Sunday, 9 February 2014

Present Six Nations "Way of Life" and the Off Reserve Deer Hunt

The following is a response to a comment to the previous posting by Tony, to whom I am thankful for his bringing this matter to my attention.  After some consideration, I realized that it was so characteristic of beliefs in relation to the matter, that it was possible to use the comment around which to frame two postings (this and the next) - and the first part of the comment in order to update my recent posting on the bogus and fraudulent Nanfan "Treaty" (see here).

A comment by R. Walker to a post on the blog, “Niagara at Large”, entitled,  Shorthills Protests are Short on Patience with the Hunters by Six Nations member Karl Dockstader, 13 November 2013 is most interesting.  The post and comment can be found here.   Mr. Walker is "speaking" to Mr. Dockstader of Six Nations in the following comment.

Here the author of the comment states the following:  I am grateful that we were allies at the time of the American revolution and accompanied the the Mohawks to Canada when their river settlements in the New York colony were seized by the revolutionaries like Washington. As allies your people defended Canada in the war of 1812 which was recently celebrated by local governments who seem to forget this fact when it come to this hunt which is important to sustain your culture and way of life.

The Deer Hunt as a Way for Six Nations to Sustain their Culture and Way of Life:

The statement by Mr. Walker, which I underlined above, can only partially be supported with available data.  It appears that Mr. Walker does not live in Indian Country (the Haldimand Tract near the Six Nations Reserve).  Six Nations members who live in the northeastern part of the Reserve tend to shop at Zehr's in Caledonia, those at the western end shop in Brantford, and those residing at the southeastern end (including those from New Credit Reserve) tend to frequent one of the two grocery stores in Hagersville.  Pretty much the same as the White folks in the vicinity.  Eating venison is something that only some do on anything resembling a regular basis - although more than would be the case in relation to the citizens of St. Catharines.  Also, not every Six Nations member hunts, and not every resident of rural Haldimand County hunts.  It should be noted that in Haldimand there is a bow hunting season and there are families who have participated in the deer hunt for generations - probably to 1785 just as some at Six Nations.  At Six Nations, those who belong to the Longhouse Community are more likely to try to keep certain ties to ancient cultural practises - but things are just not that simple. 

A fair number of White people come to the Rez to hunt deer (requesting permission of the land owners) - which is a bit ironic in that Six Nations members are going to places such as Dundas  ..................  Anyway, two years ago a White hunter was killed on the Rez by a Six Nations member (who is a former professional hockey player) - taking a shot from the road and mistaking the well marked (wearing an orange vest) hunter for a deer. 

The Longhouses, associated with the "conservative" element at Six Nations (supporters of the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council), are located in the eastern end of the Reserve, not many miles from the village of Ohsweken, but culturally, a whole different mind set.  I have alluded to this major factional division on many occasions in this blog.  Bottom line - Mr. Walker is simplifying things to the point of employing stereotypes.  Hunting as a "way of life" has receded into the background, and off the radar for many families.  Personally I cannot justify terminating the life of brown eyed forest creatures - and have conveyed that perspective to all my children.




  1. I believe that was Tony, not Alex, who posts as theanimalthatthereforeiam3; in any case, excellent summation of the historical usual.....Tony

    1. Sorry Tony, without a signture I go via recollection - not my strong suit these days. Will make the edit. I also added a bit to the end of the post. Thanks again. DeYo.