Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Recent Ontario Superior Court Rulings which will Require Six Nations to Deal with Facts that Can No Longer Be Ignored

There are now 63 blog postings on this site devoted to parsing out fact from fiction in the ongoing dispute between Six Nations and the Federal Government (and others).  Based on my archival research in the Indian Affairs Records (RG 10) at the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, and related collections at the Archives of Ontario in Toronto, I was aware of a huge series of misconceptions (e.g., that Six Nations have a legitimate claim to Oneida Township and and along the Plank Road).  The bottom line is that the unsupported, unvalidated, and patently false claims coming from the Six Nations Lands and Resources (see here) and sundry others at Six Nations (e.g., the Haudenosaunee Development Institute), has served to stoke the fires (sometimes literally) which have plagued the communities in a triangle between Brantford, Hagersville and Cayuga along the Grand River. 

Brief overview of the problem:  Since 2006 these factual errors which distorted the truth have triggered escalating violence and intimidation, and have resulted in multi - millions of dollars spent to address an unjust cause.  This belief in the legitimacy of land claims, espoused by a large cadre of individuals at Six Nations, has resulted in actions that have harmed their near neighbours.  Unfortunately with empathy for the citizens of Caledonia in short supply among those who were direct participants, lifting a vehicle off an overpass and dropping it on the highway below, torching the Stirling Street bridge, or destroying a transformer and knocking out power to a significant part of Caledonia were just actions loosely attached to any concept of consequences.  Here the locals who attend the same schools, shop in the same stores, play hockey in the same arena were at the time simply "collateral damage" - and some viewed their neighbours as legitimate targets for violent anti - social acts.  All of this was legitimized by misinformation.

In this blog I have endeavoured to use my knowledge of the situation at Six Nations, my ties to the Community, my lifetime of research into the history and culture of the Six Nations both in New York and in the Grand River - Haldimand Tract, to deliver some factoids that should rattle a few cages. 

A key Court ruling:  While I have provided what I know in bits and pieces across the span of these postings, there is one key article, published in the Globe and Mail ("Canada's Newspaper"), that provides a succinct history based on the opinions and rulings, of one of Ontario's Superior Court Judges in November 2010. The article, seen here, was written by Christie Blatchford and shows in no uncertain terms that the Holmes Report (see here), so often noted in this blog, is destined to have a significant impact on the situation in Caledonia and other areas where the Six Nations claim some jurisdiction. 

While I, and others, may have had the facts at our disposal all we could do with them is write letters to the editor of a local newspaper, or publish articles to the Internet, but it amounts to little more than spinning our wheels.  However with a Court ruling, this can be a game changer.  Thus now the aggrieved citizens of the region could / should expect to see some reduction in the lawlessness, and a more calm and normal day to day life without the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. So now it seems that the stage has been sent for the ball to finally roll towards truth, justice and reconciliation.  Perhaps the route will not be along a straight path, likely one still with many bumps and allowing only a ponderously slow speed, but none the less with forward momentum away from the side trails that lead only to bramble patches.  In other words we can now proceed on the basis of knowing what is fact, and what is fiction and wishful thinking (false beliefs) - backed by the Courts.

Goal of this posting:  My intention here is to place the focus on the ruling of November 2010, and to "round it out", and support it, with a summary of the material included in my recent blog postings, and with some new information about which I have not yet discussed.  As such, this is an opportunity to pause, integrate related material, and reflect on the content of some of the key postings pertaining to this matter.  I will close with a series of recommendations that flow from the data. A bit ambitious, but here goes.

Other players in "the game":  Before we delve into the specific content, I wish to acknowledge individuals and groups who are advocating that all levels of government and the Courts ensure that justice for the true victims of the mess in Caledonia occurs.   Although in the past I may have had some ambivalence about two "high profile" individuals, in the last couple of years I have been more and more convinced of their highly principled stances which have cost them dearly in many ways - they have earned my respect - and I have yet to give them due credit.  They are:

a)   Gary McHale of the Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE) seen here. I highly recommend his new book, Victory in the No-Go Zone: Winning the Fight Against Two-Tier Policing, Toronto, Freedom Press, 2013.

b)   Mark Vandermaas of the Caledonia Victims Project, which can be seen here.

Both of the above gentlemen deserve our gratitude for their willingness to right a wrong, even if it meant being assaulted by Six Nations thugs, and being arrested and going to jail - as has been the case repeatedly. The OPP and Six Nations have a vendetta against these men, which makes reading their work and seeing what their websites have to offer all the more compelling.  Their websites also includes key newspaper articles, legal rulings and so on which are important to any serious researcher of this subject.

c)  Jeff Parkinson of the Caledonia Wake Up Call, which can be seen here.  Jeff has provided some key information on his website, including the visual record (with some humerous side bars) CanaceHD, and Jeff is also the ever present videographer at the protests led by Gary McHale and others.

Other researchers have approached the issues from their particular vantage points:

d)  Christie Blatchford is a well respected reporter (e.g., Globe and Mail; National Post) who was one of the few to provide consistent coverage of events during and after the 2006 crisis.  Her reporting was factual, and as such she reported on matters that some at Six Nations found were hitting a little too close to home.  Her search for the truth resulted in the emergence of a series of "enemies".  At Six Nations, Lynda Powless, Editor and Publisher of Turtle Island News became an implacable foe.  Then there were the White "solidarity" groups who would protest her attempts to speak to university audiences, thereby effectively stifling free speech.  For example students at the University of Waterloo chained themselves to each other via bike locks on stage and chanted, "racist, racist," etc.  She has also had death threats.  The real provocation (to some) came with the publication of her book, Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, Toronto, Doubleday Canada, 2010.  Here she brought together all of the facts pertaining to the matter, showing the world that Caledonia had to face anarchy without the support of government or the OPP to answer their distress calls.  It is essential reading for those interested in the subject.  Her persistent efforts have ensured that Caledonia would never be forgotten - for which she has earned the undying gratitude of residents of the area who felt totally abandoned, and that no one cared.

e)  A third dedicated researcher is Garry Horsnell who has made an important contribution found in a historical research paper he wrote in 2010, complete with a comprehensive reference list (although many of the web links no longer function), which can be seen here. When I first read this article, I realized that I was taken down a peg in my own false belief that I was "the one" who possessed the hard data that would ultimately demolish the prevalent ignorance of many at Six Nations and elsewhere. In a flash I realized that I had been carried away by my own arrogance or lack of knowledge of the full range of community resources.  He is a fellow researcher who, although I have never met him, clearly has a very thorough knowledge of all matters relating to the Six Nations. Anything he writes includes specific references, and so he does not merely spout an opinion (an all too common problem with those who write letters to the editor of a newspaper) without being sure of his facts. I have seen relatively little criticism of his efforts by Six Nations members - the evidence he provides is impossible to refute. Garry takes great pains to send letters to the editors of all local newspapers, and also to add comments to online versions of newspapers such as Two Row Times.

f)  I wish to acknowledge the important contributions of Thomas Kennedy, Alex Westwood, and Alex Biegalski for their contribution to a correct understanding of the so called "Nanfan Treaty" of 1701.  They have exposed this fraudulent document for what it is.

The blog postings which most directly speak to the subject line above:

1)  The topic of Land Surrenders (1841 to 1850) relating to lands in Caledonia and elsewhere within the Haldimand Tract has been addressed here.

There are some persistent recurring false beliefs that, despite the evidence, are assumed to be true by Six Nations and many in the general Canadian community.  These include the beliefs that:

2)  It is required that all 50 Hereditary Chiefs of the Six Nations be present for a Surrender to be valid, which is discussed here.

3)  The Nanfan Treaty of 1701 gives Six Nations special hunting and fishing rights in Southwestern Ontario, and requires that Six Nations be consulted in any development within this geographical area, which is examined here

4)  The Six Nations are aboriginal to the Haldimand Tract, and as such have aboriginal rights such as those of the Cree of Northern Quebec, is outlined here

5)  The Six Nations are the owners of the Haldimand Tract, and are a sovereign people, is explored here

The events surrounding 2006 and their impact on the mind set of Six Nations:  Before turning to the Court ruling of November 2010, background is needed via some history involving events that began in 2006.  The goal is to look at events from 2006 to 2013, interwoven with the misconceptions which have continued to add fuel to the fire.

