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Illustration Courtesy of 1492 Land Back Lanes Facebook

In solidarity with Six Nations land defenders

Chris Sinding, Director of McMaster's School of Social Work, writes in support of Six Nations land defenders.

Oct 30, 2020

The Hamilton Spectator
October 27, 2020

With my colleagues at the McMaster School of Social Work, I write to express dismay and frustration with police, court and government responses to the land defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane 

What is occurring at 1492 Land Back Lane – the actions courts and police are taking to control and contain Indigenous people – is the tip of an iceberg: it has emerged from longstanding unresolved injustices related to Six Nations governance, funds and territories. These injustices (well documented by Haudenosaunee, Canadian and American scholars, community members and journalists) are summarized in a recent contribution to the Spectator.

On the face of it – the tip of the iceberg – the courts are enacting, and the police are enforcing, a law. Yet court injunctions are at odds with ract granted to the Six Nations in 1784 is now just five per cent of its original size, and the vital role of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy goes unrecognized – erosions of sovereignty brought about by unjust means, and contested repeatedly by leaders at Six Nations and their allies over the past 150 years.

The McMaster University School of Social Work knows well the significant contributions Six Nations community members and scholars are making to teaching and learning about helping, healing, justice and activism, on campus and across this region. We witness the visionary community (re)building underway at Six Nations. As more non-Indigenous people understand the historical betrayals that have led to Land Back Lane (and to other land defense, treaty rights and environmental stewardship efforts across the country) we see more people joining as allies and in solidarity.

As of this this week, the land defenders have been calling for 100 days for the federal government to show up and negotiate. The Six Nations community has been calling for nation-to-nation engagement for decades. With the land defenders, we call on the federal government to take up their responsibility in this dialogue: to recognize and involve the traditional confederacy and clan mothers, meaningfully address the root causes of this conflict, and move us all towards a just and peaceful co-existence.


Chris Sinding, Professor, School of Social Work