Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Ontario Taxpayers Held Hostage by Six Nations Over Hydro Transmission Lines

During the violent, anarchic, "reclamation" of the land where Douglas Creek Estates was situated, Hydro One's local assets were affected, and furthermore the Province of Ontario's power transmission capability was adversely impacted.  First, as part of the initial phase of occupation beginning 28 February 2006, a Hydro One tower at the southern end of Caledonia was demolished.  Perhaps the tower was cut from the top of what is left of the base of the tower seen below, situated north of where Argyll Street in Caledonia merges with the Highway 6 Caledonia bypass - just west of another smoke shack (now a heap of rubble, replaced by a trailer) on what appears to be Hydro One property.  Picture taken April 2014.

The tower was used as a convenient barricade to completely block Argyll Street (old Highway 6, the Plank Road), as shown in the picture below.  This was to be one of many unpunished acts of defiance against the laws of the land, and against the people of Ontario (most particularly citizens of Haldimand and Norfolk Counties) during and subsequent to the 2006 incident.

Later, the remnants of this "symbol of resistance" was turned to block the entrance to the Douglas Creek Estates, and was severed in two to allow restricted and controlled passage of vehicles to the site - then and now occupied by Six Nations members.  What you will see today, at the southern entrance to the town of Caledonia, is shown in the picture below.  Here can be seen two parts of the mangled Hydro tower, the one on the left adorned with a Confederacy flag under which can be seen the "gate house", and the one on the right festooned with a Mohawk Warriors flag.  Residents have been forced to live with this eye sore for 8 years.  While enduring a situation of this nature probably seems ludicrous to many, in this neck of the woods it is a "Native issue", the attitude is, "hands off, and maybe it will magically disappear".
Returning to the matter in relation to Hydro One and taxpayer dollars, I well recall seeing a security vehicle, with two security personnel in it, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and installed at the small Hydro One substation at the south end of the Douglas Creek Estates on Argyll Street.  This was subsequent to a pickup truck backing into the substation and setting a number of arson fires there - blowing out a transformer, with the result that the power went out to much of Caledonia.  There was fear of further terrorist attacks on the power supply to residents, so to their credit Hydro One felt it necessary to provide round the clock security.  This substation as it looks today is seen below.

Immediately across the road is an illegal contraband cigarette hut and an unregulated hamburger stand, both installed by Six Nations members, on Hydro One land.  So from 2006 until (I believe) 2012, this service was added to the tally of expenses directly attributable to the "reclamation" of land that had been ceded 17 October 1845 by 66 Six Nations Chiefs in Council, and to which Six Nations has and had since that date no claim of any valid description.  Needless to say, this is something of an inconvenient truth since elements at Six Nations continue to maintain, without evidence, that the land is theirs.

What is not well known, and I must plead ignorance on this subject until it came to my attention recently, is that Hydro towers still figure prominently in the ongoing (yes, it has never stopped) protest over various "rights" that Six Nations claim (the validity of these rights is apparently irrelevant to Six Nations).  During the 2006 protest, the Mohawk Warriors, whose "headquarters" is at the Akwesasne Reserve near Cornwall, stopped Hydro One workers from climbing up the tower line extending from Niagara Falls.  To this day workers have been unable to do their job and string transmission wires, leaving the towers as another forlorn reminder of how a radical few can hold all of the citizens of Ontario hostage.  As time marches on it becomes more evident that no one will act to bring justice to the area which has already seen a litany of outrageous illegal acts, where the Ontario Provincial Police have been powerless to do their duties to "serve and protect" - other than to serve and protect the "protesters".
So a stalemate has been reached, millions of taxpayer dollars have been lost, and life goes on with most largely oblivious to but yet another example of how the radical few dictate terms to the impotent Government of Ontario.
So what is the status of this situation today?  We can pick up the thread in 2011 where miles of giant metal towers marching from Niagara Falls now stand as sentinels near Caledonia, bare without the high tension wires that should be connecting them - with downstream dead wires going nowhere.  A 76 kilometre stretch of line in the grid needed to ensure adequate MW capacity levels between Niagara Falls and New York and Ontario is now entirely in limbo.  The towers are all in place, all that is needed is to link them to the grid via finishing the act of stringing the wires by Hydro One workers - as they should look below. 
Our Hydro bills are already astronomical, and if predictions of doubling or tripling the rates due to the Liberal Government's "Green Energy" policy prove correct, this problem in "Indian Country" is going to amplify the problem. Ironically this Liberal Government initiative that has a "nice ring to it", may create many times the problems that would occur if the clean energy from falling water flowing through tunnels at Niagara Falls were to be transported to where it is needed. As Conservative MPP for Haldimand - Norfolk, Toby Barrett, said, "The native people that I have talked to, Mohawks, have come out to a number of the wind tower meetings in opposition very forceful and with strong opposition to what's going on in Haldimand County as far as wind towers." See here for the article in which this statement appears. The irony is that the issue is over land and which, as seen in my most recent posting, does not belong to Six Nations - despite what the "warriors" may say or believe. It should be noted that there are environmentalists at Six Nations who would put their relationship with the land and its resources, including human and animal, above the grab for easy money. Few are naive enough to think that "green energy" comes free of environmental impact - the millions of birds, dead and mutilated by the unfeeling arms of these monster turbines cannot be denied, and is "collateral damage" for "going green".
How important is this transport system from Niagara Falls which comes to a dead halt in Caledonia?  The following is a statement from Hydro One was issued just before the Caledonia "reclamation" brought everything in the area to a halt:  "This project will increase the power transfer capability between Niagara Falls and the rest of Ontario by about 800 megawatts," a Hydro One manager said. "That's about the equivalent of a new generating unit at Darlington."  Once again it is the Conservatives, MPP Toby Barrett, who are keeping light shining on the problem, as seen in the article here.  That is a huge amount of power that is going nowhere - and for five years "we" have tolerated this absurdity!
To be fair, and to ensure that all Six Nations are not tarred with the same brush, it is "only" a group of "militants", or "warriors" who are creating the problem.  Alas, I have not heard a word from anyone on the Elected or Hereditary Council condemning the actions of these "warriors".
The "problem", which has existed since 2006, was unknown to Liberal Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGinty, five years later as seen here. As can be seen in this article, Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak has been keeping this matter before the public eye, but the Liberal Government has, as with Caledonia 2006, done everything in its power to do nothing, and if that doesn't work, just quietly pay "compensation" to those citizens who are most vocal, trying, it would appear, to keep the whole "Indian problem" swept under the carpet.  Mr. Hudak made a very poignant comment here that, "Some leadership should be shown on this file after six years of paralysis and a total abdication of rule of law. Those towers, those lines should be carrying electricity, not flying Mohawk warrior flags."
In 2012 Gary McHale, the irrepressible vocal activist for the local community of Haldimand drew up papers to bring Hydro One to Court to answer charges that they have neglected to allow anyone (he had offered) to clean up Hydro One's crumpled tower.  It is now used as a barricade, but now serves as a set of ornate metal gate posts to enter Douglas Creek Estates, opening on the scenic gatehouse (wood chip pressboard shack) leading down to the manor house seen in the distance (the one building of a half dozen that Six Nations members and their supporters did not wantonly destroy), serviced with utilities paid for at taxpayer expense.  Yes, ironic, no one cut off the juice!  See the newspaper article here for more information about Mr. McHale's initiative.  The present author is unaware of the status of this challenge by Mr. McHale (seen in the picture below).
Gary McHale of Binbrook, centre, president and CEO of Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality (CANACE), wants Hydro One to remove parts of an old transmission tower in Caledonia that native protesters have used in the past to block traffic. The tower at issue is seen here in the background blocking Argyle Street South in Caledonia. (DAVE THOMAS QMI Agency)
The Provincial opposition party has continued to keep the heat on in relation to this subject.  Now that Mr. McGinty has resigned in disgrace as Premier of the Province of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne has replaced him until such time as an election is called.  In exploring some of the recent Provincial Government discussion about matters before the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, I came across the information seen here, and dating to 28 August 2012.  Here Mr. Barrett discusses the issues at Six Nations and sees a pattern going back 200 years.  Specifically, he provided a history of the Six Nations and brought things to modern times saying,
"As we all know, things morphed into an awful lot of other issues: policing issues, justice issues, issues of democracy itself, governmental issues, how we deal with this, and, of course, road closures and the mayhem and what we see down there. The burned-out tractor-trailer still sits at the entrance of that subdivision that has been occupied for the last six and a half years. I know the Premier made it very clear a few months ago that he considers it an alleged occupation. The barricades are still up, in spite of the fact that Mr. Peterson struck an agreement—I assume it was a verbal agreement—that the barricades come down in return for transfer of land, transfer of the Burtch property in Brant county."
He also said,
"These issues are passed on to the next guy. I see that in my readings of history—the thought processes that I went through and I saw other people going through. Just with Caledonia alone, I could see the same kinds of deliberations being made 200 years ago—we were a colony at that time—by civil authorities. In many cases, I could see the strategy of delay, the strategy of secrecy and, quite simply, Chair, oftentimes to leave it for the next guy or the next gal." 
Indeed, and so what are the chances that anything is going to happen any time soon - as close to zero as one can fathom.
So the hydro tower at the entrance way to the former Douglas Creek Estates property has not been removed by Six Nations despite an explicit promise that they would.  Turning over the former Burtch Correctional property would be tantamount to giving in to blackmailers, or to those who are, as the expression goes, "Indian givers" where the properties both at the DCE and the Burtch Tract were ceded in 1845 and 1848 respectively, and 170 years later we are submitting to those who will not acknowledge well documented history.  Why would the barricades (hydro tower) come down, why would the "warriors" allow Hydro One to install the wire to complete the line from Niagara Falls and reduce the burden on taxpayers, why indeed.  There is no incentive.  By playing "the game" to ensure that any legitimate action taken by the Government or police would simply play into the perception that Six Nations are victims, and are still victims - no action is needed.  The facts speak clearly and loudly, but if no one is willing to listen to the truth, we are in sad sad shape.  But I digress.