28 February 2006, was a day when reason and sanity left the southern reaches of the Town of Caledonia.  This is the day that some radicals at Six Nations decided to "reclaim" land along the "Plank Road" (Argyll Street, old Highway 6) in Caledonia, part of Oneida Township.  I will speak to this event with a one two punch, or serious dose, of data.  Among the most serious problems here is that the "reclamation" was for land that was surrendered to the Crown in 1844 and confirmed on 17 September 1845, by 66 Six Nations Chiefs in Council (see here).  While at an earlier date the Six Nations Chiefs did express the desire to reserve blocks of land along the Plank Road to lease out for 21 year periods, in 1844 they rescinded this desire, and instead requested that only the part of Oneida Township west of the tier of lots surveyed along the Plank Road (the eastern most part of the Township) be included in the new Reserve.  Since 1845 (after multiple reiterations of the wishes of 1844 had been expressed by the Six Nations Chiefs in Council) the only part of Oneida Township that legally was included as reserved land is the section included in the present day consolidated Reserve.  Instead the Chiefs requested that all the other lands in Oneida be sold, and the proceeds be placed in their Trust Fund.  Hence all of the violence and chaos and extractions of cash from the wallets of the taxpayers of Ontario was caused by a grotesque misunderstanding of what is fact, and what is belief.  This 40 acre property was owned by Henco Industries Ltd. via the unassailable Ontario Land Registry system.  They had already started building homes in what was to be a large residential development called Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) when all he## broke loose.  It is not my intention to cover old ground here (information and pictures are found in this blog), but merely to state that things soon got ugly, real ugly, when outside elements such as the Mohawk Warriors and various other radical types joined in on the protest.  As Ms. Blatchford says,

Though the worst of the lawlessness in Caledonia - occupiers burned a bridge, trashed a Hydro transformer, set up barricades around town, imposed a native-issued 'passport' for residents and established arbitrary curfews - is over, DCE still is effectively a no-go zone for the OPP, a de facto part of Six Nations and a local eyesore.  It was only with the Caledonia success behind them that Six Nations activists, arguably emboldened, moved on to sites in Brantford and employed the some of the same tactics.

I maintain that "Caledonia 28 February 2006" had a very palpable effect at Six Nations with many (except locals) seeming to leap to their defence.  The ingredients include the addition of the most radical elements to the tinderbox; the White Marxist "solidarity" supporters; the "no - go", "peacekeeper", two tiered policing policy of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP); the Provincial Government acting as enablers by purchasing the DCE property; and the Federal Government attempting to defuse the situation by making generous concessions that failed to look at the evidence.  The result of this dynamic was the subsequent emergence of a "you can't touch us" or "just try it" attitude at Six Nations, which would not have emerged otherwise, and reverberates with little change to this day.  I see it all the time in my discussions with key players from Six Nations.

The Federal Government tried to make sense of the chaos in Caledonia by issuing a chronology.  Their website states, April 21, 2006: Talks begin between the Six Nations/Haudenosonee, the Federal Government, and the Ontario Government. The structure of the current negotiations mark a milestone. For the first time since 1924, the federal government entered into discussions with both the elected Band Council and Confederacy Chiefs. It is understood that both the elected Council and the Confederacy are making strides in moving forward to resolve their governance issues internally. As if this historic rift will ever be "healed" in this century!  Anything is possible, but .......  To me this just shows how out of touch so many in positions of authority are in relation to the "goings on" at Six Nations.  See here for their chronology of events from 2006 to 2009 in Caledonia.  I am not sure why they stopped including entries in 2009, the matter is still ongoing.

Here we also learn that the Provincial Government purchased DCE on 16 June 2006 from Henco Industries Ltd.  This and the following events were destined to emboldened Six Nations, as it seemed that at every turn they could "do no wrong" and were rewarded for virtually every "request" and "demand".  They did indeed get the attention of the Federal Government and the Provincial Government (but as we will see this backfires later).  Here follow some examples from the Federal Government's chronology of 2006 to 2009:

March 29, 2007: Minister Jim Prentice announces efforts to advance negotiations with Six Nations and bring peace and stability to the Caledonia area. The twofold announcement includes $26.4 million toward Ontario's extraordinary costs incurred as a result of the occupation near Caledonia. In addition, the Government of Canada expands its negotiations mandate to allow more flexibility in moving these historical claims forward. Minister Prentice was joined by the Honourable Barbara McDougall, Federal Representative in discussions with the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations.
May 30, 2007: Canada makes an offer of $125 million in respect to four outstanding claims: Grand River Navigation Company investment; Block 5 (Moulton Township); Welland Canal flooding, and the Burtch Tract.
December 12, 2007: Canada makes a subsequent offer to the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations. This offer of $26 million relates to the Welland Canal flooding of Six Nations lands in 1829 and 1830. In developing this offer, Canada carefully considers the history behind the claim and relevant law.
All of the above payouts are highly questionable, and some, such as offering any compensation what so ever for the Burtch Tract lands is patently wrong (see the Holmes Report, and here in my blog).  In what has to be an excellent example of self - destructive behaviour at Six Nations due to the "classic factionalism", these offers were refused - and must have left the Federal Government wondering what it would take, in reasonable terms, to find common ground and reach a settlement with Six Nations. 

Talk about kissing %#$, is it any wonder that beginning in 2007 Six Nations began to feel the power they seemed to hold, and begin to flex their muscles, with the perception that their cause was just (after all both levels of Government kept caving in) and the end justifies the means - so no holds barred and four square to the wind.  The upshot of this is that it is no coincidence that in 2007 we start hearing of a wide variety of new factions (to add to an already overburdened list of factions) at Six Nations.  So various radicals and radical groups emerged from within Six Nations ranks to take a prominent position in what was to follow.  Soon one would hear the names of for example Ruby Montour and Hazel Hill come to the fore as they and others in the general population came to assume that they were "untouchable".  So they and other familiar names began to show up at developments throughout the Grand River Tract - even on lands to which Six Nations had not the remotest claim to anything resembling a legal title.  There were protests at various sites in Hagersville (e.g., the development of the old Northview School property), Cayuga, and a much wider presence in Brantford. 

The tenor of the times led to bold assertions such as the the Haldimand Proclamation having given Six Nations ownership of a special kind (one that does not give the legal purchaser a title free and clear of claims by the sellers 200 or so years ago).  Thus, this viewpoint sees the Six Nations as having a continuing "interest" in all of the lands of the Haldimand - Grand River Tract, and so any development requires consultation with the Six Nations.  Since this claim was not seriously challenged (perhaps because there was a belief that the 29 claims listed on the Lands and Resources website were still outstanding), some at Six Nations decided to "go for broke" and claim that they held rights of consultation under the Nanfan Treaty of 1701 even in the Bruce County area hundreds of miles to the north.  The present author and others have effectively demolished all of these claims, but mere words and facts are totally ineffective in altering the course of actions of some at Six Nations.  Only the Courts are able to change their behaviour - and even here only when fines are levied.  However I am getting ahead of myself.

Thus it is not surprising that at some point someone at Six Nations (or an "adviser") came up with the idea that one could "extract" money from developers for the promise that there would be no protests and work stoppages - as long as the "application fee" was paid - this being part of the "process" for approval of any land development in the Haldimand Tract.  So the Haudenausaunee Development Institute (HDI) was born as the most "in your face" example of the new activist order, if only for the sheer moxy of being able to elbow their way through situations to cower their adversaries and make them pay - literally.  "Interim" Director Hazel Hill, and legal adviser Aaron Detlor (the "mystery man"), set to work and this tag team would routinely demand a fee from anyone proposing to build just about anything within 6 miles of the Grand River, justified by the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784.  The going fee was $7,000 for a modest residential development, or $3,000 for a commercial building. 

The reach of the HDI extended even further as they demanded to be included as "monitors" at archaeological sites in Southwestern Ontario, for example Hamilton, which they justified as being under their jurisdiction via the Nanfan Treaty of 1701.  Their actions were unilateral since an agreement had been reached between the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and the Professional Archaeologist's Association of Ontario (PAA) to have monitors recommended by SNEC and trained by the PAA.  During the training, someone brought up the "fact" that the elected council does not represent Six Nations, that "the Haudenosaunee Confederacy was the true government". So after 2008 the now the clearly frustrated PAA (see here), was about to see the situation get more complicated due to the politics at Six Nations.  So at any particular archaeological site you would find the SNEC appointed monitors, and one or more individuals sent from HDI - each of the groups expecting to be paid a fee for this "monitoring".  In the case of land in Hamilton owned by one of my family members, the HDI bickering over fees they now expected for their "monitoring" held up the archaeological work and hence development for weeks.  Clearly the HDI were in the process of spreading their tentacles as far and as wide as possible so as to best maximise revenue.  The result was the slowing to a crawl of a process that was put into place by the PAA to protect the interests of Six Nations in relation to cultural resources. 

