Sunday, 27 July 2014

Haudenosaunee Non-Status Advocacy Institute - Governments and Corporations Can Expect More Cooperation

Thanks to a very kind correspondent, and with permission granted, I will announce here that, after many years of deliberation on the matter, that a new advocacy group has been established to address the needs of the Non-Status / Metis people of the Haudenosaunee Nation. 

Here follows the preliminary details as provided to me:


Whereas during the early days of settlement along the Grand River, our ancestors were recognized as members of the Six Nations

Whereas in the intervening years since the days of first settlement certain the representatives of the Crown, and the Six Nations population, failed to fully accept our ancestors as registered members of the Six Nations Band, and failed to include their names on the Band List or arbitrarily removed them

Whereas such actions of exclusion are discriminatory and contravene the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Whereas we have a valid claim to lands both on Reserve and off Reserve within the Haldimand Tract, including but not limited to lands given by our Chief Joseph Brant Thayendanagea as 999 year leases with the explicit stipulation that said lands were to forever remain in the ownership of our families

Whereas our people have maintained a clear knowledge of the Onkwehonwe culture and history

Whereas we do not believe that it is necessary to have a consolidated land base such as a Government funded Reserve to maintain the integrity and cohesiveness of our people

Whereas neither the Crown (now Federal Government of Canada), Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC), nor the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) have taken any steps to redress the exclusionary policies

It has therefore been deemed necessary that in order to address the inequity between our people, and the members of the Six Nations Band, we must form an association, society or group to advocate for the rights and entitlements denied to us at present.

The advocacy group is to be known as the Haudenosaunee Non-Status Advocacy Institute (HNSAI or simply the Institute).

Eligibility:  Three basic components are required. 

a)  First a prospective member will need to provide acceptable genealogical proof for each generation back to the Six Nations ancestor in order to be registered with the Institute, and included on the HNSAI list.  Examples would include the requirements for membership with the United Empire Loyalist's Association of Canada, or the War of 1812 Society via the Ontario Genealogical Society (e.g., see here). 
b)  The second component, as is true with the above two lineage societies, is demonstrating that the proven ancestor was a member of, in this case, the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) of the Grand River.
c)  Prospective members must also be willing to acknowledge their allegiance to the Crown.

Immediate goals:

1)  Register our members based on their genealogically proven heritage traced to one or more Six Nation ancestors who resided among the Haudenosaunee people of the Grand River and who were accepted, as shown in documentary sources, as being at one time recognized as members of the Six Nations of the Grand River.  It is irrelevant whether members or prospective members trace their Haudenosaunee lineage through paternal or maternal ancestors.  Associate Members are those who are in the process of proving their lineage, the spouses of registered members, and those who support the goals of the Institute.  Those who are registered on the Six Nations Band List are ineligible for membership in the Institute since our goal is to expand membership beyond those defined as "Indians" according to the Indian Act (1876).

2)  Seek redress for the monies owed to us since the time of our ancestor's exclusion from the Band Lists or related documents.  This will take the form of cash settlements from either the Federal Government, SNEC and / or HCCC/HDI.

3)  Seek to obtain the lands denied us, situated both on the present day Six Nations Reserves #40 and #40b (e.g., via irregularities in the transfer of location tickets), and lands outside the boundaries of the present Reserve which were improperly taken from our members ancestors (e.g., not following the stated requirements of the Chiefs in Council).  Upon obtaining title to said lands, our legal representative will ensure that our eligible members obtain a deed in fee simple for their property.  It is recognized that in some instances, it may be necessary to enclose the land by a fence or other such device to secure the land in the months leading up to its transfer back to its rightful owner.

4)  Work cooperatively with the municipalities of the Haldimand Tract, the Provincial Government and the Federal Government.  It is our view that the interactions between SNEC and HDI with these entities has been abrasive, unreasonable and unproductive. 

5)  Work cooperatively with moderate groups at Six Nations such as the Mohawks of the Grand River if perchance it is in our mutual interest to do so.

6)  Offer a more sensible, rational and evidence based approach to dealing with any issues that arise between the representatives of the Haudenosaunee and others.  An important principal is to be guided by the facts, and in order to seek the truth.  While this may include myths, wampum belts and oral history, the focus will be on the hard evidence such as contemporary documents signed by Chiefs in Council, that can be tested in Court, and which will stand the test of "a preponderance of evidence".

7)  Use the Courts.  Since both SNEC and HDI are pressing forward with various claims which may overlap, or conflict with, those of HNDAI, it will be necessary to use to Courts to sort out many of these tangled situations. 

8)  Offer services more attractive to those presently being offered by SNEC and HDI. 

a)  Offer municipalities, land developers and corporations certificates of approval indicating that their projects have met the standards of HNSAI and that legal title has been proven.

b)  Offer those in need of archaeological monitoring services the assistance of those fully trained by Ontario Ministry personnel who have responsibility for administering archaeological work in Ontario.  In addition, provide consultation with professional archaeologists with the goal of not standing in their way, they have spent years in university studying their craft, but rather interpretations or suggestions and oversight of projects.  Since both SNEC and HDI have been engaged in roles such as "archaeological monitors", HNSAI members will be encouraged to become trained and certified in this pursuit and / or work under the supervision of someone with these credentials who is a member of HNSAI, and assert our rights to operate in this capacity.  The intention here will be to focus on the preservation of the archaeological heritage of Ontario (Haudenosaunee, African and European) and we will work in a productive way to meet that goal.  Our members will never engage in work stoppages, but will ensure that any significant matters are done through the proper channels and legitimate reporting procedures.  We intend to provide an option that is more "friendly" to responsible developers, and not use archaeology for political and monetary gain.  Any fees would be to cover legitimate expenses.  These fees will be recorded such that an audit can be performed at any time.

