Hawke starts constitutional challenge in Midland court
Verna Friday from Bear Island (Temagami First Nation) and Beth Brass Elson from Chimnissing Anishinabek Territory (Beausoleil First Nation) flank John Hawke in Midland court today. -AWARE Simcoe photo
AWARE News Network
Around a dozen people, most of them veterans of the Site 41 battle, turned out to show support for local indigenous activist John Hawke, who appeared in court today on charges related to the dismantling of his reclamation campsite at Awenda Provincial Park.
Hawke, acting for himself, launched a constitutional challenge to the charges which he said arose out of his “educating the park warden about the Ipperwash Inquiry – he took that as a threat.”
The judge declined to summarily dismiss the challenge and told Hawke that he would have to provide proof of service of his action on the Attorneys General of Canada and Ontario. Hawke was given two weeks to start that process, returning to court September 5.
Hawke and five other community members first constructed a log cabin in the park in 2012, next to a large granite rock known as Council Rock which has clan markings linked to the 1798 Penetanguishene Purchase Crown Treaty Number 5. Hawke’s actions have been to oppose land claim settlements that extinguish indigenous title to his clan’s traditional territory.
Hawke initiated a blockade at the main entrance of Ontario’s Awenda Provincial Park on June 21, 2019. He was charged July 26 for allegedly uttering threats. The protest camp was dismantled July 28.
Hawke objects to the fact that the land claim settlement agreements place the onus on indigenous people “to purchase back stolen lands with our compensation” while there is Crown land that can be handed back.
More information at Reclamation of Amik Council Fire on Facebook.