Caledonia First Nations Defend Grand River Territory 2006-2011.


The Six Nations of Grand River aimed to regain the rights to their land which was un-righfully sold by the Canadian government to the developers of Douglas Creek Estates.

Time period notes

The actions of the campaign were concentrated in 2006-2010, although the court hearings prolonged until June 2011.

Time period

28 February, 2006 to 8 July, 2011



Location City/State/Province

Caledonia, Ontario

Location Description

Grand River reserve, Highway 6 as well as Argyle Street. 15km East of Brantford, Ontario.
Jump to case narrative


Dawn Smith and Hazel Hill


Not known

External allies

Caledonia residents in support of the Protesters, Other First Nations groups

Involvement of social elites

not known


Developers of Douglas Creek Estates, residents of Caledonia, Canadian Government

Nonviolent responses of opponent

not known

Campaigner violence

There was violence taken by the campaigners during the first segment of the campaign. On the 7th of August 2006, both the campaigners and the opponents began throwing rocks at one another. No one was seriously injured.

Repressive Violence

not known


Economic Justice
Human Rights



Group characterization

Six Nations of Grand River

Groups in 1st Segment

residents of Caledonia

Segment Length

9 months

Success in achieving specific demands/goals

6 out of 6 points


1 out of 1 points


2 out of 3 points

Total points

9 out of 10 points

Notes on outcomes

The people of Grand River First Nation were not only granted the rights to their land, but also awarded $20 million.

Database Narrative

the 18th Century the Iroquois aided the British government to defend
what is now known as Canadian territory from the Americans. As an expression of
gratitude to the Iroquois, the British gifted to them six miles along both
sides of Grand River as a place to never be disturbed; as spiritual land for
the people to forever enjoy.


then, the Canadian government has been selling portions of the Six Nations of
Grand River reserve for commercial use. The Canadian government did not inform
the people of the Six Nations of Grand River of these transactions, nor share
the profits. After hearing that developers planned to begin construction of a
housing development, Douglas Creek Estates, the people of the reserve decided
to take action by informing the developers that this land was not the
Government’s to sell.


Developers of Douglas Creek Estates had already constructed a project office on
the site and the construction was set to momentarily begin. On 28 February 2006,
residents of the Six Nations of Grand River erected tents on the construction
site to represent their possession of the land in question. Developers demanded
in writing that protesters leave by the 3rd of March 2006.  The residents remained in the tents. Dawn
Smith, a resident of the Six Nations of Grand River burned the written demand.


On 20
April 2006 the Ontario Provincial Police arrested twenty-one people for failure
to remove themselves from the land. At this time, protesters in support of the
Six Nations of Grand River ignited tires across Highway 6 and Argyle Street to
block traffic. Additionally, protesters trespassed into the developer's office
and burned all of their documents.


Four days later, the residents of Caledonia
demonstrated in support of the developers. Some non-indigenous Caledonia residents were
planning to organize their own defense team. The Canadian government advised
against this.  By early May, both the Premier of Ontario and the
Indian Affairs Minister were working with the Caledonian and Grand River residents
attempting to resolve the conflict.  

of the Six Nations of Grand River maintained the blockades of Highway 6 and
Argyle Street.  Several traffic accidents
had occurred on the back road detours.  After
a traffic collision on the 16May 2006, the protesters allowed one
lane of traffic to pass through on Argyle Street.  The Ontario Provincial Police removed the road
blockades entirely on 22 May 2006.  The
protesters remained on Argyle Street for one full day, blockading traffic with
their bodies instead of the tires.  Hazel
Hill, a resident of the Six Nations of Grand River became a spokesperson for
the ongoing protest.


residents of the Six Nations of Grand River filed a class-action lawsuit
against the Ontario Provincial Police to the Supreme Court of Canada. On 20
June 2010, the Residents of the Six Nations of Grand River began excavating the
construction site for historical spiritual artifacts. Through the month of
August, the courts recommended that negotiations continue until the protesters
agreed to leave the construction site. On 16 January 2007, the residents
performing the excavation revealed an ancient burial ground on the proposed
housing site.

On 8 July 2011, the Canadian Supreme Court issued a
verdict on the case. The Judge Chris Bentley awarded the victims of the Six
Nations of Grand River $20,000,000 and affirmed their rights to the land.


not known


Hedican, E. 2013. Ipperwash. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

John Findlay, F. 2013. Caledonia Class Action - Caledonia, Ontario, Canada. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2 Nov 2013]. 2013. Six Nations of the Grand River. [online] Available at: [Accessed: 2 Nov 2013].

Six Miles Deep Land Rights of the Six Nations of Grand River. 2013. [e-book] Ohsweken, Ontario: Six Nations Council. pp. 1-15. Available through: Six Nations [Accessed: 2 November 2013].

Six Miles Deep. 2009. [DVD] Canada: Sara Roque.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy

Anna Kovacs, 24/11/2013