Six Nations to issue building permits

Six Nations to issue building permits

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September 14, 2007

Traditional Chiefs at Six Nations have recently announced that anyone planning to build in the Grand River watershed must now secure a permit from the Confederacy.

The Confederacy stated that this is an assertion of their jurisdiction over lands within the Haldimand Tract, as well as an attempt to prevent environmental degradation caused by new developments.

Aaron Detlor, a Mohawk lawyer and spokesperson for the new planning agency says “We are saying specifically that you need to apply and be given a permit…” “If you do not have a permit and you proceed, it’s our position that you are doing so in an unlawful fashion.”

When asked about whether or not they would send “protesters” to challenge developers who do not obtain a permit, he said “that’s not part of the process that we envision whatsoever.” Also, “we’re not going to rely on the Canadian court system.”

From the Record – “Ontario believes the place to resolve the (Six Nations) grievances is at the negotiating table, not on the backs of individual developments,” said Lars Eedy, spokesperson for the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs.

So what happens if a developer builds without a native permit and is confronted by protesters?

“It would become a police matter,” Eedy said.

Ken Seiling, chair of Waterloo regional government, worries the permit demand will provoke tensions.

“It’s very unsettling for everybody,” he said. “When you start to affect people’s property, they become emotionally wrapped up in the issue.

“I think this could get wildly out of hand at some point or other, if people don’t grab hold of it and get it settled.”

He called on senior governments to resolve native land grievances in the Grand River watershed.

“These claims and these assertions are becoming more aggressive all the time,” Seiling said. “I think they’re becoming that way because there doesn’t appear to be a lot of movement in getting these things settled.”

Seiling said the region does not plan to seek Six Nations permits for government projects because the process is not part of Ontario law.

Peter Armbruster, president of the Waterloo Region Home Builders’ Association, was unaware of the permit demand yesterday.

He said, in a statement that “we are looking to the province and the federal government to provide leadership in resolving these issues.”

Traditional chiefs have chosen to issue development permits to assert their “jurisdiction” over lands within the former Haldimand tract.

This assertion is outside the federal land claims process because traditional chiefs reject that process.

“This is not a land claim,” Detlor said. “This is about (Six Nations’) jurisdiction over its own lands.” (source)

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