Sunday, October 14, 2007

Canadians and Natives: equal under the law?

The Sachem
During a peaceful march on October 8 led by Gary McHale of Richmond Hill and Mark Vandermaas of London, residents became angry with the OPP for not allowing them to hang a Canadian flag on a hydro pole by the Stirling Woods development that was the site of a temporary native protest in September.
Her family is very careful not give out her full name, but the 15-year-old McKinnon Park Secondary School student, known as Dancer, told her story about life on Sixth Line since the occupation of Douglas Creek Estates began.

"I was locked in my own home," she told the crowd gathered at the Caledonia Lions Park. "My bus wouldn't come down the street to take me to school." She said that to get home her family would have to drive through the blockades, and felt as if they were in prison.

"There were gates everywhere and men with bats and even guns."

Dancer, who was a competitive dancer, used to practice on her side lawn. She says she had to stop because protesters would throw firecrackers at her.

One evening, when Dancer was home alone, she saw someone looking through her window. She was afraid and called the police. The OPP told her they were not allowed on the Sixth Line and for her to call the Six Nation's Police. Six hours later an officer finally arrived.

"I want the police back on my road," says Dancer. "I want justice for all of the kids on my road."
Joe Gualtieri, whose brother Sam was beaten unconscious by native protesters at the Stirling Woods development, also spoke at the march.
Mark Vandermaas, owner of, says he doesn't care that he is an outsider.

"I will not stand by and let children be afraid in their own homes." He adds that Native people themselves are victims of two-tier justice.

McHale adds that he is not going to go away either.

"We should all be equal under the law."

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