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Six Nations protesters end Brantford demonstration
Last Updated: Monday, October 22, 2007 | 8:56 AM ET
The Canadian Press
Six Nations protesters temporarily halted the construction of a $40-million shopping centre in the southwestern Ontario city of Brantford Friday with a 12-hour demonstration.
The peaceful protest was in reaction to a provincial statement made Thursday that a new Six Nations development institute has no right to charge fees or demand permits for construction on lands on either side of the Grand River.
"The provincial government has made statements that constitute a direct assault on our people," said Six Nations spokeswoman Ruby Montour.
First Gulf Development Corp., based in Mississauga, Ont., is planning a 24,800-square-metre commercial centre on the 10-hectare site.
About a dozen protesters arrived at 6:30 a.m., blocking the site entrance to stop workers from driving in. They raised aboriginal flags and blocked the entrance until shortly after 6 p.m.
The First Gulf development was also the site of a Six Nations protest in March, when the protesters asked the company to delay work until it discussed the project with the Six Nations Confederacy.
he province said Thursday the protesters have no right to stop developments in the Haldimand Tract, but mechanisms to consult with Six Nations about land use need to be further developed.
The Haudenosaunee Development Institute was recently created by the Six Nations Confederacy as a mechanism for native approval of development.
The confederacy has said developers will be granted construction approvals if they consent to enter agreements deemed necessary by the institute.
In an interview Friday, Murray Coolican, principal representative for Ontario in land-claims negotiations with the Six Nations, repeated the government's position that the HDI has no authority to stop development or charge development fees.
But he said it could serve a useful purpose in providing a mechanism for dialogue between Six Nations, municipalities and the province.
Coolican said the province is not prepared to make private property any part of a land-claims settlement with Six Nations.
He said some owners are worried they will lose the title to their properties once a settlement is reached.
The confederacy says the province's position will only worsen relations between Six Nations and government.
"Ontario has chosen … to proceed in what can only be seen as an attempt to incite violence and raise doubt and more confusion in the minds of their own people and ours here at Six Nations," the confederacy said in a release.
First Gulf Development Corp. representatives did not respond to an interview request Friday.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/ … otest.html