Saturday, June 24, 2006

Breaking Bread

[I felt compelled to present this letter from Joel Bastedo to the Caledonia Citizens' Alliance, regarding residents of Caledonia and their physical attacks against Natives reoccupying their lands. Given that the media have popularized characterizations of Six Nations protesters as "terrorists," who should be dealt with in the same way as a foreign military force ("call in the army!"--presumably to ultimately shoot at peaceful civilians), that the United States' ATF was called in for surveillance (an ironic, voluntary surrender of Canadian sovereignty in an attempt to assert Canadian sovereignty), and condemnations of Natives acting as a "nation within a nation," Joel Bastedo's letter underscores the sad ironies underlying these positions. I thank him for his kind permission to reproduce his letter below.]

From: Joel Bastedo
Subject: Bread and Cheese day
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006

Hello Citizens of Caledonia Webmaster,

I have heard that on Victoria Day, citizens of Caledonia threw bread and cheese at the Six Nations protesters, in reference to the Six Nations' custom of distributing bread and cheese in their May 24th celebrations. I certainly hope I'm misinformed. That day is used to commemorate the military service of Six Nations people in defense of the crown during the War of 1812-1814, and during the American Revolution. For that service, they were granted the land they occupy (and a good deal more), in much the same way as the white Loyalists in the rest of Ontario were granted the land they occupy as a reward for their loyalty (except that the whites were subjects of the crown, whereas the Six Nations were independent allies).

If the reports of this "bread and cheese fight" are true, then as your website predicts, the day may well live long in the history books as one of the grossest infamy conceivable, where white residents of Caledonia twisted the most enduring symbol of friendship and common cause between the Six Nations and white Canadians into an offensive and bitter memory for all....We can never undo those things, but I hope Caledonians will realize the extent of their offense and try to make amends.

In closing, I find it appalling that protesters from Caledonia were singing "Oh Canada" and waving their maple leaf flags as they protested against a group that did much to make the True North "strong and free." If I could send a message to Caledonians, it is that Canadians are sympathetic to their plight (being caught in the middle because of a negligent government is completely unfair, no question), but that we cannot support intolerance and hatred, no matter how provoked and warranted Caledonians believe those feelings to be. Please stop defiling Canada's national symbols.

Yours respectfully,

Joel Bastedo.

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