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Activist Communique: Call for action - "Anti-Native" journalist Christie Blatchford

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Call for Action: Anti-Native journalist from The Globe and Mail, Christie Blatchford, is soon coming to Your Community.

The First Nations Solidarity Working Group (FNSWG) of Toronto is issuing a call for communities to organize and respond to Christie Blatchford as she makes her way across Canada promoting her new book, Helpless; Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us releasing on October 26, 2010.

In her book, Blatchford chronicles the events starting in 2006 at Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia where the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) people of the Grand River reclaimed land that has been in dispute for over 150 years.

In the years, months and days leading up to the reclamation, and for more than a century, Six Nations people have educated, warned and entreated governments and residents to resolve the unlawful development of their land.

Drawing upon some centuries-old colonial and racist tropes, Blatchford portrays Six Nations people, who were compelled to respond to the continual corporate development and theft of their land, as criminals.

Ignoring the rampant anti-Native rallies that became weekly occurrences in the early part
of the crisis, where police were often stretched to their limits controlling the crowds who chanted around barrels of fire burn natives burn, Blatchford champions white Caledonia residents as hero-victims, rendered helpless and traumatized by native lawlessness.

Christie Blatchford does not speak for Caledonia. The residents of Caledonia hold a
variety of diverse opinions, and certainly not all of them asked to be portrayed as Helpless by an irresponsible journalist. Blatchford is in close contact with leading anti Native organizers in south-western Ontario and her coverage of the "Caledonia Crisis" has been compared to a zombie movie. The Six Nations get to be the undead.

Blatchford conveniently and very actively erases the fact that between 1951 and 2006, Six Nations has filed 29 land claims recognized as legitimate by the Canadian government, and out of which, only one claim, has been resolved. Equally important, Blatchford ignores the colonial context of the violences of residential schools (behind the former Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Six Nations children who did not survive the violences, were buried), the massive incarceration of Aboriginal peoples, deaths in police custody, the Indian Act, over 800 missing and murdered Aboriginal women, and other outside-imposed governance structures under which Six Nations peoples have been living and surviving for centuries.

Today, the current Six Nations land base represents only 5% of the 950,00 acres outlined in the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 as their sovereign territory. Blatchford says her book is not about aboriginal land claims, "but the failure of government to govern and to protect all its citizens equally." Blatchford is thus reproducing the colonial logic of erasing the histories and present context of violence done to Indigenous nations and peoples. This erasure does not belong to Blatchford alone, mainstream media accounts of the reclamation have been largely distorted with sensationalistic accounts that portray Caledonia as an ongoing warzone.

When the root of the Caledonia Crisis is the ongoing land-theft of Six Nations territory, we need to ask Blatchford what she means by stating that her book is not about land claims. We need to show people reading or listening to her, how the erasure of land claims decontextualizes the very root of the issue, and works to portray Indigenous land defenders as thugs bent on chaos and anarchy. We need to go out in our communities to underline that in order to uphold the rule of law, Treaties -- the foundation of Canadian law -- must be upheld and respected.

Christie Blatchford is taking her book on a tour across Canada and will be selling her book at your local bookstores and/or be making an appearance in your community. We must not allow Blatchford's account of the events at Caledonia to go unchallenged. We are calling on you to respond to Blatchford's appearance in your community and educate others about the context of Six Nations reclamation, land-claims, and colonialism.

Let us also show Blatchford that she does not speak for all Canadians and that we will not let her speak in our name. Organize and respond to Blatchford's presence in your community at bookstores and everywhere she is making speaking appearances.

For questions, information, resources or to share ideas with other group who are organizing responses please contact [email protected]

For more background information and context please go to:

Here is a list of Blatchford's currently advertised Book Tour appearances:

--McNally Robinson, WINNIPEG. Grant Park in the Atrium. Nov 3, 2010. 7pm

--Chedoke Presbyterian church, HAMILTON. 865 Mohawk Road West. Nov 6, 2010.

--Aurora Public Library, AURORA. Nov 9 2010, 7pm
University of Waterloo, WATERLOO. Humanities Theatre, Hagey Hall. Nov 12,
2010, 7pm

--Ramsay Breakfast, George Restaurant, Verity Women?s Club, TORONTO. 111C
Queen Street East, November 17th, 7:30 am.

--Books & Breakfast series, Le Centre Sheraton Hotel, MONTREAL. 1201 Rene
Levesque Blvd. W. Nov 28, 10 am

--U of T - Wordsworth College, TORONTO. March 14th 2011, 6pm


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