Ottawa

Ont. Mohawks plan blockade for Friday

Travellers in the Montreal-Toronto-Ottawa corridor may have to adjust their long weekend plans after a native group said it will go ahead with a road or rail blockade between Belleville and Kingston.

Travellers in the Montreal-Toronto-Ottawa corridor may have to adjust their Canada Day weekend plans after a native group said it will go ahead with a road or rail barricade on Friday, likelybetween Belleville and Kingston.

Spokesman Shawn Brant confirmedMonday thatprotesters from the Tyendinaga Mohawk reserve near Deseronto, Ont., plan to set up a blockadeof either Highway 401 orthe national rail line, close to the town on Lake Ontario's Bay of Quinte, or will block access to Deseronto itself.
Shawn Brant led a 30-hour rail blockade in April near Deseronto. ((CBC))

'This is the power we have'

The move will be part of the Assembly of First Nations' National Day of Action on June 29 to draw attention to aboriginal poverty and unresolved land claims, Brant said.

He added that the day is important for indigenous people.

"We're gonna be able to say to the government, 'This is the power that we have,' " said Brant, whose group has occupied a quarry near Deseronto since March to protest an unresolved land claim.

Brant is also among those named in a lawsuit launched by Canadian National Railway over a blockade held in April over the same issue.
(CBC) ((CBC))

The Tyendinaga Mohawk band council is negotiating with the federal government over about 400 hectares ofprivately held land thatMohawks saythey never surrendered. Brant's group says the talks are moving too slowly.

Phil Fontaine, the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, has said the National Day of Action is meant to reach out to Canadians, not to cause major disruptions.

Manitoba chief called off blockade

In May, Chief Terrance Nelson of Manitoba's Roseau River First Nation threatened to block a CN line running through his community on the June day of action. Hecalled off the protest last Tuesday after Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice decided to add 30 hectares of new land to the Roseau River band's territory.

Brant called the government's move at Roseau River a last-minute ploy and said he thinks it was done to "destabilize June 29 as a day of action."

He was also critical of Nelson's decision to call off his blockade.

"To say that70 acres was enough to sell out the day and sell out the people is an indignity to everyone who's been standing in these positions from the beginning," he said.

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