9)  Ensure that racist / discriminatory policies of any of the above named groups or their supporters do not stand in the way of our achieving a legitimate and just solution to our grievances.  We acknowledge that as Canadian Citizens we are in all ways and manner subject to the laws of the Province of Ontario and the Crown (Federal Government of Canada), and the rule of law in general.

Procedural Details:

1)  A registry of both proven and pending members shall be maintained by the HNSAI administrative staff.  Due to a belief in the right to privacy of all members or prospective members, the Registry will not be open for inspection by the general public.

2)  Upon acceptance as a full member, said member will be issued a "Status Card" which will include for example a recent picture of the member, a registration number, and the Haudenosaunee Nation to which to proven ancestor belonged.  If the member has determined the Clan of the ancestor to which he or she has traced their lineage, this information will also be included.

2)  The collection of documentation used to prove membership shall be placed in file cabinets or archival boxes and kept in a secure location.

3)  The Institute will maintain detailed records pertaining to all Institute activities.  These documents shall be made available, upon written request, to full members, and to all legitimate government agencies such as Revenue Canada.

4)  The Institute will establish a website to host details of its activities, and will include membership information, including a membership application form.

5)  The Institute shall have an Administrative Staff including but not limited to:

a)  Director
b)  Legal Advisor and Disputes Adjudicator
c)  Research and Membership Coordinator
d)  Publicity - Media Liaison Coordinator
e)  Archivist
f)  Secretary
g)  Website Administrator

6)  The Board of Directors of the Institute will be composed of the Administrative Staff, and 4 (four) members of  the public.  The Institute will attempt to secure 2 (two) members from the general community of the Grand River, and 2 (two) members who are registered on the Band List of the Six Nations, and who presently reside on the Reserve.

Some Examples of Eligible Lineages:  Starting from the mouth of the Grand River at Port Maitland and moving upstream toward the Mohawk Village in Brantford, we find the following men who married Six Nations women in the early days of settlement.  There are undoubtedly others, but the following will provide an indication of those who are clearly eligible via the lineages of:

1)  John Croker of Dunn Township, Haldimand County - married a Delaware woman, daughter to John (Teunis) Thompson (a half Delaware man).
2)  Captain John Dochstader of Canboro Township, Haldimand County - married an Onondaga woman whose brother was Kaneahintwagte an Onondaga Chief, and upon her death he married a Cayuga woman.
3)  Sgt. John Dochstader of South Cayuga Township, Haldimand County - married a Delaware woman of the Thompson family.  The numerous Fredenburgh family descend from this line and obtained title to the Dochstader Tract (now Fredenburgh Tract) in South Cayuga Township.
4)  Pvt. John Huff of North Cayuga Township, Haldimand County - married a Delaware woman.
5)  Lt. John Young of Seneca Township, Haldimand County - married the sister of the Mohawk Chief who succeeded Captain David Hill Karonghyontye.
6)  Warner Nelles of Seneca Township, Haldimand County - married Lt. John Young's daughter.  Their son became a hereditary chief of the Mohawk at age 17.
7)  William Dochstader of Mt. Healy, Oneida Township, Haldimand County - married a Delaware woman, daughter of Captain Thom (Teunis Thompson) and Sarah Anderson a White woman captured by the Six Nations and adopted by an Onondaga Chief.
8)  Capt. John Norton (adopted Mohawk Chief and supposedly half Cherokee) who was born in Scotland, of Seneca Township, Haldimand County - had a first marriage to an as yet unidentified Six Nations woman, and married secondly a daughter of Pvt. John Huff.

This takes us upriver as far as present day Caledonia, and only includes the earliest days of settlement along the Grand River.  There are literally hundreds of marriages between Six Nations members, and largely Six Nations women who maried White men, although some Six Nations women married Black men (e.g., Peter Barton, John Morey, Vincent Settles, Prince VanPatter).  The descendants of many these non - Native men stayed on the present day Reserve.  Hence today we have surnames such as MacNaughton and Garlow whose progenitors were European.  In addition, some Six Nations men married European women and moved off the Reserve.  The Institute's focus is on the descendants of Six Nations who were for one reason or another forced to leave the Reserve, or who of their own free will chose instead to remain on lands that while at one time were part of the Six Nations Territory on the Grand River Tract, became lands which were surrendered by the Six Nations Chiefs and patented by the Crown, and are not part of the present day Reserve.

****  Comment:  I was told that properties both on Reserve and off Reserve have already been selected for "action".  This could get very interesting, especially the properties that are presently located on the Six Nations Reserve, but at some point may be severed and either occupied or sold by legitimate claimants.  There is a lot more to Six Nations history than one typically finds in academic publications.  This is grassroots stuff, and in a way reminds me of the approach used by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute that emerged out of the 2006 "reclamation" (violent take over) of the former Douglas Creek Estates.  If I had to guess, which I will, I expect that the HDI model was used as a template to create the working model for the HNSAI.  Who would have predicted this interesting twist?

I have been told that the above information is very preliminary.  However, I would deem it to be a good start.  More information will be forthcoming in subsequent postings.


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