What I do not see in 2014 is any encampment around the hydro towers.  Hence why are Hydro One crews not entering the premises (which is not Reserve land!), which is in fact the Hydro right of way, in order to do their job - stringing wires on the transmission towers.  If they feel threatened in any way, they can call the Ontario Provincial Police and request an escort.  It is quite nippy out now, and the "warriors" may be disinclined to leap into action in any numbers when the weather is cold.  As a preemptive measure, Hydro One should seek a Court Injunction from the Ontario Superior Court in Cayuga.  If the "warriors" are arrested, charged, and heavily fined for engaging in illegal actions, the "protest" may evaporate quickly.  If not this would be an ideal time to then take the Land Claim matter in general to Court.  Justice Harrison Arrell of the Brantford Ontario Superior Court has already given a preliminary ruling that Six Nations have a "very weak" / "exceedingly weak" case in relation to land claims in the Haldimand Tract.  So this would be the time to clear the books on this lingering festering sore spot that will never go away - unless firm action is taken.
Some further visuals include the forlorn line of towers on the east side of Highway 6, without cables, photographed from Argyll Street in Caledonia, stretching east toward Niagara Falls.  Picture taken April 2014.

The tower below is on the west side of Highway 6, taken 19 April 2014.


So, bottom line, the 116 million dollar project has failed to proceed, and no one is being held accountable. Millions of dollars lost, and the eventually tally will have to be placed in the lap of Six Nations whose members, on behalf of the Community, initiated this situation. It is Ontario taxpayer's money they are playing with, not Monopoly money, so someone needs to pay up.  If not now, later, when for example negotiations proceed over irregularities in the monies deposited in the Six Nations Trust fund.  Here the costs to the taxpayers of Ontario in general, as well as to individuals and corporations, arising from the 2006 Caledonia "reclamation" will need to be deducted from any monies potentially owed.


Friday, 21 March 2014

Sovereignty and the Fiction of the Two Row Wampum, Treaty Rights and the Fraudulent Nanfan Treaty of 1701, and False Land Claims in the Haldimand Tract: A Summary to Date

This blog has only been "in operation" since October of 2013, so with the passing of five months and 88 postings in this time, what are the topics that have emerged as "favourites", at least in terms of number of views?  Clearly those that strike an emotional chord, including those which delve into controversy, have emerged as the most popular.  The "big three" have been identified and each will be reviewed and expanded with new information and visual support.  With each there is a common thread involving the enormity of the discrepancy between what is asserted by Six Nations (and often believed by the public), and what the factual evidence shows.  A good sense of what perceptions and beliefs are prevalent at Six Nations can be found in reading information in the Six Nations Council website as seen here, and the two local newspapers, namely the Turtle Island News, and the Two Row Times.

So it is time to review what I have written about the facts in relation to three "hot button" topics whose importance at Six Nations cannot be underestimated - the truth has the potential to relegate Six Nations to the status of a "general community" in the Province of Ontario, with few rights and entitlements other than those enjoyed by all Canadians.  There is a huge investment in promoting the "accepted" view of the data - and not questioning what is "already known".  The present author is primarily interested in the truth, the consequences of the knowledge is secondary.

In the following overview, I will include selected key references.  In previous blog postings more extensive referencing has been provided, and the reader interested in delving further into this matter is encouraged to sift through the archives of this blog (relevant posting listed below) to find more detail.  The goal here is to tweak the curiosity of those who have just recently "found" this blog.  My hope is that those who find the evidence sufficient to question the assumptions current at Six Nations today will "spread the word", and allow fact - based evidence to overpower entrenched beliefs such that the truth emerges.

The three most important topics in this context are sovereignty and the Two Row Wampum, treaty rights guaranteed by the Nanfan Treaty of 1701, plus legal rights to land throughout the Haldimand Tract.

1)  SOVEREIGNTYTwo Row Wampum (Guswhenta), the Treaty of Tawagonshi 1613, and the Covenant Chain Agreement of 1676-77:  Many Six Nations claim that they are a sovereign people who had a nation to nation relationship with the British Crown, and since 1867 with the Federal Government of Canada.  Hence a nation within a nation.  It is the view of many that they were and are allies of the Crown and its successors, and as such are independent and thus not subject to the laws imposed by the Government of Canada.  The foundation upon which this belief rests is described below.

An agreement was supposedly made between those of the "Long House" (four signers) and the Dutch of New Netherlands (two signers).  The latter arrived in the Colony in 1609, but had little presence there until 1614 with the establishment of Fort Orange (later Albany).  This "agreement" is supposedly the foundation for all other agreements with European governments, including the Covenant Chain Agreement of 1676-77 enacted between the Five Nations and the British (who captured New Amsterdam in 1664).  The document appears to be a trade agreement, not a treaty.

The present author has blogged about this subject previously.  From the earliest to the most recent postings, please see here, here, and here.

The evidence or facts which are brought forward in support of this agreement is a document dated to 1613 written in Dutch, oral history, and a wampum belt made primarily of white beads, but including two "stripes" of purple beads (the more valuable of the two colours) which form five parallel stripes running the length of the belt.  The topic is of such interest to scholars and local historians that an entire issue of the Journal of Early American History (August 2013) was devoted to this subject.  These articles can be viewed here.

The real question here is whether there was ever a "Two Row Wampum" agreement, and whether, even if it could be proved that such an agreement did at one time exist, it would apply as interpreted by Six Nations today.

First, prior to 1968 a Dutch scholar, a Professor Van Loon, apparently was given a manuscript or document located among the Mississauga of the New Credit (a Reserve with adjoins the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve) by a Van Loon relative who was supposed to be an Indian Department official (unverified to date).  It was written in Dutch, and dated to 21 April 1613.  It is a trade agreement between the newly arrived Dutch, and the "native inhabitants" (people of the "Long House") signed at Tawagonshi (a hill near what is today Albany). However, recognized experts in the history of New Netherlands and the Colonial Dutch language have examined the document and, with the exception of one respected historian (Venables), found a number of "irregularities".  For example, it is written in a mixture of modern Dutch and early Dutch, with an implement not available in those times.  In what is essentially a consensus, scholars such as Gehring, Starna and Fenton view the document as a fake or hoax.  The provenance of the various copies existing today is largely unknown.  While Van Loon stated that the original given to him was two pages in parchment, no such item has surfaced to date, despite extensive searches in North America and the Netherlands, although photocopies do survive. Van Loon was known to have forged other documents, thereby calling into question the authenticity of the document on that basis alone. 

