Hamilton

Six Nations elected council files injunction against demonstrators at administration building

The Six Nations elected council has filed an injunction against demonstrators who have blocked access to their administration building for more than seven weeks.

Protesters have been camped out for 7 weeks

The protesters, pictured here in early July, were calling for Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council to be recognized as the nation's "Indigenous form of accountable governance." (Dan Taekema/CBC)

The Six Nations elected council has issued an injunction notice against demonstrators who have blocked access to their administration building for more than seven weeks.

Demonstrators received an injunction notice Tuesday demanding they leave the property, said protester Mike Davis.

Supporters of the traditional Haudenosaunee Confederacy leadership have been camped outside the Elected Council Administration Building since May 27, blocking people from getting in.

Demonstrators were seeking recognition of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy "as our Indigenous form of accountable governance" representative Laurel Curley previously told CBC News. They wanted to talk about a range of issues, including taxes and alleged corruption among elected officials, Curley said.

The Six Nations Elected Council said that they are trying to have dialogue, but community members are frustrated about the protest's impact on "community wellness, cohesiveness, emergency response and access into the building," a statement on its website said.

"Many community members have voiced concerns that they want the protest to end and the building to once again be reopened."

Protesters camped outside the Six Nations Elected Council Administration Building blocked elected officials from accessing it for the past seven weeks. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Davis said demonstrators were expecting discussions with the elected council, not legal action.

Demonstrators were supposed to have a meeting with the Six Nations elected council and HCCC, said Davis, but the elected council cancelled it.

"Why are these talks not happening?" Davis said. "That's all we want. [...] We want these issues to get resolved."

The Six Nations elected council said they have had two meetings with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) since protests began.

At the last meeting on June 5, both groups agreed to recommend members for a working group that would draft a memorandum of understanding for moving forward, the elected council said.

The Six Nations elected council said they tried to find a peaceful resolution with protesters, but "all attempts were unsuccessful."

"The injunction notice is another effort to peacefully address community frustrations."

The council says it will continue working with the HCCC to resolve their concerns, even with the protesters gone.

Court date set for Thursday

The protests have caused concern for the Six Nations fire department.

Fire Chief Matthew Miller, previously said his department was having trouble responding to an "unprecedented" number of house fires without the help of nearby municipalities who may be "wary" of the protest.

Demonstrators disagreed, however, saying their protest did not interfere with emergency services.

The Six Nations elected councils said there have been tensions in the community "for 95 years, and will continue to be present as long as the conversations remain silent. But true and meaningful dialogue cannot be undertaken under possible threat."

"The time has truly arrived to work together in unity toward a community free of continual conflict and with the understanding that we are all Haudenosaunee," the statement said.

Davis said the elected council is using Ontario law against them, even though the Six Nations are sovereign citizens on federal land.

A court date is set for Thursday, he said.

With files from Colin Cote-Paulette