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I guess Stephen Harper thought he was doing something when they came up with a new “land claims process” for Canada . And I’m sure the Crown had hopes that it would allow them to usurp the authority from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy once again and hand it over to their Elected Council which would then give control back to the Crown over the current process that is on-going between the Six Nations and the Crown. This new lands claim process may very well be something that works for other Nations, but it doesn’t apply to the Six Nations Haudenosaunee. Our treaties and relationship with the Crown are different, and Canada , in right of the Crown, accepted that responsibility and further acknowledged and re-affirmed that relationship when it entered into discussions with the representatives of the Six Nations under a signed agreement in accordance with the Two Row Wampum and the Silver Covenant Chain.
Our relationship with the British Crown is on a Nation to Nation basis. If the Crown has delegated its Canadian representatives to speak for them at this time, it is in accordance with the Two Row, just as our people delegated individuals to sit on our behalf. SO, the newly designed claims process has NO BEARING on the discussions with the Six Nations regarding Kanonhstaton or any of the lands be it the Haldimand Tract, or all of Turtle Island . This fact is supported by documentation in the Canadian Hansards (which are minutes or records of their parliamentary discussions), in a statement by Mr. Frank Oliver when speaking of the Six Nations, he stated something like ‘the Six Nations are on a different footing than other Indians in Canada as they are Allies and not Subjects of the Crown’. This relationship has not changed nor will it ever change. The only question is whether Canada is a nation. Our Nationhood came from the Creator, it wasn’t created under a corporation such as that of the Crown, and therefore, it is uncertain exactly what Canada ’s authority is. Our authority is clear.
As far as the land negotiations itself, since the Crown had made its offer of 125 million dollars in an attempt to resolve 4 of their claims; our representatives countered their offer suggesting that they take their 125 million, clear title to the Moulton Township lands, return that parcel of land to the Six Nations, and then come back to talk about the rest of our land base. They were also asked to provide a detailed breakdown on how they arrived at the $125 million dollar figure. We met last week, and while they didn’t go into detail on how the figure was arrived at, they did agree to come back in two weeks time with details of their claim on the Welland Canal as well as details on the entire Burtch Tract. Following that, in two more weeks’ time at the next meeting in July, they will provide a detailed explanation of their claim with respect to the GRNC and Block 5, which is the Moulton Township .
And speaking of Moulton Township , the Federal Government believes that the lands within the Moulton Township have decreased in value since they made an offer to Six Nations in1990. That statement of course lead to our representatives suggesting to them that it should make it very easy for them to buy up those lands then, and return them to the Six Nations. It might even save them some money! My question is, how do the homeowners along those lands feel about that??!! Do you realize your government is saying that your lands and real estate value is actually worth far less than it was in 1990. Now if that were me, I’d be asking my government representative some serious questions! And I wonder what the insurance companies think about that.
Bad enough the Canadian public feels that their insurance rates are too high as it is. To think that they have been paying insurance rates that continue to increase annually, but according to their government their property value is decreasing compared to 20 years ago, I think the government and insurance companies, as well as the real estate companies have some explaining to do. Especially if they sold me lands knowing full well that the Six Nations maintained title to those lands and that Canada already acknowledged that fact and made an attempt to buy them out in 1990. One suggestion to the homeowners and potential developers within Moulton Township , as well as the Haldimand Tract would be to get a hold of the Confederacy Council to discuss long or short term lease agreements that are consistent with the original lease agreements arranged by Joseph Brant on behalf of the Six Nations. Our people have maintained that we are more than willing to work with those who are residing within our land base, and that we can arrange a lease that would not only provide security for the homeowner/developer, but it would also provide security for the Six Nations. One that meets the requirements of the original lease which was designed for perpetual care and maintenance for the future generations. The one that Canada uses currently as a crutch to convince the Canadian public that the Native people are living off of the taxpayers, when actually, Canada is living off of our lease revenues and tax base.
