Saturday, 31 May 2014

Six Nations Deal with Samsung: Haldimand County Gets the Shaft as Lies, Corruption and Greed Prevail in Wind Turbine Deals

Updated 26 June 2014. 

In a previous blog posting (see here) I made the point that Samsung has provided Six Nations with a $65 million bribe that is little more than "hush money" to facilitate their billion dollar "green energy" project situated in Haldimand County. In contrast, the amount of money allotted to Haldimand County, which is on the direct receiving end of the destructive sweep of industrial turbines and solar "farms" across the landscape, is a paltry $20 million.  The Mayor of Haldimand is of the opinion that this is the best deal that can be negotiated (he is probably correct), so was willing to pose shovel in hand along with the then Elected Chief of Six Nations and two Samsung officials in a photo op seen below (reference here). 

The official sod-turning on the $1 billion Grand Renewable Energy Park was held Thursday at the Dunnville Airport. Among those in attendance were, from left, Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt, Chief Bill Montour of Six Nations, South Korean Consul-General Chung Kwang-Kyun and Jung Soo Kim, senior executive vice president of Samsung C&T. (MONTE SONNENBERG Simcoe Reformer)

This inequity is scandalous to say the least - but the greatest injustice being perpetrated here is that Six Nations have no legitimate right to one dime of Samsung's money.  The fact is that by asserting jurisdiction via a 300 year old fraudulent "treaty", and lands legally surrendered 180 years ago, Six Nations can sit back, reap all of the ill gotten benefits, and not have to worry about these hideous blights on the landscape being anywhere near their doorstep.  In this case the rationale being employed is the second of their "aces up the sleeve" - asserting that they never surrendered lands in this part of the Haldimand Tract.  Here Six Nations rely on the categorization of the properties in both Townships as being "contested lands", resulting from the claim made in 1995, almost 20 years ago.  Here, despite the irrefutable documentation dating back to the surrender of 1834, Six Nations has managed to keep the specific claim that they have unceded lands in both Dunn and South Cayuga Townships "unresolved", and to this day it still remains on the books with the Federal Government.  This claim is a total fairytale, but no one is challenging them, so full speed ahead. 

In fact, every time the Federal Government attempts to address the matter, the Six Nations jurisdictional issues surface and everything falls apart and so back to square one.  By this I mean that while the Elected Council is mandated as the official body with the legal authority to negotiate with the Government, the Hereditary Council will typically demand that their voices be heard and one or both Six Nations factions walks away from the table, with the result that the Government is left holding the bag.  However the perception is that the Federal Government is dragging its heels, when the truth is that Six Nations is unwilling or unable to "get its act together".  So everything is delayed, and seldom is anything settled.  However it works to the collective advantage of Six Nations since with the matter "up in the air", they can assert that the Federal Government has failed in their duty, and so as "victims" of the process, they will try to convince commercial enterprises such as Samsung that matters will eventually be settled in their favour, and proceed accordingly, as if their perception that the Ontario Land Registry is invalid amounts to objective reality.

Thus in Haldimand and Brant Counties, all Six Nations has to do is to assert that a parcel of land is "contested", and it gives Six Nations carte blanch to do as they please in "negotiating" settlements.  In some quarters this would be called extortion, particularly since questioning the views of either the Elected Council or the Hereditary Council (or even rogue groups loosely linked to one or the other of these bodies) has resulted in chronic work stoppages and the veiled threat of violence - unless a Court injunction is obtained through the Superior Court of Ontario.  Meanwhile the County of Haldimand, which is being torn apart by the direct infestation of the march of these monstrous eyesores moving east from Jarvis across the landscape eastward toward the Grand River, gets a token sum little more than pocket change over the 20 year term of the agreement.  The irony is that Six Nations, who have no rights to any of the land on which the turbines will be built, nor will they suffer in any way from the presence of these turbines, will be the ones to harvest large sums of money for doing nothing more than sitting on their hands.  A door opens and "magically" vast sums of money flow unimpeded to the Reserve in the form of yearly "royalty" cheques.  A reasonable question can be posed at this point - is this in any way, shape or form fair?

It is best to ensure that one is not comparing apples to oranges, and hence to find a comparable project, to see what Samsung is negotiating with communities in other parts of Southwestern Ontario.  First, as a reference point, an overview of the project impacting Dunn and South Cayuga Townships.

Lake Erie: Samsung - Haldimand County (South Cayuga and Dunn Townships):  This project will include 67 wind turbines, 250 megawatts; and a 736 acre "solar farm" - the "Grand Renewable Energy Park" (GREP).  In this deal the then Six Nations Elected Council Chief, "drove a hard bargain", reminding all about the $24 that the Native owners received from the sale of Manhattan Island - as if this event from 350 years ago has applicability today.  However despite the fact that Six Nations have absolutely no legitimate claim to any of the land on which the turbines will be built, they will receive $65 million from Samsung, and the deal was sweetened by another $10 million by the Provincial Government (see here).  The source of the funds from the latter is of course the Ontario taxpayer.  To add insult to injury, those residing on the Six Nations Reserve do not pay taxes on monies earned here (tax is a dirty word hereabouts), and with the status card don't have to pay taxes n many purchases off Reserve, so it is the general citizenry of Ontario who will be shouldering this burden.  Haldimand County will receive a total of $20 million over the 20 year span of the project - from Samsung - but the Provincial Government did not see fit to offer its own taxpaying citizens any "sweetening".  In South Cayuga Township much of the land being used for the Samsung projects is likely the leased land obtained by the Province when they purchased a slew of family farms during the 1980s for anticipated use in building a residential complex to service the anticipated expanded Nanticoke industrial complex.  Not one home was ever built on this land, which was offered back to the original owners on lease. 

Despite what Six Nations would have you believe about their having "Nanfan Treaty" rights in Southwestern Ontario, and owning considerable unceded lands here - the "treaty" is bogus, and the actual number of acres owned within this part of the Haldimand Tract is zero.  As noted previously, the catch here, which allows Six Nations to profit when having no stake in the land base, is that they have submitted a claim to the Federal Government in 1995 - one which still stands on the books.  Thus despite the published evidence that there is no valid claim here, the mere submission of a claim means that the land is considered to be in the "contested" category, and so Six Nations have flexed their muscles as if the land was actually part of their land base (which was legally ceded to the Crown in 1834).

Lake Huron: Samsung - Kincardine:  A good example of a Samsung wind turbine deal elsewhere in Ontario is the 90 wind turbine, 180 megawatt Armow Wind Project at Kincardine on the shores of Lake Huron.  Even though the community there will be on the receiving end of a more favourable deal from Samsung, residents are far from happy, and some who negotiated leases believe that they were lied to and cheated.  The region will receive $16.5 million over 20 years (close to the amount in the deal with Haldimand County) - but there is no infusion of cash to local First Nations groups.  I have no idea why there is no issue surrounding "consultation" and "engagement" coming from the nearby Chippewas of Saugeen to the north and the Ipperwash group to the South.  I suspect that the reason has something to do with the fact that the treaties are legitimate and there is no one trying to amend history and the facts to elbow their way into a process where they do not belong, or make false claims.  Should someone wish to do so, in all probability it is patently evident that the claim would fall on its face - so why bother. 

Kincardine Wind Farm

Some details of the situation at Kincardine can be found in the article seen here.

