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.


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