Also, supposedly scholarly research shows no recognizably Mohawk names found on the document, and the only Native words included are place names in the Hudson Valley. However, I am not so sure.  As seen in the document below there are a wolf, a turtle and what appear to be two bear totems beside which are Indian (apparently Iroquoian based on my experience) names - all presented in a typical format for an agreement or treaty.  The names of these four "chiefs of the Long House" signers are:  Garhat Jannie, Caghneghsattakegh, Otskwiragerongh, and Teyoghswegengh.  The present author independently recorded the names before reading the accompanying article, based on the supposed copy of the original document shown below, and arrived at interpretations very close to the above.  All are consistent with the orthography of Iroquoian names to this day.

It should be noted that at this time the Mahicans were a powerful force in the area and in a state of war with the Mohawk, who would not obtain the "edge" over their enemies until about 1630 or later. It does not make a lot of historical sense that the Dutch would make a treaty of this nature at this time with the weaker of the two contenders (at the time the Mahicans resided in the immediate vicinity and succeeded in keeping the Mohawk from having exclusive or prefered access to the Dutch markets).

The question as to how the Mississauga would have possession of this document and have preserved it, considering their turbulent history since 1613, is important. To be fair though, the descendants of Jacob Brant, son of Captain Joseph Brant who was the most influential Mohawk of all time, reside at New Credit to this day. However there is no evidence that the Dutch had any contact at all with others of the Five Nations at this time, so to say that it was an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch is really stretching the credibility of those who have any even rudimentary knowledge of Colonial American history.  At any rate the document, shown below, apparently a photocopy (but conforming to the two page parchment description given by Van Loon), is now in the possession of the Onondaga of Upstate New York, the traditional keepers of the wampum for the Five (later Six) Nations.  The manuscript is truly an enigma!  However interesting this item is, I fail to see any way that a trade agreement between two recent arrivals to New Netherlands, and four native occupants, could be amplified into evidence of sovereignty by the Haudenosaunee.  The tie in here completely eludes my ability to comprehend its significance.

Many Haudenosaunee believe that even if the document is a complete fabrication, this does not diminish the robust oral history connected with the document or the story the document appears to convey.  Oral history is certainly one line of potential enquiry but it tends to be the softest form of evidence due to the fact that human memory is subject to known distortions.  Considering the disruptions in Iroquoia since 1613 with the loss of more than half of the population due to disease and warfare, sometimes removing the keepers of such knowledge from the Mohawk villages, there is scant likelihood that specific details about a puzzling piece of paper will have survived to the present day.  The more realistic scenario is that a story was made up to construct facts useful to the promotion of Six Nations sovereignty - rather than "merely" trade, which is the purpose of the supposed agreement.  The Onondaga's claim that the oral tradition that accompanies the document noted below attests to the validity of the latter.  It is entirely unclear though as to how the information was transferred by the Mohawk to the Onondaga, or how in some very enigmatic way, the Onondaga have kept this information alive and intact for 400 years.  Also one must question how the latter have come to obtain specific information about an obscure item that did not come into their possession until 1978.  Oral history / tradition, is really quite dangerous without supporting evidence since the possibility of "creating a convenient version of history" is an ever present danger.  It is unclear whether the purported 1613 document is an independent source, and whether the story was simply a recollection of what the Onondaga were told when assigned custody of the document.  Since the oral tradition cannot be cross validated with other evidence sources it cannot be taken at face value except by "believers" who are not likely to be swayed by any rational arguments.

I find it very interesting that the Haudenosaunee tradition also includes the following words that seem very "convenient" in light of present controversies - especially since the words stand without support except in belief.  The oral tradition supposedly says that, You say that you are our Father and I am your Son. We say 'We will not be like Father and Son, but like Brothers.' This wampum belt confirms our words. [...] Neither of us will make compulsory laws or interfere in the internal affairs of the other. Neither of us will try to steer the other's vessel."

The third source used by Six Nations to "validate" the concept of the Two Row Wampum is the wampum belt itself.  I have seen the purported original, which is produced by Six Nations on various occasions (e.g., in front of Provincial and Federal Government representatives there to celebrate the Bicentennial of the Battle of Queenston Heights).  It is a belt the width of a large man's hand, comprised of white beads (three rows) and purple beads (two rows), supposedly illustrating the essence of the purported 1613 agreement where two ships or canoes are travelling side by side such that the people in each do not interfere with those in the other vessel, but may interact in ways that are mutually agreeable and beneficial (e.g., via trade).  The "original" belt is apparently in the custody of the Onondaga Longhouse at Six Nations, returned some years ago from the museum which had purchased it from a Six Nations member in the 19th Century - but the details are not clear.  What is seriously lacking is provenance.  The belt is of unknown age and origin.  There are also a number of copies that are claimed to be the "original".  Each one would have to be analyzed as to date.  In my view none seem to have the wear or "patina" one might expect of an object of such antiquity.  Furthermore, wampum is rare to non existent on Five Nations archaeological sites before 1630, so that the belt (or belts) as now exist, generally in excellent condition, are very unlikely to be the original - and it is doubtful that there was ever a belt dated to 1613.  However it is impossible to rule out the existence of a copy that was made for example when the earlier version began to fall apart.  I know of no report that has analyzed the supposed original artifact and offered a good description of its probable age and place of origin.  It would be helpful if for example experts at the Smithsonian Institute could weigh in to provide these answers.  I am guessing that the chance of that ever happening now is remote to zero - Six Nations have too much to lose - there is already sufficient controversy surrounding the artifact.  However, even if one were shown to date to the early 17th Century, two purple rows could mean many things - the detail is so simple and thus open to many different interpretations.  Five stripes of two different colours do not provide sufficient specificity.

Two Row
Clearly there is no general consensus in the matter, although well known scholars tend to see it as a concocted false story with shadowy support from a document and a wampum belt that do not appear to conform to the 1613 date appearing on the former.  We are thus left with an oral history from the Onondaga of New York where the origins of the oral record are also shrouded in uncertainty.  No historian worth their salt is going to put their stamp of approval on the purported validity of this package - which is precisely the case to this date.  So there is a camp of believers and the rest of us who are more sceptical.

One thing that I do not see mentioned is that even if we were to accept the unproven and unlikely version of this controversy, all agree that if anything was ever transacted it was between the Dutch and the Mohawk.  When the English took control of New Netherlands in 1664, any such treaty would be null and void.  First it was allegedly enacted with the Dutch, and second it seems to have involved only the Mohawk, not the full Five Nations (there were only 4 individuals who signed) and thus was at most only a local agreement - the word "treaty" would not apply unless accompanied by the seal of the Crown of Holland or England.  Even if the Dutch were willing to give up sovereignty to non - Europeans (highly unlikely), it is certain that the British Crown would never entertain the concept of sovereignty - in its colonial affairs the Crown is supreme, and all who reside within land they claim are subjects of the Crown.  Since the earliest days the Mohawk have referred to the King of England as their "great Father" which is a tacit acknowledgement of the supremacy of the Crown and their putting themselves under the protection of the Crown.

The Covenant Chain established formally between the Five (later Six) Nations and the British in 1676-77 is an agreement in the same genre as the Two Row Wampum, but I am not aware of instances where it has been used as a pretext to claim sovereignty.  Perhaps the lack of an attempt to use this to claim sovereignty is that it has more validation as to specifics "merely" as to a renewable mutual aid agreement (against common enemies such as France), and as a trade agreement.  The Covenant Chain emerged out of the pre-existing agreements between the Eastern Seaboard Colonies and the Native peoples residing there.  It is more difficult to use as "proof" of sovereignty than the supposed Two Row Wampum "treaty" which is fuzzy and easily open to challenge and various interpretations, and thus can be used in the court of public opinion to sway beliefs.  As a matter of fact, in the renewal of all the various Covenant Chain treaties and agreements the King of England was always recognized as "our great Father" - hardly a term that underscores sovereignty of the Six Nations.  The formally recognized liaison between Great Britain and the Six Nations, the Superintendent of the Northern Department of Indian Affairs was Sir William Johnson who used the term, the Covenant Chain of love and friendship - there being absolutely no hint of any sovereignty of the Six Nations in anything Johnson ever said in his 14 volume Papers and Records collection.