Haldimand and Kincardine - The Consultation and Accommodation Process (Engagement Process):

A major difference between the two regions in terms of the wind turbine agreements that have been struck is that in Haldimand the "Native issue" has obtruded.  Since 2006 repeated attempts to assert false claims by Six Nations have resulted in a series of government enablers who have not stated the facts in the clearest possible terms.  The Federal Government has yet to step forward and make a direct and clear statement that can be quoted by media outlets (although they have alluded to their view that the Surrender of 1841 and all previous such agreements are valid).  I do not recall an occasion when they have stated specifically that the "Nanfan Treaty" is a fraud, and cannot be used as a basis to require "the engagement process" as defined by the Federal Government in projects across the length and breadth of Southwestern Ontario.  Instead they simply stall when the matter surfaces.  Secondly, all of the Six Nations claims to unceded land made after the General Surrender of 1841 are false, and warrant no further consideration.  The Province of Ontario has stated (although not clearly and openly in for example statements on their Aboriginal Affairs website) that they stand by the Ontario Land Registry system which shows no outstanding claims to lands in the Haldimand Tract (Haldimand and Brant Counties).  I have, in many previous blog postings, laid out all of the evidence and there is no reason why the Government researchers should not also provide their assessment of the matter in a written and freely available form - but they have left it up to bloggers and other interested parties to state the obvious, create a written record available to the public, and assume any fall out.  The 2006 Caledonia "reclamation" clearly instilled fear of the Six Nations in both Federal and Provincial branches of Indian Affairs - generally leading to inertia when the taxpaying citizens, and the concepts of truth and justice, call out for action.

Summary and Conclusion:  So the bottom line is, Six Nations rakes in $75 million (Samsung plus Provincial Government) and no risk and no negative impact of any description.  Haldimand County's take is $20 million (and having to absorb all of the impact and fallout).  Examples of the negative consequences to those "on the front lines" include damage and blight to the landscape; citizens impacted by decreased property values and possibly significant health issues; as well as environmental damage such as the death of thousands of migrating birds.  So for example, at the end of the 20 year agreement, with the cost being about a quarter of a million dollars to remove each turbine, who will end up picking up the tab when / if the company that signed the agreement is no longer in existence or reneges of the terms of the agreement.  Answer, the County of Haldimand and the taxpayers of Ontario.  How will a major stakeholder, Six Nations, be impacted after 20 years?  It does not appear that they will in any way be "touched" and so "no risk, big rewards", period.

Until the "Nanfan Treaty" is exposed for the grotesque fraud that it represents, Six Nations will continue to use this document to assert bogus "treaty rights" across Southwestern Ontario, and threats of "unpleasantness" if their wishes are denied (creating a fear and intimidation factor).  Meanwhile companies will be involving themselves in the completely unnecessary "engagement process", and coughing up cash to keep Six Nations content for fear that without the payola, work stoppages and bad press will torpedo the project.  So for the moment, Six Nations has everyone over the barrel and is able to call the shots - with no one challenging the 800 pound gorilla in the room - the lack of validity of their claim to lands under the supposed "Nanfan Treaty" and to previously ceded lands within the "Haldimand Tract".  The former applies to wind projects in places such as Port Dover and Port Rowan (Norfolk County, outside the Haldimand Tract).  In all probability the reason why Six Nations does not press the issue in locations such as Kincardine is a lack of resources.  It is difficult enough for Six Nations to get a vanload of "activists" to travel to nearby Norfolk County to assert their will.  The second of the two options open to Six Nations relates to lands within the Haldimand Tract, the present matter under consideration in two townships of Haldimand County. 

Who would have thought that the tentacles radiating out from the 2006 Caledonia land "reclamation" would extend so far and wide - and go unchallenged by all levels of government.  As long as the Ontario and Canadian taxpayers are willing to allow this situation to continue without a whimper, the problem will only amplify.  Is that really ok? 

It is sad in that Six Nations claim to be "custodians of the land", with a special relationship that involves respecting mother earth.  In practice it seldom works this way over the long haul.  Initially one group was vehemently opposed to the wind projects, and in particular the removal of an eagles nest to make way for a turbine.  As I detailed in a previous posting, this group took action and sent members to initiate work stoppages.  Here we see actions such as this being used for the good of all Ontario citizens based on ethical principals - protecting the environment.  Alas, some deal was struck and they backed away and their voices are no longer heard in relation to this issue.  I know of no group at Six Nations who are currently opposed to the wind turbine projects - although some turbines are relatively close to the southeast end of the Reserve.  So much for taking the moral high road.

My connections to the Six Nations community will never trump the perspective my training in science has given me.  In other words the reliance on facts and the weight of evidence in order to arrive at the truth.  Here, in the present situation, truth and justice are being made subservient to deceit and false assertions, and that is never acceptable.

The Six Nations engagement process problem is compounded by an incompetent, corrupt and unsympathetic Provincial Liberal Government, reflecting the attitudes of Downtown Toronto, who continue to place us on the alter for sacrifice to their warped "Green Energy" policy.  They abandoned us to our own fate during the Caledonia crisis of 2006 when neither they nor the Ontario Provincial Police would render assistance when we were under direct threat.  Nothing has changed, they have abandoned us again in 2014.

At a personal level, I am in the process of watching the Township where I spent much of my youth, and where I have many family and friends, be forever changed, demolished as a monument to the crass corruption in government and the greed of large corporate empires.  With each new turbine that appears on the horizon, another piece of my heritage and my memories is demolished.  Cry as I do deep inside, all I can do at this point is to send out the message by my blog postings and hope that others will realize the grave injustices being committed here.  Much of what is transpiring is in the name of political correctness and the obsessive effort to avoid being called "racist", as if presenting the facts and telling the truth warrants such an epithet.  This is one of the ways the Six Nations manipulate matters to their advantage - I have seen the constant efforts of Six Nations to paint themselves as victims, and lies are told over and over to the point where they are accepted as fact - and it tends to be a successful strategy.  What does Samsung (a Korean corporation) hear?  Do they have an impartial historian on staff to assess the claims being put forward?  I doubt that it really matters - what matters is that politics, not the truth.  Six Nations will continue to up the ante in pressing their case.  The Psychology 101 concept of reinforcement shows that any behavior that is rewarded tends to be repeated.  So we can see what is over the horizon - more of the same until someone in authority steps forward and says, NO MORE.

If Samsung can afford to "donate" $65 million to Six Nations, and the Provincial Government "sweeten the deal" with $10 million, why are funds of this scale not being offered to Kincardine and other municipalities across Ontario?  I can see no justification for granting monies to Six Nations, so Samsung and Ontario should be prepared to up the ante and give more to the municipalities "hosting" these unwelcome "guests" (industrial wind turbines) that will undoubtedly overstay their welcome and continue to multiply across our rural Ontario landscape.

Note 1:  Please tune in to Sun TV Network 4 June 2014, 8 pm Eastern Time, for the documentary "Down Wind" - which will portray what we in rural Ontario have suffered by virtue of the actions of corporate and government interests that are in the process of destroying our way of life, our communities, and demolishing our environment for all generations.

Note 2:  The most comprehensive site relating to the wind turbine situation across Ontario is "Ontario Wind Resistance" (see here).  

Update:  Mayor Ken Hewitt and Council are clearly frustrated with Samsung, who has treated Haldimand with callous neglect since day one.  They voted to ban Samsung contractors from using any of Haldimand's gravel roads (citing complaints over dust, and Samsung's failure to live up to agreements as the reason).  See here for details.  This will "put a crimp in their style" since many of the roads where turbines are either being or are proposed to be installed are off of gravel roads, a long way from any paved road.  Kudos Mayor Ken Hewitt and Council!


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

No Treaty with Six Nations Shown on Map to be Used in All Ontario Schools: A Can of Worms Opened?

Issues Concerning the Publication of a Map of Indian Land Treaties in Ontario:  In "Turtle Island News" (TIN), May 14, 2014, p.4 is an article entitled, Feds Ontario treaty map released to schools ..... but no Six Nations.  The content here concerns a map entitled, "First Nations and Treaties" which is to be used in schools across Ontario, and is based on information from the Federal Government's Ministry of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada (see here)Thus the document represents the distillation of what is in the Federal records relating to treaties signed by various First Nations peoples throughout the years (see here). 

The article in TIN reports that,

it appears that the federal Aboriginal Affairs ministry forgot to include one of the richest pre-confederation treaty in Canada.

The newly minted map does not include the Haldimand Deed lands of the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations of the Grand River) in southern Ontario or the Nanfan Treaty of 1701.