The primary concern, however, was the pattern of work stoppages at "chosen" sites where, based on the evidence, Six Nations had no business sticking their noses.  See here for the Ontario Superior Court ruling on the intervention of the HDI and Ruby Montour at a development site in the Town of Cayuga in 2008. Many contentious issues are discussed here, and absolutely none end up been accepted as valid.  The costs that were to be levied against the HDI and other parties were to be assessed at trial.  I have no evidence as to whether any such trial occurred.  An interesting side bar here is that the Judge did not accept any reference to rights that may or may not issue from the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, since the latter was about hunting and fishing rights, not land.  No matter how you slice it, Six Nations has no "rights" in Southwestern Ontario based on this document - none.  As I have said previously, all of their settlements north of Lake Ontario were dispersed before the date of the signing of the treaty - so they had zero "rights".  In fact the Mississaugas and allies had occupied the land before 1700 and held it by right of conquest.  The Six Nations were bargaining with something that did not, in any manner what so ever, belong to them.

The entire year was crammed with actions (protests, blockades, work stoppages) that can be seen in the astoundingly long list of newspaper and other articles describing these events.  For 2008 in review and in detail, see here.  Unfortunately the "NumbersWatchdog" site, while including a comprehensive listing with links to virtually all Six Nations - related land matters, stop at May 2010 so from this point on we must turn elsewhere for articles which shed light on what was happening as members of the Six Nations Community continued with their (successful) attempts at work stoppages and related actions.

Of course success breeds a climate where others want in on the action.  Hence other groups emerged on the scene and "demanded" to be heard - feeling empowered due to the events.  More on this later.  While the HDI was only concerned with money, the other groups largely wished to trade land for concessions allowing developers to proceed.  The chaos was becoming the "norm" in Brantford in the world of land development.  These groups sealed their own fate by overplaying their hand as developers were losing a lot of money, and these developers never knew when their project would come to a halt due to protesters appearing on site.  Some developers applied for a Court injunction to stop these illegal acts.

After the overwhelming number of work stoppages experienced by developers in 2008, the Corporation of the City of Brantford sought to obtain an injunction to bring these actions to a halt since they were having adverse effects on the developers, and the City of Brantford.  One case went all the way to the Ontario Superior Court, where information was presented to the Judge to assist in the task of formulating an opinion, and making a judgement.

The ruling of 2010 supported by two documents submitted in 2009:  In the year 2009 two key reports were submitted to Justice Harrison Arrell of the Ontario Superior Court, Brantford. First is the Holmes Report noted above, and the second is an Amicus curiae (Friend of the Court, often a volunteer) Report in the Court action against Ruby Montour, Floyd Montour, the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (including Hazel Hill and Aaron Detlor), and others. See here for the Amicus Report. This document is a prodigious work which examined every angle of the matter in relation to the claims of Six Nations having the "right" to be consulted in any work that occurs within the Haldimand Tract. The over 100 pages provide a largely legal perspective, while the Holmes Report delves in detail into all of the historical records which bear on the matter. Ultimately, it was the persons and the HDI listed in the Amicus Report who were sued by the City of Brantford and are now facing the harsh reality that this was not a game without consequences.  The ruling of Justice Harrison Arrell was presented on 19 November 2010.

It is worth providing an extensive quote from the Blatchford article.  She reported,  An Ontario Superior Court judge has called a sweeping halt to a Six Nations' campaign against development on land in the Brantford area that the reserve claims as its own.

In a judgment released late last week, Judge Harrison Arrell ordered protesters from Six Nations to stop blockading construction sites, cease threatening workers and told the reserve's so-called development institute to quit demanding unauthorized fees and levies.

While the judge didn't outright describe the Haudenosaunee Development Institute's practice of demanding fees from developers as extortion, the language he used made it clear he believed a shakedown was just what was going on.

"I find as a fact that in practice and into the future, it was the intention of HDI to require all developers of undeveloped land to apply to it for a permit, pay the requisite fee and ultimately comply with all HDI requirements - all without any legal authority to do so," Judge Arrell wrote.

"If they did not, their projects would be shut down."

Furthermore, In fact, the judge found, such intimidation was a tactic regularly used by protesters as they "systematically blockaded" work sites starting in 2007.

"These activities escalated into 2008 such that for all intents and purposes, these projects came to a halt," he said, adding that evidence was undisputed that stoppages and confrontations were almost "a daily occurrence."

Also, "The City is not seeking to prohibit protest or assertion of rights," the judge wrote.  "It is, however, seeking to prohibit unlawful activity which includes violence, threats, intimidation, the prevention of access to property on city streets and the collection of illegal fees and tariffs by unauthorized individuals."

The HDI was created, according to evidence at the protracted hearings, by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the traditional, unelected chiefs of Six Nations, in order to bring "process … over their lands in the Haldimand Tract."

The HDI and Confederacy claim all lands within that tract, which runs six miles on either side of the Grand River and includes Brantford and, interestingly, Douglas Creek Estates in the nearby small town of Caledonia, Ont., site of the area's most notorious occupation.

What follows next is of utmost importance.  As I have asserted for many years, as have others, that the Six Nations land claims are invalid.  The Chiefs signed off on all of the lands outside the present Reserve before 1850 - not claiming one acre more than what is included within the bounds of the Reserve as it is constituted today.  Judge Arrell provided a crystal clear ruling that supported what others had been saying all this time.  As Blatchford reported on the Judge's ruling she said that, The lands in question, the judge found in accepting the expert report of Joan Holmes, were in fact "properly surrendered" for sale by Six Nations chiefs in 1844 when they created the boundaries of the reserve, which basically sits between the two municipalities.

Judge Arrell said he found comfort that Ms. Holmes' opinion is correct in the fact that Six Nations, "despite 25-30 years of archival research on their own", have never filed legal proceedings for return or title of the land. A lawsuit filed in 1995 and now dormant seeks only financial compensation.

The judge was required to make only a preliminary assessment of the strength of the Six Nations' claim, but pronounced it "exceedingly weak" at one point in his decision and a "very weak case" at another.

The protests in Brantford began after Six Nations' protesters first occupied Douglas Creek Estates, a residential development then under construction in Caledonia, in 2006. The DCE site is part of the same tract.

Circumstances that could impact the above ruling:  Potential attempts to get around Judge Arrell's pronouncement may take the form of arguments about this or that, as well as a large variety of "mitigating factors" or "excuses" of one sort or another that may or may not take flight.   I will list some of those which I already know are being put into play:

1)  All 50 hereditary chiefs of the Five (Six) Nations listed in the "Great Law" did not sign a surrender, hence it is invalid.  Joan Holmes addressed this issue, as did I with a considerable body of evidence showing that there were never exactly 50 chiefs at any Council meeting or event where a document was signed (except by chance).  Actually many of the titles were extinct in Canada (most of the Seneca for example resided in the U.S.A. and did not take part in Six Nations Councils).  In fact at Six Nations, women, principal men, Pine Tree Chiefs and members of the Tutelo, Nanticoke, Tuscarora and Delaware tribes were also in attendance and their vote "counted".  This attempt to lean on the numbers game is merely a desperation move, and grasping at straws.

2)  I expect that at some point the wording and meaning of the Two Row Wampum, the Nanfan Treaty of 1701 (above noted), the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, the Simcoe Deed of 1793, and such matters will for the umpteenth time be raised from the dead to see if any life can be breathed into them.  Over the years many such attempts have failed in the Courts, but alas if history is a guide, there will be future attempts to resurrect the corpses.