2)  TREATY RIGHTS - The Nanfan Treaty of 1701:  If ever there was a more misunderstood and misused piece of parchment than the "Nanfan Treaty", it has eluded my attention.  For many years people had been basing their assertions about the content and meaning of this document on a transcript found in the published Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York.  By virtue of this document (none other is cited as evidence of treaty rights in Ontario), the Six Nations claim to have rights to hunting and to consultation over land throughout Southwestern Ontario.  At present this involves "treaty rights" to hunt deer in various communities near the Six Nations Reserve, and to be participants in the development of wind generator projects (to be consulted, and to receive financial and other forms of "compensation").

The present author has provided previous blog postings on this subject here, here, and here.

For those who will later claim that the Six Nations land deeds are invalid since they were not signed by all 50 Confederacy Chiefs (actually there was never such a stipulation at any time whatsoever), it is interesting that only 20 Chiefs of the Five Nations placed their totem marks on this document.  Recently the original copy of the so-called Nanfan or Fort Albany Treaty was located in England and photographic copies are now available for inspection by researchers.  What the document says is that, after mature deliberation out of a deep sense of the many Royal favours extended to us by the present great Monarch of England King William the Third,  it was the desire of the Five Nations to yield to their "great Father the King of England" all of the hunting territory that they possessed by virtue of conquest, with the "expectation" that they could still retain the right to hunt on these lands.  The lands in question included most of what is today Southwestern Ontario and the lands above Lake Ontario.  The Six Nations did indeed "conqueror" (actually exterminate via genocide and ethnic cleansing) the Wyandot, Petun, Attiwandaronk, Wenro and Erie in the 1640s to 1657 thereby obtaining the lands of these people.  A transcript from the Six Nations website is available here.  The fact that the Five Nations who signed the document stated that, wee having subjected ourselves and lands on this side of Cadarachqui lake wholy to the Crown of England shows that they do not claim sovereignty anywhere within their lands, but they consider themselves as subjects of the King of England which certainly takes the wind out of the sails of the above interpretation of the Two Row Wampum trade agreement of 1613 as being any sort of assertion of being an independent people.

For a document to be considered authoritative it must be valid.  The document is an "agreement" not a "treaty".  There is a huge difference between these terms.  For a treaty to be valid it must conform to certain parameters.  First it must be signed by individuals who are legally assigned that role by the two primary parties - here that would be the Five Nations and the Crown.  In examining the names of the six Mohawks who placed their names on the agreement, none can be linked to the 9 Mohawk sachems in the Roll Call of Confederacy Chiefs.  Actually that in itself is not a problem since very seldom do any of these names appear on treaties - generally it was the village chiefs (Pine Tree Chiefs) and principal warriors who put pen to paper.  Thus it cannot be discredited on this basis.  What is more problematic is that the Five Nations did not possess any rights to the lands they wished to transfer to the King in 1701.  The historical record shows that after Southern Ontario was emptied of the aboriginal inhabitants, it lay unoccupied for a number of years.  During the 1680s however, the Five Nations established settlements on the north side of Lake Ontario.  By 1696 they had 8 villages located there, and in that year all vanished.  The Mississauga and their allies of the Three Fires Confederacy had destroyed all Five Nations settlements north of the latter's aboriginal lands in what is today Upstate New York.  The Mississauga owned all of Southern Ontario by right of conquest in 1700.  Thus the Five Nations making a deal with the British one year later over lands to which they had no rights proves that the Nanfan document is worthless.  You cannot give what is not yours to give - plain and simple. 

However the English were also in no position to make any sort of deal with the Five Nations involving lands in the region of Lakes Ontario and Erie.  The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 between England and France recognized the latter's rights to sovereignty over the lands in what is today Southern Ontario including the area where the Five Nations had established settlements.  Also the names which appear (or do not appear) on the parchment pose more significant problems for those who would use the Nanfan document as evidence of "treaty rights".  What one sees is a list of names of those present - generally local officials including, Aldermen, the High Sheriff and the Indian Secretary Robert Livingston from Albany.  The Governor at the time was Acting Governor of New York, John Nanfan, who had dissolved the legislature at that time and was acting alone.  What the document shows is that Nanfan signed attesting to the names of those who were present, and the authenticity of the parchment, nothing more.  He did not include his personal seal let alone anything representative of the Crown - he did not even give his title (acting Governor of the Colony of New York).  All he and the others were promising to do was to send the document to England for possible approval of the King and Privy Council.  The original document has no seals or other official symbols affixed to it.  Apparently it was received in England and simply filed away and never became an official document of any sort.  Perhaps it was realized that the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 with the French invalidated the document.  Thus to claim that this was a valid "treaty" cannot be supported by any solid evidence.  The "treaty" is only an agreement, and a fraudulent one at that.

Below is a photo of the original Nanfan agreement:


Below is the back of the Nanfan agreement:


It is important to note that the image of the back of the document is seen for the first time ever outside a drawer in Kew, England.  It has surfaced thanks to the persistent efforts of Alex Biegalski, and included in his website, My Dundas Valley which can be seen here.

The map that supposedly accompanied the Nanfan agreement has not been located (by myself).  It may have been inspired by French maps of the time, and published in 1718 by De'Lisle, and copied with some additions by Colden in 1747, as found here, and seen below:

The Wikipedia interpretation of the boundaries of the territory described by the Nanfan agreement is shown below, although I am not clear on some of the specific boundaries they provide relative to what is included in the verbal description found in the 1701 document:

Coincidentally, I was just reading the book by Gail D. MacLeitch, Imperial Entanglements: Iroquois Change and Persistence on the Frontiers of Empire, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011, which comments on the 1701 agreement.  MacLeitch stated that, By the early 1700s, the Iroquois had promoted a belief that through the wars of the previous century they had conquered distant tribes and become "sole masters" of great expanses of land beyond their immediate homeland of Iroquoia.  The Five Nations were asserting that they had defeated the Hurons, Susquehannocks and other far flung peoples and had wonn with the sword vast tracts of land.  In the view of MacLeitch, These claims were flimsy, but had the effect of bolstering Iroquois status in an emerging Anglo-Indian political arena.  MacLeitch noted that, In 1701 they deeded their northwestern "Beaver Hunting Ground" to the King of England.  In a practical sense, the deed was meaningless.  Despite their grand claims, the Iroquois could not control or dominate distant lands that were occupied by other Indian groups ...... The purpose of the deed seemed to be twofold: to remind the English of their substantial - albeit imagined - land base and to make the English accountable for its protection (p.32)Since the English Crown never formally recognized this agreement, it died a natural death - except in the minds of later generations who wished to breath new life into an invalid meaningless agreement to facilitate their present day claims of "treaty rights". 

It is presumptuous for Six Nations to use a document which is invalid as the basis for their claim to sweeping rights across the length and breadth of Southern and Central Ontario.  The fact that no one seems to have issued a formal challenge means that the Federal Government of Canada has stood in the role of enabler by not asserting the obvious - there are no "treaty rights" possessed by the Haudenosaunee in Ontario.  Two previous Court cases (described in the Archives to this blog) have supported the validity of the Nanfan argeement, however in neither case did the judge have access to the original document, nor the chronological context in which this parchment is embedded.  Thus they came to a conclusion based on a flawed transcript alone.  This statement that Six Nations have, since about 1696, had no treaty rights in the area is further underscored by the fact that the Mississauga are the only group that can claim aboriginal rights in this part of Ontario, including the Haldimand Tract.  They were the "owners" of this land in 1701 when the agreement was signed.  These people then became owners by right of conquest and were not consulted in the process.

The Six Nations are aboriginal to Upstate New York which was lost during the American Revolution making the People of the Longhouse refugees, who were granted lands purchased from the Mississauga by the Crown in 1784 for them to occupy.  There are no "treaty rights" pertaining to the Haldimand Tract.  It is Crown land, and all sales by Six Nations within that grant must be approved by the Crown.  It was so in 1784, and is so now.  One may not like the historical reality, and one has the right to challenge it, but the facts show that the Six Nations do not have "rights" that they adamantly claim to possess.  The fact that the Six Nations are having a laugh at everyone else's expense is not lost on everyone, as seen in an article in the Hamilton Spectator here.

