Over the Summer there has been a lot of attention from the popular/industrial media as well as discussions on various blogs including Blog TO. Much of what has been reported has not been well researched, much refutation to the doubting claims of the press can be found on this website. On this page we try to address some of the misinformation.
- Desecration of Haudenosaunee Burial Mounds sanctioned by City Council
Refutation of Torontoist Article, Activists Worry BMXers Are Riding on a First Nations Burial Site, by Steve Kupferman (an American living in Canada) April 19 & City and Firstnations Spokespeople says High Park Mounds are doubtful, April 21, 2011
1. ” Rastia’ta’non:ha, a soft-spoken man with a head of dark black hair, wears a multicoloured tunic-like shirt that trails ribbons, and he carries a walking stick. He’s not a particularly imposing person, but when a handful of kids using some dirt BMX ramps located on a hill at the southeastern corner of High Park see him and some of his compatriots coming, with a few reporters in tow, they hop on their bikes and bolt straight away. They know why he’s there.”
We met Steve Kupferman, Jayme Poisson, and Nick Kozak at Grenadier Restaurant at 5:00 pm on Monday before driving to the Snake Mound. Since they did not know their way there, they started out following us in their car. When we proceeded down Centre Rd., we noticed that they were not following us. We waited for a few minutes, and they had not gone the same way we did. We went back to the parking lot, and they were not there. We then decided to go to the Snake Mound and wait for them there. Upon arrival, at Spring Road Parking Lot, they still had not arrived. We waited for a few minutes, and then decided to proceed to the Snake Mound from there. When we got to the edge of the South Duck Pond, we could see some people biking on the Snake Mound from where we were at. All of us had walking sticks and once we got close enough we could see that 2 of the 6 or 7 youths had shovels and were digging at the Snake Mound. As soon as we got to the south barricade, the youths took off and ran out the North entrance with their bikes as they had also been biking illegally in an area posted “no biking permitted” and “no access” contravening by-law 608:29 a-d. At that point the media still had not arrived. We noted the defacing of the city signs, and one sign had been bent so the words could not be seen on it. A couple of our people, proceeded to the North end, and noticed that the north barricade had been knocked over by the bikers. Then at that point the media people had arrived, and had just missed the bikers illegally biking and building ramps. Once the media arrived, they began to ask us questions about the site and took photographs. One of our people called over to Rastia’ta’non:ha asking for his assistance in putting the north barricade back up. He walked over, and Nick followed him with his camera taking pictures along the way. Nick did take several photos of Rastia’ta’non:ha putting the barricade back up, which he could have used, showing the defiance of the bikers. Rather than doing he chose a photo of Rastia’ta’non:ha, that was intentionally taken as to make Rastia’non:ha look small, and to also make the damages that the bikers have done to the site insignificant. A photographer friend of mine pointed this out, and stated that picture was posted on purpose, to show lack of respect for Rastia’ta’non:ha. They could have also used the photograph that they took of Rastia’ta’non:ha bending the sign back to show the writing on it which they did not. As soon as Chief Arnie General pointed out that the youths were across the other side of the pond, the media took off and went to talk to the bikers. They stated they would be back and asked us to wait there for them. We waited there for them a while, they did not come back, and we left the site. It is believed that this whole scene was staged by the bikers and their leaders, because in the past Dave Stewart, a 40 year old bmxer, who posed as a parks employee and supplying shovels to the youths, knew of the meeting that was to take place @ 7:00 pm and also knew somehow that we were meeting the media at the park @ 5:00 pm. Strangely enough there were no adults present with the bikers, just 13 or 14 year olds. That way they can continue the myth with the media present, that it’s just kids who are involved with the illegal bmxing activity. A tactic that Dave Stewart and Chris Silva their leaders have used before when police have been called numerous times to enforce by-law 608: 29 a-d.
2. “the Taiaiaiko’n Historical Preservation Society (many of whom refer to him simply as “Dave”), contend that the bike ramps are located directly on top of what they call “Snake Mound,” an Iroquoian burial mound, possibly 1,000 years old, or even older.