3)  The sovereignty issue, the belief among Six Nations that they are a sovereign people, is certain to be raised once again (there seems to be no limit on the number of times a subject can be brought before the Courts for yet another ruling).  However, precedence via consistent rulings based on the evidence as presented to the Crown and the Canadian Federal Government (on multiple occasions) has been firmly established.  Each time the interpretation is the same, the Six Nations are subjects of the Crown as they were from the earliest transactions dated to the 1600s.  When the Six Nations refer to, "our great Father the King" they are in the clearest possible way telling all that they are subjects of the Crown.  Historical documents showing that the Six Nations were often referred to as "allies" (a general term) of the Crown, does not affect the legal reality that they were subjects of the Crown.  The latter at the time did not have the power to require that the Six Nations do their duty as subjects.  Only the tools of persuasion and bribery could affect compliance in a frontier society.  To the credit of many Six Nations, they were steadfast in their support for the Crown at all times (e.g., Chief John "Smoke" Johnson). The term for equals, including Governors, Indian Department officials and others is "brother", and those of a lesser status such as the Delaware are "our nephews".  When Six Nations sign treaties acknowledging that they are subjects of the British Crown, if there were interpreters present, and especially in recent times when the concept was well understood, the subject should be considered closed. 

4)  When all else fails, play the "victim card", as it would appear that getting people to believe you were mistreated by the Colonial Government or Federal Government engenders an amazing amount of sympathy - especially among those who espouse "aboriginal rights" irrespective of the cause or the evidence.  There is not a shadow of a resemblance between the way the Crown treated the Six Nations, and the manner in which for example the American Republic treated the Cherokee - but there seems to be "leakage" of the latter into the former.  The most classic example at Six Nations is "1924" when the RCMP were instructed to lock the doors to the Longhouse, thus forcing a change from the hereditary to elected forms of government.  True enough, but this was due to the absolute impasse that the hereditary council were imposing on the functioning of the Reserve governance at the time.  Besides, it was the multiple petitions and pleadings from the "progressive" element in the Reserve Community who "begged" the Canadian Government to institute an elected system where education was a criteria, that ultimately wore the Indian Department officials down.  Eventually the Government capitulated, but only because of the strong sentiment in favour of a change to a system that would prove to be more efficient in addressing contemporary issues at Six Nations.  More on this division below.

Some at Six Nations also joined the movement to have the world recognize the role Canada had in "genocidal" actions via the residential schools. While that was true to varying degrees in remote reserves, at Six Nations the Mohawk Institute had been a fixture since 1850. It had trained most of the Six Nations people who became educators. Actually despite all the hype, and the allegations about half of the children dying and being buried in mass graves (a myth perpetrated by a known con man), many elders at Six Nations are appreciative of their time at what some like to call the "Mush - Hole". I have heard some elders say, "at home you got beat, you starved, and you learned nothing; at school you got beat, were given three meals a day, and learned something". Many play the victim and have received apologies and monetary compensation for what at Six Nations is a very controversial subject.  Again, "we are victims" is the message some at Six Nations would have all believe.

5)  Factionalism plagues Six Nations, and dramatically impacts relationships with local communities all the way to the Federal Government.  To this day there are those who refuse to recognize the elected system, and would once again impose a hereditary system on the governance of the Reserve.  No matter what issue arises, there will be disagreement between those who support the elected system and those who support the hereditary system - and there never seems to be any middle ground.  It is "my road or the high road" - end of story.  There are monumental problems of course even if all decided to revert to the hereditary system, including the fact that there is disagreement as to the legitimacy of certain lineages among the conservatives at Six Nations, and there are large gaps in the roster of hereditary chiefs that have not be filled, and there is no immediate prospect that they ever will find a suitable candidate on which to place the horns of office.  Lineages have gone extinct, and most Six Nations members have no recollection of their direct line maternal ancestry.  To properly reconstitute a true representation of the ancient Hereditary Council of the Iroquois League (the Confederacy) is simply not realistic.  Even with a concerted genealogical exploration, bolstered by mitochondrial DNA testing (which reflects the direct maternal line back through the mists of time), there would be problems due to unrecorded adoptions and other "irregularities" - it is simply not practical.  Anything else will be a shadow of the system that was established by the founders of the League. 

In fact the clan system is in total disarray, as portrayed by anthropologists who spent years on the Reserve (for example Goldenweiser in 1912 to 1914, Shimony in the 1950s and 60s, and Weaver in the 1960s and 70s). However, they still maintain that if problems arise, and there is an important matter to be discussed, members of the Community should speak with their Chief (appointed by their Clan Mother) and discuss it with him. Alas, few on the Reserve today known to which clan they belong, let alone the name of the Chief and Clan Mother alleged to be head of this lineage. Those days are long gone, but there is a valiant attempt to keep things going - although with challenges from other groups on the Reserve (Mohawk Workers) who don't even recognize the legitimacy of the lineage of the head Mohawk Chief, the primary Chief of HCCC.

So the largest and most destructive abyss at Six Nations is between those who look to the traditional clan system that is the foundation of the hereditary system from the founding of the League, to today's Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC). The latter operates in a type of parallel universe with the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) - each going their own way, seldom interacting except to exchange heated words - since the latter were accepted as the group responsible for the Reserve governance in 1924. HCCC, despite its lack of an "official" role at Six Nations, is very much alive and reasonably healthy. Generally the two groups cannot agree on anything and are the major faction in a Community riddled with factions (many more since 2006).

 The above factionalism plays utter havoc in getting anything done, and for example making (unnecessary) deals with developers, and quibbling over who should send monitors to oversee an archaeological investigation. When the stakes are really high, things can become very problematic. So far the deals established with companies who wish to install wind generators on land in Haldimand County or the Grand River watershed have been negotiated with Six Nations (either SNEC or HCCC) because the word has gotten around that this is the only way that the project will ever get off the ground. Some "deals" involve lands that are simply within the Haldimand Tract but not presently claimed by Six Nations - although they do claim the right to be consulted in such matters. Some of the "deals" have involved lands (e.g., in South Cayuga Township) that are falsely deemed to be unceded land. The Six Nations still, despite the Court rulings, try to extend their influence over the entire Haldimand Tract - and it boggles the mind that they have succeeded in asserting their authority, or have it recognized, to the extent that companies such as Samsung feel compelled to negotiate with those who are puffed up with beliefs of self importance and aboriginal rights - irrespective of what the facts say. Much of this has been done with the tacit or direct approval of the Haldimand County Council who should know better than to be enablers in these ventures - oh yes, the money, and the environment, oh well .................

Other factions, include Men's Fire (an activist wing of HCCC).  Their profile is fairly low key, showing up at many protests, but having largely a symbolic presence.  However, also emerging from the HCCC is the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), who are without a doubt the most divisive and controversial grouping yet to emerge at Six Nations.  Their role is to ensure that the "process", as defined by HCCC, in relation to development within the Haldimand Tract (and all of Southwestern Ontario), conforms to specifications (in other words the "application fee" has been paid by a developer).  The groups just keep forming, dissolving, and reforming in perhaps a different guise.  While the Mohawk Warriors do have a "presence" at Six Nations, it would appear that the "prime movers" reside elsewhere (e.g., the Akwesasne Reserve in NY, Quebec and Ontario - it straddles all three jurisdictions), the Mohawk Workers have a higher local profile.  As noted in my blog, they represent the Mohawk Nation who they believe are "in charge" at Six Nations.  They unilaterally took control of the Kanata Tourist Centre, thereby ensuring it would not be converted into a health care facility as was the plan.  They basically live there, as far as I know, rent free, and with utilities taken care of by the City of Brantford (although there are periodic threats to shut down services - hollow apparently).  Their focus is on land issues in particular to the north of the present Reserve where the Mohawk resided.  This includes a focus on the Burtch Tract lands.  They have even been able to "convince" some Provincial officials to return the lands of the old Burtch Correctional facility once the area is cleared of environmental hazards.  Their support of the Erie Ave. Guswhenta development was given to obtain about 15 acres returned to the "Mohawk Nation" - which of course does not fly well with the other Five Nations.  And on and on.

6)  The White "supporters" of Six Nations, the Marxists, Communists, Anarchists and radical unionists who revel in parroting terms such as colonialism.  A word that among the latter group is a favourite is "racist", and it allows them to play the "blame game" with this single powerful word at their disposal.  It is very versatile and can be tossed about in a variety of contexts.  Oddly it tends to have the desired effect of closing discussion or censuring people.  I hear the use of the word "racist" from Six Nations people too, some of whom have become clones of their White puppet masters.  It is as yet unclear, but the influence of these White leftists may have been attenuated by the philosophy of "cutting off the head of the snake".  Here some residents and local officials went directly to the graduate student supervisors and the university chancellors who spawned the most vehement radicals.  These officials were informed of the antics of the graduate students who they were counselling or were representing their institution.  This direct action may or may not have helped to reduce the role of the White radicals at Six Nations.  It is also possible that the many good folks at Six Nations have become disgusted with these outsiders barking orders and inflaming an already volatile situation.  Time will tell.

