Some things just never seem to change. No matter what the reality and the truth of the matter, the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) and their Media supporters ("Turtle Island News") match to their own drummer along a path of their own choosing, and seeing themselves as being victims, being left out of the process - when the facts say precisely the opposite. Talk about bull headed, and head strong, and "its my way or no way", and my perspective has validity, yours does not. The sheer arrogance in the face of an array of groups all expressing the same concerns does not make the HDI deviate from their chosen path by one centimeter. Here is the latest, and it involves two "f" words, fence and factionalism. What follows simply adds the next chapter to the saga I have written about in numerous earlier postings.
The present situation 6 August 2014: First an update on the fence which was illegally constructed along the north side of the DCE property where it meets the backyards of the lots along Thistlemore Street in Caledonia.
Article 1: "Two Row Times" on page 8, has an article entitled, Opposition to Kanonhstaton fence opens familiar wounds. The article sets the stage by saying that, Despite some frantic and grossly exaggerated posts on local blogs, only a couple of families with property abutting the former Douglas Creek Estates, now known at Six Nations as Kanonhstaton, have been in any kind of verbal conflict with Six Nations people at the contested site near Caledonia. The author then points the finger at one resident, DR, "her friends and relatives" everything has been quite peaceful since the fence went in, even considering that a "Native flag" ("Mohawk Warrior"?) was installed behind her home - a message perhaps? I wonder what would have happened if DR installed a Canadian flag in the same location of the land she says the Province of Ontario had given her permission to grow a garden.
Apparently only the fence posts are up, and await the chain link fencing (a much more expensive proposition). Also, RF who knows DR and is an outspoken critic of the Six Nations hypocrisy surrounding DCE, warned that, unless the fence posts across what used to be the northern entrance to Kanonhstaton were removed, there would be "action". RF, did not specify what that would entail. The author notes how most of the neighbours have been very helpful in cleaning up, and there have been "impromptu" baseball games presumably between the children of Thistlemore and the illegal occupants. The author accuses both DR and RF of being, known supporters of "anti-Native rights activist Gary McHale" who engages in "publicity stunts". That is a complete fabrication, no one with a "good mind" would see McHale's actions as anything but what they are, a statement of the frustration of having to deal with a two - tiered system of policing and a double standard where Natives are shown the kidd glove treatment, and non-Natives risk arrest for the same actions. Those are the facts. I have been there and with my own eyes witnessed all of these shenanigans while the reporter of this article was also present. The author goes on to talk about how while McHale sees Natives as Canadians, the Onkwehonwe people see themselves as separate (unless of course they are taking handouts from the taxpayer via the Federal Government), living on traditional lands they occupied since long before European contact. This if far from the first time that this reporter has made a serious mistake of fact. The Six Nations are immigrants to the Grand River Haldimand Tract, which belonged to the aboriginal Mississauga people and was purchased by them from Governor Haldimand in 1784. So, "before European contact" - hardly. Then follows more historically incorrect information, which is so frustrating since, while it is consonant with Six Nations beliefs, is absolutely refuted by factual data - which means zip to most Six Nations in the target audience.
The reporter JW, non-Native (author of the article), goes on at length blaming the victim DR for her own troubles. Was she just supposed to tolerate the horrors of 2006 with some sort of equanimity never seen in any of the Six Nations "protestors". A pitiful attack on a 71 year old woman standing up for her rights and what she believes in - but that cannot be allowed, all must conform to HDI modes of thinking. The writer also castigates the granddaughter of DR and the blog she has created to tell the world her grandmother's story - as if this should somehow be stifled - again because it does not resonate well with HDI dogma, their version of reality.
The author then blames Ontario for aggravating the situation by not coming clean with what it knows about the situation and meeting with the HCCC representatives, the HDI. Then the author says something which gives me pause to think that perhaps he does see the complexity of the matter when he says that it is not clear who is not telling the truth here, "perhaps it is everybody". That at least allows some possibility that there is more than one side to the matter. The author, however, ends on a note that can best be described as "threatening". He says that whatever may be the case here, either way, it is not helping to prevent the situation from flaring up into open conflict again.
Article 2: The "Turtle Island News" (p.9), the now mouthpiece of HCCC/HDI, provides the expected slant on matters. The article is entitled, Ontario Aboriginal Affairs bureaucrats told talk to Confederacy. It seems that there may be a fracture line emerging from within the HCCC/HDI ranks, and even more so in the group outside the HCCC circle of clones.