Whatever the mound was 1,000 years ago, right now it’s absolutely a BMX park. Bikers have sculpted the steep dirt slopes into an obstacle course surprising in its scale and complexity. It’s hard to imagine it having been built without backhoes.”
We informed Steve and the other media, by the press release, and in person, that the Snake Mound is 3,000 years old not 1,000 years old. It is also not officially a BMX park, as City by-laws prohibit this kind of activity in High Park off of the paved pathways. Youths and adults have destroyed this site with shovels, as we have located at least 20 shovels over the past 2 years on site, no backhoes or heavy equipment was ever used to create the illegal jumps. The illegal jumps were removed in 2009, and then rebuilt by the bikers again illegally in 2010.
3. “On closer inspection, they’re all about 14 years old. Their first reaction when a reporter calls out to them is fright. But one of them, a boy named Alex, who is pint-sized but brave, steps forward and handles the interview.”
The media has portrayed Alex and his friends as being very polite. Contrary to this, comments have been made by the bikers onhttp://www.blogto.com/news_flash/2010/08/resident_wants_high_park_bmx_ramps_gone/. Mark / November 19, 2010 at 10:25 AM Don’t worry about money Cornelia. Thanks for your support, Alex has a rake and a shovel, and thats all we need. Mark / November 18, 2010 at 6:36 PM To any respectful bikers out there, my friend Alex and I are trying to build some dirt jumps behind the tennis courts at 45 Southport street. Any help, no matter how small would be greatly appreciated. They are not as good as the ones at High Park, and they never will be due to limited space, but still, they’re better than nothing.
Alex and Mark are friends… and Mark certainly had a lot to say on TO blog site .
Mark In replying to a comment from Cornelia / November 19, 2010 at 8:07 PM
It’s actually not legal. I was digging today, and the landowner said I could still bike there, just not dig, which kind of defeats the whole purpose…
Mark In replying to a comment from sdisturber / November 26, 2010 at 5:47 PM Hey assmunch: Maybe the cow will jump over the moon someday. Oh, and by the way, I still haven’t seen you in court, numbnuts.
Mark In replying to a comment from sdisturber / November 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM idsturber, I’m sorry for not making my meanings clear in my last comment. What I meant was, that before the jumps were closed, I had no idea it was illegal to ride in the park.
Polite? Terrorist Threats, Racist Comments….
CHRIS SILVA / December 6, 2010 at 6:26 PM Hey Corn-holio,
I’ve never done any diggin’ at High Park but I did ride them and I will continue to whenever I’m not surfin’ your Corn-hole!
Drifter made a huge impact on my life, you must understand I’ve never touched drugs in my life and I thanks Drifter for showing me an example of what NOT TO DO. Dave (I will refer to him as Dave in present tense) is now clean and learned from his own mistakes, clean over 3 years I might add! Everyone is allowed to make mistakes in their lives as long as they learn from it and it makes them a better person.
He also did teach me to stand up for myself and speak out when someone is talking bullshit… and you Corn-holio are full of bullshit.
This is my last reply to this blog cause it’s fuckin’ retarded and I have better things to do with my time.
Go Away / August 15, 2010 at 12:12 PM Hey Rhodes, F@CK OFF!!!!
DH / August 15, 2010 at 7:08 PM I’ll like to do an environmental assessment of Rhode’s house. How many species did his home displace? In a park with a giant pool, baseball diamonds, PARKING LOTS and other buildings, this guy is worried about dirt mounds. Give me a break.