In fact the only recognition of the Haudenosaunee land base in the treaty map is a listing of reserves number Six Nations 40A and Glebe Farm 40B.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs' Council's planning department is not happy with the map.

The Director of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), said the absence is intentional. 

Next is a bit where my repeated assertions that since the events of Caledonia 2006, the various factions at Six Nations have been testing the limits and making unsubstantiated claims to reap rich rewards in the form of "application fees" paid by developers and other questionable behaviours that did not occur prior to 2006.  The Director said, the Confederacy Chiefs have 'made it clear in negotiations since 2006 and in current engagement discussions with Ontario that the 1701 Treaty area is an established treaty right and was re-affirmed by Ontario's former minister of aboriginal affairs Christopher Bentley through the engagement process with Confederacy'.

First, it is important to note that the above Chris Bentley was the Minister of Energy in the Provincial Liberal Government, and was forced to resign in disgrace due to the scandal over the closing of the gas plants, as seen here.  Thus referring to Mr. Bentley as an authority on treaty rights does not in any way tally with the evidence.

The HDI Director is presumably well aware that the HDI is not the legally empowered body to negotiate anything with either the Federal or Provincial Governments, or the various corporations who have naively agreed to the "conditions" rather than risk the inevitable work stoppages that would result by failure to comply with the "engagement process".  The latter has no legal requirements imposed on anyone, but simply those that the HDI (or the Elected Council's comparable CAP group) can cajole from those under political pressure or the stress of protests and a lot of bad press - even the media tending to portray Six Nations as victims.  The media has, in my opinion, not done its homework.  Without evidence, or with information that is completely distorted, they tend to see Six Nations as the victim - never the author of their own destiny (as would be a more apt description of historical reality).  Apparently, according to the HDI Director, this perceived omission is, a continued assimilation tactic to suggest the Haudenosaunee don't exist and our land base doesn't exist and is typical of the history they have recorded.  Apparently telling the truth does not win you points with the HDI.  The article goes on to report that,  neither the federal or provincial Aboriginal Affairs ministries answered Turtle Island News calls about why Haudenosaunee / Six Nations treaty areas were not included in the map.  My question would be, does TIN really want the bald faced truth about the matter to be exposed to public view at this point in time?  There are no legal treaties concerning Aboriginal land with Six Nations, and hence nothing is included in this map pertaining to Six Nations - it is as simple as this.

What is a Treaty?:  It is of key importance to understand the formal nature of any agreement that proceeds to the level of a treaty.  The source focusing on Canadian treaties, seen here, will be helpful.

Because I have blogged about this matter so many times, I will only include a "nutshell" summary of some key points:

1)  The Nanfan "Treaty":  The history that underpins the actual Nanfan document has been described in numerous publications.  The chronology and aftermath are key to understanding that this document is not what it is claimed to be by the Six Nations - in other words a valid treaty that is still in effect today.  Alas, it was never in effect and died a natural death almost immediately after the parties signed, or were listed on, this parchment.  A good general description by a reliable and recent source can be found in Marit K. Munson and Susan M. Jamieson (Eds.), Before Ontario: The Archaeology of a Province, Montreal & Kingston, McGill-Queens University Press, 2013.  In Gary Warwick's article in this work, The Aboriginal Population of Ontario in Late Prehistory, he provides an overview of the history underpinning the archaeology.  He reported,

The abandonment of southern Ontario by the Wendat and Neutral in 1652 and the retreat of Algonquin groups further north and west created a gap in the permanent Aboriginal occupation of southern Ontario.  In 1667, the Seneca, Cayuga, and Oneida briefly filled the gap, establishing seven villages along the north shore of Lake Ontario.  The short-lived villages were abandoned within a dozen years, after attacks by French-allied Ojibwa, Mississauga, and Wendat warriors.  After 1690, the Mississaugas, about 1000 strong and originally from north of Georgian Bay, moved south into Ontario and settled along the major rivers flowing into Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.  Iroquoians did not return permanently to southern Ontario until 1784-85, when about 1,800 Six Nations (Haudenosaunee) settled along the lower Grand River, where their descendants live today (pp.73-4).

Another excellent summary of events is provided by Dean R. Snow, the doyen of New York State archaeology in, The Iroquois, Cambridge, MA, Blackwell, 1996, (p.119) as follows:

The defeat of the Hurons and Neutrals inspired the Senecas, Cayuga, and Oneidas to establish permanent villages on the north shore of Lake Ontario.  Beginning around 1665, a string of seven such villages were founded from the vicinity of modern Hamilton to the Bay of Quinte.  They lasted for over twenty years.  However, by 1687 a coalition of Ottawas, Mississaugas (southeastern Ojibway), Ottawas, and refugee Hurons began attacking the Iroquois villages, forcing them back to the New York side of the lake with severe losses.  By the end of this fighting, the Mississaugas were defeating the Iroquois on the same land where the Iroquois had destroyed the Hurons 40 years earlier.  By 1696 the Mississaugas were in possession of the village sites on the north shore of Lake Ontario.

Nanfan Document - Front Page

So, considering the above circumstances, how did it come about that some believe that the Six Nations have "treaty rights" to all of Southwestern Ontario.  Surely an occupation of a dozen years in the closing years of the 1600s does not provide any sort of firm foundation.  Perhaps the most comprehensive analysis of this era done to date, 474 pages, is that of Jon Parmenter, The Edge of the Woods: Iroquoia, 1534-1701, East Lansing, Michigan State University Press, 2010.  He provides the background information about the destruction of the Southern Ontario Iroquoian peoples (e.g., Huron / Wendat, Attiwandaronk / Neutral) by the Five Nations during the "Beaver Wars" or "mourning wars" of the 1640s and 50s.  Palmenter also lists all known Five Nations settlements north of Lakes Ontario and Erie, and their dates of destruction / abandonment.  The last village was left to return to nature by the Five Nations in 1687, including Quinaouatoua in the region of what is today Caledonia - see Map of Iroquoia circa 1673 and 1701 (p. 145, 265).  The Five Nations were a conquered people, in the same way that they had conquered the Huron and Neutrals - and they were unable to return due to the alliance between French supported groups such as the remnants of the Wendat (Huron), and the Ojibway - Mississauga.  So there is no evidence at all suggesting any further "ownership rights" in Southwestern Ontario.  However despite this fact, and the fact that the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 the British Crown acknowledged French sovereignty over the lands north of Lake Ontario, four years later the British representatives in New York took it upon themselves to promote what was essentially an illegal deal.  Thus for two very good reasons it is more than surprising that the Five Nations decided to assert that they still maintained beaver hunting rights in this area based on their having conquered the Wendat in the 1640s (oddly ignoring the fact that the same people and their allies had recovered all of this land by conquest 40 years later) - sending the Five Nations south back to Iroquoia, south of Lakes Ontario and Erie, back to their Aboriginal homeland.

Since the "Nanfan Treaty" is being claimed as a true entity by Six Nations, we will first have to see who Nanfan was and what document he and the Six Nations signed.  The records suggest that John Nanfan, Governor of New York wished to secure the allegiance of the Five Nations to the British side and weaken links to the French; whereas the Five Nations played both sides to the middle and wanted the British military support should the French attack the homeland in Iroquoia (again), and claiming to be the "true owners" to be able to hunt in territory they once possessed (circa 1642 to circa 1687) in what is today Southwestern Ontario.  Although not stated in the document, perhaps their rationale for being the legal owners was that they had incorporated Wendat survivors into Five Nations communities (along with Cherokee, Choctaws and Catawbas from the south - although it did not give the Five Nations claims to lands in the Carolinas and other adjoining areas where these captives had lived).  What was stated is that the rationale was due to their military victory over the Wendat (as stated above, carefully omitting the fact of the Wendat - Mississauga alliance victory over them in the years prior to 1687). 

