1492 Land Back Lane

Author: Lucia Fernandez
Editor: Hayley Brackenbridge

1492 Land Back Lane refers to a site of protest in what is currently Caledonia, Ontario where land defenders successfully prevented a housing development on unceded Six Nations territory (1). Caledonia resides on the unceded land of the Six Nations of Grand River which form the Hodinöhsö:ni’ Confederacy (Haudenosaunee) (2). The Six Nations are the Kanyen’kehaka (Mohawk), Onyota’a:ka (Oneida), Onöñda’gega’ (Onondaga), Gayogohono (Cayuga), Onöndowága’ (Seneca), and Skaru:reh (Tuscarora) (2). In July 2020, Foxgate Developments proposed a 218-home development on 25 acres of Six Nations land in what is currently Caledonia (3). In protest, Indigenous land defenders occupied the land, demanding the federal government renew land claim negotiations (1). In an attempt to break up the occupation, injunctions were ordered, legally requiring that the land be vacated and prohibiting roadblocks (3). Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) raided the occupation, arresting Indigenous land defenders and their allies with stun guns and rubber bullets (1, 3, 4). The OPP spent more than $16 million dollars policing the occupation (3). Skyler Williams, Haudenosaunee land defender from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and spokesperson for the occupation, says the criminalization of Indigenous peoples standing up for their rights is a waste of money, stating that, “they could’ve sent two ministers down here from the feds, a couple from the province, and resolved this in a peaceful way eight months ago” (3). In July 2021, Foxgate Development terminated their housing development, however land right disputes over land in what is currently Caledonia are long-standing and unresolved (1).

References
  1. Gignac J. 1492 Land Back Lane. The Canadian Encyclopedia [Internet]. 2021 Jul 15 [cited 2021 Oct 17]. Available from: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/1492-land-back-lane

  2. Groat, C. Six Nations of the Grand River. The Canadian Encyclopedia [Internet]. 2020 Feb 18 [cited 2021 Oct 17]. Available from: https://thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/six-nations-of-the-grand-river

  3. Forester, B. OPP spent more than $16M policing 1492 Land Back Lane: Records. APTN News [Internet]. 2021 Mar 30 [cited 2021 Oct 17]. Available from: https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/opp-spent-more-than-16m-policing-1492-land-back-lane-records/

  4. Williams Family. Open Letter From The Williams Family Regarding Their Rights And Safety. Yellowhead Institute [Internet]. 2020 Oct 28 [cited 2021 Oct 17]. Available from: https://yellowheadinstitute.org/2020/10/28/open-letter-from-the-williams-family-regarding-their-rights-and-safety/