Interesting article. And I cannot help but wonder what information has not been shared. From what I is available the land was never ceded to the crown – so who legally owns it? And what methods must be taken to prove otherwise, we all know the courts take time and with the injunction in place there is no way to further the delay. Then there is the point that Walton has been working with the Six Nation and have a monitor on site during the archaeological surveys. My question to both sides if there is a suspected burial site has this lead been investigated (talking to the individual or researching the story), could more monitors assist with the survey? And what caused the nation to want to blockade the survey in the first place? People don’t usually go to such extremes unless they feel that they have not been heard. There is missing information and I am curious how this will transpire…
Walton wins injunction against native protests
Walton International successfully obtained an injunction against a group called the Mohawk Workers in Superior Court on Friday.
The injunction was speedily dealt with by Justice Harrison Arrell who heard it during the past two weeks after Walton complained that the protesters had stopped work at its Tutela Heights project in Brant County near the Bell Homestead, where Walton plans to build 200 homes for owner Riverbend Asset Corporation.
“I conclude the plaintiffs are the rightful owners,” said Arrell.
“Until a court rules it doesn’t belong to the plaintiffs, (the property) remains under their jurisdiction and the defendants do not have the option of blocking, entering or threatening anyone who is at the site.”
Arrell warned that the defendants cannot take the law into their own hands.
Walton hasn’t begun construction but has been working complete mandatory archeological surveys.
The judge found significant that Walton has been in discussions with Six Nations band council since the council appointed a monitor to watch the process.
Over the past few months right up until Friday of last week, the protesters used various techniques, included blocking entrances, issuing a “cease and desist order,” and confronting the survey teams.
The defendants – Bill Squire, Terry Squire, Floyd Montour and Ruby Montour – say they have evidence of native burial site on the land and are trying to stop the digging of the archeologists.
Arrell noted that the lead archeologist, in an affidavit, said there is absolutely no evidence of a burial site.
“Surveys haven’t turned up any evidence of a burial site or a longhouse,” said the judge. “The most that’s been found is one human tooth which was never part of a burial site and almost certainly is not aboriginal.”
Speaking on behalf of the Mohawk Workers, Jason Bowman said the case was rushed to court without giving his group proper time to respond. He said that hundreds of mammalian bones and other items have been discovered on the property. And he noted that the land has not been properly surrendered to the Crown.
During a break, Bowman said the Mohawk Workers believe none of the original Haldimand Tract was surrendered by the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk Nation and, therefore, was not a valid surrender.
“Without that signature or seal the transfer is not going to stand up in court.”
But the justice noted that “people will not be allowed to take the law into their own hands no matter how fervently they feel” about an issue.
Arrell said it’s in everyone’s best interest to complete the archeological surveys.
“One would think the defendants would want the surveys to be concluded.”
After the judge’s ruling, Ruby Montour said she is not surprised.
“That’s the Canadian system. It never works for us.”
Bowman and the Montours said that the judge is in conflict in the case because he owns property in the Haldimand Tract.
Walton lawyer Neal Smitheman, who also represented the city when it was granted an injunction in 2010 against the protesters at various construction sites around Brantford, also asked the judge to rule later on costs for Walton.
Smitheman is also representing the city in a substantial request for costs in its court case, which ran over many days of court and involved huge research and legal resources.
The city is asking for $875,000 in costs from the Montours, the Haudenosaunee Development Institute and its spokesperson Hazel Hill, lawyer Aaron Detlor and others.
“The city was successful,” said Smitheman about the first injunction. “Now who bears the costs? Should it be the citizens of Brantford or the losing party who made it necessary to get the injunction in the first place?”
Whether there is any hope of recouping almost $900,000 in costs from the protesters is another issue, he said.
“I’ll worry about enforceability after I get an order.”
That case rests with the judge.