The assertion that the "Nanfan Treaty of 1701" was ever at any time a valid instrument, and the reality that it was a massive fraud, will eventually have to be recognized by the Federal Government. Meanwhile Six Nations continue to claim the "right" to be consulted in municipal projects (e.g., Red Hill Creek Project), in all archaeological explorations in the area (being present as paid "monitors"), and to be involved (paid) in any wind power project in what is considered to be the boundaries of the "Nanfan Treaty".  Such an egretious disregard for the truth, combined with a cadre of enablers afraid to endure the political fallout from a Court challenge to this nonsense, makes a mockery of Six Nations claims to virtually anything!

3)  LAND CLAIMS - The Six Nations Belief that they Possess Unceded Lands Within the Grand River (Haldimand) Tract:  The Council Minutes and the Surrenders by the Six Nations Chiefs in Council between 1840 and 1848 could not be more crystal clear.  All of the lands outside of the present boundaries of the Reserve were surrendered, this fact being affirmed by the Crown via Lord Elgin and the description of the lands the Chiefs wished to have "reserved" were placed in the Indian Land Registry in the year 1850.  The lands thus surrendered were ceded to the Crown to be sold, with the proceeds being placed in the Six Nations Trust account.  Despite what is evident to anyone who cares to check the original documents, Six Nations still claim that for example the Johnson Tract and the Eagle's Nest Tract are unceded and as a result have instituted a number of highly disruptive work stoppages to extort concessions from land developers - at least until some developers and the Corporation of the City of Brantford decided to take the matter to Court and obtain injunctions against work stoppages.  All such attempts were successful, the judges of the Superior Court of Ontario universally declaring that there is no evidence that Six Nations hold unceded lands in the area, and that the work stoppages are illegal and warrant the levying of fines against those who would stand in the way of developers developing their own land - their ownership being traced to the earliest Crown deeds in the Ontario Land Registry system.

Part (but undoubtedly only part) of the reason for such a serious misconception by Six Nations is that the published records are selective.  Hence the Canada.  Indian Treaties and Surrenders from 1680 to 1890 in Two Volumes, Vol. 1, Ottawa, Queen's Press, 1891 lists a variety of documents pertaining to the Six Nations, including some very small parcels, but oddly leaves out the most important documents.  Here we see the "21st Jan., 1841.  All their lands not previously surrendered except reserve mentioned" (No. 50, Page 119, Vol. 1).  The fact is that it took a lot of "sorting around" after that date before the Chiefs in Council had arrived at the final decision on what to reserve (lands within present Reserve boundaries) and what to surrender to the Crown for sale and deposit of revenues in the Six Nations Trust Fund.  All other lands not yet disposed of by a Six Nations member residing on lands outside the Reserve boundaries could keep their land and if they wished at a later date to sell, they could do so and remove to the Six Nations Reserve.  The key documents are unfortunately found embedded in the vast Indian Affairs (RG10) Collection at the National Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.

If you read one of the two local Reserve newspapers it will quickly become clear that Six Nations maintains that there are vast tracts of unceded lands throughout the Haldimand Tract, and they have the right to negotiate with land developers, and wind power companies so that the latter will be permitted to place turbines on this "unceded" land.  Agreements have been struck with these companies for a monetary settlement, a percentage of the revenues, scholarships and other perks.  The developers have assumed that this is the way that business is conducted in not only the Haldimand Tract, but also Southwestern Ontario (citing the Nanfan Treaty of 1701).  Since no one has challenged Six Nations, the latter have proceeded full steam ahead.

An example is the Six Nations claims to land in South Cayuga Township that was actually ceded by the Chiefs in Council in the 1840s, and were purchased by the Provincial Government from the true owners for a proposed city to service the nearby Nanticoke industrial complex.  The ambitious but ill conceived plan never came to fruition and the lands, duly registered in the Ontario Land Registry system with Crown deeds from the 1840s, were either sold back to the original owners or leased to local farmers.  By no stretch of the imagination is this unceded Six Nations land. 

The present author has spoken about this subject on many occasions since commencing the blog.  Here follows the most detailed references in order from the earliest to the most recent, seen here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

It is mind boggling that Six Nations can make such egregious claims, and neither the Provincial nor the Federal Government come out with a strong statement as to the correct facts.  The Federal Government however did make their position clear in closed negotiations, and re-affirmed their perspective as recently as 2009 - that the lands were all ceded in the 1840s.  The Six Nations decided in 1995 not to pursue the matter in Court, presumably because their researcher realized that there was no foundation for any sort of case that could be won on the basis of the facts.  However Six Nations (both the Elected and Hereditary Councils) have maintained that the land is "contested", and so they must be consulted when any new development is planned.  Dropping the Court action did not resolve anything.  In retrospect, it would have been to the advantage of Canada (and the truth) to allow the matter to go to Court and be settled on the basis of the available evidence.  Oddly though, the various records on the website of the Six Nations Lands and Resources still list 29 claims, including the land claims dropped from Court proceedings in 1995 - give readers a false view that these are legitimate land claims, and potentially triggering action to "seek justice" as happened in 2006 in Caledonia (see here). 

Continuing to claim that these are "contested" lands, allows the fiction of legitimacy to thrive.  Six Nations do not want to legally contest these claims as the researchers know they would lose.  Better to just dangle them so that the ill informed will remain convinced that the Federal Government is stalling.  Actually the Federal Government has no idea who is "in charge" at Six Nations since the Six Nations Elected Council and the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council both claim the right to negotiate on the part of Six Nations.  These factions to this day refuse to speak with each other even on topics of mutual interest - so no agreement can be reached when one party or the other (or others waiting in the wings) cry foul.  Hence the Federal Government has no choice but to leave the table - until such time as Six Nations empowers one group or another with standing such that they can speak for all.  Very very unlikely.  But guess who comes off as the "bad guy" - yes, the Federal Government.

The most noteworthy claim to "unceded" land came to the fore in a chaotic "reclamation" of the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) property, a residential land development with a half dozen new homes already constructed, in the south of Caledonia, beginning 28 February 2006.  The matter remains "unresolved" to this day.  After their illegal and violent (arson, multiple assault cases, threats, intimidation, property damage) take over, Six Nations members have remained in control of the site. They erroneously assert rights to this property as unceded land along the Plank Road (today known as Argyll Street, or old Highway 6) in Oneida Township within the municipal boundary of Caledonia.  At the site today you will see the burned out trailer, the hydro towers taken down by Six Nations members, with Confederacy and Mohawk Warriors flags waving over a site where all homes except one (plus the shanty at the entrance way) have been trashed and demolished.  "Celebrations" of this act of infamy occur on the anniversary (28 February) every year.  Six Nations have named the site, Kanonhstaton (the Protected Place), and see it as a symbol of all the wrongs alleged to have been perpetrated against Six Nations.  The facts say otherwise, but unless someone cares to enact a formal challenge, nothing will change and the scars from 8 years ago will remain there for all to "enjoy". 

The facts are readily available in the report of 2009 by Joan Holmes and Associates seen here, a respected firm that researches treaties and land claims (see here).  The details of all the land transfer to the Crown could not be more straightforward.  So 170 years later the Six Nations of today are attempting to undo what the ancestors did with full knowledge of the circumstances, and an admonishment to later generations not to try to undo what they have decided.  During 1844 the representatives of the Crown discussed each parcel of land (e.g., Johnson Tract), and what the Chiefs wanted done with it.  These frequent meetings at the Onondaga Council House were repetitious since each side was ensuring that everyone knew what their true wishes were.  Thus, although the lands where DCE is located were in fact originally selected for 25 year leases by the Chiefs, they changed their minds and specifically mentioned time and again from 1844 that they now wished the property to be included in a surrender to the Crown.  If someone wishes to challenge the wisdom of the Chiefs, that would be very bad form.  The Chiefs made it very clear in all deeds bearing their signatures, that they do not wish later generations to come along and challenge what they have decided.  In terms of the interpreter, Jacob Martin played a prominent role in this capacity, and in any interface between Six Nations and the Indian Department and other White officials.  Never do I recall seeing anything negative about him or his work.  As to the personnel of the Indian Department, I have read the diaries, correspondence and records of James Winniet, David Thorburn, Jasper Gilkison and others.  They appeared to have a genuine interest in the welfare of Six Nations, trying despite immense obstacles (e.g., the number of squatters that would have to be removed and compensated in order to create a reserve anywhere along the Haldimand Tract), to do right by these people.  All was above board.  There is no reason to second guess anyone. 