New role for the Men's Fire: Led by Confederacy Chief Bill Monture, had the nerve to speak with two Ontario Ministry bureaucrats when everyone knows, or should know "the protocol" - and at his home no less. In other words, no one does anything without the say so of the HDI, the font of all information of relevance from Six Nations. Monture said that he was disappointed that no one from the Elected Council, the HCCC or the HDI attended despite invitations being sent. The HDI claims that they weren't invited, but were busy anyway. Of course the HDI Director's hair is all frazzled because Ontario refuses to "renew the protocol". Monture said that he made it clear to the Province that, the only way you can negotiate is through our Confederacy. That's the proper protocol - not meeting with the band or anyone but strictly with the Confederacy. It is what he didn't say that speaks volumes. In other words, although the HDI consider that they speak for the HCCC, Monture is adamant that Ontario must speak with the HCCC Chiefs, and was not clear about the role of the HDI. Is it any wonder that the Provincial Government is completely confused as to who speaks for Six Nations? Of course the answer is that there are factions within factions that claim to speak for Six Nations and as a result nothing gets done and the Government, whether Ontario or Ottawa, take the blame.
Also at the meeting at the home of Chief Monture was Haldimand County Mayor Ken Hewitt. Monture said that Hewitt was "upset" because no one notified them about the fence going up, to which Monture countered that Hewitt told no one at Six Nations when the County planned to pull down the barricade blocking Surrey Street. That is a profound error. Mayor Hewitt is receiving a lot of criticism from his own constituents for negotiating with Six Nations about the matter, offering to attend a meeting with the Elected and Hereditary Chiefs as well as Ontario. The HCCC was formally invited in writing to attend a meeting (which Monture calls "secret"), but they refused leaving the Chief of the Elected Council to attend as the sole representative of Six Nations - but HCCC was invited. Amazing how people can tell "untruths" like this and there are many who will believe them despite the extensive media coverage of the meeting. Apparently Mayor Hewitt was also concerned because fence post holes were drilled into a County road, instead of putting in a gate - an obvious illegal act. Monture's response was, He has no choice, let's put it that way. Amazingly arrogant, but hardly unexpected response by the Hereditary Chief.
More factions create more issues: So the HCCC is upset that Ontario met with the Elected Council since, the community's support is behind the Confederacy, not band council. Well, I know for a fact that this is false, and Monture is speaking through his a&&. Furthermore, he is annoyed that Ontario has met with the Mohawks of the Grand River, and Men's Fire - other factions of some note at Six Nations. Of course if Ontario did not meet with these groups there would have been a hew and cry from them - such craziness.
Haldimand's Mayor takes a stand: Without a shadow of a doubt, Mayor Hewitt was furious that the posts were put into a County road, and, they're doing it illegally. They've been told those poles need to be removed and the road needs to be replaced as it was. Short of that, we have no choice from our perspective other than to advise the OPP that they're not in compliance with the county.
Ontario takes a stand: The Province will not be badgered into doing things the HDI way. They are willing to meet with the HCCC but they were turned down. Further efforts have met with stonewalling. The Ministry met with Men's Fire, Mohawks of the Grand River, Elected Council, and has been turned down each time they try to meet with the HCCC - although that is not that spin generated by the HCCC spokesperson group, the HDI.
The HDI (and HCCC) stubborn refusal to meet with Ontario, but blaming Ontario: As the above will indicate, all the best of intentions on the part of Ontario will be for naught unless they conform to the specific requirements of the HDI - no matter how off the wall. The rationale for the HCCC not meeting with the Ontario Aboriginal Affairs is as follows, according to the above article: The Ministry had invited the Confederacy Chiefs who were unable to attend because the Ministry has refused to sign a communications protocol with the Confederacy that would allow them to attend the meetings. However if the Ministry did sign the protocol then they would be giving up any possibility of meeting with the Elected Council or other groups who wished to have input. That would never be acceptable to the Province and the HDI better get used to it since myself and others will call them on their hypocrisy - even saying, absurdly, that, The Confederacy has attempted several times to arrange meetings with the Ontario Minister and been rebuffed, said the HDI Director.
Article 3: Editorial in "Turtle Island News": The accompanying Editorial, companion to Article 2, is entitled, Ontario fostering division at Six Nations and violence over a fence. Both the article and Editorial are written by the Editor, so the content is virtually identical. However, there are some comments worth quoting.
Here is a "doozy" - But it appears that the security fence has done nothing but make Ontario's Liberals the most insecure they have felt since winning a majority government and sent Haldimand Mayor Ken Hewitt into a tail spin trying to figure out how he will be able to continue whine to the province for more money for his "victimized" community when his own community is helping build the fence in partnership with Six Nations in keeping non-native activists out of their town. Such nonsense. One person from Caledonia was reported to have provided assistance in some manner - hardly a trend, and likely a person scared sh*tless and hoping to curry favour from the aggressors. The Editor makes all sorts of attributions about the neighbours along Thistlemore, but is short on documented examples. I may not live on Thistlemore, but I do reside in Caledonia and I would sooner have three root canals without anesthetic that lift one finger to build an illegal fence on land owned by Ontario, and lawfully ceded by Six Nations ancestors, specifically 47 Chiefs in Council, on 18 December 1844. Then there is an attempt to suggest that both Caledonians and Six Nations are upset that Ontario did not meet with the Confederacy - I would like to see evidence that more than a handful of Six Nations and Caledonians are concerned that the Confederacy meet with Six Nations - likely most would wish the legitimate negotiating group, which would be the Elected Council, to meet with either Ontario or Ottawa. The Editor then accused Ontario, by not meeting with the HCCC under the bizarre demands of their supposed spokespersons, the HDI as follows: There is no question that move was an attempt to foster division within Six Nations and prevent any unity here that would see any repeat of the 2006 Reclamation. But a meeting with the local "Men's Fire" isn't going to stop anything. So now the once valued and respected Men's Fire is seen as but another divisive force within Six Nations - how quickly things change when someone does not unquestioningly accept the authority of the HDI.