So despite the Treaty of Ryswick of 1697 between Britain and France, giving the French sovereignty over what is today Southwestern Ontario, Governor Nanfan went ahead and had Robert Livingston the Indian Commissioner draw up an agreement.  This is known to Six Nations today as the "Nanfan Treaty", but the word "treaty" appears no where in the document.  Rather it is a simple agreement, specified as a "Deed from the Five Nations to the King of their Beaver Hunting Ground", signed by 20 Five Nations headmen on 30 July 1701, requesting "free hunting for us and the heirs and descendants from us the Five Nations forever".  The wording is such that the Five Nations had the "expectation" of being able to hunt in that area as before - nothing more.  The British saw this instrument as a permanent surrender of all these lands to the Crown.  In the view of the Five Nations, they were asking for security, and hinged, "on Livingston delivering the document personally to the king and returning with an official response".  The Governor denied Livingston permission to travel to England, and in effect the whole deal simply fell through.  No sooner had the ink dried on the document when the Five Nations agreed to allow the French to expand their holdings at Detroit and Fort Frontenac (Kingston).  Thus they had within a few months invalidated whatever it was that the agreement had set out with the British.  Thus it was a fraud.  It was also a fraud because the Five Nations were a conquered people as of 1687, and were dispersed from habitations in Southwestern Ontario.  A treaty that is not a treaty, only a tentative agreement, and one that was fraudulently put forward by one of the parties.  Is it really any wonder why the Federal Government would not include the "Nanfan Treaty" on any list of legitimate treaties?

The original document, as noted in previous posts, did make its way to England at some point, but it has absolutely none of the trappings of an official document let alone a treaty.  There is no seal of any description, even from the Governor.  The Privy Council did not sign it, and thus it is unlikely that the King ever saw this parchment.  It lay in state for many years until a transcript appeared in "Documents Relative to the Colonial History of New York", and the content was re-interpreted in such a manner as to conform to the situation after the Crown had turned over all responsibilities for Indian Affairs to Canada.

2)  The Haldimand "Deed", "Proclamation":  This document is not a treaty, no Crown or Federal official has ever called it a treaty, and it has no features at all which would warrant placing it in a category of a "treaty" or any sort of similar agreement.  It does not pass the litmus test for a treaty, at minimum a document where both parties sign.  It was little more that a Loyalist land grant with stipulations; and signed only by one party, Sir Frederick Haldimand.  It was an "deed of occupation" to property purchased of the aboriginal owners, the Mississauga.  The Six Nations were granted permission to "occupy" these lands, vested in the Crown (as it is today), and not granted in fee simple which would have allowed individual Indians to sell off parts to White buyers.  The document does not bear the Privy Council seal.
Haldimand Deed

One source covers most of what one would need to know about the Haldimand "Deed" and "follow up" documents such as the Simcoe Proclamation of 1793.  See, Charles M. Johnston, The Valley of the Six Nations: A Collection of Documents on the Indian Lands of the Grand River, The Champlain Society Publications, Toronto, 1964.  Amid all of these papers and records there is nothing from any side to the matter that mentions "treaty" in connection with the Haldimand grant.

Some Thoughts on Treaties, Surrenders, and Land Tenure:  I have blogged about the subject of false Six Nations "treaties" on so many occasions, that the issue must be tiresome to many readers.  However, it is imperative that the truth be said, and if it takes 50 times saying it before it sinks in, so be it.  There are no treaties between the Federal Government (the Crown) and the Six Nations, who are aboriginal to what is today Upstate New York, United States of America, not Ontario, Canada. What there are include a series of "surrenders" where land which is part of the Haldimand Tract (and a few parcels elsewhere with their own history such as in Hawkesbury) where the Six Nations Chiefs in Council have agreed to part with certain tracts of land for monetary or other considerations, and each of these agreements is signed by key Six Nations Chiefs (anywhere between one such as Joseph Brant who had power of attorney, and 67 whose signatures or marks appear on documents of the 1840s).  Many of these remain in Council Minutes or other collections within the RG10 Indian Affairs records and Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa.  Some are registered and published, particularly those which are post - Confederation.  These Treaties and Surrenders can be found in, Canada, Indian Treaties and Surrenders from 1680 to 1890, Vol. 1, Queens Printer, Ottawa, 1891.

However all of these agreements have been for the Crown lands that were allotted to the Six Nations as compensation for the lands in Upstate New York which were lost by virtue of having sided with the British during the War of the American Revolution.  None of these lands are "Aboriginal Lands" since the Mississauga are Aboriginal to Southwestern Ontario, and lands were purchased of them to allot to the Six Nations, as the Government purchased lands to the Mississauga to allot to the Loyalist settlers who accompanied the Six Nations.  The Six Nations do not have Aboriginal Land in Southwestern Ontario, any more than the Palatine Germans who were their neighbours along the Mohawk River (e.g., Nelles, Young and Dochstader families of the Grand River and the many more who settled elsewhere in the Niagara Peninsula).  Both owe their land tenure to purchases of Aboriginal Mississauga lands by the Crown.  The difference is that the Six Nations, who held land communally in their former homeland were not granted the land outright in fee simple (allowing them to sell to anyone), their Loyalist neighbours were.  The result of this decision is that, while it seems unfair to treat the two groups differently, in fact there is still a vibrant Six Nations community along the Grand River.  All surrenders must be made to the Crown, who will in turn issue a Patent to a purchaser and place the funds from the sale in the Six Nations Trust Fund.  Individual Indians can purchase and sell their individual "location tickets", for whatever acreage they own, but only to another Six Nations member.  This does restrict the options, but ultimately unless some dramatic change to the Indian Act is made, there will always be a Six Nations Reserve and a Six Nations community, something that their White Loyalist neighbours have largely lost - although descendants are scattered throughout the area but not in a manner that would foster the continuance of a "community".

To be fair, there is some general confusion about the term "treaty" that could impact even those well informed in the subject.  In the introduction to the reprinted edition of "treaties and surrenders" noted above, there is a tendency to toss everything into the stew pot.  Here they describe how the resource, is an excellent reference work for anyone interested in the history of agreements between Indians and the Crown.  It is the only complete collection of the actual texts of all pre-Confederation treaties, land cessions, numbered treaties, and surrenders relating to land and governance until 1890.  As an example of the confusion that can be generated, the "Grant by Governor Haldimand" is listed as item number 106, immediately after, and apparently appended to, number 105, a "Surrender by the Six Nations of the Grand River .... of their lands in the Townships of Tuscarora and Oneida for the purposes of a road along the line of their reserves, as described below".  The date on the instrument is 21 September 1865.  In the index the 1784 Haldimand document is the first listed under the heading of "Six Nations", and the 1865 instrument is second to last.  While the Haldimand Deed is neither a treaty nor a surrender, its inclusion adds to the murkiness.  Granted that the work is not supposed to be definitive, but most people will not be accessing the original records in the RG10 Indian Affairs Papers at Library and Archives Canada.  Thus in some ways the subject needs review by seasoned researchers who have honed their skills in this specialty area.  One example is Garry Horsnell, whose "Short History" is actually very detailed and very meticulously researched.  One cannot be led astray by referring to his work seen here.  I have been researching Six Nations history etc. for almost 40 years, so am an "old timer" in this field of study - and have tried to leave no stone unturned in the process.

