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Six Nations Feared
November 24, 2008 permalink
In a Brantford Expositor article CAS caseworkers and process servers express fear of work on the Six Nations Reserve. We cannot tell from the article whether the natives are defending themselves with force or the social workers are reverting to wild Indian stereotypes. But considering the provocation of routine baby-stealing, it is remarkable that native reserves have remained so peaceful.
Some workers feel unsafe on Six Nations
CAS, process servers report threats, intimidation
By Susan Gamble, Expositor Staff, Brantford, November 22, 2008
Some non-natives whose work takes them to Six Nations are frightened to do their jobs on the reserve.
Is Six Nations too dangerous for some occupations?
Locals who deliver court documents and at least one Chidlrens's Aid Society worker say the area can be intimidating and the residents threatening.
Others say there's no more danger on the reserve than any where else they must work.
"It is not unusual in our work at Six Nations to be swarmed, meaning blocked into the driveway, surrounded by family members, often armed," wrote a female CAS worker in an affidavit that that was filed during a child protection matter.
"There have been situations at Six nations where armed family members have been concealed in bushes."
The comments did not have to be proved true or false in court but they were vetted by a CAS lawyer.
Recently, the City of Brantford persuaded a judge that it's too difficult for process servers to properly deliver a motion of contempt to those who have flouted the injunction against protesting in Brantford.
Process servers are hired to personally deliver some court documents to the individuals or companies named on them, or arrange for safe deliveries of a summons to court, among other duties.
One Brantford process server said he declines all requests to serve natives living on Six Nations.
Rocki Smith, deputy chief of Six Nations police said no CAS incidents that have involved firearms have been reported to the police.
And Smith said non-natives aren't in any more danger on Six Nations than natives are when they visit Brantford from the reserve.
Chief Coun. Bill Montour also said he's never heard of CAS workers being swarmed.
A Six Nations resident is calling for the CAS employee who said workers are often swarmed by armed family members, to be disciplined.
Ellen Doxtater called the remarks in the worker's affidavit racist, false, defamatory and malicious.
Doxtater is gathering signed letters of complaint, to send to CAS executive director Andrew Koster, challenging the comments.
"Workers shouldn't be able to make false statements in court without some kind of reprimand," said Doxtater this week.
She said she's never heard of such a swarming on the reserve.
In response, Koster said workers's affidavits are always reviewed by CAS lawyers before submission.
"Our credibility is at stake when it comes to statements made in court. If a worker said something that was trumped up we would deal with it."
But he added that he didn't believe the comments were out of line.
Koster note the CAS is "an invited guest" on Six Nations and that all 23 of it's employees at the reserve office are native, with the majority of them from Six Nations or New Credit.
"We're trying to do service that's in a community context."
All child welfare workers, regardless of the geography, have to be prepared for violence since they encounter frequent situations where people are emotional and upset, said Koster.
"We've certainly had workers injured on the job. The last worker was injured here in Branford and (ended up) off work. It's part of being a CAS worker. But most people aren't like that because they want to do well by their kids."
The Six Nations reputation took a hard knock when city lawyer Neal Smitheman asked Justice Harrison Arrell to issue a "substitution of service".
Smitheman argued that process servers had made repeated attempts to serve notices of contempt on eight people named in the Brantford injunction against protesting land development, and had succeeded in serving only two people.
A substitution of service order basically means the regular system of serving documents can't be carried out for some reasons.
Arrell finally agreed, but only after the city took out advertisements in The Expositor and the local Six Nations weeklies to ensure that the protesters would know about the actions being taken.
Smitheman, who earlier told the judge it would be "foolhardy" for process servers to go onto the reserve, said this week that the whole process has been difficult.
"Suffice it to say, given the position Six nations has taken with respect to the reserve and land claims, it's more difficult to serve a summons on the reserve."
Several area process servers, who deliver court summonses or contempt of court orders, said delivering to Six Nations raises concerns.
"It's dangerous," said one man who asked that his name not be used.
"I used to serve out there and I now refuse. I've faced a lot of things in my life but, going alone to serve on the reserve? I wouldn't."
The man said that during several trips there, he was recognized and tailed by private security cars he believes were involved with protecting smoke shops. He said a case would move in front of him and behind him and escort him off the reserve.
"Our company isn't the one delivering for city council, but I don't blame them in the slightest for refusing to go there. There's too much of a chance of getting swarmed, attacked or of running into weaponry."
A Caledonia process server said his company occasionally does process serving on Six Nations.
"I've never had any problems," said Allison Gowling of Gowling Professional Corporation. "But I always have my guard up whereever I go and I'm a big guy."
His associate, Marianne Ortmanns, said she has no qualms about serving on the reserve.
"I know a few people won't go out there but this is my job. I've had people scream and yell at me but I just tell them this is my job and I calm them down."
In Brantford, Allison Armstrong of Legal Paper Chasers, said she tries to avoid having to serve on Six nations, mainly because the work is often done after dark and it's easy to get lost there.
"Sometimes there's a feeling of not being safe so I get my brother to go," she said Wednesday.
Six Nations police often help other forces to serve summonses, just as they pass summonses on to other forces for delivery.
But deputy chief Smith doesn't see much danger for any non-natives whose work takes them to Six Nations.
"We've had reports of workers, like someone from hydro, being stopped and asked what they're doing but no reports of swarmings or CAS workers being faced with firerams.
"Come out here on a Friday at 4 p.m. (non-natives) at the cigarette shops. They don't seem too frightened."
Source: Brantford Expositor, not on web, photocopied and typed by a reader