Road blocked near Caledonia in protest over land dispute
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Thursday, August 10, 2017 11:49AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 10, 2017 6:50PM EDT
A blockade was set up Thursday along a main road into Caledonia as part of an ongoing dispute over a 380-acre parcel of land.
According to the OPP, a section of Argyle Street was blocked off by demonstrators around 8:30 a.m.
Several people appeared to be taking part in the protest. Police said they were set up near the protest to “preserve the peace (and) maintain safety.”
The closure covered a two-kilometre stretch south of Caledonia, from Braemar Avenue to Highway 6
The blockade is the latest step in the slowly escalating dispute over the fate of the Burtch lands, which has pitted the elected council of Six Nations against the Haudenosaunee Confederacy chiefs council.
Kristine Hill has been growing soybeans, tobacco and other crops on the Burtch lands for the past three years.
The chiefs council has been leasing the land to Hill. They argue that they were given the land as part of the settlement of the 2006 Caledonia land dispute.
Earlier this year, a corporation controlled by the elected council said the property belonged to it, and sought out a court order to keep Hill off the land.
Haudenosaunee Confederacy chiefs have accused the province of using the issue to drive a wedge between their group and the elected council.
Demonstrators said Thursday that they would keep their barricades up until the injunction against Hill is withdrawn, the Burtch lands are returned to the confederacy chiefs, and the provincial and federal governments return to negotiations with the chiefs’ council.
The Six Nations elected council declined to comment on the day’s developments, citing the ongoing legal proceedings.
A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation called the dispute over the Burtch lands “internal to the Six Nations community.”
With reporting by Krista Simpson