Bottom Line in Relation to Six Nations and Claimed Treaties:  Getting back to the map produced by the Federal Government for use in the schools in Ontario, there was / is no reason to include imagined treaties, items existing only within the world of fantasy, and thus provide false information to school children.  So the Federal Government made the right call.  However, I would encourage all at Six Nations who firmly believe in the perceived treaties to make a stand.  Pressure the Federal Government to show its hand, and for all times erase the linkage between the names Nanfan and Haldimand, and the legally defined term of "treaty".  The evidence will support the truth.  Let the truth be revealed to all so that we may move on without constantly having to address the fall out from these misconceptions such as hunting "rights", and authority to insist that a developer "consult" or "engage" with one or more of the parties at Six Nations asserting that they are the broker in these claims to "treaty rights", and that all others are imposters.  It is highly likely that the matter will end up before the Courts, since it is unlikely that Six Nations could readily accept anything that undermines their present actions with land developers, wind power corporations, Hydro One, pipeline corporations and the like.  However it will be necessary to find a way to reconcile legal realities such as Nemo dat quod non habet (see here for details), and other principles derived from history and Common Law, with the weight of evidence.  However if Six Nations is so entirely convinced of the validity of the "Nanfan Treaty" then there should be no concerns in seeing the matter through the various levels of the Courts.  The truth shall set you free.  In the case of the present map to be used in all Ontario schools, either it will stand as is, or it will need to be revised to reflect the realities as determined by the Courts.  Then it will be wise to follow up with "forcing" the Federal Government's hand on their assertion that the General Surrender of 18 January 1841 is valid, and all of the subsequent land surrenders through to the end of the year 1848 reflected the wishes of the Six Nations Chiefs in Council at that time.  As I see it, the treaty and land claim disagreements are festering sores that will not heal without direct action via a Court challenge.  Without taking this step, the pall of uncertainty will continue to hang over Haldimand and Brant Counties, and well beyond these boundaries across Southwestern Ontario - this has to stop.

Update 27 May 2014:  It appears that the map shown at the top of this posting has been removed from government websites.  At the moment I don't know the reason, but suspect that perhaps complaints from Six Nations or other groups may have be responsible.


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Value of Oral History and Wampum Belts in the Determination of Six Nations History, Sovereignty and "Rights"

Recently I was having a discussion with a member of the Six Nations Community, half my age, about the importance of oral history in ascertaining specific rights to which Six Nations were entitled.  I realized that the version of oral history that he had been given was being taken at face value, and there was no critical analysis here (despite common knowledge about the fallibility of human memory).  I had the impression that he considered that what he was told was immutable and need not be questioned - it was a virtual echo from early times describing the events pertaining to the origins of, in this case, the supposed 400 year old Two Row Wampum agreement between the Dutch (many think it was the British) and the Five (later Six) Nations.  This discussion coincided with an article in the most recent issue of "Turtle Island News", May 7th 2014, p.7 entitled, "Wampum belts returning means power and unity for Haudenosaunee".  It also brings to the fore a key element in deciding how much weight to give evidence such as oral history and wampum belts. 

Documentation, Oral History and Wampum  -Example of the Matter of Two Row Wampum Treaty:  First, I have described in previous blog postings the Two Row Wampum as a source of evidence, as seen here.  Often Six Nations have denigrated documentary evidence, with the belief that it is biased toward White people and is not consistent with the Six Nations "way".  The reality is that we (the world) would know little about the Norse Gods, the Norwegian Kings, the history of pre - literate Scandinavia, and so on without documentation.  There are also inscriptions on stone, artifacts, and other evidence which basically adds cross validation to Icelandic aristocrat Snorri's Sturleson's account of the Norse world (e.g., his work "Heimskringsla") from this Icelandic aristocrat.  He used  available manuscripts as well as oral history to create his lasting legacy to the world.  Clearly oral history, when used to confirm and supplement documentation, is a worthwhile data source.  However, it cannot "stand alone".

In addition, much of what we (White and Six Nations) know of Six Nations history comes from the historians and anthropologists who have published reports in the years since 1850.  If we were to depend on what is available from Six Nations oral history, it would be an impoverished version of the truth.  The massive documentation, which includes letters and correspondence of highly literate Six Nations individuals such as Joseph Brant Thayendinagea, is absolutely indispensable in rounding out the picture of Six Nations history and culture.  However White visitors to say the Mohawk Village have left their written observations which are indispensable in for example developing a picture of life in that location at key points in Haudenosaunee history.  See the marvelous resource such as historian Charles M. Johnston, Valley of the Six Nations: A Collection of Documents on the Indian Lands of the Grand River, The Champlain Society, Toronto, 1964 as an example of what "white brothers" (see later) have left for all who want to know about Six Nations history.  Does anyone really believe that our knowledge of the Conservative / Hereditary people at Six Nations would be as rich without the marvelous work done on site in the mid 20th Century with knowledgeable informants (including largely Chiefs and Clan Mothers) by anthropologist Annemarie Shimony, Conservatism Among the Iroquois at the Six Nations Reserve, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, 1994 (originally published 1961).  Her informants were constantly telling her how things were going downhill, how so many traditions were being lost and that there just was not the interest on the part of the young people which would bode well for the continuation of their way of life with true to the ancestors cultural practices.  Shimony, a compassionate observant, told their story - which is a key resource to Confederacy people wanting to know about the "way things were".

In terms of the Two Row Wampum supposed treaty, evidence is slender.  We have a copy of a document from 1613 which includes the names of four Five Nations (likely Mohawk) signators with totems, and two Dutch traders, only one of whom can be traced in other records.  The document, termed for convenience sake the Tawagonshi Treaty (but not noted as such on the copy of the parchment) was brought to light by a man whose ancestors were among the early Dutch of New Netherlands, who claims to have found it (via his brother) at the New Credit Reserve (which adjoins the Six Nations Reserve).  Alas, this individual, who was familiar with both the modern and Colonial Dutch languages may have forged the document since academics assert that the document in its present form could not date from 1613.  Furthermore, the man has been known to forge documents of this nature - which doesn't help the belief in the authenticity of the copy of the parchment - the original seems to have disappeared, but the "official" version is held by the Onondaga residing near Syracuse (traditional firekeepers, and archivists). 

As to the wampum belt showing two parallel purple rows against a background of white wampum, the dating seems too early for such an artifact of this nature.  Wampum is not found on any Five Nations archaeological site that dates before the 1630s (and very little is seen here at this time).  There is no evidence that wampum was used to record, as a mnemonic and memorial device, events important to the Five Nations until later in the 1600s.  The fact that there are in effect only two rows on the artifact is also problematic - it is simply too schematic, and allows for almost any interpretation imaginable.  It could represent almost anything, and so without supporting evidence such as a parchment that states that the "deal" or "treaty" was sealed or solidified through the use of a wampum belt, serious questions about authenticity remain.  Nothing of that nature exists or has to date surfaced.  Furthermore there are a number of different belts, and none appears to be old enough to date from 1613.  So is the one for example in the possession of the Onondaga of New York, or the one in the possession of the Six Nations of the Grand River, or another one the direct link to the Tawagonshi Treaty?  No one knows.  There is, however, no denying that wampum belts have a very powerful symbolic and historic value to the Six Nations.  They were used in every important treaty, or even meeting with Colonial officials, and strings of wampum replaced antlers as the "horns of office" representing the symbol of authority of the hereditary chief.

Thus there has been reliance on oral history to shore up the shaky foundation from other sources.  Today, one dare not bring up anything challenging the validity of oral history, as it is definitely not politically correct to do so.  Even anthropologists have increasingly been giving in to political pressure to give this form of evidence equal billing with other sources such as written documentation - the specter of being labelled "racist" or having a "colonial mind set" and the like always looms large.  However, in the real world, there are serious issues with depending on any form of oral history to pin the truth on is very risky and indefensible.  More on oral history later.  But please note that wampum belts are linked to oral history and the latter is frequently needed to make sense of the symbols on the wampum belts as they do not have enough "substance" to tell their story without the prop of an oral history.

Returning to the content of the above article, the secretary of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) said that, Wampum belts are returning and they are bringing people together.  Many at Six Nations have worked very diligently to bring home the belts that over the years, were stolen, hawked, and hoarded post - contact.  Thus the belts often ended up in private collections and museums.  Recently, through one means or another, generally by "encouraging" the holders of these sacred relics to "do the right thing", the belts have been returned to their original owners.