The data from the Minutes of the Council Meetings, including the signatures of all Chiefs present, provide a clear sequential picture of the process leading to the ultimate decision by the Chiefs in 1848 (re the Burtch Tract).  After that all was done, and actually in 1847 the move to the new consolidated Reserve had begun with the Chiefs providing location tickets to 100 acres of land for each adult male.

With respect to the property near Caledonia known as Douglas Creek Estates owned by Henco Ltd. and later known by Six Nations as Kanonhstaton,  on 17 September 1845 the final confirmation of the ceding of this property that was to become the Douglas Creek Estates was attested to by 66 Chiefs in Council and duly recorded in the Minutes.  At that point the land was entered on title with a Crown grant to the first purchaser and recorded in the Ontario Land Registry system, the documents being located in the Land Registry Office in Cayuga.  Here is the exact wording from the Council Minutes:

9. 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 7
O'Clock to meet again tomorrow morning at 8 O'Clock A.M.

Note that lands in the Township of Tuscarora, 200 acres at the Mohawk mission school,  and lots 45 to 61 in Onondaga were requested for reservation, as previously indicated. Lands in Oneida Township had been added and the Council had indicated consent to reserve only the portions of the Butch tract on which settlers could not establish a legitimate claim.

(David Thorburn, Minutes of Council, Council House Onondaga, September 17, 1845. LAC RG 10 Vol. 152 pp. 87852-87854).
Map of Oneida Township
Reference to any map of Oneida Township showing the Plank Road (Highway 6, Argyll Street), such as the Page & Co. Atlas of 1879, will note the that the express wish of the Chiefs was to include within the Reserve the "lands adjoining, the tier of lots on the west side of the Plank Road" (I have underlined the key clause in the description above), and conforming to Lord Elgin's description of the boundaries of the Six Nations Reserve in 1850.  This denotes the present boundary of the Six Nations Reserve which begins at the eastern end of the irregular tier of lots extending west from the Plank Road.  Note that the wording does not say "lands including, the tier of lots on the west side of the Plank Road".  The Plank Road is seen angling to the left from the Town of Caledonia (large red block) toward the Reserve line (Lot 1 and the adjoining part of the River Range from the western edge of Hagersville at the bottom of the map).  The six lots of the Indian Reserve in Oneida Township are clearly demarcated.  In amongst this "tier" and fronting on the "Plank Road" is the former Douglas Creek Estates to which Six Nations have no legal right - or "right" of any nature or description.

In case some think that because nothing has been done to address the "reclamation" that the Federal Government is unclear about the matter, it should be noted that in 2009 the Federal representative of the Indian Affairs and Northern Development, went on record with their position.  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” (Horsnell, A Short History of the Six Nations of the Grand River, 2010, p.8, see here).

As to the Province of Ontario, it is beset by political turmoil and has done all it could to put its head in the sand to avoid dealing with the fallout of the "reclamation" (other than a compensation package for those most directly impacted, and purchasing the land from the developer in the name of the Province).  So the festering sore remains in the mind of the people on both sides of the Reserve line, and where everything including the trash and debris from 2006, remains in suspended animation.  All is in limbo.  However when Justice Harrison Arrell of the Ontario Superior Court in Brantford was levying hefty fines against the protesters who attempted to block developers in Brant County from building homes on their land, he took the time to provide a preliminary assessment of the strength of the land claims case.  On 19 November 2010 Justice Arrell stated that the strength of the Six Nations land claims is "exceedingly weak"; and elsewhere stated that the Six Nations have a "very weak case" as seen here

So, based on the evidence, any Court is going to find the land claims case failing in merit and will likely have it dismissed.  Political considerations (angry Indians do not make good press) will ensure that the matter will drag on indefinitely until a specific Court challenge is issued on the entire land claims spectrum.  All fall under the same umbrella, and all lands outside the present boundaries of the Six Nations Reserve were surrendered for sale by 1848.  See the above Horsnell document, which is detailed and offers a very poignant analysis, for an in depth study of all three matters discussed in this posting.  He also includes other relevant information, such as how the Proclamation of 1763 connects to the relationship between Six Nations and the Crown.

As a personal aside, I hope that those most involved in the land claims which led to criminal behaviour are hauled in to Court and fined (the leaders have yet to face the music), sending a signal to all that if you make a claim, and take action that has an adverse impact on innocent people, there need to be facts not beliefs which guide actions, otherwise expect fines and jail time.  I can dream, can't I.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Terrorists and Extortionists with a Handful of Mohawk Radicals at Tyendinaga Hold the Public at Ransom by a Series of Rail Blockades

Updated 20 March 2014 - Below is found a posting of earlier this month.  However I must amend it.  This situation is shifting at a gatling gun pace.  A second blockade of the same area as the first (noted below) has been erected and the Ontario Provincial Police, the Canadian National Police, and the Tyendinaga First Nations Police are once again faced with the same spectacle.  So, here we go again.  I would have expected swift action this time based on the events of a week ago with arrests and individuals being charged - but no, the police are urging the "patience" of the public who is being massively inconvenienced by some new (or recycled?) thugs masquerading as Mohawks.  In the video seen here, all I see is a White youth in a stylish hat walking around, and a rotund bearded White guy beating on a drum and howling some sort of chant.  Meanwhile passengers are being rerouted with buses, and the freight trains come to a stop, and millions to billions of dollars are lost to the economy for lack of quick action by the authorities.  All of the hapless victims who may for all I know are hurrying to the side of their mother before she dies to pay their last respects - if so they might not make it.  The unmitigated gall of these anti-social misfits who grab a cause and use it to bludgeon the public in order to make their views known.  Contemptuous behaviour which should not be tolerated in a civilized society.  Apparently the majority are to be sacrificed to political correctness. 

Reports from today say that the dozen or so protesters have dismantled their blockade.  Apparently many were from the Native Studies Programme at Ryerson in Toronto.  The Tyendinaga Band Council stated very clearly that they are opposed to any such tactics by protesters.  So a dozen Native supporters can bring Canada's busiest rail corridor to a grinding halt, and the authorities sit on their hands trying to figure out what to do.  Here is a suggestion, since this sort of action is not going away - have a pre-arranged plan that can be put in effect immediately if public safety and other such factors are compromised.  See here for one of the reports on the present dismantling of the blockade.  I am just waiting right now to see if / when this craziness is going to be mimicked here in the east end of Six Nations where there is also a convenient rail line to block.  With the mood here in Haldimand, a road blockade bring the simmering anger to a boil - but some ignorant individuals may go for it none the less.

Below is my "pre-amended" posting, relating primarily to the arrest of terrorist Shawn Brant.

"Well, finally, the first hint that maybe the Ontario Provincial Police has decided to return to their assigned roles as police officers, not "peacekeepers".  This according to Turtle Island News, 12 March 2014 (p.16) in an article entitled, Mohawk protest ends with three charged after rail line stopped.  The particulars of this situation, which took place in and near Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory (east of Belleville, Ontario), may have a direct bearing on the situation we in Haldimand and Brant Counties have been facing since 2006.

The organizer of the demonstration, allegedly in support of an enquiry into the missing and dead aboriginal women, a notorious controversial trouble making activist (some might say terrorist, see here), with an extensive criminal record, Shawn Brant, has been arrested!  For those who would like to explore the background of this individual who involves himself in any Native - related cause, irrespective of its validity, please see here.  He is the darling of the International Communist League, as seen here.  His speciality seems to be issuing death threats against those who say negative things about him - even when 100% accurate.  For an example see here.  Jeff Parkinson's blog has a particularly good summary of the press coverage of Shawn Brant's form of militancy, where time after time he has shown contempt for authority and the law, perhaps even revelling in the power felt in issuing "ultimatums" to the government.  This source can be found here.

