Saving the Red Hill Valley

This petition is to inform the public of the importance of the Red Hill Valley and to persuade everyone to help me save it. With your help we can stop the expressway, save the valley and preserve our future. :)
The purpose of this petition is to inform the public of the importance of the Red Hill Valley and to persuade everyone to help me save it.

I am currently a grade 5 student a Prince of Wales public school in Hamilton.

I became involved in the valley shortly after my father in August of 2003. While there, I met David Heatley, who has been fighting to save the valley for 15 years. He first became interested in the valley from his father, who has been fighting to save it for 40 years.

The valley is a beautiful, calming and spiritual place and I have had many interesting walks there. If the expressway destroys the valley, it will be a huge loss for everyone.

I try to visit the valley as often as I can, every weekend if possible. I have also attended rallies to save the valley at Hamilton City Hall and at Queen's Park in Toronto.

The valley once contained many villages, in which natives were born, fished, hunted, played, died and were buried. When they left the land was clean and beautiful and I believe we owe it to ourselves and to their memories to make it that way again.

A native longhouse was built in the valley to provide a place for the valley "protectors" to meet and sleep. A "sacred fire" was lit by native leaders in a roundhouse to provide the "protectors" with a place to sit, think and pray. The first "}sacred fire" burned non-stop for three months, from August 10, 2003 until November 6, 2003. The second "sacred fire", which was lit in a new roundhouse, beside a new longhouse, in a new location, after the city destroyed the first longhouse and the first roundhouse and put out the first sacred fire, was lit by native leaders on November 14, 2003 and has burned non stop ever since. This "sacred fire", like the first, is watched by "fire keepers" day and night.

Thousands of trees have been destroyed, including many that were over 100 years old. Sound barriers have been put up and large holes have been dug for water pipes. Even Though it is very sad to see, the destruction can still be stopped and the damage repaired. But if the Expressway construction is allowed to continue, many animals, flowers, trails and trees may be lost forever.

The city is currently dumping pollutants into the creek and rather than cleaning it, the city is planning to add gasoline and tar runoff from the expressway. The animals using the trees for their homes will be displaced, the animals feeding from the ground will become ill and the creek life may even become deformed. Examples of this may include furry fish and two headed frogs.

The creek will be relocated in many areas. One of these areas, the site of a former native village, will become a contaminated overflow pond where raw sewage will be left to sit and smell all summer, every year. Any children accidentally playing in this may also become ill.

David Heatley, whose native name is Weyetytyake (which means "honouring the ancestors"), believes the city will be digging up over 1000 native sites, including burial sites. Protection of the ancestors is his main concern.

John Buffalo Shield, a non-native firekeeper and valley protector, is currently living in the new longhouse full time. John believes we are all part of the circle of life and that the earth and the ancestors look after us, so it is our responsibility to look after them. John believes he wakes up and answers to the creator each day and wonders who the people trying to put the expressway in the valley answer to.

Only a few native chiefs have agreed to allow the expressway to be built in the valley and many, including Chief Arnold General, believe the agreement they signed is illegal and that expressway construction should be stopped immediately.

Even though a majority of Hamilton City Councillors seem to believe the expressway is o.k., more and more are realizing the city cannot afford it.

Most people I know believe the expressway is very wrong and I believe it is up to us to stop it.

At a time when most people are trying to preserve our forests and natural habitats, Mayor Larry DiIanni believes it is o.k. to sacrifice them to bring more business into the city of Hamilton.

At a time when most people believe we should focus on fixing the problems inside the city, Mayor DiIanni is focusing on making it larger.

While helping to try and save the valley, I have met actors, painters, photographers and writers and I believe they should be our focus. I believe we should be improving our hospitals and schools and not destroying our air, land and water.

I believe the fight to stop the expressway is far from over.

Mayor Larry DiIanni has said that the majority of Hamiltonians voted to build the expressway. I intend to prove him wrong by filling this petition with more signatures to save the valley than votes he received in the last municipal election.

With your help we can stop the expressway, save the valley and preserve our future. :)
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