There was a recent presentation at Six Nations (GREAT Theatre) where the belts were unveiled for all assembled to see, and to have someone knowledgeable in these artifacts help the audience understand the meaning of wampum belts.  The presenter, a Seneca from Tonawanda, who clearly has a passion for these belts, described how in the search for the truth, two perspectives are needed.  He spoke of hearing of the meaning of a belt from his grandparents who were first language speakers, and from obtaining further information from others across Haudenosaunee Territory.  He contrasted this form of knowledge with that of what is found in books, where, in his opinion, you have to take what is read, with a grain of salt.  Sometimes our White brothers have interpreted things differently than how we would as Onkwehonwe people.  The speaker asserts that with the two perspectives, it makes it easier to dig through what has been said or written and determine where distortions may have entered the picture.  The speaker then gives an example which to me, highlights the distinct disadvantage entailed in putting too much reliance in oral history.  He speaks of the Friendship Belt anchored by two figures at the opposite ends, one figure built with a white chest area and the other with a dark chest area with a white spot.  The speaker then reports that,

Some people often, I've heard them say well that represents our white brother because it is all white, and this other one over here represents us because it's dark, and we have dark skin.

However, the speaker "likes another theory".  Specifically that,

I've heard it said that's not really our white brother - that's us.  Because the white on the inside is our heart.  So we have nothing but peace in our heart.  And then the one on this side is a solid white bead - that's the heart of our white brothers.

Because when it comes to friendship, and obviously we know through history he (white brother) said, he had friendship.  We know he didn't have a lot of it.  He has a much smaller heart, and it doesn't expand outward like Onkwehonwe. 

With due respect to the speaker, if the last paragraph is not racist, I don't know what is.  If a White person had written anything remotely like this statement they would be vilified and raked over the coals and would lose tremendous credibility - but it is ok for someone of Six Nations heritage to speak disrespectfully of their "white brothers" and all is well.  I really don't get it.  I have seen the diaries of respected anthropologists who purchased items from individual Chiefs, and then donated the artifacts to the Smithsonian Institute or other setting where they had a staff and equipment to property take care of these precious objects.  They were in safe keeping, and available to inform the "wider world" of this important feature of Six Nations culture.  Hence the objects could be appreciated by "the world" and in turn the world would come to better know the Six Nations people.  The sale was perfectly legal and resulted in a perpetual care arrangement for the artifacts.  Now they are being put at risk, placed into situation where once again they could be sold by individual Chiefs in need of an infusion of cash, or with the realization that they do not have the secure storage capabilities to guarantee the safety of the irreplaceable objects. 

It would be remiss in this context not to mention the fact that it was these maligned "white brothers" who, without being coerced to return these belts, have stepped up to the plate and "done the right thing" - although the original sale generations ago was perfectly legal.  So, irrespective of the wishes of those who originally sold the artifacts 150 years ago, present day Six Nations insist on "rights" with no balance of "responsibilities".  Now they want them back.  So a legal sale is not honoured.  That sounds very much like what is happening with the ceded land of the 1830s and 1840s which, based on the Six Nations Chiefs in Council wishes at the time, were transferred to the Crown to be sold for the benefit of the Six Nations.  Now, "We want the land back" - well, I would love to have returned all of the lands and valuable artifacts sold by my ancestors over the years, but realize that a deal is a deal.  This all leads to my asking the question that follows, "what have Six Nations members done to address the wrongs perpetrated against the residents of Haldimand County post 2005?"  I can answer that - nothing that I am aware of.  So it is all well and good that Six Nations obtains what they see as redress for acts of 150 years ago, but they are unwilling to even entertain the concept of the need to redress the wrongs they committed but 8 years past!  Something is out of kilter.

Oral History, Human Memory, and Two Row Wampum:  So, returning to the "reading of the wampum", here the interpreter is cherry picking a version that meets best with his world view, and is ignoring what many others have told him about the meaning of the symbols on the belt.  Therefore one can ask a legitimate question - how under these circumstances can one conclude that oral history has any merit?  Oral history depends on human memory which is notoriously fallible.  Hence, it makes sense to listen to the oral history, but ask whether there are other versions of the same story.  Inevitably there will be more than two versions of any long - standing oral tradition or history.  The old game of telephone shows us how by telling the same story even a few times it changes dramatically such that it is possible that little of the original version remains intact - one simply cannot tell.  In addition, modern psychology has shown us how memory works.  Dr. Brenda Milner at McGill University outlined the neurobiology of memory; and Dr. Elizabeth Loftus of University of California Irvine how memories change with time.  Basically memories tend to become shorter, and change in predictable ways - the "misinformation effect" and the "power of suggestion" being two of her research areas shedding light on the phenomenon of memory.  See here for more information.

So, when examined through the microscope of science, relying on oral history is indefensible.  The only instance where that is not true is when there is cross validation, meaning there is another line of evidence that supports the oral history.  Wampum belts are dependent on some form of accurate story to interpret the symbols - otherwise it becomes an exercise in guesswork as shown in the above example.  Six Nations will have to live with the reality, and come to realize that there is not sufficient evidence to support the Two Row Wampum concept as it is presently understood - the canoe and the ship travelling side by side (there are no such icons on the wampum) and stretching this to assert that what is meant here is that Six Nations are a "sovereign" people living outside the world of the White man.  Unless one lives in the depths of the Brazilian jungle in this day and age, the whole concept of an independent existence does not make entire sense - would this mean no more Federal Government largesse?


Wind Power Companies Continue to be Misled by Six Nations - With Impunity

I have blogged about this matter countless times, but despite the irrefutable facts, wind turbine companies are lining up to sign deals with Six Nations based on a series of false beliefs and assumptions - and this injustice is costing them mega bucks.

As has been shown before, Six Nations have zero "rights" requiring them to be consulted over anything outside the present boundaries of Indian Reserve 40, Six Nations Reserve extending between Caledonia to Hagersville and west to the southern tier of Brantford.  Yet we continue to learn that companies from locations such as Port Rowan and Port Dover are ponying up money to Six Nations (both Elected and Hereditary Council factions being the recipients of this largesse).  The most likely interpretation for this odd behavior is the belief that bogus agreements such as the fraudulent Nanfan "Treaty" have anything to do with anything here in Southwestern Ontario - it is irrelevant.  Even in the Haldimand Tract, all lands except those noted above were ceded as of the year 1848 and Six Nations have absolutely no legitimate claim to any lands outside the present Reserve boundaries.  However, as long as developers are led to believe that there are certain "aboriginal" rights in place, and as long as agencies associated with Six Nations send thugs to shut down projects for which there was no "consultation" (or the "consultation" was not with the "right" faction), developers will be intimidated into following the path of least resistance - perhaps they get a tax write off for capitulating to strong arm techniques when there is anything having a whiff of "Native issue" swirling about.

In "Two Row Times", April 30th, 2014, p.2, there is an article entitled, "SNED signs another turbine agreement".  Here Six Nations Economic Development (SNED) once again held a "poorly attended" community meeting to announce the monies that in some manner Six Nations is extracting from Capital Power from their Nanticoke and Port Dover turbine projects.  Here the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) of the Confederacy / Hereditary Council faction had already shut down some of the construction, as noted in the article.  Although not mentioned here, since HDI did not put up any further fuss, it would be a reasonable assumption that the developer had "consulted" (translation, filled in the application form and paid the requisite fee).  However, as per the norm, it is not known what the agreement is or what the financial settlement was.  Same lack of transparency that has been reported in both Reserve newspapers for years, and nothing has changed in terms of disclosure.  No one, except HDI and perhaps some of the Hereditary Council members, know what programmes or pockets receive the "consultation" funds from the "application process".

The SNED representative reported that the royalties will bring in 7 million dollars over 20 years.  One might ask the question, $7 million for what.  What do the companies get in return?  One might guess that it breaks down to "low probability of shut downs and protests".  So in effect company after company in Ontario is capitulating to the facts that Six Nations activists learned after 2006 - that Six Nations has been emboldened to the point where they know that the Ontario Provincial Police will not do anything to uphold the law and support the legal owners (the power companies) - so testing of the limits has, with a few exceptions, brought riches to the doorstep of individuals and groups who have learned how to "apply pressure effectively".

