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Peace, Respect and Friendship on Parade

By: 
Darren Edgar

April 27, 2012

On April 28, approximately 800 people took part in a march for “Peace, Respect and Friendship” in solidarity with the Haudenosaunee of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

Over a dozen busloads of participants came from around southern Ontario in addition to many local residents; there were also people from other First Nations in the area, and even a few representing indigenous people from around the world. All showed their support for the Haudenosaunee and their ongoing reclamation project, as reported previously in Socialist Worker.

The march, imbibed with a serenity of spirit uncommon to most, proceeded from Edinburgh Square in Caledonia to the site of the reclamation, Kanonhstaton, where there was a heartfelt welcome from members of the Haudenosaunee First Nation. At the reclamation site, there was a variety of live music performances, a spoken word artist, and a potluck dinner with plenty of food (much of it brought by the marchers themselves). There were also a number of speeches, including by members of the Haudenosaunee First Nation, as well as other First Nations and indigenous groups, and a retired autoworker. The crowd was comprised of a diverse group of people, encompassing all races, genders and ages. In fact, there was an obvious focus on youth participation, from the two indigenous boys who offered prayers to kick-off the march, to the emcee, to the performers—there were even balloons being given away and two bouncy castles for the children.

Among the many home-made placards, signs and banners bearing slogans of solidarity could be seen the flags of various labour unions, including CAW, CUPE, OPSEU, PSAC, USW, IBEW and Elementary Teachers of Toronto. There were also marchers from other oppressed indigenous populations from around the world. A woman representing Chile’s indigenous people spoke about international solidarity, and the Wiphala—a flag representing all the native peoples of the Andes—was seen in the crowd. Also in the crowd were numerous Palestinian flags and the presence of the United Jewish People’s Order, who are in solidarity with indigenous struggles for self-determination around the world, from Palestine to Canada.

There will be a follow-up community meeting at the Caledonia Public Library on Thursday, May 3 at 5:30pm, as well as other potential follow-up meetings in the communities from which the busloads of marchers came. Contact the organizers for more details by emailing april28info@gmail.com or visiting www.april28.net

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