Six Nations protesters gather in bid to prevent torch from entering reserve

Aboriginal protesters vowing to stop the Olympic torch from entering their southern Ontario reserve are gathering at the Six Nations boundary line.

SIX NATIONS INDIAN RESERVE, Ont. — Aboriginal protesters vowing to stop the Olympic torch from entering their southern Ontario reserve are gathering at the Six Nations boundary line.

Some 20 vehicles are parked on the side of the road leading into the reserve and protesters are flying both Mohawk Warrior and Iroquois Confederacy flags.

The protesters say the Olympic flame has no place on native land.

Six Nations leaders who support the torch run had planned to hold a relay through the reserve but switched gears today and limited the celebrations to the reserve’s bingo hall in the face of the protest.

While Six Nations parks and recreation director Cheryl Henshaw wouldn’t comment on what role the protest played in changing the plan, she did admit to some security concerns. Holding the relay in one location will make it more of a community event, she added.

“We found a better venue which is going to allow the supporters who come out for the event to basically stand in one place and see the torchbearers … carry the flame,” said Henshaw.

The band leadership says the torch will be driven directly to the reserve’s bingo hall and the relay involving some two dozen runners will take place on the hall’s property around 5 p.m.

Protester Missy Elliott said getting the band leadership to change the celebration was a huge victory for the Olympic torch protest movement.

“It’s the first time where any person who has stood up against these torch and Olympics has actually had a success in being able to move the celebration,” Elliott said.

“Different protesters have been able to hold it off for an hour or some time but it’s never been moved so this is a huge significance.”

The protesters say participating in the relay plays into what they say is Canada’s attempt to hide the negative image the country has on the world stage over its treatment of aboriginals.

A reserve official would not comment on whether RCMP or Ontario Provincial Police officers would enter the reserve with the torch.

Members of the Six Nations reserve are also involved in a land dispute over a former housing development on the outskirts of Caledonia.

The land has been occupied by Six Nations protesters since February 2006 and has been the site of a number of violent confrontations between aboriginals and town residents.

On Dec. 8, the Vancouver Olympic organizing committee agreed to drop the usual RCMP escort for the Olympic flame as it passed through a Mohawk reserve. Games organizers made the concession after a flurry of negotiations with community members who were upset by the prospect of a non-aboriginal police force patrolling their territory.

The agreement allowed the flame to pass through a community that played a role in the Oka crisis, a tense summer-long standoff between aboriginals and police in 1990.

Last Thursday, about 100 protesters who rang bells, drummed and chanted “No Olympics on Stolen Native Land,” took over one intersection in Toronto, forcing organizers to change the torch route.

There was a similar protest during Montreal’s torch run a week earlier.

Just Posted

Candlelight vigil in Red Deer honours Sri Lanka Easter bombing victims

Dozens showed up to the event at City Hall Thursday night

Several Red Deer businesses’ phone/fax lines taken over by ‘spoofers’

Same ‘prank’ calls were made as happened with RedCliff RCMP

Red Deer apartment project opposed by some neighbours

Two buildings proposed for a site in Normandeau with existing four apartment complexes

Red Deer’s osprey cam celebrities are back

FortisAlberta has webcam set up at nest created as part of avian protection program

Red Deer PCN Women’s Fun Run introduces Community Diaper Dash

Central Albertans will make a dash in diapers to bring lunches to… Continue reading

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Local Sports: Clayton Pottinger reaching for new heights

There are times in anyone’s life when they make a decision that… Continue reading

Seniors: Smarter living for older adults

One of the major life transitions characteristic of aging is leaving one’s… Continue reading

Opinion: Schools can’t be exempt from scrutiny

This weekend’s meeting of the Alberta School Councils’ Association promises to be… Continue reading

Bishop now the Stars goalie trying to beat Blues in playoffs

Ben Bishop grew up rooting for the St. Louis Blues before being… Continue reading

Nashville gets its chance to step up for NFL draft

NASHVILLE — Broadway in downtown Nashville is as lively a place as… Continue reading

The Cranberries, still in mourning, return for the last time

NEW YORK — Whether or not there would be a final Cranberries’… Continue reading

Dance studio owner in dispute with Burton Cummings fined for noise ticket

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — The owner of a dance fitness studio who… Continue reading

Most Read