Shawn Brant

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Shawn Brant is a Native activist who lives on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario, Canada.

In the 1990s, Brant participated in protests at Oka and Ipperwash. In November 2006, the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga reclaimed a gravel quarry that was licensed to remove over 100,000 tonnes of gravel per year despite ongoing land claims negotiations. The Mohawks claimed that their land was being stolen from them by the Canadian government that was at the same time ostensibly engaged in land claims negotiations. Although the Canadian government had formally recognized the quarry as Mohawk land in 2003, private development had continued ever since.[1] In January 2007, Brant was arrested for uttering ‘death threats’ to members of the Canadian Military who had been present at the November protest. On April 14, 2008, Brant was acquitted of all charges.

In April 2007 he organized a 30-hour illegal blockade of a CN rail line in eastern Ontario.[2] After this time the Ontario police guaranteed immunity to the protestors in exchange for ending the protest. The offer was accepted and the protest ended without arrest or injury. On April 25, Police Commissioner Julian Fantino issued a warrant for Brant’s arrest.

In June 2007, the Mohawks of Tyendinaga illegally blockaded CN lines and highways running through Mohawk land near Deseronto, Ontario. Brant participated as a Mohawk spokesperson as part of the National Aboriginal Day of Action on June 29, 2007. Brant was charged with 9 counts of mischief and breach of bail conditions. He turned himself in on July 5 and was denied bail. Denied bail again on August 10, Brant was finally released on August 30 with $50,000 bond and a $50,000 surety. The courts have consistently denied Brant the right the associate with Tyendinaga protests.

On April 25, Brant was again arrested and detained for assault and weapons charges in relation to a confrontation between two men from Deseronto – James Lalonde and Mike Lalonde - and several aboriginal protesters. Brant’s wife, Sue Collis, issued a public statement declaring that Shawn’s weapon was a fishing spear.[3] To date, Brant has been the only person charged.

On May 27, 2008, Brant was put on lock-down for 23 hours a day for 12 days, for misconduct and breaking the prison rules. He was illegally burning sage in his cell as part of a Mohawk religious ceremony.

On June 7, 2009, Brant helped organize a blockade of the Skyway bridge which connects Tyendinaga with Prince Edward County.[4]

On November 1, 2013, Brant announced he is running for elected chief of Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

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