As an example of how outlandish the assertions of some activists are, one well known radical (seen at virtually every shut down and demonstration) voiced "concerns" that, They are not going to want to give back the land if they are making a bunch of money off of it ................ when we do try to shut down these projects our people get charged.  They criminalize us in the courts when we try to get the land back.  Recall that we are talking about lands in present day Norfolk County, lands that the Six Nations have no land claim of record.  All Six Nations has is a fraudulent agreement signed six years after losing all of Southwestern Ontario to the Mississauga and their allies - then in 1701 having the effrontery to place the lands they didn't own under the protection of the British Crown, and 300 years later demanding a say in what happens to the lands they lost in 1696 by conquest.  It makes me ask the question, "Does anyone in the world of business or government read and understand history?"  If they did they would advise developers that any action by Six Nations is illegal, and that the full weight of the law needs to be brought down on trespassers and those who cause developers to lose millions of dollars due to illegal shut downs.

To counter the statements of the above activist, the SNED Director rightly said that, Our community needs this money.  We got issues.  We got housing issues, education issues, water issues etc.  The goal of these projects is to generate some benefits.  This would be perfectly understandable, and laudable, if in fact Six Nations had a legitimate / legal right to any stake in the lands in question - but they don't.

So we get back to the same issue seen time and again, even with the giant Samsung corporation of South Korea, as noted in an earlier posting - Six Nations expect payola, and some expect "return of the land" in instances where should the matter ever go to Court, the verdict is virtually guaranteed, unless tainted by political correctness or something of that nature.  Six Nations have no business sticking their noses in business outside their own boundaries demanding money or land.  As with all Ontarians, they certainly do have the right to be concerned about the environmental fall out of these projects, which some Six Nations members find very troubling - such as the devastating effects that these industrial turbines are having on our local bird populations.  All citizens need to come together to demand action on the mass slaughter of wildlife, and the undeniable effects on the local residents who have to look at these turbines every day and live with health consequences not adequately known, and a sharp drop in land values due to the obvious intrusion of these unsightly apparitions on the horizon. 

Why are the members of Six Nations receiving "compensation", and yet those who live beside the turbines are being ignored by both the government and the corporations, and are not on the receiving end of anything but a token benefit - such as repairing the roads made virtually impassable by the huge vehicles needed to bring in even one blade of the three blade turbines.  Something stinks here, and needs to be investigated and made right.


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Chaotic and Unproven Six Nations "Land Registration" Assertions: 2006 to 2014

Things used to be very simple, at least in the years between 1848 when the last parcel of land (the Burtch Tract) was ceded to the Crown such that the proceeds from the sale(s) would be placed in the Six Nations Trust Fund, and the closing years of the 1980s.  Basically land was included in one of two registration systems:

1)  Ontario Land Registry:  Here all lands for which a Crown Patent has been issued (largely from the 1830s and 1840s) are registered in the relevant County land registries.  Here someone can for example visit Cayuga and see the entire ownership record from today dating back to the first Crown Deed.  Lawyers are constantly to be seen in this office since with any land transaction the records must be consulted and shown to be lien free and without irregularities back about 75 years.  Almost all property will be in fee simple, allowing the "bargain and sale" of the property and transfer from the old to new owner in the record.  No one has challenged this system since it was done via legal purchases or surrenders by the Indian occupants.  For example the Chiefs in Council of Six Nations would sign a deed between the original Indian owner and the purchaser so that a Crown Patent could be issued, and the land registered in the name of the first purchaser, and each subsequent change to the present day. 

2)  Indian Land Registry:  For Six Nations, a land registry system relating to Indian Reserve 40, Six Nations Reserve, has been in place since 1847 when "location tickets" were issued to each head of family when the Reserve was consolidated in that year.  Deeds of sale here are not in fee simple (otherwise a non-Native could purchase the land) but via a system of "location tickets" allowing the holder to occupy the land which is still owned by the Crown.  Location tickets allowed Status Members to hold land and have it registered in the Indian Land Registry maintained by the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development.  In 1951 a more formal centralized system was put in place, but the basic process has not changed.  The Six Nations Elected Council is in control of the day to day operation of this system.  See Bill Russell, Records of the Department of Indian Affairs at Library and Archives Canada: A Source for Genealogical Research, Toronto, Ontario Genealogical Society, 2004.

3)  Bogus Registries:  Recently "official" (the above two systems) and "non official" registries (e.g., that claimed by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council HCCC via the Haudenosaunee Development Institute HDI) are in play.

Recently I blogged about the claim by the HDI that they possess "the" Indian land registry system, the "Confederacy Land Registry" such that new (although illegal) acquisitions "must" be registered through their process (see here for further information).  Hence, the invalid claim that the Douglas Creek Estates, obtained by anarchistic riot by Six Nations members, and purchased by the Province of Ontario from the legitimate land owners (Henco Industries, Ltd.) to "keep the peace" is still within the Ontario Land Registry system.  The land has been in limbo for 8 years.  However the HDI claim (without a shred of evidence) that the land has been placed within their registry system and no longer belongs to the Province of Ontario.  If this had ever taken place with the collusion of the Province and the land given over to HDI for say a token $1, when the Province paid something in the order of $26 million dollars, the taxpayers of both Ontario and Canada would have every right to take the HDI or other Six Nations representatives to Court to recover these monies or to obtain the return of such lands.  To the best of my knowledge the Province still holds the land "in trust" - until a decision is made as to what to do with it.  With a Provincial election looming, nothing is likely to happen in the near future to settle anything related to DCE.

Recent events have called into question the acceptance on that part of a significant element within the Six Nations Community of the legitimacy of any Confederacy or HDI registry relating to land in disputed land claims (there really isn't any other type that HDI can immerse themselves in).  Other than the rather outlandish claims being made by HDI over "ownership" of DCE, they have also been embroiled in another controversial land - related matter where there are multiple parties and competing claims.  Specifically, this is the Guswhenta Development in what is known as the Eagle's Nest Tract.  In previous blog postings I have detailed the groups with an "interest" in this property, such as Men's Fire (an affiliate of HCCC), the Kanata Mohawks (now known as the Mohawks of the Grand River), and the developer, with two of the three owners being Six Nations members.

Guswhenta Native - Owned Development to be Entered into the General Ontario Land Registry System:  So, rather than selecting the "registry" run by HDI or any other "Rez - related" version, the Guswhenta group will act in accordance with a plan that will ensure the economic viability of their efforts - anything else would be financial suicide.  In other words, the two Six Nations Members who are owners have chosen to opt for the only system that will allow land tenure in fee simple.  The bottom line is that the potential purchasers of the homes will in all probability not be Native, and so they will never purchase property with insecure land tenure, and hence all with right mind will realize that there is in fact only one option, only one land registry system that will be acceptable to any but the "idealists" and "traditionalists" who for some reason cannot or will not see the harsh realities involved in living in the 21st Century.

In "Turtle Island News", April 30, 2014, p.14 is an article entitled, "Housing subdivision will be registered with Ontario" we learn that Guswhenta Developments have hired a Brantford contractor to begin the construction of 12 lots on 39 acres of land.