In the meantime, the Province is currently working toward getting the lands which house the Burtch Correctional Facility up to standard with respect to the environmental and building code safety so that they can then be returned to the Six Nations (according to original title, and not according to the Indian Act). This was actually part of the ‘Petersons Promises’ at which time we agreed to bring the barricades down off of Argyle Street in May 2006, and only now are they actually getting to it! Talk about dragging your heels! As far as I’m concerned, the land is already ours, given to us by the Creator. It really doesn’t matter how the Crown registers it on their side of the wampum, that’s up to them. All we need to do is start using it. Now mind you, we have used those farm lands for the past two planting seasons, however, it was only done as a lease from the province. That’s crap. We don’t need to sign any lease to use our own lands. We only need to take possession and begin using them again. And that goes for the rest of the lands within the tract as well. If the Crown thinks that it is going to delay the resolution process in order to give themselves time to sell off the lands to developers or bring in third parties in hopes that they can avoid restoring those lands to the Six Nations, just isn’t going to cut it any longer. We’ve told them over and over again from the beginning. You need to stop development of lands while we work out our grievances.
The more they continue issuing development permits and selling lands that they hold no title to, the more our people will get frustrated, and the development will be stopped. That isn’t a threat, that is just the reality of the way it is. Our lands were stolen from us by the same manner and if we have to take it back parcel by parcel, don’t think we can’t or won’t. It is the honour of the Crown that is in question, not the honour of our people. We have been honourable to the point of disregarding our very own future. Now it is time we took action to rectify that.
Speaking of which, I hope that all of those nations who had indicated that they would be taking a national day of action on June 29th will continue to do so. The step by the Canadian government in setting up this new land claims process is a step all right. But is it a step in the right direction? It is a process which the Canadian government will still have control over, and one that they’ve put caps on and will no doubt have restrictions on. What they are really saying is something to the effect of: “Ok, we admit that we stole your lands, and now that hundreds of years have gone by and we’ve totally destroyed the environment, we’ve finally developed a policy in which we will give you money to compensate for your loss, but we’re still going to decide when and how we will give you that money. Oh, and by the way, we can only give you up to a certain amount of money so if we believe you deserve more than the base amount that we’re willing to give, then we’ll have to look at resolving your claim long after we get through the easy ones, and so we’ll put you on the waiting list.” Is this process really that different than the current one being used? In the meantime, they continue to gobble up the land base and continue with the raping and devouring of what’s left of the forests, medicines, and natural vegetation of those lands, not to mention the wildlife that exists within. They’re proceeding with the intent of building mini malls, parking lots, housing development, mining and other large corporate industries because, after all, development & progress, that is the way of the future, right?... …………….or is it?!
And by the way, I’m writing this update from Thunder Bay , and having traveled along Hwy. 17, through many of our sister territories, it is an amazing opportunity to be able to enjoy the beauty and magnificence of the mountains, the lakes, all of the gigantic trees and mass forests. It really is overwhelming. It’s one of those trips that allow you the opportunity to see through our ancestors’ eyes what was given to us, and what we are the caretakers of. To enjoy the stillness and natural beauty and to see exactly what the immense power of Creation really is. At least what hasn’t been totally destroyed by clear-cutting yet. We saw a black bear crossing the highway just across an area where they are clear-cutting to build a road. Makes you think about that bear and what he was thinking huh? Do we as human beings even think about how our actions of progress have affected the rest of Creation and their natural habitat? They probably have signs in the bush that say “warning, human crossing” to alert the critters of our invasion. It brings one’s heart and mind right back to why our Onkwehonweh brothers and sisters--- not only in the northern territories and the territories within the North American continent, but Onkwehonweh all over the entire world--- have been fighting desperately to stop the clear cutting, the polluting of the rivers, lakes and streams and the rest of our earth. To stop the destruction and development of our homelands. To stop the encroachment into our territories and the interference with our hunting and fishing, and our natural way of life. We each need to remember that we are one with Creation., and that we are just as much responsible to care for the animals, the plant life, the waters and every living thing that gets its sustenance from the earth, just as much as we are to protect the earth itself. This is the balance that we as human beings need to learn to help in the natural process of rejuvenation so that the earth can sustain us, and we her.