Brian In replying to a comment from sdisturber / August 20, 2010 at 10:16 PM Aha! I’m pretty sure I saw this troll, SDISTURBER, poking around in the dog poop bins in the off leash area collecting choice specimens to take back to it’s newspaper-filled, hamster-piss drenched bachelor apartment. I’ve got your number SD and it’s YOU who’d better watch out, you squirrel molesting creep
dvc In replying to a comment from red / November 6, 2010 at 9:31 PM You wanna know something? Adrian Rhodes is the type of person that needs to be carried out of this city by the scruff of his neck and dropped into a large body of water without a life preserver.
lilred In replying to a comment from sdisturber / September 3, 2010 at 5:09 AM
laugh my ass off ..maybe your ancestors shouldn’t have traded their land for a box of liquor…you dont have a clue what they did ciz you weren there.but it seems they lost the land somehow eh?? traded for tobacco maybe?? a blonde?? i think if you want ppl to stop and listen ..you need to say things they will take seriously ..cuz honestly ..YOU are a JOKE..its ppl like you give the rest of the natives a bad name… you know what a natives favourite wine is?? give us back our land!!!
Marcus In replying to a comment from sdisturber / November 28, 2010 at 7:35 PM we also traded blankets with you…blankets with small pox ahaha the British conquered you, live with it. done and done
shutup In replying to a comment from Cornelia / December 7, 2010 at 8:41 AM If I wasn’t out riding my bike, I would be exploring some of my other hobbies. These include graffiti, theft, and smoking crack. But seriously, I have never seen a single citizen be harassed as they pass these jumps. But I can assure you, if these jumps are demolished, Park citizens will be harassed, every car parked in high park will have its windows smashed and tires slashed, and every building will be littered with fresh graffiti.
Comments on You tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sw4eL4rGGE
you fcucking stupid drunk crack head natives i was riding my bmx bike there today try and stop me from riding my bike in my citys park 2000kx125 6 days ago
thats why you natives go and drink and shoot up in that park and smash your bottles and leave your needles around , i love how your guys respect the land !! go back to your 6 nations 3rd world countrys out in thunder bay or the HALFWAY HOUSE ON QUEEN ST . 2000kx125 5 days ago
you stupid natives at the end of the day i just like riding my bike and getting exercise !! try and stop me !! 2000kx125 2 days ago
Rustee24 Apr 19, 2011 4:42 PM
Six Nations? The Caledonia Terrorists? Up theirs. They are nothing but thugs and thieves, supported by the cowardly OPP and their puppet-master McGuinty.
Who are the Terrorists, thugs and thieves? Not Six Nations people. As clearly seen by the racist and terrorist posts of bmxers, as they are the Terrorists, thugs and thieves!
4. “Rastia’ta’non:ha, for his part, has been cataloguing evidence on the Taiaiaiko’n Historical Preservation Society website. On Monday, he narrated a PowerPoint presentation of some of his most compelling proof to an appreciative audience at a Roncesvalles Avenue café. He has oral history; he has astrology; he has an arrowhead, and some fragments of what might be bone or ceremonial objects, but could also just be rocks (DNA analysis on the bone is, he says, pending). He also has some interesting but inconclusive ground studies by an archaeologist allied with his organization. What he doesn’t have is independent verification of his claims.”
The independent verification, was requested of the City through Kevin Bowsher’s office, whereas THPS had offered to foot the bill for the GPR to be done throughout the park, at an estimated cost of $40,000, costing the city nothing . Why would the city refuse such an offer, and then hire someone who is un-licensed, and as a shoddy record? One can only suspect is that they hired someone who they knowingly has not found evidence at many other sites, so that way the city can use this archaeologist’s reports as a way of writing off the whole park, which is what they have done with the reports. It’s obvious that the city did not want to allow an archaeologist in the park to do their assessments that would actually verify that there are burials in the park. Mr. Williamson and ASI has a record of threats and intimidation of other smaller archaelogical firms in Ontario, thus today making ASI the largest firm, because it has been noted that they have “vacuumed up all of the contracts”. This was also the case in Toronto until March 2011, when the city finally posted the initiation of the Archaeological Master plan, to open bidding, something they have not done, in the history of such plan, as they have automatically given the contract to ASI. Now that THPS has raised questions about ASI and Ron Williamson’s http://taiaiakon.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/att00080.pdf ability to perform archaeology and do it legally, investigations are pending from both the City and Ontario government levels since we have made them aware of many of his questionable activities. Because ASI has been awarded so many contracts in the past, they are unable to keep up with requests for the reports in a timely fashion, therefore many of their staff are un-licensed due to late reports or not submitting reports at all.
As explained at the presentation on Monday evening , because of time constraints ( 2hrs) this only allowed THPS to do a short presentation on its efforts to prove what has been found at High Park. In order to give the issue justice, the presentation should have been for a whole day. We have more than just oral history, astrology, an arrowhead (3000 years old) some fragments of bone and ceremonial objects. As we have boxes of ancestral items that have been collected from the surface of the ground from Bear Mound, Snake Mound and other mound sites in High Park. Only a small portion of recorded data was shown. There is only a requirement by the Ontario Ministry of Culture of 1 artifact being found on a site in order for the site to be registered as an archaeological site. The number of artifacts found on site, would easily register the site as an archaeological site once a site is registered, any alterations done to the site without an archaeological permit, carries a fine of up to $1,000,000.00. The Bear Mound is a registered archaeological site, and has been by the Ontario Ministry of Culture since 2003, not just a rumored archaeological site as suggested by the author of this article. Ground Penetrating Radar was performed by The Archaeologists Inc, in 2008, verifying the existence of 3 large burial pits in the Bear Mound, an independent study done by licensed Archaeologists. Steve Kupferman referred to these scans as “inconclusive” whereas at the meeting Rastia’ta’non:ha stated that Mr. Ronald Williamson, an unlicensed archaeologist for the last 11 years, said that the scans were inconclusive and that THPS and the Confederacy does not agree with his conclusion and that we believe that the scans are conclusive.(http://taiaiakon.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/letter-for-dave-arcgeology.pdf) This is the statement that should have been used by Steve instead. Steve’s statement was asked by Rastia’ta’non:ha to be retracted, Steve refused to retract the errors in his statements. Steve also asked Rastia’non:ha what it would take for the city to prove to us that there was nothing in the Snake Mound? Rastia’ta’non:ha responded by telling him that we are offended by any such suggestion as we know what is there and have already collected much tangible evidence and documentation on the sites in High Park, and we know there are burials there. Little does Steve know that in the fall of 2009, The Archaeologists Inc did submit a proposal to do GPR throughout the park, including the Snake Mound, and that proposal was refused by Kevin Bowshers office. Instead City Parks hired an un-licensed archaeologist to do Stage 1 and 2 assessments throughout the park. Mr. Williamson and ASI already have a record at various other municipalities of doing shoddy and questionable work whereas they have lost many contracts to other bona fide licensed archaeologists to come and clean up the messes they have created.( http://taiaiakon.wordpress.com/archaeology/ron-williamson-not-a-licensed-archaeologist/) High Park is just another example of Mr. Williamson not being able to find anything, meanwhile they have created an Archaeological Master plan, including most of High Park with archaeological concerns. THPS have been able to find much tangible unquestionable archaeological material throughout, and not just rocks, as suggested by Steve Kupferman .
Mr. Kupferman claims that THPS doesn’t have independent verification of its claims.
Our website is loaded with proof of our claims and from many independent sources.
Additional Critique : Toronto City Council has ignored HPACC requests to meet with their representatives, as there has been no meeting of HPACC since last September 2010.
Toronto City council has allowed the desecration of High Park, despite the years of .pdf files in which the protection of High Park was requested as well as the concerns of HPCAC. The LAWS/Bylaws must be enforced whether the area is “believed” to be a Mound or not.
From 1885- 1922 Documentation has been found in the form of old “Globe” articles available at the Toronto Archives and views of some of these articles are available through Google Books on-line, as there is reference to an ” Indian Tombstone” previously located at the Northeast corner of High Park, removed when Bloor Street was constructed. This “Indian Tombstone” was a petroglyph rock containing the symbols of the mounds within High Park.
- High Park Indian Burial Letters in Toronto Mail Dec 30, 1885 – Jan 7, 1885
- High Park Indian Burial Letters in Toronto Mail Dec 30, 1885 – Jan 7, 1885 cont\’d
- High Park Maps and More Robert Orr Findings
- Orr Found 7 or 8 Human Skeletons High Park
- Orr finds Red Paint Burials in High Park 1921
- Red Paint Burials found by Robert Orr in High Park
Another important fact that has been totally overlooked by the author of this article is the fact that by-law 608: 29- ad has been violated, and by his taking the side of the BMXERS , he is encouraging the breaking of a City By-Law.
The author is also encouraging the destruction of an environmentally sensitive area, and has been designated by the City of Toronto since 1978. At that time it was recommended by the City of Toronto, that the area be cordoned off with fencing and not publicly assessable.
Also in the article the Torontoist refers to Chief Arnold General, as an elder. Yes he is an elder, with much respect in many places, the author failed to mention, that Chief Arnold General is a Six Nations Confederacy Chief who holds a hereditary title within the Six Nations Confederacy, as Beaver Clan Onondaga Chief. The Torontoist failed to mention that there were Clanmothers and Faithkeepers on site that day and did not ask them any questions to see what they had to say about the situation. Very disrespectful of our women titleholders. The author doesn’t know that these same and other women from Six Nations, came to High Park in the summer of 2009, and walked the park from the Bear Mound to the Snake Mound and determined that all of the mound sites in High Park needed to be preserved and protected at all costs. That’s the direction that THPS has followed in this issue and will continue to do so. The action of the Torontoist , along with all of the others named in an article posted on the Torontoist on April 21, 2010, to discredit the mounds in High Park, the Clanmothers, Chief Arnold General, THPS and Rastia’ta’non:ha, will only lead us to take further legal and civil action.
There is already a whole page on our website devoted to Mr. Williamson and ASI’s questionable activities Ron Williamson Not a Licensed Archaeologist throughout Ontario, including Mr. Nahrgangs Kris Nahrgang questionable claims of being a chief. Jet Island email-Kris Nahrgang (disgusting attitude towards the ancestors)
To address David Donnelly’s slander, a white lawyer, who claims to be a spokesperson for the Huron-Wendat. What’s your clan and nation David Donnelly? None you say, we knew that you are not Onge Onwe, as Michel Gros Louis ( Tharehtade) , traditional leader of Huron-Wendat questions your right to speak on behalf and represent the Huron-Wendat, as David Donnelly carries no wampum to speak on behalf of the Huron-Wendat nor does he legitimately represent the voices of all of the Huron-Wendat people.
The Torontoist also claims that Huron-Wendat represented by David Donnelly are and the Six Nations are satisfied with ASI’s reports on High Park that they are not mounds. Unfortunately the opposite is true, when it comes to the legitimate government of Six Nations Confederacy. Six Nations Confederacy Letter Concerning Mr. Williamson & ASI reports
Band Councils have no legal jurisdiction outside of their reserve boundaries, and should never be consulted when it comes to land or sacred site issues.
It was also mentioned that mounds in the Red Hill Valley turned out not be mounds, when Williamson and ASI doctored aerial photographs from the 1950′s. There is much evidence that they were mounds, including a report on “Pea Hill” , a 4,500 year old mound destroyed by Mr. Williamson and ASI within 2 hours with a backhoe, when bone fragments, red ochre, 2 pioneer children ( Lands) , and a copper axehead ( 4,500) years old had been found.Pea Hill Report Red Hill Valley.
There are some photographs on our website showing the destruction of the mounds, and a Neutral/Erie Longhouse village in the Red Hill Valley gallery
The Torontoist article from April 21, 2011 is shameful and loaded with a lot of lies and things that can easily be contested in a court of law. We are most certain that now you have put it in writing and also provided names discrediting, slandering, defaming the mounds, Rastia’ta’non:ha, the Clanmothers, Chief Arnold General ,THPS, and all of our supporters, legal and civil action will take place very soon. Damages of our sacred sites and slanderous actions against us will be pursued.
It is a sad day to report that the Ancestral Burial Mounds in High Park, Toronto, ONT are being allowed to be desecrated by the city and questionable leaders and archaeological “consultants”. Especially unlicensed ones.
It is even sadder that a Seneca man who has devoted about 10 years of his life without personal gain or monetary reward, is being ridiculed as well. It is saddest that an Onondaga Chief, Arnie General, is being made to look like a fool.
It is disgusting that Traditional Clanmother’s who visited the High Park Ancestral Burial Mounds on Monday, April 18, 2011, weren’t even interviewed in the articles.
And what are we going to do about it?
Well, we have “opponents” including one Chris Nahrgang, an alledged Kawartha First Nation’s “Chief” that no one ever even heard of until the last few years when some of the Archaeological “consultants” got involved with him. Then, we have an attorney mentioned in the article that is SUPPOSEDLY representing First Nations, but apprently failed to do that at another location where hundreds of ancestral remains were destroyed in Canada.
We have all kinds of people, claiming to be something that they are not,
OPPOSING the fact that there are Sacred Ancestral Burial Grounds in High Park, Toronto.
Here’s the first slap in the face. Read the comments from the article to get slapped again and again if you are an Indigenous Person.
Is the article about preservation or even investigation of High Park Mounds? Or more about denigrating the purpose of a People and propping up a BMX park there? In Ontario, journalists bascially can have an opinion, but it is felt that this went too far.
Then another paper did this story:
Read the slap in the face. Then read the 125 comments to get slapped again and again.
Now read todays article and be sickened:
Now read the truth:
Pass this on and comment where you can. This is intolerable behavior on behalf of Toronto, the city, the “consultants”, the bureaucrats, and shameful of those who say they are representative and others are not. Every mound is sacred and deserves to be preserved, whether it is “culturally significant” (whatever that means), or a smaller number of ancestral remains in several ossuary “pits” which ground scanning methods have confirmed to be at High Park.
These newspapers need a few good people to straighten out what the truth is in this matter.
I pray that you can help.
Feel free to circulate. There is a “Refutation” on this site link. PLEASE comment there as well:
- New Facebook Page- Friends of Snake Mound, High Park, Toronto,Ontario
- New Photos Added to Gallery
- Haudenosaunee sites of cultural importance damaged in Toronto\’s largest park-Rabble.ca
- Ron Williamson not a licensed archaeologist
- American Indian Religous Freedom Act
- Recent Article in Town Crier
Kevin Bowser’s erroneous statements from the article:
he said. “That area has probably been used for biking for 20-30 years.”
Note: There is no proof that the area has been used for biking for 20-30 years, in fact others who have been using the area have stated that the major damages have occurred within the last 4-5 years. BMXing did not become popular in Toronto until the late ’90s.
Bowser said ” the city did at one time look into the history of the land and found no proof that the land was actually a burial ground at one time.”
Note: Robert Orr, an anthropologist, did find burials in High Park from 1885-1922. These burials have been recorded in news articles formerly the “Mail” now the Globe and Mail as well as Ontario Archaeological resources.
There has been enough archaeological material found on the surface of the ground, to prove that it is an archaeological site, many times over.
Kevin Bowser, manager of parks for the Etobicoke York District, said “no one is permitted in that part of High Park and staff is working with the police to enforce the law.”
Note: The agreement made with City Officials and Police with the Indigenous people and their supporters on August 28, 2010 did not include police enforcing the law on Indigenous people going to the site to hold ceremony. In fact an allowance was made with them to continue to hold ceremony at the site, and only bmxer’s and bikers would not be permitted at the site. Indigenous people have treaty rights which permits them to be there at any time, for fishing, hunting, gathering, camping and ceremonial rights. See treaties posted under links area. Indigenous people and their supporters will continue to use the area for ceremonies irregardless of Kevin Bowsers erroneous statements and methods will be used to stop the continued use by bikers and bmxers from further destroying our ancestors resting places. See report and map designating High Park with ANSI designation. All of the park is a protected zone.