Toronto Public Meeting: Tyendinaga and The Struggle for the Land

by NationTalk on May 14, 2007996 Views

Toronto Public Meeting
7 PM Wednesday, May 16th
Parkdale Community and Recreation Centre
1499 Queen Street West, Toronto

Speakers:
Peter Rosenthal: Lawyer with Roach, Schwartz, and Associates; Shawn Brant: Tyendinaga MT, and more…More than forty days after the Mohawks of Tyendinaga reclaimed a portion of the Culbertson Tract, the community continues to hold strong and the Ontario government continues its refusal to revoke the license legitimizing the quarry operation located on the land.

Over the past month, the battle for the Culbertson has escalated on all sides. In the face of government refusal to reverse an age-old act of robbery and injustice, the Mohawks of Tyendinaga blockaded rail lines running through stolen land for upwards of 30 hours. Dozens of trains were stopped, business as usual in Ontario was ground to a halt, and the Canadian public was forced to consider the hundreds of years of ‘inconvenience’ lived by First Nations peoples. The community removed the blockade once this message had been sent.

In response, CN Rail has served suit against three Tyendinaga community members and the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) Band Council in an unprecedented move, for ‘damages arising from a First Nations blockade of its tracks’ to the tune of $108 million. CN is also seeking a ban on future blockades. Furthermore, criminal charges have been laid against Mohawk spokesperson Shawn Brant. The decision to press charges came directly from OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino. Toronto lawyer Peter Rosenthal will be in court next week, for an initial appearance regarding the civil suit filed by CN Rail.

The Culbertson Tract, was stolen from the Mohawks in 1832. And while the government and the Mohawks began in 2003 to negotiate a deal to repatriate the land, and compensate the community for its losses, the land in question continued to be exploited by non-native developers while the negotiations dragged on.

While the government stalled, the land itself was literally being trucked away by quarry operator Thurlow Aggregates at a rate of more than 100,000 tonnes per year. Additonally, illegal dumping of waste was allowed to continue at the quarry, undiscovered until the rightful holders of the land reclaimed it in March.

Now this robbery has been stopped. Rock from the quarry is being used on the Territory. But the Mohawks of Tyendinaga continue to demand an expedient and just return of the land to their community. It has been more than 170 years too long. Join us to hear more about the struggle for the Culbertson Tract.

This event is hosted by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.

For more information, please contact:
OCAP at 416.925.6939 ocap@tao.ca

Please visit here to view poster.

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