First a brief exploration of the stated reason why this action by Brant and his followers was initiated.  Missing, murdered and exploited Native women is a reality that cannot be denied.  It is a legitimate concern that calls for a pinpointing of the cause, and the enactment of a solution.  However with emotions running high, it is a topic readily amenable to being used as a pretext by anyone in order to serve their own agenda.  If we allow individuals to take the law into their own hands when they perceive that some wrong has been committed, we enter the realm of anarchy.  In this case there have been numerous Parliamentary committee investigations and numerous academic studies on the alleged rationale for the blockade, and all have come to the same conclusion.  All the work done to date points toward social decay and abject poverty on a substantial number of reserves with alcohol fuelled domestic violence, an unprecedented number of children born with foetal alcohol syndrome, suicide, incest and rape that is endemic on many isolated reserves in the north, and which results in many young women escaping to the south with no skills, no "street smarts", and no support from their community.  Hence these unfortunate women often do not tap into available services, and end up homeless and / or in the highly risky sex trade.  This is in no way the fault of the Federal Government, which has funnelled billions of unaudited dollars in the futile attempt to solve the matter - often to see the money filtering into the personal accounts of a corrupt chief and their family; and new housing and other amenities trashed within a year.  But the source of the problem, according to all studies tabled to date, lies at the doorstep of the local community which spawned the problem in the first place, and no amount of money or more studies is going to change that.  If for example parents are not going to insist on their children attending school, this is a set up for those completely dependent on them to begin on a path leading in a self destructive direction.  It is time to take the facts and form a clear picture of reality.  Short of disbanding or consolidating the reserves, the problem seems impervious to solutions where the first step would be accepting some personal responsibility for the problem.  These women are true victims, and the problems which would lead to their demise often started at a very very early age.

We have the data, so what are we (primarily those most impacted) going to do about addressing the facts?  It is all very sad and very frustrating and I challenge anyone to come up with a viable solution - but blocking roads is no solution, simply an illegal act guaranteed to pi## off a large number of innocent people.  Those interested in delving into this matter in a serious way, by acquiring facts, would be well advised to read books such as, Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard, Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation, Montreal-Kingston, McGill-Queens University Press, 2008; and as well, Tom Flanagan, First Nations?  Second Thoughts, 2nd Edition, Montreal-Kingston, McGill-Queens University Press, 2008.  I would question whether Brant and his cronies have read anything fact - based on this subject.  Inconvenient facts, and an inconvenient truth are, for many, best ignored.

Shawn Brant had established a strategic blockade of Shannonville Road (near the Belleville end of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Reserve), with easy access to the Canadian National rail line - which in my view, based on his past words and actions, has been his target all along.  Indeed, he moved his entourage on to the CN tracks and on Saturday and the train traffic in the Toronto to Montreal and Toronto to Ottawa corridors was brought to a halt for 3 hours while 8 freight trains and three passenger trains were stranded.  I can almost feel the sense of power surging through Brant as he defied the law, and brought his own form of justice to the situation.  Clearly any inconvenience and life disruption of the hundreds involved were of no consequence to Brant and his entourage. 

On the front page of the TIN website, it was reported that passengers had to debark and take shuttle buses to get around the blockade.  However, to counter this act of terrorism, the OPP took the initiative of creating a two row human barrier along the south side of the tracks, and blocked all road access from the north side while the Tyendinaga Mohawk Police blocked the access from the south side.  This kept 17 "remaining Mohawks" sealed off from the area where Brant "set up shop", and stopped others who would have arrived to be part of the action away from the scene.  An excellent preemptive step!  This is what should have been done in Caledonia 2006.  If the 5th Line, the 6th Line, and the Stirling Road Bridge (later burned by Native protesters) had been closed to traffic when the OPP moved in to make arrests it would have prevented "reinforcements" moving in from the Rez to overwhelm the OPP by sheer numbers.  Also, it was reported that, At least one OPP officer was seen with an assault rifle.  This, however, does not appear to be a confirmed report.  The fact is though that this would afford officers protection from the life threatening actions they and other units faced during a time of chaos, as was seen in Caledonia 2006.  They have the legal right to carry weapons to protect themselves and the public.  This is not true of protesters who have only their personal self righteous views to warrant having any weapons present.

Apparently, in response to the arrival of the OPP, Brant took another of his amazingly creative steps used at times like this, and broke the window of a police cruiser.  So apparently not only he, but others (presumably the usual motley crew) committing illegal acts were promptly arrested - just as would happen to any non-Native person engaging in the same behaviour.  The rule of law once again returning to our beloved Province.   Four people were arrested, and three will be charged. 

Brant, a person who seems to have a great deal of time on his hands, and seems to crave media attention, is a member of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Community - although very controversial there.  He has been a virulent and dangerous person engaging in "terrorist like" activities who shows no hesitation in using force, basically any and all means to get his way (using any pretext to "go to war" with the establishment).  He is finally been dealt with in the only manner people of this ilk understand.  It seems that the Belleville / Napaneee OPP have been proactive in arresting Brant as required - whereas here in Haldimand, the situation has been that more likely than not the militant will get away with the crime.  In this case, application of the law fairly and evenly to all people - no exceptions - seems to have been followed.  Others arrested were John Fox, whose daughter, a sex trade worker, committed suicide jumping from a condo owned by one of her "johns".  Apparently the protesters agreed to dismantle the blockade if Fox was released.  Also arrested and charged with Brant are individuals known as "Cracker" and "Ribs", "during a hand-to-hand melee".  It is known that at least two militants from Akwesasne were present among the Tyendinaga protesters.  The Akwesasne militants are known to use "handles" rather than their real names.  What is not know is whether there were non-Native (White) radicals among the protesters

Words fail me in the pride I feel, and the thanks I feel, for the actions of the officers who did not let political correctness and the nonsense emerging as a result of the "Ipperwash Inquiry" to cloud their judgement.  They did their duty.  To serve and protect once again means something in relation to the embattled OPP.  I have not seen this for 8 years in Haldimand or Brant Counties.  I am, however, not pleased that the OPP chose to use "Native liaison officers".  Will "immigrant liaison officers" be pressed into service if the person was born elsewhere?  Anyway, that is a side issue that needs to be addressed. 

What intrigues me is the question as to whether now, here, the OPP will, as I am sure many rank and file officers wish, be given the go ahead to apply the law without consideration of ethnicity.  In other words, has "race based policing" been shown for the divisive and unfair practise it is, and will one law for all be the policy here in my backyard too.  Of course only time will tell.  However for the first time since 2006, I have hope."


Monday, 10 March 2014

Accusations of Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing Directed Toward the Canadian Government

The words in the post title are those associated with the actions of Six (Five) Nations in the mid 17th Century, and of Hitler's National Socialist (Nazi) regime in the mid 20th Century.  However they have been resurrected by some at Six Nations where accusations of engaging in this behaviour have been levelled against the Canadian Federal Government today.  If this seems outlandish, in 2014, it is, but when placed within context of the history of those who chose to utter these words, there is no mystery - only grotesque distortions of the true meaning of these phrases.

First, it will be necessary to see what each term means, whether historically there is any connection to the Six Nations, and what those who chose to use the expressions in 2014 hope to gain from the warped twisted and insulting misuse of the highly emotion laden terms.  It will be important to understand what these terms mean, before looking at how highly distorted interpretations at Six Nations have become.

Genocide is, the systematic killing of all or part of a racial, ethnic, religious or national group.  See here for the specifics of the definition and recent examples (e.g., Rawanda in Africa).  Another example of the meaning of genocide is, a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.  For example, the mass murders and concentrations camps such as Buchenwald aimed at the "final solution" by Hitler's Nazi regime to completely wipe Jews from the map of Europe.  See here for more.

Ethnic cleansing is, the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory with the intent of creating a territory inhabited by people of a homogeneous or pure ethnicity, religion, culture, and history. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), as well as mass murder, and intimidation.  Many of the actions during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia would fall under this category.

Genocide versus ethnic cleansing involve, The crimes committed during an ethnic cleansing are similar to those of genocide, but while genocide includes complete extermination of the target group as the stated goal, ethnic cleansing may involve murder only to the point of mobilizing the target group out of the territory.  See here for more detail and more examples.

Being familiar with world history, and having watched true examples of all of the above during my lifetime, I was shocked to see members of the Six Nations Community using both expressions, levelled at the Canadian Federal Government.  While this seems beyond ridiculous, it will be important to see the rationale behind these statement, and do a reality check on each.  Since I am aware of examples when the Haudenosaunee employed both genocide and ethnic cleansing during historical times, it will be important to also discuss these facts since they can easily be validated with various sources from history, anthropology and archaeology.

Both of these terms have been used within the last few weeks to apply to events occurring today.  Since I believe that I am cognisant of the various issues and events happening in the various communities of the Haldimand Tract, I find the use of the terms very puzzling.  Not only that, but if verified, these allegations are profoundly disturbing, considering the definitions noted above.  So it is time to explore the specifics of these allegations.

Recent uses of the terms genocide and ethnic cleansing at Six Nations include information in the 26 February 2014 issue of Turtle Island News (p.2), concerning the "Tobacco Wars", in an article entitled, Bill C-10 is not about fighting crime, its about destroying economies, First Nation leadership says in rejecting the bill they report on the statements of some of these leaders.  They note that, H.H. is the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council's planning department director.  In discussing Federal Bill C-10 (designed to crack down on contraband tobacco), Ms. H. stated that, This is an attempt to dissolve Haudenosaunee treaty rights and economies in order for them to gain control of our people.  It's more akin to ethnic cleansing and genocideA. H. is, a member of the Turtle Island Trade and Commerce business group, and TIN reported that she said that, It is an act of terrorism on our people and an activity of economic oppression.  In this particular posting I will focus on the accusations of genocide and ethnic cleansing, perhaps leaving "terrorism" and "economic oppression" for another occasion.

At the recent gathering to "commemorate" the violent rampage at Caledonia in 2006 using the false pretext of treaty and land rights, a group of leaders of this confrontation which created an indelible stain on the perpetrators and a permanent mistrust between members of the Six Nations and local Haldimand communities, discussed some of the issues as they saw them.  This was reported in Turtle Island News, March 5, 2014 (p.5) in an article entitled, The women who sparked the nation, remember 8 years ago.  The above H. H. was there, and continued to comment on, the fight for Haudenosaunee rights.  She then launched in another diatribe against Bill C-10 stating, The oppression and genocidal acts and the ethnic cleansing they're attempting will never, ever succeed because the spirit lies within each and every one of us.  I wonder if this includes me - because I don't for one nano second believe in tossing words like "oppression" at the Federal Government hoping that they will stick - let alone accusing the Canadian government of autrocities - which takes things to a level of complete absurdity, and is grossly insulting - especially since it is all a complete fabrication.  Lets then turn the tables around and see if the pot is calling the kettle black here, based on historical reality, where the Haudenosaunee come away with very bloodied hands.

True factual examples of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) history include events of the 1640s and 1650s which were known as the "Beaver Wars" and the "Mourning Wars".  Perhaps the best short description, based on the primary and best secondary sources available (all of which I have read), is Timothy J. Shannon, Iroquois Diplomacy on the Early American Frontier, New York, Penguin, 2008 pp. 32-38.  There is no way to dismiss the "inconvenient truth" in relation to this period in the history of the Haudenosaunee.  It was recorded in sources such as the contemporary Jesuit Relations which include direct observations by the Jesuit priests who witnessed the horrible atrocities first hand.  Basically, due to economic competition and the need to replace population lost to wars and pestilence, the Five Nations went on a "killing spree" to exterminate competition, and to capture those to adopt as replacements for those lost in increasing numbers.  Those who were adopted tended to be women and children, but another form of "adoption" was typically reserved for adult males.  Here a small number were adopted into families who lost members recently, but most were, in the Iroquoian language, "caressed".  This ritualistic torture is so upsetting I will include only a general description here, but detailed descriptions can be found in any book on the Iroquoian people (including the Haudenosaunee).  Fingers, parts of fingers, defleshing, burning from the top to bottom, placing of hot coals on the head of the hapless victim, cutting off of more and more body parts, and eventually death and consumption of the flesh (cannibalism) was the standard fare.  These practises continued even up to the War of 1812.  As disgusting as this is, and how apologists might wish to deny it, the facts are the facts and the practises extend back (as can be seen by butchering marks on the bone) as early as man has been in the Americas.  My ancestors without a doubt participated, and of course it makes me sick, not proud.  My Norwegian ancestors were just as brutal, with for example the "blood eagle" reserved for particularly suitable individuals like the King of Northumbria who allegedly tossed Ragnar Lothbrok into a snake pit, and whose children took revenge some years later.  The procedure involved cutting open the ribs and pulling the lungs free so they would inflate while the hapless victim was still alive - looking somewhat like the wings of a bird.  Horrible.  The Viking numbers were not large enough or they likely would have completed acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide - unless it was more expedient to keep the people alive so they could be robbed again at a later date.

By the time the Five Nations had realized their goal of complete extermination (some few, particularly Huron, did escape), between the years 1640 and 1657, there was little left of the Huron / Wyandot, and nothing of the Petun, Attiwandaronk, Erie or Wenro.  Peoples "wiped off the planet" by the Haudenosaunee "warriors", allowing the young men to show their prowess in battle, and having many intended effects to provide an advantage to the Five Nations.  This ruthlessness and cruelty is why they were so feared, even many years after the events. 

There are dangers in using evocative but historically inaccurate terms to cast aspersions at the Federal Government of Canada.  There is not one shred of evidence that anything the government is doing has even the most minuscule hint of what H. H. has declared.  However I can give examples of instances where in fact, the Haudenosaunee perpetrated true and historically verifiable - there is no disagreement on whether the acts happened or did not happen - they did, and they conform to the above definitions of genocide and ethnic cleansing. 

Do some at Six Nations wish to bring up these events from the distant past? They do so at their own peril and risk opening old wounds and alerting those not familiar with Canadian history as to the atrocities perpetrated by Haudenosaunee people. 

The whole matter is still an embarrassment to Six Nations - even in 2014 some at Six Nations and their toadies unwisely attack excellent and popular writers who dare tell the truth.  The classic example is the reaction to the book by Joseph Boyden, The Orenda, Toronto, Knopf, 2014.  He discusses, in the form of a novel, the information found in the Jesuit Relations and has received scorching reviews from Six Nations members and academic apologists.  Some First Nations people such as well known Ojibway writer Web Kinew is entirely supportive of the book (see here).  It can't be all that bad, despite the best attempts of the Six Nations lobby to get people to view it so.  "Orenda" was a 2013 nominee for the Governor General's Award for Canadian fiction; and the 2014 winner of CBC's "Canada Reads" award and so objectively it is a good piece of literature.  Some First Nations people such as Hayden King (actually part Cherokee and never resided on a Reserve) are not so bullish about this work (see here).  I agree that some of the events portrayed do not accord with known history - such as the Haudenosaunee raping women. As far as I know, in the pre-Reserve days rape was not part of Six Nations culture - it is not mentioned in historical sources. 

It is of course a cause of concern to Six Nations at a time when so many "rights" are being claimed, and many are trying to compare Canada's attempt to rationalize its laws against illegal cigarettes. Indeed, the Haudenosaunee did commit acts of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and no whitewashing or sanitizing will work here - the evidence is far too robust and widespread across a spectrum of disciplines.  Some Six Nations members have weighed in on this book, including what can be seen here.  Although I don't take exception to the review given by the author (or the facts), and agree on many aspects (e.g., excessive Jesuit zeal), there are comments on this particular blog seem to be egregious, and bereft of facts, that I will comment on the specifics of the postings there at a later date - although I certainly respect this author's perspective (we often seem to share things from the same angle).  But, either you live in Indian Territory or you do not.  I am tired of "Haudenosaunee" and other First Nations people from urban Canada bemoaning all of the colonialism, racism, residential schools and cookie cutter nonsense that I hear all the time which does not accord with the inconvenient facts.  People who have lost touch with their true roots often fall into some sort of selective stereotypical romantic longing for what never was - more later.

Thus some think that by using genocide and ethnic cleansing that they are going to enlist the sympathy of the public.  Only the very ignorant would listen to and believe words saying that there is a resemblance between Canada 2014 and these two emotive terms.  It will backfire because it was the Haudenosaunee participated in one of the world's most notorious and thoroughly documented textbook examples of true genocide and ethnic cleansing, to the point where whole groups of people no longer existed on the map of North America - murdered and dismembered to fulfil the goals of those ancestors (including my own) who lived in the mid 17th Century.

Be careful what you say, it may come back to bite you in the ..........