‘I remember the violence’: Going back 2 years to the Tyendinaga blockade


It was two years ago that the Ontario Provincial Police moved in on protestors set up alongside the Canadian National Rail lines in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

The rail side encampment between Toronto and Montreal was set up by a group of Mohawks in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en territory following a police raid.

The protest, for the most part, took place by the side of the tracks. According to CN, the tracks were shut down for safety reasons.

After police moved in, there were nights when tires were burned on the tracks. 

Andrew Brant was there the day the police moved in and remembers it well.

“I remember the violence, I remember people crying, I remember people being terrified in the community because it was going to happen,” he says.

Brant is one of ten land defenders who was charged that day – although his charges were eventually dropped.

When watching the convoy occupation in Ottawa, he saw a difference from the start.

“When we did a rolling blockade from CFB Trenton to Tyendinaga into here, to the tracks, there was five cars and we had a 20 police escort. The only escorts that that convoy had were the ones coming to bring them food coming to bring the money, coming to bring them you know gas and all those other different things” says Brant.

Seth Lefort, spokeperson of the rail blockade, says different methods were used as well.

“They seized those assets, we haven’t seen that in Indigenous resistance” said Lefort.

But, he says, the obvious difference was what happened when the Wet’suwet’en were raided.

“They came into Wet’suwet’en Territory with axes and attack dogs and everything, they didn’t do that in Ottawa right, they came there being kind and saying come on guys, you know and saying everybody needs to be out by Friday you know, that’s what they were doing, so that was a very soft compared to how they deal with us” he says.

Annette is Anishinaabe from Alderville First Nation. She started at APTN as an Ottawa Correspondent in 2007 and has covered Indigenous issues from Parliament Hill and First Nation communities across Ontario. She has also freelanced for CBC Indigenous and Ricochet Media.

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