And that is why it is so important for all of us to continue to stand together; united, under the authority of the Creator, and in the spirit of protecting our Mother Earth, for the future generations of all. Now THAT, in my thinking, is the way of the future.
And so, the negotiations continue and the rest of the world awaits the next update, as The Universe Turns……………………………
In love light and peace,
Well, it seems like some things haven’t changed in this past year and a half. Canada is still saying they have a legal surrender to the lands of Kanonhstaton. (former Douglas Creek Estates) We’re saying there was no surrender and even if monies were paid for that parcel of land, show us where it benefited the Six Nations. There is no proof. At this past Lands Side Table they as much as admitted that without saying it. They brought their documentation which details the payments made on some of the Caledonia Town Lots, but they admit that on some of the parcels they have no documents to back it up. Only notes in a ledger. Well, it doesn’t work that way. How many of us have been forced to pay a bill twice if for some reason we didn’t keep our receipt and the company to which you paid it doesn’t have a record. They don’t accept that you made a note on your bill that it was paid. They want a receipt. Well, our people want a receipt for the land, and we also want to see where the money went from our trust fund and how it benefited the Six Nations. We don’t want to see how it benefited everyone else, we already know that, and we have PROOF to back that up.
Anyway, the Crown did meet a couple of their goals. They brought their documentation that supports their position on Moulton Township (block 5), and as I said, they’ve brought their work that they completed for the Caledonia Town Lots. The only thing they didn’t do was give a breakdown on how they came up with the 125 million dollar offer for four of their claims. When asked, the response was something like ‘well, there are several ways that Canada might arrive at a figure in their land claims process, one might be taking the land value in 1800’s, interest compounded annually blah blah blah’, and then ‘there are variances or discrepancies on how many acres of land was actually effected with the Welland Canal flooding blah blah blah’…… and after all the beating around the bush, when asked directly for the exact breakdown, the response was “we’re not prepared to give that to you”. Ok, so why did you commit to it then? They admitted they were wrong, they continually say they want to protect the honour of the crown, but when it comes to telling you how they arrived at their idea of compensation, they don’t want to divulge that information, instead their response is like saying “we’re gonna be fair, rational and protect the honour of the crown….but we can’t tell you how we came up with the 125 million.” They can’t give us a breakdown because they have absolutely no idea how they arrived at the figure. They just pull some figure out of the air. It’s like setting a trap, hoping the bait will be big enough to catch something. Sorry, ain’t no suckers in this river of life!!!!! What they don’t want to admit is that this is all part of their “specific claims policy” which has absolutely nothing to do with us. They know we aren’t sitting there under any of their land claims policies, they know they are obligated to adhere to the principals of the Two Row and the Silver Covenant Chain, and yet every chance they get they try to shove their Canadian policies down our throats. Some of our people are ready to shove them right back, (only they mentioned another orifice if you know what I mean.) So for now, our research team will begin preparations to counter Canada’s claim to our land, and when the lands side table meets again in about 4 weeks time, we will give our response to their claim . In the meantime, there is a lot of work going on.
The A& A side table is moving along. Four of the original houses at Kanonhstaton have been taken down and the lands around them leveled. Two more are in the process of being taken down, and that will leave four remaining structures. Work continues on the soil erosion, and efforts are being made to return the land to its most original state. There is on-going efforts to get the cluvert cleaned of the silt, and I think the province is close to realizing that the problem with the water flow under the culvert was a result of the previous housing development on the east side of plank road and has nothing to do with our stopping the development of Kanonhstaton. They might even get to the point of admitting that when you interfere with the natural order of things, (like Creeks and streams), it results in drainage problems and sediment problems in the future (lightbulb finally clicks on over heads !) All they had to do was ask the farmer who lives across the road, I’m sure he has a few things he’d like to tell them!
