The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has granted landholdings company Walton Development and Management an interim injunction against protesters belonging to a group called the Mohawk Workers.
The judgment was handed down by Judge Harrison Arrell in a Brantford courtroom on Friday, after Walton applied for the injunction following protests that delayed work at the site of a proposed subdivision in the Tutela Heights area.
Walton officials said in a statement that a Six Nations-based representative has been involved with archeological assessments at the site, located in the County of Brant, where the company plans to build about 200 homes.
“Walton International has been working toward the development of its landholdings in Brant County and continues to follow all the county and provincial guidelines and requirements for its lands,” the statement said. “These include archaeological assessments, which have been monitored by a member of the Six Nations community and conducted by a licensed and respected Ontario-based firm.
“Unfortunately, some members of a group calling themselves the Mohawk Workers attempted to disrupt the formal process and prevent or delay Walton from concluding legitimate and provincially-mandated work. Therefore, Walton applied for a court-issued injunction against the individuals involved.”
Mohawk Workers spokesperson Jason Bowman during an interview said that the group will not halt protests at the site.
“We need to review the injunction and respond accordingly,” Bowman said. “But the protests will not stop.”
Bowman said legal ownership of the land is in question.
“Mohawks have rights as sovereign people within their territories,” Bowman said. “The lands in question have been occupied by indigenous peoples for more than 10,000 years. It pre-dates European contact. Where indigenous peoples lived, worked and built tools, they buried their dead.
“(The courts) look at it as a real estate issue or a commercial transaction.”
Bowman alleges that indigenous human remains have been discovered in the Tutela Heights area since the 1970s.
“These lands should have been protected a long time ago,” Bowman said. “The disturbances, development and desecration have already been done in the area and it is not going to continue.”