What has happened since the ruling of November 2010?:  So to return to the November 2010 ruling by Justice Harrison Arrell, the question can be asked as to what were the immediate consequences - the long term ones will doubtless take some time to emerge. An excellent summary of the ruling (complimenting the Blatchford article) is found in the "Aboriginal Law Bulletin" of 25 November 2010 - see here.   As a self - identified realist, I know that the problems that have plagued generations will not "go away" unless the Government (Federal, Provincial as well as County) and the OPP assert themselves in such a way as to fulfill their legal mandates.  It is a source of amazement that even in the spring of 2012, a year and a half after the ruling of Justice Arrell, no one stopped a group of radical Anarchist, Communist "supporters" of Six Nations, as well as unions such as CUPE, from orchestrating a "parade" (protest march) shutting down Caledonia for a Saturday while their charade was played out, banners (e.g., Palestinian reflecting the anti - Israel bias of these radical university students) flying, Argyll Street, as well as Caledonia's only bridge connecting the north and south halves of the Town, were shut down while once again the OPP "watched" but did nothing.  There were no legal consequences to the White organizers who simply ignored the Haldimand County by - law requiring them to have a parade permit.   

However in relation to protests and work stoppages pertaining to land held by developers, basically the plea for an injunction was successful, and in general the only recent protests in Brantford have been against Guswhenta, a land development company owned by Steve Charest and two Six Nations members.  The property being contested is along Erie Avenue and Birkett Lane in the Eagle's Nest Tract.  Even recently (2013) there have been protests here and work stoppages since, apparently, the group made a deal with the Mohawk Workers, did not contact the HCCC or HDI to adhere to the "process", and so the whole business has taken on the aura of a dark comedy.  This farce even includes some of the principle players, such as Ruby Montour, from the case which triggered Justice Arrell's decision.  In this case she was supporting the Mohawk Workers against the Men's Fire and HDI representatives of the HCCC.  Go figure.  I have provided considerable detail about this conflict elsewhere in this blog, largely from newspaper articles in the two Reserve papers, Turtle Island News and Two Row Times.  It is likely that the protesters are "getting away" with work stoppages here because the owners are members of the Six Nations community, and so loath to ask for a Court injunction against their own people.

The issuance of "the fine" seems to have put a damper on the ardour of many protesters.  Soon after the ruling by Justice Arrell, and the imposition of a heavy fine to all of the parties named in the injunction, the matter of the fine was appealed.  After tapping into virtually every channel (one of those named, Aaron Detlor, legal advisor to HDI, is a lawyer in Ontario), and appeal process, all were denied and, as the newspaper headline reads, HDI loses appeal - on hook for $350,000 (Two Row Times, 20 November 2013).  See here.  Apparently Detlor hopes to pawn off the fine on "the Community" - that will be a tough sell.

Oddly, the above actions by the Courts have not stopped some at Six Nations from engaging in the same old tactics - but the twist here is that they are using a much more subtle approach - although the process likely began before Justice Arrell's ruling. The land involved is the McKenzie Meadows Development across the road from the DCE site. Here representatives from SNEC had negotiated with the land developer a "compensation package" whereby $1,250 would be given to a language immersion school at Six Nations for each home constructed. I questioned the legality of this manoeuvre, and predicted that it would never fly once the HCCC got wind of the deal. Community information sessions were arranged for November 2013. True to form the entire plan fell apart (more self - destructive behaviour), but somehow those at Six Nations believe that this will bring the development to a grinding halt. Considering Judge Arrell's ruling I fail to see how this is even remotely possible. It will surely go to Court, and the outcome can be predicted by noting the wording of Judge Arrell's ruling - since the same evidence (the Holmes Report) would be brought to bear on the Caledonia matter. I trust that anyone or group from Six Nations who attempts to perpetrate a work stoppage in Haldimand and Brant Counties based on their faulty land claims beliefs have very deep pockets. Rest assured that the Courts will not show leniency in this arena - there is now a strong precedence.

A myriad of problems remain to be addressed.  Another issue of recent vintage, but with roots extending back before 2009, shady enterprises such as the hamburger shop associated with an illegal cigarette shack both on Hydro One land across the road from DCE were, after an outcry of double standard from local citizens, were investigated for code violations in 2013.  I have taken a close look at the premises - the commercial operation could not have met even minimum standards in Medieval times - a blue outdoor portable toilet, no wash up facilities for staff, no plumbing and questions about potable water.  When the Public Health Department became involved they ordered the "restaurant" closed, however some attempt at compliance was apparently made -  the present situation is now known to me.  When the pressure was off, everything just went back to square one.  Tred lightly and don't bother carrying a stick of any sort.  That seems to be the way things "work" around here.  Amazing, but citizen complaints just led to more OPP crack downs on locals, while the owners of the illegal establishments and their supporters were able to call the shots.  I attended one event here where a local resident merely read out a letter of concern about both the hamburger stand and the shop selling illegal cigarettes.  Frankly, based on the OPP response, I was embarrassed to be a Canadian at that time.  The "peacekeepers" were still sticking to their proven ineffective role, and the citizens rights put in the back seat (literally, where they would end up if they failed to comply).  With my own eyes I saw the "favouritism" given to the Six Nations perpetrators by the OPP (including their Native negotiators) as these lawless elements taunted everyone with impunity, showing their true colours in the process.

So the above questionable businesses still operate under the eyes of the Federal, Provincial and County Governments, as well as the Ontario Provincial Police. The latter drive by these "places of business" multiple times a day. They also drive by the howling embarrassment that is DCE today. It looks like a moonscape or burned out shanty town. There was a promise to clean up this tick infested eyesore as part of the agreement with the Provincial Government when the latter purchased the property. If anything, the place looks more run down and depressing today than soon after 2006.

Some recommendations that follow from the information in the postings to date:  So, the precedence has been established for a crackdown on all illegal activities stemming from false beliefs about the surrender of land in the Haldimand Tract.  Here Six Nations Community members in Haldimand and Brant Counties who engage in protests and work stoppages "can look forward to" Court injunctions and heavy fines by virtue of recent Court rulings - but some recent events suggest that the message is getting encrypted or deflected.  I will now, for the first time, step away the familiar fact - based trail I have walked, and onto the much more unsteady, wobbly narrow wooden suspension bridge that will underpin a stroll through the world of opinion.  None the less, it is necessary to take a plunge in unfamiliar waters.  I am of the opinion that it may be sensible and warranted to implement the following actions to ensure that true justice is the ultimate winner in any contest between Six Nations and the general community:

1)  The Federal Government needs to publicly acknowledge the fact that it recognizes the Surrender of 1844 as legal and binding. Garry Horsnell reports that, In a letter dated January 9, 2009, Chuck Strahl, the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada said "the Government of Canada’s position is that the surrender of 1844 is valid”.  I strongly suggest that this information be acknowledged on the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada site (see here) where evidence, whether it be the Holmes Report or their own in house research, can be offered to bolster the Government's position.  A listing of each claim (e.g., Burtch Tract) needs to be followed by a statement such as, "surrendered by 66 Chiefs in Council, at the Onondaga Council House", with reference to the specific date of the instrument or Council meeting.  It is essential that this information is widely disseminated as it is patently clear that Mr. Stahl's statement of the Federal Government's stance is virtually unknown outside an inner circle. 

The Federal Government (and others) should not consider behaviours that amount to appeasement without a clear rationale rooted in the data. The answer is not a Neville Chamberlain type policy - look where that led in the years leading to WWII. It makes no sense to address bogus land claims, that the Ontario Superior Court and Federal Government have both ruled as invalid based on the evidence, with monetary "solutions".  Offering "settlement packages" for land Six Nations has no legitimate claim to, just to defuse a situation, is tantamount to giving in just to ensure that (for the moment) peace returns in a volatile situation. Even flooding from the Welland Canal Feeder or the Grand River Navigation Company, or alleged trust fund irregularities, that occurred 160 years ago are a very big stretch due to the "Statue of Limitations".

To date (with one exception, the railway lands in the Reserve part of Oneida Township) offers of compensation, eminently fair (perhaps to a fault), have been rebuffed, and met with bizarre outlandish demands for settlement. In my opinion, it would not be untoward to offer a one time take it or leave it package which takes into account any possible legitimate claims (e.g., flooding, trust account irregularities for which there is good supporting evidence). Alas, this has seldom worked in the past. The Federal Government attempted to do this in 2007, offering a package deal, but it was summarily rejected.  The harsh reality at Six Nations is that even if the elected council accepted the offer, it is virtually guaranteed that the hereditary council will reject it.  Just the way things are at Six Nations, and that is highly unlikely to change - although I would be most pleased to be proved wrong here.

