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Blockade in Tyendinaga

By Katie Coleman and Alisa Howlett

SHANNONVILLE – Some Tyendinaga Mohawks are blocking Shannonville Road to call attention to the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

The blockade is on Shannonville Road between Highways 2 and 401. Early Tuesday afternoon there were about 20 demonstrators at the scene, but a little later two more carloads of protesters arrived.

The protest has been peaceful, but police are keeping an eye it. OPP cruisers, SUVs and subtly marked vans could be seen coming and going Tuesday.

All of the protesters refused to allow their photos to be taken, and most refused to speak to reporters. They said their spokesman was Shawn Brant, the Tyendinaga Mohawk who organized the blockade.

Here is audio of QNet News reporter Suzanne Coolen’s interview with Brant at the scene Tuesday afternoon:

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/brant-interviewrevised.mp3 [7]


Most of the demonstrators also refused to give their names.

“I’m here to support my sisters,” said one. He added that he is in the protest for the long haul, until there is justice for all aboriginal families missing mothers, daughters and sisters.

Robert Beyea, who came from Markham to join the blockade, said he didn’t know anyone else at the protest but was there in support. His grandfather passed down native stories and heritage to him, he said.

The reason he is there is that the federal government is forgetting about missing women, Beyea said.

Across the country First Nations communities are calling on the federal government to start an inquiry on missing aboriginal women. This comes after Loretta Saunders, a pregnant Inuk student writing her thesis on missing First Nations women, went missing from Halifax. Her body wasfound near Moncton, N.B. Her two roommates have been charged with first-degree murder.