A year ago kids and adults from the Six Nations (an organization of six tribes native to North America) near the town of Caledonia in Ontario, Canada, climbed over a fence and set up tents on a piece of land that was stolen from their people hundreds of years ago. Six Nations people have started living again on this land.

The land that the people of Six Nations are reclaiming represents a small piece of a large tract that was given to them by the British government in a treaty in 1784. The treaty guaranteed that the Canadian government could not develop or build on that land without permission from Six Nations people. But the government has found different ways of pushing Six Nations people to give up pieces of this land. A company called Henco bought one of those pieces in 1992.

Many people questioned whether the sale of the land to Henco was legal. The dispute delayed construction of Henco’s luxury homes until 2005. When construction began, Six Nations people blocked the construction and pushed the tractors out. Many people in Canada and the U.S. have supported their actions. However, Six Nations also faced opposition. In April 2006 the Ontario Provincial Police raided the site and arrested sixteen people, some of whom were teenagers. Since then, the people of Six Nations have been in negotiations with the Canadian government over who has the right to be on this land.

The people of Six Nations want the Canadian government to respect their rights to the land. They also want to plant and live on it. The developers had cut down the trees to build houses, but when Six Nations people arrived they planted seeds and dug ponds for the snapping turtles and fish. Now, instead of suburban homes, you can see swaying reeds and animals rebuilding their homes.


HOW YOU CAN LEARN MORE
There may be a Native American reservation or museum in your area. John Fadden is a Mohawk who founded the Six Nations Indian Museum in northern New York State. John was born on the Akwesasne(a-kwa-SAS-nay) reservation, a territory that spans both the U.S. and Canada. He is an artist and teacher. He says the reservation today is “like a rural community. People have jobs just like in any other rural community.”

“Most kids east of the Mississippi don’t know Indians are here,” John told IndyKids. “If they look at old movies, they see Indians riding horses circling covered wagons. When they study Indians, they learn about the [kind of] house we used to live in. There is little as to what we’re doing today.”

John says there’s a lot kids can do to learn about Native Americans. “Go to places where Indians gather and speak with them. Read books.”

Visit Six Nations Indian Museum (open in the summer): 1462 Country
Route 60, Onchiota, NY; (518) 891-2299;
 http://www.tuscaroras.com/graydeer/pages/sixnamus.htm

WORD PLAY!
Try to unscramble these words related to Native Americans:
1. one dig in us = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
2. nerves ratio = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
3. try eat = _ _ _ _ _ _
4. ant is on six = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
5. ham wok = _ _ _ _ _ _
6. dry coca me = _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _