1492 Land Back Lane land defender Skyler Williams faces arrest warrant from Ontario Provincial Police
1492 Land Back Lane land defender Skyler Williams has shared that the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have told him they have a warrant for his arrest.
The CBC reports: “Skyler Williams said he received a call Tuesday [September 29] from an OPP officer informing him that there was a warrant for his arrest for disobeying the current injunction against continued occupation of the land.”
Williams says: “It’s the court’s typical reaction, Canada’s typical reaction to Indigenous people standing up for our lands. If you can throw enough of us in jail and put enough of us under heavy bail and release conditions we can’t fulfil our responsibilities to the land, to our future generations… until there is no one else left on the land to defend it.”
To date, 27 people have been arrested in relation to this land defence struggle.
The legal fund for 1492 Land Back Lane has commented: “These injunctions [such as the one being used by the police as the basis for the warrant against Williams] only serve as a colonial mechanism to disposes us of our lands and resources, which fundamentally violates our rights as sovereign Indigenous people.”
Haudenosaunee lawyer Beverly Jacobs further explains the ahistorical aspect of injunctions against Indigenous land defence struggles in this APTN video clip. The Yellowhead Institute has also commented on the skewed granting of injunctions, as has Kate Gunn of First Peoples Law (who PBI met with in Vancouver in November 2019).
Williams is among the Six Nations land defenders that began a peaceful re-occupation of their territory on July 19 to uphold their right to free, prior and informed consent and in opposition to the construction of the first phase of a 1,000-unit housing development on unceded lands near the city of Caledonia in the province of Ontario in central Canada.
This August 15 statement highlights: “The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council [the traditional governance body for the territory] is opposed to this development and as the holder of collective rights for the Haudenosaunee people has not granted any type of consent which would allow this development to proceed.”
The Chiefs thanked the land defenders who they say are “taking peaceful steps to protect and save the land for our future generations, who will have nowhere to live and prosper if the settler population continues to unlawfully encroach upon our lands.”