As far as archaeology, Timmins Martell is nearly finished Phase I of the work on site and the final report will be made to the side table at the end of July. After that, we will have a couple of weeks to respond and address any concerns, and by the end of August it should be ready to present to the community. At some point, a decision will have to be made by the people on whether it is necessary to continue on with Phase II, or leave the land as it is. The fact is, the damage was done when the topsoil was removed prior to our taking back our land, and that damage can never be undone. So, whatever report we get, we’re still left with trying to make a decision on whether or not it is even practical to continue, because pretty much any evidence was removed when the soil was removed. However, there is still the area straight back from Silver Pines that needs to be addressed and that will be the area of concentration if we choose to continue.
Public Awareness and Education side table had a presentation this past weekend with visitors of the Columbia Amazon. It was geared toward information sharing on protecting the environment and the forests, something that as Onkwehonweh, we can all relate to. And the Six Nations should be proud of the fact that they have the largest Carolinian Forest in all of Ontario and we need to work toward protecting that, throughout the tract, not just within our current settlement. The best thing that came out of this event is the re-establishment of relationships. By uniting our Nations in solidarity and supporting one and other in asserting our sovereignty over our traditional homelands; we can work together to stop the encroachment and oppressive actions of the colonial government. .
And speaking of unity, I had the opportunity recently to speak to the Chief of another Nation (out of respect for this Nation I am not mentioning their name or location at this time) who are also currently involved in the fight of their life, over the protection of their lands and environment. It was like somebody had hit the rewind button of a tape of our own reclamation. Threats of injunctions, police action etc., etc., but the thing that stuck in my mind the most was the indignation at Canada, who through their Department of Indian Affairs, thinks they have the right to determine who our people are. And he is absolutely right. This whole thing on ‘status indians’, ‘non-status’, bill c31’s….it was all designed to undermine the custom of our matrilineal society that determined who you were, what clan and what nation you were. And while they hate us using the word, it was all part of the GENOCIDE used to try and rid the world of, (according to their Indian Agents) “the Indian problem”. The only “Indian problem” in the history of the Onkwehonweh is the ‘Indian Affairs’, ‘Indian Act’ and those ‘Indian Agents’! And speaking of genocide, at the lands side table that I missed a few weeks ago, I’m told that Sub-chief Leroy Hill hit em good with presenting the fact that Canada is guilty of something like 9 out of the 10 examples of genocide that the United Nations uses as a basis of determining a Nations’ guilt on the crime of genocide. The worst part of it is, they are STILL guilty of this practice and no-one is holding them accountable. So the question is, why does the United Nations have those policies if they refuse to hold their member States/Nations accountable to them. And get this! The D.O.J. lawyers’ comment was that it wasn’t intentional, and therefore they are not guilty. I wonder if they would have accepted that lame excuse during Hitler’s reign. It’s like saying you’re not guilty because you didn’t get caught. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.