Article 4: The "Sachem" of 6 August 2014 includes an article entitled, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs releases a statement on DCE fence (see here). The article states the following:
“Ontario is aware that there are people currently on the former Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) property who are engaged in putting up a fence on the northeast side of DCE. The Province, the owner of the DCE property, does not support this unilateral action and has not given its permission to anyone to build a fence on DCE.
“Ontario has been having discussions with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and Haldimand County about the possibility of building a fence on the northeast side of DCE. This approach would include talking to local residents.
“It is unfortunate that the individuals who are currently building the fence on DCE felt that they could not wait for the discussions about the fence to be completed.
“Ontario recognizes that all communities impacted by the situation at DCE deserve to be treated with respect and that solutions can only be found when all parties work collaboratively, respectfully and in good faith. To that end, the Province is willing to continue to work with the HCCC, the SNEC and Haldimand County to find a path that will reduce the potential for confrontation and ensure safety at the DCE property. We believe that it is crucial that all parties work together to remove symbols that could attract ongoing protests. “
Summary of the Above Articles
Focus on the HDI and the Fence: The fence is but one way of the HDI asserting its authority. Without it, something else would have to be created or designed. Despite the indisputable (to sane rational individuals) fact that, despite not being a legally mandated group whose role it is to speak for Six Nations (that would be the Six Nations Elected Council - SNEC), but an appendage of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), the Haudenosaunee Development Institute not only expects but demands to be the sole party with which the Province of Ontario negotiates. This is their self - assigned role. They has been in existence since 2006 when their radical antics brought them some initial success in extorting money from developers in Cayuga, Hagersville, and Brantford - but at a cost in all three with Court Injunctions, upheld on appeal, being issued against the HDI and supporters. Their past efforts to use violence and intimidation with any group with whom they have dealings, and to leverage concessions, is well documented - yet still they have some form of "standing" - at least in some circles. By now the Ontario Government is up to their tricks and have refused to go along with the "demanded" renewal of the HDI "protocol" - which would allow the HDI to call all the shots and basically have the Province at its mercy, and ultimately virtually guarantee that DCE would be returned not to Six Nations, but to the private HDI Land Registry which is not open to anyone except the select group of non-Christian Six Nations, who are of a "good mind", and who can speak with their HCCC Chief through their Clan Mother - although only a minority at Six Nations have any idea as to their clan, and who is the "proper authority" to speak with.
Focus on Present Responses of Haldimand County and the Province of Ontario: Clearly the Province and the County are angry and frustrated by those controlling the DCE, in other words the HDI. They are by now aware that there is no negotiating with them, only accepting demands - period. One hopes that both jurisdictions will take decisive action based on this awareness, and will act in the interests of all those except the HDI who have shown by their actions that they are undeserving of any further consideration. Since they have no wish to negotiate except by placing Ontario under duress, and since it is generally not a good idea to negotiate with terrorists, hopefully the rational elements at Six Nations and the County and Province can come to some agreement that will not set a counterproductive precedent - as would be the case by caving into HDI demands and acceding to their "protocol".
Focus on Factionalism within Six Nations: The problem of factionalism at Six Nations is endemic and can be traced at least back to the divisions between the Catholic (Kahnawake) and Protestant (Mohawk Valley) Mohawks. Then among the latter there were disputes between the Upper and Lower Villages of Mohawks in the Mohawk Valley, and subsequently in both Tyendinaga and Six Nations where brother killed brother, and cousin killed cousin, that culminated in a bloodbath at the former in 1800 - as every individual chose which "chief's party" to join. Some things never change. Some things will never change!
A Summary of the factions found today at Six Nations would include, in broad groupings:
A) The Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC): Along with SNEC, who is the legitimate representative of Six Nations in dealings with the Federal Government and all other agencies; the Mohawks of the Grand River, while perhaps unaligned, would likely see their interests falling into the less controversial Band Council.
B) The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC): The HCCC has no formal recognition except in what it is able to obtain via extortion from for example developers, and from the present alignment with the Haudenosaunee Development Institute better known as HDI, which does the talking for HCCC, and as far as I can see, the decision making - despite what you will be told "officially". Giving some further legitimacy to their cause (moral not legal) is Men's Fire, composed of Hereditary Chiefs and conservative / traditional males. The publishing wing of the HCCC is "Turtle Island News".
Confused yet? Imagine being an Ontario Provincial Government negotiator and trying to wrap your mind around all this. Those of us locals who are well versed in history know that this is just par for the course.