Thursday, July 6, 2006

Six Nations Benefit Concert

6N Benefit Concert, Casbah, July 6, 2006

The July 6 "6N" benefit concert raised over $1,000 to support the Six Nations struggle in Caledonia.

The concert was a public gesture of support, one of the few public solidarity actions in Hamilton since the land re-claiming began, and a way to financially support the dedicated work of Six Nations' activists seeking justice and recognition of their rights as a people.

From the moment singer/guitarist Kim Koren stepped onto the Casbah stage until Mark LaForme's band closed the place five hours later, the hundreds in attendance were treated to some of the finest music in the city.

Between Koren and LaForme, performers Katie Caron, Linda Duemo, The Ray Materick Band, Harrison Kennedy, Martyn Verral, Raphael Keelan, Tim Gibbons, Jack Pedlar, and Bob Lanois and others filled the Casbah with music as they loaned their considerable talents to support the land claims struggle just a few minutes down highway 6.

Wes Elliot and Hazel Hill spoke to the audience about the ongoing struggle they face in holding their ground in the face of adversity and deeply ingrained racism. Elliot, while thanking people for showing their support, went further and invited supporters to come to the site and see for themselves what is going on. An info table set up at the club had a wealth of information available for free, including backgrounders delving into the historical roots of the Six Nations Confederacy and the current land claim.

Thanks go out to many people for making it happen, especially Mike Hampson who did the brunt of the work bringing the line-up of performers together, and to Brodie and the staff at the Casbah who supported the event from the start to finish. The all-volunteer effort included the talents of Keisha Quinn who designed the poster, Sandy and Mike for putting us in contact with Mark LaForme (himself a member of the Mississauga of the New Credit band), Cheryl Walker for setting up the info-table, Al Loft and Julie Gordon for initial enthusiasm for the idea and Al for helping MC the event. Thanks go out to Ric Taylor at VIEW and other media like CHML, CFMU, the Hamilton Spectator, and CKRZ for advance publicity; of course the performers and finally, the people of the Six Nations for their courageous stand.

The concert subsequently generated some letters to the editor in the local daily (for and against) and the evening created an opportunity to open up lines of communication between aboriginal and non-aboriginal groups in the area. Support came from as far away as Calgary Alberta, Kanehsatake and Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information about the land-re-claiming please visit,,, or take up the sincere offer to visit the site.

Let us be the generation that supports justice for aboriginal people



The wrong note

By Lisa Dicy, Caledonia
The Hamilton Spectator(Jul 10, 2006) Re: 'Concert raising funds for Six Nations land claim' (The Spectator, July 6)
When are people going to understand that the protest taking place at Douglas Creek Estates is illegal? The people who held and participated in this concert are encouraging illegal activity to continue.
The protesters have been ordered off the land by our judicial system. Is this not the backbone of our society?
I know, they don't abide by our rules and laws. I've heard it all before, but in Canada, which is where we are, there is supposed to be one law for all.
There has been a moratorium placed on the land which forbids any building on it (apparently the protesters don't believe that applies to them), and it has been placed in trust until the land claim is dealt with.
The money made from this concert was to be given to the protesters to do with it what they want. That's a terrible idea. Why not put the money into fighting for the land claims to be handled in a timely and legal manner, instead of giving them money to continue to illegally occupy land which has not been proven to be theirs?
Those who supported this concert should speak with the residents who back onto the occupied land, or the non-aboriginals living on the 6th Line. Ask them what their lives have been like since this "peaceful" illegal occupation began. Perhaps then you will see that handing over money to law-breakers, with no strings attached, isn't a wise idea.

Canada's double standard

By Jennifer Asimoudis, Ancaster
The Hamilton Spectator (Jul 14, 2006) Re: 'The wrong note' (letter, July 10)
The letter writer questions when people are going to understand that the Douglas Creek Estates protest is illegal. Does this writer not understand the nature of land claims?
Comprehensive land claims are about the illegal occupation of native land by Canadians, land where aboriginal title has never been ceded or extinguished. The residents of Vancouver and Ottawa including Parliament, for example, occupy unceded native land.
Is it not a double standard and discriminatory to expect Six Nations' people to vacate the Caledonia site, while allowing Canadians to remain illegally on unceded native soil? What happened to one law for all?
In co-operation with government, natives also do not expect to expel anyone already settled and occupying these sites.
Where is our forbearance with them?
As for putting funds raised into fighting for land claims "to be handled in a timely and legal manner," was it not a slap in the face to Six Nations' people that government could so easily and swiftly arrange to finance the developers and Caledonia businesses with funds totalling in the millions of dollars, yet continue to delay Six Nations' land claims for years?
Is this not institutional racism?
Considering Canada's recent about-face, by objecting to the United Nations Human Rights Council's declaration to protect the rights of indigenous people around the world, Six Nations' protesters have cause for concern regarding the moratorium on the Caledonia site. Canada has been, and obviously still is, notorious for reneging on its own promises to its indigenous people.
The protesters need to stand their ground. We need to help them do that.

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