Haudenosaunee Territories on the Grand, Turtle Island – “I find that it is an abuse of process for Skyler Williams, the leader of those that are occupying the subject lands, to come to this Court and state that he does not belong in this Court, this Colonial Court,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Harper said to around 200 people watching his court in person and on Zoom, “and that he will continue to be in open and flagrant defiance of any orders that are made.”
“This is an abuse of process!” Skyler Williams replied before he was muted by the court for the remainder of the proceeding and prevented from offering a defense for the reclamation of 1492 Land Back Lane.
The Attorneys General of Canada and of Ontario were present in court but both excused themselves never to hear the constitutional argument prepared by 1492 Land Back Lane spokesperson Skyler Williams after he was muted. Lawyers for Haldimand County and Foxgate Development gave uncontested arguments for permanent injunctions. Justice Harper granted a permanent injunction to remove land defenders from the reclamation site to Foxgate. Justice Harper then also gave an injunction to Haldimand County against any obstruction of any road in Haldimand.
Just over three months ago, on the evening of July 19th, land defenders moved onto unceded Haudenosaunee lands that were close to being heavily developed despite no free, prior and informed consent being given from Indigenous people the land defenders claimed. They believed building Mackenzie Meadows – the name the developer Foxgate gave the lands – would effectively destroy the ability to resolve the underlying dispute over these contested lands. On July 31st the developer asked for an injunction ordering the land defenders to be removed and it was granted. On August 25th the injunction was upgraded from temporary to interlocutory – a stronger type of injunction.
By Thursday the Ontario court ruled to make the injunction to remove the land defenders permanent. In his written submission from October 9th supporting this day’s ruling Justice Harper talked about lawless protestors throwing port-o-potties, debris, and tires onto a highway and then lighting them on fire.
Hours later a conflict between land defenders and the O.P.P. across the street from Kanonhstaton re lit the match igniting the powder keg of tension.
Skyler shared his thoughts on the days court rulings with Karl in this exclusive interview with One Dish, One Mic.
“Toxic black smoke from those tires bellowed into the air placing the public at risk again for physical harm,” Justice Harper said in his ruling referring to the response by Six Nations people to a police raid on August 5th stemming from his initial injunction order.
Nine people were arrested on August 5th and cleared from 1492 Land Back Lane but the pushback from sympathetic community members resulted in Argyle Street being blocked, a railcar being turned back from the tracks on Six Nations, and firey blockades. By the evening of August 5th the camp of 1492 Land Back Lane was reoccupied.
Piles of skids, old tires, and a hydro pole were set ablaze sending the police back down the hill on Argyle Street again after the permanent injunction ruling.
Scores of people watched from behind the police lines in Caledonia as community members of Six Nations took to Argyle Street.
By the time night fell a power outage kept a portion of Caledonia in the dark, but Argyle Street itself was glowing with fires and the lights from vehicles and construction equipment.
Indigenous community members marched throughout the road and shouts could be heard:
“I love my people!”
“Honour the Treaties!”
“It didn’t have to be this way!”
Denied of their chance to have a voice in court, Six Nations community members found another way to be heard.