by Julián Gutiérrez Castaño
On the afternoon of 28 April 2012, more than five hundred people gathered at the grounds of Edinburgh Square and Heritage Cultural Centre to participate in the March for Peace, Friendship and Respect.
Haudenosaunee from the Six Nations of the Grand River and non-Indigenous people who live in nearby Caledonia met up with others who came for the march on buses from around Ontario – Toronto, London, St. Catherine’s, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Dunnville, and Brantford.
The march proceeded without any serious interruption, despite provocations from a few members of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality who tried to stop the march at one point. Approximately thirty other people demonstrated their discomfort with the march by standing at the side of the road holding Canadian flags and baseball bats.
Nancy Fuller, a Caledonian business owner, expressed the sentiments of most Caledonians saying, “[Canadians have] not treated these people properly for 200 years… They deserve more respect.”
The March ended with a festival at Kanonhstaton where Haudenosaunee warriors stopped a private development project on Six Nations land six years ago. People gathered to enjoy food and listen to music and speeches in support of indigenous rights and good relations between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
Julián Gutiérrez Castaño from Colombia has served with CPT since 2006. He joined the Aboriginal Justice Team full time in 2010.