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Bill Kelly: Amid another Caledonia land dispute, where is the federal government?

Click to play video 'Protests heat up over Caledonia, Ont. land rights dispute' Protests heat up over Caledonia, Ont. land rights dispute
Non-Indigenous counter-protesters disrupted a march by members of the Six Nations First Nation as a heated land rights dispute over a housing development in Caledonia, Ont., continues to escalate – Oct 25, 2020

The confrontation and the roadblocks and the violent protests continue in Caledonia, with no apparent end in sight.

I feel bad for local politicians and residents, who bear the brunt of these incidents; I feel bad for the people who scraped together a down payment for a new home, maybe their first home, only to see their dream evaporate before their eyes.

And, I feel bad for First Nations community members, who are frustrated that this almost 200-year-old land dispute has yet to be settled.

Read more: Six Nations and Caledonia residents clash over land claim dispute

At the core of this dispute and previous disputes is a lack of leadership.

I don’t pretend to know the governance structure of the Haudenosaunee, but lawyer Aaron Detler, who is Haudenosaunee, told our program that the developers of this disputed subdivision did not consult with the appropriate Six Nations leaders.

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That allegation must be explored.

Click to play video 'Indigenous land dispute: Permanent injunction granted against demonstrators in Caledonia, Ont.' Indigenous land dispute: Permanent injunction granted against demonstrators in Caledonia, Ont.
Indigenous land dispute: Permanent injunction granted against demonstrators in Caledonia, Ont – Oct 23, 2020

But, more importantly, the federal government needs to step up.

This land dispute is, after all, between Six Nations and the Crown.

A government spokesman for Indigenous Affairs, in a carefully scripted statement, says the government is in ongoing discussions with Six Nations about this long-standing land dispute.

Read more: Six Nations council calls for land claim talks with Ontario and Ottawa amid tension

Really?

Then where are they now, when fires burn and community is pitted against community?

This problem can be solved if both sides are committed to finding a solution.

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But, sadly, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence of that.

Bill Kelly is the host of the Bill Kelly Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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