Anyway, talks are on-going. The side tables, with the exception of the Consultation Side Table, have been meeting quite regularly. The Consultation table hasn’t met, I believe, since their federal and provincial representatives walked away from the table the day our people stopped the development in Hagersville. But lets face it, they aren’t consulting, and that puts them in violation of their own laws, which require them to consult. So far, Canada and Ontario have continually refused to stop selling our lands & to stop issuing permits for development; so what is there to talk about? They have failed to protect the interests of their own citizens, and have left us no alternative but to do whatever it takes to protect the interests of our future generations. Any developer, banker, realtor or resident is crazy if they believe the current position of the province which is “business as usual along the Grand River ”; because the bottom line is, we are the only ones that can show clear title to our lands. The crown patents that were unilaterally issued back in the early 1800’s aren’t worth the PAPER they are written on, and they do not guarantee to the buyer that development will not be stopped. It is time the federal and provincial governments CEASED this FRAUD against its citizens, because in my way of thinking, it is nothing less than extortion. They continually extort taxes on lands that they have no legal title to, and they continue having their taxpayers foot the bill when they enter into so-called “negotiations” over land that they are claiming. And its crazy how they’ll spend millions of your tax dollars only to admit they are wrong, and end up paying out a settlement, sometimes for less than half of the cost of their defense. Doesn’t make much sense to me, but again it’s the taxpayers who are being frauded, you just haven’t gotten sick enough of it yet and therefore allow it to continue. At least our Nations are looking out for our interests. I’d hate to be a Canadian under the current circumstances. No-one is looking out for your interests, except for maybe the Haudenosaunee.
And what in the world does the Haldimand Council think its going to accomplish by trying to demand a seat at the negotiations. First of all, they already have representation there. Hellooooo, they are called Federal and Provincial negotiators. What Mayor Trainer and her council are actually saying is that they don’t think that Ron Doering, Barbara McDougal or Murray Cooligan are capable of handling the job, and that they actually think they are going to send Dianne Findlay riding in on her white horse to the negotiation table and suddenly fix it all. Get over yourselves. This isn’t about you or Haldimand Township! Throwing a temper tantrum because you’re no longer being allowed to develop lands that don’t belong to you isn’t gaining you any sympathy from our people or causing a lot of tears to be shed on your behalf. Try having over 900 thousand acres of land stolen from you, (specific to the Haldimand, not including the Nanfan or all of Turtle Island) or having billions of dollars of revenues extorted, or having your trust monies embezzled, the list goes on. And yeah, we get your frustration at having it take so long. You claim to have been held hostage for over a year. Think about the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual bondage our people have been in for hundreds and hundreds of years. Yes, we feel for you….. really! But rest assured, this isn’t specific to Haldimand Township. We have every intention of dealing with every city, town and township and municipality along the Grand River, and if those municipalities, city’s, towns, and townships truly want to see a peaceful resolution, they should be lined up at the door to meet with the Haudenosaunee to talk about renewing a lease for the lands they currently occupy. Perhaps then we’d be willing to sit down and discuss future leases or development of our land. That is, IF it fits into our places to grow and our green plan, and IF they are willing to adhere to the principals of PEACE & FRIENDSHIP set out in the Two Row. Life is simple, its people that make it complicated.
And finally, I have to talk a little bit about the June 29th day of action. One, because I was traveling home that day and I was stopped in traffic at the corner of Hwy #17 and Hwy #69. I said to my mom, “well, its either an accident or our people are demonstrating”. Sure enough, after about an hour things got moving again and for all those who were out there on the corner that day; in the pouring rain, waving flags and standing in unity and solidarity, mom and I were one of the one’s going through, honking the horn in support and waving like crazy. Right On!!!!!! AND I was able to experience it from the travelers side, so no-one can say that we can dish it out but can’t take, cause we took it and were glad to do so! And speaking of taking it, what’s with Shawn Brant being charged and held without bail. I could be wrong, but from what I understand, the Rail line took it upon themselves to willingly stop the trains that day in support of the national day of action, and I also understood that the OPP shut down Hwy.401 on their own. So, being as I’m not a lawyer, perhaps one of you can get back to me on this, but What exactly did Shawn Brant do, and what did he get charged with?????? And how in the heck can the rail line sue somebody else, for actions they willingly took on their own? That’s gonna open a lot of doors for future lawsuits and court actions isn’t it? Sounds like the “Just Us” system at its best!!!
Meantime, we’ll continue in our own battle for Justice. Justice for all of Creation. And as long as we stand in the Light, carry truth as our sword, and honour and protect the Law of the Land provided by our Creator, Creation WILL respond.
In Love, Light & Peace,