2)  The Six Nations Lands and Resources should immediately take down all of the misinformation on their website such as the listing of 29 (mostly false) land claims, and revise the website to include what they believe is justified at this point in time.  At present the website gives 2008 as the date when the site was last updated.  What is worrisome is that it was probably this erroneous information on the website in 2006 which led to the justification of a "reclamation" in the south of Caledonia.

3)  Six Nations members who contravene the law should expect prompt involvement of the Courts, and arrest or restitution in the form of a fine for actions against those in the general community who suffer assault, damages, or money lost due to work stoppages caused to developers or others.  It is anticipated that the Ontario Superior Court will likely play a primary role until all realize that illegal acts, justified by reference to bogus land claims, will not be tolerated under any circumstance.  The only thing that works effectively is a Court injunction, and contemporaneous arrests (arrests on the spot, not at some "more convenient" time later), followed up by a fine that will require the perpetrator to dig very deeply into their pockets. The Provincial Government needs to pay attention to the rulings of its own Superior Court - and insist that the Ontario Provincial Police follow the Police Services Act. Due to the past lawlessness, with any illegal action instituted by Six Nations members, action by the police and the Courts must be taken without delay.

4)  The OPP need to bring Caledonia in line with policing elsewhere in the Province.

The "peacekeeper" role needs to be disappear.  It is one of the most ill conceived plans yet put into place.  The OPP need to return to their role as "police officers" in Caledonia, who apply the law firmly, fairly, and without any special treatment for Six Nations members - "to serve and protect".  The OPP will then have the backing of the vast majority of Ontario citizens, and regain at least some modicum of the respect lost since 2006.  This will involve dispensing with Native negotiators ("liaison officers") who reinforce the idea that Six Nations are in some way "different" and need kid glove treatment.

5)  The various levels of Courts in Ontario, the local County Government, the Provincial Government (and OPP), and the Federal Government must work together to effect positive change.  As it stands it seems that the left hand has no knowledge of what the right hand is doing.  An appointed body, perhaps charged by the Federal Government, could monitor all of the issues that lie on the doorstep of communities in crisis such as Caledonia, and ensure that the actions of the constituent parts are consistent, not flying off in so many directions.  Never again should a community in Ontario be abandoned to fend for itself - that is shameful.

6)  Both the Provincial and the Federal Governments need to stop wasting taxpayer money.  "Cashedonia" is the unofficial OPP term for Caledonia.  Many have made large sums of money in overtime dealing with issues arising out of events at Caledonia.  Garry Horsnell has asked how the Government can justify purchasing the same piece of property three times - the last being in 2006, when $26,000,000 of taxpayer money was used for the Ontario Government to purchase DCE and allow it to sit idle and decaying for 8 years (to date).  Said land is not contributing a penny to the tax base of Haldimand County, and it is possessed de facto by Six Nations who act as gatekeepers, all the while receiving free utility services to the one remaining house that was not destroyed.

7)  All remaining Six Nations occupants from what is left of DCE should be evicted, and the hamburger stand and smoke shack on Hydro One land across the road should be closed. They have no special right to be there - yet they have exercised the power to disallow any locals from entering the premises.  After the eviction, it will be necessary to clean up the place - it is the southern entrance to Caledonia and makes a horrible first impression. The "Welcome to Six Nations" signs and Confederacy as well as Mohawk Warrior flags must go - it is not Six Nations land, and has not been so since 1844. If these flags stay, there is no reason why Canadian and Ontario flags should not be installed on the property as well.

8)  Since the "reclamation" for land at DCE, which Six Nations choose to call Kanonhstaton to reflect its special status, was legally surrendered in 1844, it is only right and proper that an apology is issued by both governmental bodies at Six Nations (elected and hereditary), and reparations made for the damage incurred during the Caledonia crisis.

In summary:  It is important that people not see the Six Nations as having some mystical special rights with respect to the Haldimand Tract and Southwestern Ontario, and so need to be "consulted" on virtually any project here. The Six Nations have no unique rights under either the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 or any document for that matter. In addition, they are no more aboriginal to this area than are the White Loyalist settlers of German origin who accompanied them, married into their families, and whose descendants are still here today (many living in the Caledonia area). The only group aboriginal to this area are the Mississauga - Anishinabe. Recognizing historical realities is a key ingredient in finding lasting solutions.

It is also historical reality that the Six Nations are not a sovereign people, so must adhere to the laws that apply to all Canadians. The recent land claims (e.g., for lands in the Johnson Settlement), has been shown conclusively in historical documents to be false, and accepted in the best case scenario as "very weak" by the Ontario Superior Court.  The latter has effectively dropped the axe on any concept of the present registered land claims having any merit.  It should be noted that Ontario is blessed with some of the finest Superior Court judges anywhere. It would be a shame to ignore their rulings - or is it the case that what will fly is really only what is politically correct or politically expedient? I truly hope that this is not the case. The vast majority of the citizens of Ontario want justice for all.

The evidence shows that the Ontario Land Registry system is valid and intact in Haldimand and Brant Counties. The Indian Land Registry system stemming from Lord Elgin's report of 1850 is also equally valid - the boundaries of the Six Nations Reserve 40 are now as they were then.

So the groundwork has been laid toward coming to terms with the facts and the truth thanks largely to the 19 November 2010 ruling of Justice Harrison Arrell, and an increasing recognition of the facts related to destructive claims such as that involving the Plank Road lands. 

To expect meaningful change to happen without resistance is unrealistic.  What I do hope is that those with the power to act, will show some respect for the data and the facts - and respond accordingly with some backbone.  My greatest trust is in the Courts.  It is here where we can find true justice in Ontario, free of the taint of politics.

Updates: 26 - 31 December 2013, 1 January 2014.


The Battle Lines are Drawn Between Reporters Lynda Powless and Christie Blatchford

The publisher of "Turtle Island News", one of the two newspapers serving the Six Nations Reserve and wider Native community, is Lynda Powless.  She is also a reporter and photographer for her paper.  During the "Caledonia crisis" which began 28 February 2006, Ms. Powless was front and center and she and her team took some really excellent photographs which she assembled to include in a separate publication, Lynda Powless, Douglas Creek Reclamation: A Pictoral History, Ohsweken, Turtle Island News, 2006.  At the end of the array of photos, Ms. Powless offers her interpretation of events.  In reading this material I was very surprised to find that it was more of a "rant" against the government than anything resembling a dispassionate assessment of the facts - especially considering the lawlessness shown during the events of the "reclamation".  Clearly Ms. Powless is passionate about her home territory and its people, and this emotion permeates the writing.  The article includes a list of grievances of the Six Nations people against others. One of the conclusions arrived at by the author is that, The Crown was systematically inducing the sale of Six Nations lands without lawful surrenders (p. 32)Please note that this publication was written before the submission of the "Holmes Report" (in 2009) which blows out of the water any of these land claims.

The present writer was unable to find any detailed description or review of the above publication anywhere on the Internet.

At a later date, after considerably more atrocities had been committed, Christie Blatchford published her book on the subject, Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us, Toronto, Doubleday Canada, 2010. Her book is illustrated with photographs taken at the time.   Blatchford's book was much more controversial than that of Ms. Powless.  It appears that if you describe facts that paint Six Nations in a "bad light" you can expect to be on the receiving end of a lot of anger and venom.  Ms. Blatchford received death threats, and she was banned from discussing her book by the University of Waterloo (see here).  So much for freedom of speech in Canada in the early 21st Century.  The "anti - Blatchford" movement was largely orchestrated by the young White Marxist "supporters" of Six Nations,  who apparently do not believe in free speech - or even the presentation of factual material if it might paint a less than positive picture of indigenous people (see here for the experiences of an academic who was targeted by the same sort of self righteous fanatics that infest universities these days).  Some bloggers, of the far left (or is it right) persuasion, go to extreme lengths to try and undermine the credibility of Ms. Blatchford.  See here for a "classic" example, which include the author's "credentials" which are as follows: "Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) is a South Asian writer and activist based in Vancouver, on unceded Musqueam, Skwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil Waututh territories. She is involved in anti-racist, migrant justice, feminist, anti-capitalist and anti-colonial movements and has been active in Indigenous solidarity for over a decade." 

