Uploaded on 24 May 2007
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 on Thursday, 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.
Public Meeting with speakers:
Peter Rosenthal: Lawyer with Roach, Schwartz, and Associates
Shawn Brant: Tyendinaga MT
Wednesday, May 16th
Parkdale Community and Recreation Centre
1499 Queen Street West
This event is hosted by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty.