Crown Estate finally drops charges, allows native american hutter to stay

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri Apr 3 20:30:06 BST 2015

Ontario Withdraws Charges Against Homeless Woman Who Built Her Own Cabin
CBC Posted: 03/19/2015 10:11 pm EDT Updated: 03/20/2015 4:59 pm EDT
Darlene Necan, a homeless woman from northern Ontario, plans to move 
into the cabin she built herself after the provincial government 
withdrew its charges against her in court today.
The First Nations woman was facing charges from the Ministry of 
Natural Resources and Forestry for breaching the Public Lands Act and 
was facing more than $10,000 in fines after constructing a one-room 
cabin on Crown land where her parents once lived in Savant Lake, Ont.
But when Necan opted to go to trial rather than pay the fines, the 
government dropped the charges, 18 months after they were first laid.
"The Crown is of the view that it is not in the public interest to 
proceed with these charges," Crown counsel Scott Dunsmuir wrote in a 
letter to Necan's lawyer on March 17. "In this case the public 
expense of a lengthy trial does not appear to be justified when 
weighed against the gravity of the offence."
Necan said the decision means she'll finally have a home.
"I am happy, said Necan. "This means a lot to me, because I'll be 
going home to where I grew up. I'll be going home to never be kicked 
out for any reason."

Housing shortage on reserve
Necan is a member of the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, but she has been 
unable to acquire housing in that community, about 400 kilometres 
northwest of Thunder Bay, since the reserve was created in the late 1990s.
The 55-year-old spent years camping out when it was warm enough and 
sleeping on relatives' couches during the winters, dreaming of a 
place of her own.
In 2012, Necan and a few others who are also unable to acquire 
housing on the reserve helped build a cabin for an elder who was 
living in a chicken coop in Savant Lake. The following year, using 
donated materials, she started building her own plywood structure nearby.
The government has not issued Necan a permit for her house, a typical 
requirement on Crown land, but her lawyer Michael Leitold said that 
after the withdrawal of the charges she's free to move in.
It's not a precedent-setting case, because it never made it to trial, 
but Leitold said Necan's unwillingness to be pushed out of her own 
homelands is a good example for others.
"Politically and socially, I think we can all draw a lesson from the 
fact that grassroots organizing and grassroots efforts to try and 
achieve small victories can succeed," he said. "I hope that inspires 
others to take a stand against colonialism and oppression."

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