So now we have not only home grown university students who with a knee jerk reflex step up to support Native people, but also recent immigrants to Canada who somehow come to know more than those of us educated at Canadian universities and who live on or near Canada's Reserves.  But I digress.

Here is a description of Ms. Blatchford's book from the Amazon.com site:

It officially began on February 28, 2006, when a handful of protesters from the nearby Six Nations reserve walked onto Douglas Creek Estates, then a residential subdivision under construction, and blocked workers from entering. Over the course of the spring and summer of that first year, the criminal actions of the occupiers included throwing a vehicle over an overpass, the burning down of a hydro transformer which caused a three-day blackout, the torching of a bridge and the hijacking of a police vehicle. During the very worst period, ordinary residents living near the site had to pass through native barricades, show native-issued "passports", and were occasionally threatened with body searches and routinely subjected to threats. Much of this lawless conduct occurred under the noses of the Ontario Provincial Police, who, often against their own best instincts, stood by and watched: They too had been intimidated. Arrests, where they were made, weren't made contemporaneously, but weeks or months later. The result was to embolden the occupiers and render non-native citizens vulnerable and afraid. Eighteen months after the occupation began, a home builder named Sam Gualtieri, working on the house he was giving his daughter as a wedding present, was attacked by protesters and beaten so badly he will never fully recover from his injuries.

Also roughing up of American ATF officers, and local Hamilton CHCH reporters could be included.  Vandals, becoming more lawless, and emboldened by the lack of consequences was the result of the "police paralysis" at Caledonia.

Reviewers (with the exception of Communist anti - Western university students and immigrant radicals, obsessed with seeing "racism" and "colonialism" under every rock and behind every tree, and the Six Nations as victims irrespective of the evidence) tend to agree as to lack of bias and objectivity in the writing of Ms. Blatchford.  Ms. Blatchford is a respected Canadian journalist who has seen the many injustices related to the Caledonia situation, and who has decided to make this her "cause celebre".  While the acrimony by Ms. Powless toward Ms. Blatchford appears to have been triggered by an incident involving a "puppy", I strongly suspect that it is just a reflection of the long simmering anger over the strong stance taken by Blatchford over the Caledonia situation. Her grit determination to keep the Caledonia "embarassment" in the public eye may be at the bottom of things.  Two articles will serve as examples.  First, Judge finds Six Nations' land claim 'exceedingly weak', (see here) published in the "Globe and Mail" in 2010; and  Caledonia, the issue that dare not speak its name, (see here) published in the "National Post" in 2011 (the same newspaper that published the "puppy article" that triggered a strong reaction in Ms. Powless).
The Blatchford story on the theft of a vehicle in Ancaster, subsequently located at Six Nations, was highlighted in an article by Lynda Powless in "Turtle Island News", December 18, 2013, pp. 2-3, Analysis: Story of a stolen car, a missing dog and national media anti - Six Nations storm. In the Turtle Island News article, Powless expressed indignation that once again, Blatchford was taking a cheap shot at Six Nations without having all the facts at her disposal. While agreeing with most of the facts on the car theft as reported by Blatchford (or at least the skeleton or framework of the chronology and so on), Powless reports that Blatchford is merely continuing her theme of bashing the OPP and Six Nations at any opportunity - and having a puppy involved in the story allowed her to obtain more sympathy of the family and the situation they found themselves in. Here it appears that Ms. Powless is attempting to dispel any perceptions, as a result of the Blatchford article, that some areas of the Reserve are lawless and dangerous. It seems to the present author that the real underlying concern is that people are going to get the idea that Six Nations is not a place one would want to go without a very specific reason – it is too risky. Well, if the shoe fits …………….. Ms. Powless stated that the "National Post", where the Blatchford article appeared, fully supported Blatchford, Believe it or not.

Ms. Powless
gets a second opportunity to castigate Ms. Blatchford in her editorial on page 5 under the banner, Time for Six Nations to speak up for itself. Apparently the National Post espouses, very narrow upper middle class Euro-Canadian thinking. As to Blatchford, she just doesn't get it. So instead of fetching the truth, she rolls over and fails to look at facts. Ms. Powless asserts that the real problem is the failure to recognise that at the base of it all is the matter of land - the failure to recognise the true Six Nations claim to land they have been denied. Needless to say, I completely disagree with Ms. Powless - in fact, there are no legal outstanding land claims, that is a misconception that is widely believed but has absolutely no basis in fact - as can be seen in any of the half dozen or so postings where I discuss the "Holmes Report", presented to the Corporation of the City of Brantford, and used by Justice Harrison Arrell in recent judgements on the legitimacy of the land claims. I may have understood the misperception from someone in Ms. Powless’ position in 2007, but not today, when a great deal more is known about the legitimacy of the Six Nations land claims.

I get the sense that we have not heard the last of this clash of two very determined women.


Monday, 23 December 2013

Six Nations Land Claim Number 8: Johnson Settlement, Brantford Township - 7000 acres

Details of this claim can be found on the Six Nations Land and Resources website here.  The associated map of the lands involved in this claim, between Colborne Street and Power Line Road can be seen here.  According to the Land and Resources research:

By Order-in-Council of October 4, 1843, the Crown acknowledged that the lands which comprised the Johnson’s Settlement tract, some 7,000 acres and other lands were reserved out of the lands purportedly to be surrendered for disposition to the Crown under the January 18, 1841 document. Six Nations had indicated their consent that these lands would be let on short leases. Nevertheless, the Crown subsequently sold these lands and all of the proceeds from the sales were not paid to Six Nations. Six Nations have never consented to an absolute surrender of these lands.

As has been observed in the previous claims discussed in this blog, the surrender of 1841 was little more than a work in progress, a draft plan which was altered later as the Chiefs changed their mind and so the early document was supplanted by later ones.  It has been the experience of the present author that for reasons that one can only speculate about, the Land and Resources personnel ignored the documents to 1848 which spoke to these changes requested by the Chiefs. 

On 18 December 1844, after much discussion during the ensuing years, the Chiefs in Council reported their wish to sell all of the lands in the Johnson Settlement.  The Holmes Report submitted to the Corporation of the City of Brantford (see here) presented all of the relevant evidence pertaining to the matter.  Holmes quoted from the various Council Minutes, listed the numbers, names, and tribal composition of the chiefs present, provided all the correspondence including petitions between the Six Nations Chiefs in Council and the Government, between Government officials, in short all of the pertinent data is included.  Holmes and Associates provide an assessment of the data of record between the surrender of 1841 and the Council meeting on 18 December 1844.  The work is comprehensive such that if there is a document that lies hidden somewhere (documents can and are misfiled and missing - which is typical), this case seems to prove the exception with a complete or virtually complete set of records, with what survives allowing an unequivocal conclusion as to what transpired between 1841 and 1844, and what was at various points in time the wishes of the Chiefs in Council.  The bottom lines is that by the end of 1844 all of the I's had been dotted, and the T's crossed such that there is not a shadow of a doubt that the Chiefs in Council saw it in the best interest of their people to move to a compact Reserve, and not lease lands but instead sell those that were not required for the Reserve such that the monies could be put in Trust for the benefit of Six Nations.  I have done similar research in the same set of records (RG 10 Indian Affairs collection) and can attest that Holmes has done an excellent job, and that it will be difficult if not impossible to challenge the substance of this report using contemporary data.

Conclusion:  The Chiefs in Council did not reserve any lands in the Johnson Settlement, they requested that lands within this parcel be sold for their benefit.  There is no factual basis upon which this claim by Six Nations Land and Resources can be challenged.

Present Situation:  Despite the "air tight" work of Holmes, and the fact that it has been presented to Justice Harrison Arrell of the Ontario Supreme Court who has used the data therein to make rulings pertaining to injunctions within the City of Brantford, it is surprising (in a sense) that people continue to ignore the facts, and revert back to their unsustainable beliefs.  It is unclear to the present author whether Six Nations parties have read the "Holmes Report".  If they have, their behaviour might be seen as major denial.  If not, then it behoves all to ensure that all at Six Nations become aware of the work of Joan Holmes so that futile endeavours based on false assumptions are not perpetuated.

