Haudenosaunee land defender warns developer intends to reapply for injunction against 1492 Land Back Lane
On March 17, Haudenosaunee land defender Skyler Williams posted on Facebook:
“After a year of relative peace, we have received word from what would have been the developer at Landback Lane. They intend to reapply for their injunction. We are taking this very seriously. We see it as an open threat against our people and our lands. The violence they can wield with the help of the courts and cops is disgusting.
On March 22nd Foxgate will be looking to schedule a time with the court to have this process restarted. This same process led to 50 people being arrested, it saw us get shot at, tasered, and beaten. Families stood by and watched their loved ones dragged from their cars and swarmed with brutality.
This has been an outright failure, when it comes to the federal or provincial governments coming to the table with anything that looks like gaining the consent of our nations.
There is a path toward peace. Courts, cops, guns and jails are not it.
We have done what we can to replenish the land. We have planted trees and gardens with the help of so many. This is Haudenosaunee land and it will remain that for our future generations.”
On July 19, 2020, Haudenosaunee land defenders began a reoccupation of a 25-acre area of land about near the city of Caledonia, located about an hour southwest of Toronto.
Foxgate Developments planned to build at least 218 houses on this land. That was reportedly the first phase of a 1,000 unit housing development.
The Haudenosaunee asserted it was their territory through the Haldimand Treaty of 1784 that granted them an area of 950,000 acres in southern Ontario.
On July 31, 2020, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) escorted a court sheriff who delivered a first court injunction against the reoccupation.
Kate Gunn, a Vancouver-based lawyer with First Peoples Law, has also pointed out that an injunction is not a determination of which party is right, rather it seeks, in principle, to preserve the status quo until the underlying dispute is resolved.
That means, for instance, that a land developer can more easily persuade the court that the economic harm is greater to them than communities seeking to protect their culture and traditions from centuries of land dispossession.
Williams has stated: “This development must be seen as being yet another instance in an ongoing history of colonial land theft and genocide, that it is people from Six Nations who are facing the greater harm if this matter is decided against their interests.”
Over a 350 day period, more than 38 people were arrested and more than $16.3 million was spent on policing this peaceful reoccupation.
Then on July 2, 2021, the developer backed down – the land defenders had stopped the development on their territory.
Between 1980 and 1995, 29 claims related to the Haldimand Tract have been filed with the Canadian government. The Six Nations council has a court case, filed in 1995, against the federal and provincial governments over the lands taken from them.
It is scheduled to go to court in October 2022. If successful, it would result in monetary compensation, not a return of the territory to the Haudenosaunee.
We continue to follow this situation.