COVID-19 with them. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Six Nations of the Grand River has installed barricades and checkpoints to prevent anyone who isn't from the community from entering its territory and spreading COVID-19.

Elected council and its emergency control group "moved up the timeline to begin restricting access to the community due to the large amount of non-residents entering the territory to buy cigarettes and gas," read a release Monday.

"We are doing this action to support the businesses that are experiencing this overcrowding at their business." 

It has also asked all non-essential businesses to shut down operations.

"We are taking such action to reduce community transmission which happens when people come in close contact with one another," reads the release.

The barricades consist of Road Closed signs and pylons. Some sections, like at Pauline Johnson Road, have a person waiting by the road to flag down drivers and tell them to turn around.

Areas without someone waiting for drivers were ignored by some.

Pylons sit on Pauline Johnson Road, blocking access into Six Nations land as COVID-19 cases pop up in the community. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)
A car speeds by a Road Closed sign at County Road 22 and Highway 54 as Six Nations of the Grand River tries to prevent people from outside the community from entering. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Community members were able to leave and re-enter for essential services, as were local workers like those from Aecon-Six Nations who were getting more supplies for the barricades.

Everyone else was told to turn around.

Local Six Nations workers build and raise a Road Closed sign to alert drivers Pauline Johnson Road into Six Nations of the Grand River is closed. (Bobby Hristova/CBC)

Matthew and Michael Stefanac drove from Kitchener, Ont., to buy cigarettes Monday afternoon. Most store hours weren't updated on Google Maps when they left home. When they were met with pylons and told to turn around, it was a surprise.

"It's a waste of time and wasted gas because it says [online] the stores are open," Matthew said.

But they both understand.

"You've got to to protect the community," Michael said.

"It's for our safety too," Matthew said.

Barricaded points where people cannot enter or exit include:

  • Pauline Johnson Road (to and from Caledonia) 
  • Oneida Road at River Road
  • Oneida Road at Fifth Line
  • Oneida Road at Third Line
  • Oneida Road at Second Line
  • Second Line at Onondaga Road/New Credit Road (Emerson Montour Corner)
  • Second Line at Tuscarora Road (Silverstar Corner)
  • Townline at Seneca Road (Doug Anderson Corner)
  • Townline at Mohawk Road (Jim Powless Corner)
  • Townline at Bateman Line (Rena Hill Corner)
  • Bateman Line at Mississauga Road (Mel Hill Squires Corner)
  • Third Line (Old Greenfield Road to and from Brantford)

Checkpoints to allow restricted access to community members include:

  • Highway 54 at Middleport Road
  • Highway 54 at Painter Road
  • Oneida Road at Sixth Line
  • Oneida Road at Fourth Line
  • Second Line at Cayuga Road/Ojibway Road (#9 School Corner)
  • Second Line near Tuscarora Road to and from Brantford
  • Second Line at Bateman Line (Jehovah Corner)
  • Townline at Chiefswood Road


This comes after the first two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Six Nations' territory Sunday.

It also follows 18 Six Nations fire staff waiting in isolation as a colleague awaited coronavirus test results.

As of Monday morning, none of them have tested positive.

Elected council and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council are working together on the barricades, calling it, Project Protect Our Elders. The two councils — one implemented in 1924, the other before colonialization — have opposed each other in the past.

Six Nations members who are feeling any symptoms of the novel coronavirus can call the local COVID-19 Information and Assessment Centre at 1-855-977-7737 or 226-446-9909.


Bobby Hristova is a reporter for CBC News in Hamilton. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.

With files from Samantha Craggs and Dan Taekema