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Friel backs native land claims

Mayor Chris Friel says that Six Nations peoples have a legitimate claim to land six miles on either side of the Grand River. “I believe that land claim is totally valid,” Friel said Saturday. “I can’t understand why the federal government has not come to terms on it.”

Friel made the comment during a speech at the opening ceremonies of the Three Fires Homecoming Pow Wow on the New Credit Reserve. The may-or called for a true accounting of money that is owed and land that belongs to Six Nations peoples.

“It’s a lot of money, but it’s someone else’s land,” Friel said to applause and beating drums. “Nobody seems to want to address the issue.”

Friel said settling the Six Nations land claim would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but it’s a price worth paying.

“The federal government has not acted honourably in attempting to settle the land claim Six Nations holds over Brantford, Friel said, accusing Ottawa of playing games on the issue.

“I do not believe the federal government will act honourably without a great deal of pressure,” he added. “It is time to honour what we have taken and give it back”

The mayor said he’s spent much time over his six years in office attempting to under-stand the relationship shared between local native and non-native peoples.

“Our ancestors spent much of the last 1,000 years destroying ourselves — treating each other badly,” Friel said. “We spent as much time and energy as we could destroying the planet we live on.”

The next 1,000 years should be spent educating each other and fostering understanding between cultures, Friel said. “Every decision we make should be for the coming generation.”