Six Nations Land Dispute in Ontario Focus of Struggle for Native Sovereignty
Interview with John Kahionhes Fadden, historian and director of the Six Nations Indian Museum, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
In late February, a group of native people from the Six Nations, or Iroquois Confederacy, began an occupation of land in Caledonia, Ontario, Canada, where a construction company had started building a residential development. The native people claim the land is theirs, while the company insists it has legal claim to the property. The occupation has attracted native and non-native supporters from other parts of Canada and become a focal point of the struggle for native sovereignty in Canada.
In mid-April, police arrested 16 of the occupiers, who had blockaded some of Caledonia's streets. According to the local newspaper, up to 500 townspeople rallied on April 24 in opposition to the eight-week occupation.
John Kahionhes Fadden, is a member of the Mohawk tribe, one of the Six Nations. He grew up on the Akwesasne Reservation, which straddles the US-Canadian border between upstate New York, Ontario and Quebec. Fadden is a historian and director of the Six Nations Indian Museum in northern New York. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Fadden about the history of the land dispute which he says dates from policies enacted by the British in Canada after the U.S. Revolutionary War. He notes that the Canadian government has now called upon the traditional chiefs and clan mothers in an effort to negotiate a settlement.
For more information, email John Kahionhes Fadden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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