The "Mohawk group" has decided to throw their lot in with the developers and will as a consequence obtain a 12 acre parcel "returned to them" - and have notified the Ontario Government of their desire to return the title to the Mohawks under the Haldimand Deed.  How, in reality, they could put this plan into some reality framework is unclear.  This group are presently in conflict with both HCCC and SNEC over the matter, so the "usual chaos" will continue to rein supreme and more conflict is on the horizon.  The addition here is a bid to enshrine Mohawk supremacy at Six Nations.  Considering that the head of this "Mohawk group" (formerly "Kanata Mohawks") consider the HCCC "dysfunctional" and have no intention to have any dealings with them.  As expected, the HDI (the "muscle") of the HCCC, have something to say about the matter.  The Director stated that neither Guswhenta nor the Kanata Mohawks have met with the HDI to "consult", and, perhaps most importantly, they did not, fill out an HDI development application after last fall's protests.  Some might see this "application" scheme, which has no legal foundation, as a form of extortion (since in the past vans of goons have appeared if there is a failure to comply on the part of the developer), which is the perspective of developers in Caledonia, Cayuga, Hagersville, and Brantford who have fallen under the "requirements" of the HDI.  HDI officials state that Guswhenta is thus, putting Six Nations' land treaties in jeopardy by trying to put the land in the Ontario Land Registry.  Furthermore, as soon as it enters the Ontario Land Registry, it puts it under fee simple and that puts it under the authority of Ontario, of the Crown, and Canada in right of the Crown and therefore it's subject to taxation.  Indeed, precisely what the developers want, otherwise they would never be able to sell their homes as there would simply be no buyers.  No responsible business person is going to shoot themselves in the foot and lose multi millions of dollars to satisfy the world view of the HDI and those who govern their actions.  However, HDI seem fully independent / autonomous, with no transparency, no accountability - no way to know where the application fee monies ever go - they become invisible - with no apparent paper trail - according to multiple accusations leveled at them, particularly during the 2008-9 Court Injunction in Brantford where a large fine was levied against this group and others.

If this all seems repetitive, and that you have heard this or something like it before, welcome to Six Nations.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

If Push Comes to Shove: Threatened Violence Over Passage of Bill C-10

The Problem:  In a previous blog posting seen here, I reported on the threats by Six Nations and their Communist - Anarchist allies as to what could happen if the Federal Government passes Bill C-10 to criminalize the transport and distribution of contraband (unstamped, untaxed) cigarettes.  As predicted, as the date of the Bill's arrival at the doors of the Senate approaches, panic ensues.

Potential Six Nations Responses:  As noted elsewhere, Six Nations representatives have been in Ottawa lobbying Members of Parliament and Senators, explaining how Bill C-10 would impact the Community. 

In "Turtle Island News" of April 30, 2014, p.2 there is an article entitled, Bill C-10 could spark violence if it passes.  Specifically, it could, spark a 'powder keg' of violence across affected First Nations territories, says Bill Monture, Six Nation's Men's Fire member.  Men's Fire are an arm of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC).  However the Chief of the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC), Chief Ava Hill, believes violence will come at the hands of the police, not Six Nations people.  Chief Hill emphasizes what could happen if for example the RCMP try to raid or charge anyone.  Chief Hill furthermore sates that, One community has already suggested that there be road closures/blockades and others have suggested that we have protests/rallies on Parliament Hill.  The reporter noted that it was a non-Native "activist group" that was calling for Six Nations to block roads and erect barricades.  Earlier it was reported that at a meeting, it was the Communist - Anarchist element linked to the other Six Nations newspaper, "Two Row News", who were proposing this move.  Monture made further inflammatory comments.  Specifically, It's like a powder keg waiting to explode.  We don't know the end results ....... 'Somebody's going to die over this, he predicted.  Monture added, that, the problem with our people is that we are too damn passive.  Oh sure, shall we return to 20 April 2006 and explore how "passive" Six Nations residents were during what turned into a full out riot at the Douglas Creek Estates. 

Elected Councillor Helen Miller commented that, If they (the police) do shut everything down, that's the end of our economy pretty much.  Alas, Councillor Miller is correct, so much of the economy of Six Nations since the 1970s has hinged on the cigarette trade, that there would be an economic collapse locally.  Considering the product which is among the most additive of substances, more so than crack cocaine; and the factor that is the causal agent of more health issues including death than anything else, it was a very unfortunate choice to pin an economy on - but it was easy money, little work and large profits.  Could no one other than myself see that since the 1970s, it was all borrowed time, eventually the criminal elements involved in the trade, and the fact that the government was not getting taxes to which it was legally entitled, would bring things crashing down - sooner or later.  

Potential Targeting of Local Residents:  So who would be targeted if/when Bill C-10 passes?  Ottawa is a long distance, and in the past bussing Six Nations protesters there suffered from low turn outs and ineffectual actions.  So who in the past have Six Nations turned on to vent their anger and frustration?  Those who reside closest, in other words the residents of Haldimand and Brant Counties.  Since past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, then the question has already been answered.  Thus it is probable that the usual "whipping boys" will once again be sent to the pillory.  A question is, however, whether the local residents have been slapped around one too many times, and as is the case universally, you can push only so far and then there could be an abreaction unexpected by Six Nations and their Communist - Anarchist supporters.

It is clear that many at Six Nations are fed up with these White "allies" who are there to meet their own goals and agendas, and are aware that blockades are guaranteed to do more damage to relationships with local residents and cannot be justified.  An excellent Editorial about just such matters appears in the "Turtle Island News" of April 30, 2014, p.6.  The Editor also has serious concerns about the behavior of these "allies" associated with the other newspaper who produced a video, largely with money obtained on Reserve, to fight Bill C-10, but oddly also to promote smoking by sending out flyers that it is not illegal to smoke.  Hence their understanding of the complexities of the issues is restricted to their own self - serving agendas.  It was very heartening to hear from the Editor of TIN that, threats of shutdowns and barricades need to stop.  The Editor also notes that the massive multi-national corporation at Six Nations, Grand River Enterprises, is able to skirt around the restrictions, but the smaller outfits are not and it is the latter who (with their families) will be most impacted.  The Editor also indicates that she realizes that tobacco is not the industry of the future, but at this point in time is what puts food on the table for a lot of Six Nations families.  Hence this is why I have elsewhere suggested that for compassionate reasons, the Federal Government "grandfather in" those individuals and families who for 30 or more years have been relying on this source of income without interference by the government.

Potential Responses of Local Residents:  In relation to past reaction to illegal actions of Six Nations, I would term the responses of local residents as disjointed and wimpy.  However in 2014, a pressure cooker has been in the making for 8 years - not only here, but across Ontario.  If there are road blockades and assaults and worse, and the Ontario Provincial Police once again let down local people leaving them to their own devices, will they, in desperation, "call in reinforcements"................... 

What follows does not in any way reflect my wishes - quite to the contrary.  However I am a realist, and perhaps with a sense of what could/would happen if things deteriorate beyond a certain point.

People can only be pushed around so much before they react - and perhaps, abreact.  Sage advice to Six Nations would be to be careful not to even bring to the fore the specter of another Caledonia 2006 - it will set in motion events that could build upon themselves, and life around here will never ever be the same again.  We have yet to see roaming gangs of vigilantes, but .............  It is worrisome that in a part of Ontario where the OPP displays two tiered policing, and the perception and reality is that the actions favour of the Native element, there is a justified deduction that law enforcement is going to be leaving citizens to fend for themselves (as happened in 2006).  So a question needs to be answered, "After all legal and reasonable options have been exhausted, what does one do - lie down and play possum, or perhaps ask politely that they not shove the stick in too deeply?"  I have not taken the pulse of the residents of Haldimand County in terms of this matter, but do wonder about just where the "tipping point" is to be found.  There is not much good will left - just having to daily look at the Confederacy and Mohawk Warrior flags embedded in the 8 year old mess that characterizes the southern entrance to Caledonia - this can have a cumulative effect toward building tension. 

We can only pray that Six Nations handles whatever eventuates from Bill C-10 in a responsible way - otherwise trouble is on the horizon.  If they allow the Communist, Anarchist, radical unionists to take the reins, this will be seen as an act of hostility direct from Six Nations.  It will be important not to play into the hands of the Anarchists whose stated goal is to create chaos.  Those who know this area well know that the Reserve is surrounded by potentially hostile communities full of individuals with long standing grudges, and many here know the Achilles heels to target should push come to shove.  So what is it going to be?  The first thing to do is to dial down the rhetoric, as the Editor of TIN has recommended.  Such actions will likely defuse the situation to keep most of the local residents from becoming agitated and "suspicious" - at least we can hope.

I guess we have to hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.