The present author must also question whether the municipal officials of Brantford and Brant County have read the report - their actions make me wonder if they are even vaguely aware of its existence.  It seems that the County is annoyed at the City for annexing good farmland.  They appear prepared to use the old Johnson Settlement claim as a bargaining chip to gain leverage against their more urban neighbours.  They are even insisting that the Six Nations be included in the negotiations (this petulance would be amazingly short sighted, and doubtless backfire), and asserting that Six Nations holds title to the Johnson Settlement, and would see 5,000 acres of the 7,000-acre Johnson Settlement Tract signed over to the city from the country for $16.3 million in compensation according to an article in Two Row Times, 18 December 2013 - see here.  Talk about opening up a can of worms - now the Six Nations Elected Council (Chief Ava Hill) wants in on the deal.  In the Comments section to the article, local activist, Garry Horsnell astutely says, I still don't get it. Why is Brant County consulting with the Six Nations of the Grand River?  He then provides a detailed analysis using the Holmes Report and other evidence to show, conclusively, that Six Nations as of 1844, has no claim whatsoever on the lands of the Johnson Settlement.  Big mystery.  Stay tuned.


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Six Nations Land Claim Number 6: Welland Canal (Feeder Dam)

The Six Nations Land and Resources describes the nature of the claim here.  The claim is for the flooding caused by the creation of the Dunnville Dam, and the consequent back up of water.  The map of the claim shown here, indicates that the lands were along the Grand River from Dunnville to Cayuga.  The claim was for 2415.60 acres that were flooded.  There were some Seneca, Delaware and Lower Cayuga residing in these areas of North Cayuga and South Cayuga Townships - and a lot of White people whose property was also impacted.  It appears that the Land and Resources researchers have found evidence that individual Indians were given compensation for 290 acres of improvements lost to the flooding, but the Six Nations had not been compensated for the general flooding itself. 

Based on the evidence shown on the Land and Resources page for this particular claim, over the years between about 1829, through 1890 various claims were tabled.  In the latter year, a claim was placed before the Exchequer Court and filed, but was never brought before the Courts as was the required procedure.  An additional claim was filed in 1943, but appears to have gone nowhere.  Finally, on 13th May 1994, John Sinclair, the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for claims through Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, told then Chief Steve Williams that the Government of Canada would assume responsibility for this matter and offer compensation.  It all sounded very promising, but ..............

In 2007 the Federal Government of Canada offered $26 million dollars as compensation.  In 2008 both the Confederacy (HCCC) and the Elected Band Council (SNEC) agreed that they should speak as "one voice" for Six Nations people.  The Land and Resources Office requested feedback from Six Nations Community members.  As far as the website information goes, it stops here.  So what has happened since 2008?  For those who have followed this blog, you can probably figure out the answer. 

It appears that in the interval between 2008 and today, lawyer Aaron Detlor, a Director and legal advisor to the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (about which I have spoken elsewhere) came up with a figure he considered more acceptable - one billion dollars.  No, he was not kidding.  See here.  Needless to say, the Canadian team withdrew their offer, which they consider as "fair and reasonable" and as far as I know there have been no further talks.  Once again the controversial Detlor, who to the best of my knowledge is not a member of the Six Nations Community, has been able to hold sway and as a consequence, Six Nations may end up with nothing. 

If I was a member of the Canadian negotiating team, the one billion figure would be a gross insult, and entirely unrealistic for damage done back in 1829, so time to fold em and go home.  The offer was made in 2008, and I have not heard anything further about the matter in the media via online searches.  So it will probably die a natural death.  What if the present information relative to the validity of surrenders during the 1840s comes to light (meaning reaches the levels of Government where something could be done), and the obvious decision is made - that all of the major land claims are without merit.  Then what becomes of the $26 million that would have been in the bank, and put to the service of the Six Nations Community.  So how will Six Nations feel when they see this and other monies go up in smoke?  Guess we shall see - eventually.


Six Nations Land Claim Number 9: Burtch Tract, Brantford Township

Please see a general introduction to this subject here, if you have not already done so.

This Land Claim submitted to the Federal Government but the Six Nations Land and Resources Department, includes 5,223 acres situated between Tuscarora Township (present Reserve) and the Township of Brantford.  The specifics of the claim can be seen here, and the associated map here.  The Six Nations researchers assert very little in the way of specifics, only that there was never any surrender of the lands by Six Nations to the Crown. 

This particular property has been contentious for some time, perhaps because of its direct proximity to the modern Reserve and Brantford.  If successful, this claim would result in a very significant addition to the Six Nations land base.  However the location here of a large number of farms owned by non-Natives, as  well as the towns of Burtch and Newport, are but two impediments standing in the way of a resolution in favour of Six Nations.

Apparently, after the 2006 crisis in Caledonia, the Provincial Government, as negotiated by David Peterson, promised to return lands in the Burtch Tract if the barriers came down in Caledonia.  This questionable "deal" is noted here, but the details of the supposed agreement have remained obscure (or died a natural death).  Actually, to be fair, the Provincial Government of Ontario have kept the matter front and centre, at least on their website - see here.  Basically, in terms of status of the "facility transfer", The environmental assessment of the Burtch property is complete and remediation is ongoing. The province is discussing the transfer of ownership of the Burtch land to the Six Nations people.  Updated 31 July 2013.  I wonder to whom the land will be transferred.

This Tract has been of particular interest to the Mohawk Workers (about whom I have spoken in a previous blog posting).  They appear to anticipate that once the site has been cleared of any toxic substances left over from the days when the Burtch Correctional facility was located there, the lands at least at this site will be transferred to the possession of the Mohawk Workers.  It goes without saying that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, Men's Fire, Haudenosaunee Development Institute, as well as the Six Nations Elected Council might have other ideas about the matter.  A bit of a sticky wicket or what.

Well, if we allow the evidence to speak for us it will be much ado about nothing.  There is no unceeded Burtch Tract land to bargain over.  None the less, the belief that the lands have never been ceeded appears to be as strong as ever, so we need to explore the evidence and determine whether the Land and Resources people have made a mistake or not.

In examining the documents from the first surrender in 1841, to the middle of the decade, it is clear that the Chiefs did intend on keeping some lands here - at least at that point in time.  Hence if one looks at some of the minutes of Council meetings, the Chiefs held firm on this particular property for longer than any of the other parcels.  In a sense it was "last to go".  Here is the data, showing how the Chiefs were wishing to retain some lots in the Burtch Tract, but sometime between 1846 and 1848 they realised that there were simply too many White people to make a viable block of land for use by the Six Nations, and they authorised the surrender of all the Burtch Tract.

The Council met again on September 17 and 18, 1845. Sixty-six chiefs were in
attendance on September 17. The following is recorded, ... After much time spent in discussion, [illegible word] the submission it was finally resolved [illegible word or words] reserves should consist of the lands adjoining, the tier of Lots on the west side of the Plank road in the township of Oneida and the whole of. the Township of Tuscarora and such Lots or portions in the Burtch tract in the Township of Brantford as the White settlers thereon could not on an Examination (before the Chiefs in council at this place) shew that they had an equitable claim to a pre Emption by Leases or otherwise the submission of the Re Examination to be laid before His Lordship the Governor General for his decision on each case, And that in the said Township of Brantford at the Mohawk Mission School Two hundred acres and further in the Township of Onondaga a tier of River Lots from forty five to Sixty one inclusive. The council adjourned at dusk. 

(David Thorburn, Minutes of Council, Council House Onondaga, September 17, 1845. LAC, RG 10, Vol. 152, pp. 87852-87854) - bold print mine.

It seems that the matter dragged on a bit, but was finally settled once and for all by March of 1848 when the Chiefs in Council met on March 25th.
Finally, on March 25 they agreed to the sale of all of the land in the Burtch Tract,
Having thus surrendered to Her Majesty for sale the Burtch tract of land in the manner set forth the council desire that no further surrender of any portion of their Land take place within the declared general Reservation in Oneida Tuscarora and Onondaga tract that the same be confirmed by Deed to them and their posterity for ever.

(Council Minutes dated March 25, 1848. LAC, RG 10, Vol. 170, p. 98627).

Further confirmation of the surrender is found when,
A few months after these council meetings a public notice, dated June 16, 1848 was issued announcing the sale of lands in the Burtch Tract, with the.exception of lots "whereon Indian families reside, who do not for the present desire to remove".
("Notice", June 16, 1848. LAC, RG 10, Vol. 458, p. 91).

So a done deal, one would assume.  So why do various Six Nations groups continue to press for the return of lands on the Burtch Tract, or for monetary compensation (the latter it would appear would constitute "double dipping" as the monies from the sales were presumably added to the annuity fund).