Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Our Duty as Party to Treaty

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Dear Mayor DiIanni and Hamilton City Council,

It is with much urgency that we write to demand the city and their contractors immediately cease and desist all construction activity relating to the Red Hill Valley Expressway until such time as the matters relating to Aboriginal treaty rights have been dealt with by the courts.

As you are no doubt aware, court proceedings have been initiated on behalf of Mohawk citizen Larry Green by lawyers Murray Klippenstein and Andrew Orkin. The treaty at stake is the 1701 Albany Treaty which assured the Five Nations "free hunting for us and the heirs and descendants from us the Five Nations forever and that free of all disturbances expecting to be protected therein by the Crown of England."

Mr DiIanni in his oath of office on December 3 made a "solemn" promise to "be faithful and bear true allegiance to her majesty Queen Elizabeth II." We believe that the honour of the Crown is at stake in respecting the 1701 treaty.

By allowing continued tree-cutting in the valley, Mr DiIanni and the rest of city council are essentially acting as though these constitutionally recognized treaties do not exist, which would not be in keeping with bearing true allegiance to the Crown.

We ask for a temporary halt in construction, as the issues of Aboriginal rights in the Red Hill valley have not yet been tested in court. The relationship between representatives of the Crown and the Aboriginal people of this land has far-reaching significance, and all construction must cease until these matters are settled to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Mayor DiIanni, and the city of Hamilton absolutely must take the dignified and morally correct position of stopping further destruction in the valley until this issue is addressed by the courts. To ignore the treaty and the court action in the interest of pushing ahead with the cutting of trees or the blasting of the Niagara Escarpment would bring further shame on Hamilton while perhaps forever damaging the city's international reputation with regards to Aboriginal rights. Further, of course, there is the very real risk of incurring pecuniary damages to the tune of $100-million should the city proceed in defiance of the treaty.

As citizens and residents of Canada we cannot stand idly by while our local government shows contempt for Aboriginal treaty rights and acts in such a way as to bring discredit on our community. We look forward to a prompt reply which fully addresses our serious concerns.

Jane Mulkewich
Murray Lumley
Randy Kay

Hamilton Action for Social Change
P.O. Box 19, 1280 Main Street West
Hamilton ON L8S 1C0
hamilton action for social change

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