November 5, 2008
CONTACT THE FEDS: Back off Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory:
COLONIAL GOVERNMENT OUT OF FIRST NATIONS COMMUNITIES
- Tyendinaga Support Committee
At present, Tyendinaga Mohawk community members are being targeted for their opposition to an expensive new police station, paid for in part by the Federal Government of Canada, as well as their opposition to quarry operations where no adequate environmental assessments have taken place.
The Band Council in Tyendinaga put up half the money ($1 million) for the new cop shop, while the Ministry of Public Safety and Security put up the other half of the funding. Plans were made for this roughly $1.9-million facility, even though the money could have been spent to address the lack of safe water on the Territory and poor housing conditions.
A month ago, on September 24th, 2008, the new police building was put on hold after community members blockaded the intended site of the building. Such demonstrations took place again last week. Now several dozen community members are facing arrest and criminal charges.
It seems clear the the Canadian government is intent on ensuring this new cop shop be implemented, in a community which has stood up for its people and its land, time and time again.
Take a moment to call on the feds who are helping to make this police station happen, and express your concern at their involvement in pouring increased policing monies into a First Nations community where water and housing issues and the legitimate Culbertson Tract land claim remain unresolved.
Peter Van Loan
Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
Ottawa K1A 0A6
phone: 613-944-4875 or 1-800-830-3118
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa K1A 0A2
phone (constituency office): (403) 253-7990
email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Harper.S@parl.gc.ca
STATEMENT FROM TYENDINAGA MOHAWK TERRITORY:
WARRANTS ISSUED: 30 MOHAWKS FACING ARREST
Tyendinaga Police 'Respond' to Community Concerns
It appears that Tyendinaga Police Chief Ron Maracle is making good on his promise of charging people involved in demonstrations at the intended site for a second police station, as well as a contested second quarry operation on the Territory (different location than the original and on-going reclamation of the Thurlow Aggregate quarry site).
It is believed that Tyendinaga Mohawk Police have issued warrants for 30 community members.
The people targeted for arrest are Longhouse people who maintain scrutiny over Band Council operations and spending. This amounts to an unprecedented attempt to criminalize and jail any effective opposition that exists in the community. This is an attack on our families, our children, our culture and the way we think. This has moved beyond a simple community dispute. The federal government is making a final push to eradicate those people who believe in the strength and power of the Mohawk Nation and who will stand in its defence.
Despite community concern over widespread exposure to water that has been declared unfit for human consumption throughout reserve homes and schools, the Government continues to prioritize the second station over these needs.
Concern over the second quarry operation stems from alarm at the tremendous speed with which this particular quarry has been established and grown in size. Community members are aware of the extremely rigorous environmental study and assessment practices that are required before quarries and aggregates can be established elsewhere in the province. Such laws do not apply on reserves and concern as to whether environmental and safety assessments have been properly conducted and meet recognized professional standards.
These fears have increased in recent weeks as households in the direct vicinity of quarry operations have experienced water problems and collapsed wells for the first time ever.
The quarry is operated by Build-All Contractors, a company owned by Police Chief Maracle's brother. The site preparation and overseeing of the building construction at the site of the new police station was also awarded to Build-All, the Police Chief's brother, in an untendered contract.
All of this is taking place because we oppose a decision made by the Band Council.
With army helicopters and fighter jets circulating the Territory today, the Federal Government of Canada is making it clear that it intends to exercise what it views as its interest in community affairs.
- Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
New First Nations police station draws protest
By Brian St. Denis
Friday, October 31st, 2008
A protest against the installation of a new Tyendinaga police building ended early Wednesday night when activists delayed its delivery for a second time.
Native protesters braved the frigid weather for several days to protest the installation of the York Road station on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, west of Deseronto.
The building, which was assembled off-site, was trucked in Oct. 29 but was not successfully installed on the site.
"The trucking company had to leave because their permits were only good for the daylight hours, so it when it started getting dark they had to get out of there," said Brant Bardy, a spokesperson for the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory band office.
The original delivery date was Sept. 23, making this the second delay in just over a month. Bardy said the protest has not deterred plans to bring the building in.
"The building is bought and paid for, and every delay is pushing up costs," said Bardy. "That's an injustice to the community coffers."
The issue of the heart of the protest was clean drinking water. According to the protesters, approximately 80 per cent of the community's wells are contaminated. The Quinte Mohawk School, just seconds down the road, has to provide bottled water for students because the tap water is unsafe.
"They need to address the issues," said Dan Doreen, spokesperson for the protesters. "They have bags over the fountains at the school."
He said that they don't object to the new building, but to the community having to match the government funding of $980,000. They believe this money should go to solving the drinking water problem first.
"Kids are number one," said another protester.
York Road was blocked off by the Mohawk Fire Department and several police officers for the duration of the protest. The protesters had a pick-up truck parked on the cement pad where the new building was to be placed.
The protesters also used a small tractor to dig on the property, claiming it was for a new youth centre, but Bardy said it was just a red herring.
Police announced early Wednesday morning that the protest had become a matter of public safety and blocked the public, including media, out of the area. Bardy said that a police investigation is underway, but Tyendinaga Police Chief Ron Maracle could not be reached for comment.