Thursday, 9 April 2015

Lets Blame the Children's Aid Society for Our Own Failings

It is not at all unusual for unfit parents who have lost their children to the Children's Aid Society to be angry - not with themselves, but with those who were acting in the best interests of the child or children, and whose duty it is, if all other approaches fail, to remove the child or children from the a situation where their health and welfare are in danger.  So it is chronic problem faced by the CAS to have angry parents who take no responsibility for their actions, and instead point the finger of blame at the CAS.  How would I know this?  I worked for many years with Children's Aid Societies / Child Protective Services throughout the Niagara Peninsula (including Brant County on the Reserve) and specifically, doing medical and psychological assessments then reporting to Court as an expert witness.  I got to see first hand the horrors some children face at the hands of those who should be blanketing them with protection  - their own parents.  While in some instances I did not agree with the CAS, and provided the specific reasons why I believed that they were perhaps over reacting, in the vast majority of cases my investigations served to validate the work done by the CAS.  With this in mind, lets turn our attention to an article which appeared in a Rez paper, apparently authored by a disgruntled parent who was furious at the CAS and its representatives.  In this article every one of the same old same old chestnuts were used as accusations against everyone from individual CAS workers to the Canadian Federal Government - but not once did the unnamed author ever even suggest that they or Six Nations society may have played a role in the situation in which they found themselves.  What struck me most here was the way "over the top" unsupported accusations made by someone who appears to have anger control issues, and a newspaper which would print an article composed of statements that were patently false, and which were taken to off the chart extremes.

In the April 8th, 2015 issue of "Two Row Times" there was published: 

Let us celebrate our family, culture and health

The author kicks off the column by stating that, some people with professional titles [are] in dire need of some sensitivity training when it comes to dealing with Onkwehon:we people involved in the Children's Aid Society court system of suppression.  Especially if they're going to be infiltrating our Six Nations territory.

As I recall, most front line workers at Six Nations are Aboriginal people, and all are forced to work out of Brantford offices because some very vocal people at Six Nations garnered the ear of some members of the Elected Council (the Hereditary Council have been a bit more hesitant), and there is now a plan in place to have a Six Nations CAS - but over the months and years, nothing I have seen shows that a viable plan that will keep children safe has ever been floated - so time ticks on and the vocal few rule the day.  It has now become a matter wrapped around the tiresome matter of idealistic but no workable plan for "self determination" - allowing Six Nations (who, Elected or Hereditary Councils or some other faction?) have complete control of what presently the Brant County CAS does at Six Nations on a daily basis.  Somehow the fantasy is that with this new (as yet undefined) system in place, "culturally sensitive" approaches to child welfare will replace what is present in place across all of Ontario.  This makes no real world sense, however that does not deter the core group of supporters of the "new plan" in the least.  So magically with the new order of things the unfit parents will get their children back and all will somehow be well and the children no longer in need of protection.  This dream world vision has a large number of supporters who clearly don't know what the CAS must face on a day to day basis.  NEVER have I seen any CAS worker across the entire Province of Ontario apprehend a child without a suitcase full of evidence, and with a heavy heart in having to do what was necessary - removing children from the care of their parents.

Returning to the content of the above captioned newspaper "column", it seems that the author saw that, It's my job as a Kaniakehaka Wakataioni Rotiskenna to do security and warfare, just as it is the bear and turtle clans' job for diplomacy and medicinal cures.  The context make it unclear what the author means here, but anyway, apparently they were, threatened by some Toronto person of African descent to sign some paper that I had no idea what I was signing away.  I am not sure what being of African descent has to do with anything here, but perhaps we can let that drop.  The author continues by stating that, She tried to tell me we had no say in these matters, and Six Nations is no different than Peel Region or the 'hood she was raised in.  I cannot imagine anyone of African heritage living in Canada referring to her "hood".  This brings forth the question as to whether this was a racist slur - unclear due to the lack of detail and context.  Apparently then the discussion between the two moved toward the CAS no longer being able to work from Six Nations, but only Brantford.  As I noted in an earlier blog posting this was a decision whose responsibility rests squarely with the Band Council members who advocated for this seemingly destructive or poorly thought out plan.  Anyway, the author apparently told the representative of the Toronto CAS that, you were kicked off Six Nations because it isn't Canada.  Canada is psychological and in your mind.  Furthermore, Show me the date of the Iroquois Confederacy/Yayak nio hon tsake in our own language has surrendered and I'll gladly sign your document.  What this means is completely obscure to the present commentator (myself), except that the column author sees Canada as having no legitimate role at Six Nations (except of course to dispense the tax dollars earned by other Canadians as "transfer payments" - although this is not said). 

Apparently then things got really heated and personal between the two individuals.  The author's version of what happened next is that the CAS worker, escalated the situation into a threat to make my kids crown wards in an orphanage.  In the words of the author, I clarified my position.  "The Six Nations Haudenosaunee are free, distinct and sovereign," I said.  "Why don't you try and see what happens.  I'm sure that if the sheriff that read us that injunction at Kanonstaton in 2006 that ordered us off our own land - and then couldn't enforce it with 500 police officers - then we're not too worried about you."

So what the enablers in the Haldimand County, Ontario Government and Federal Government have done by their inept actions and inactions is to create a climate where no matter what situation arises, someone at Six Nations can say "remember Douglas Creek Estates (DCE), well we will do that over again if anyone tries to interfere in matters we consider to be our own business".  We who lived through the bullying, arson, theft, assaults, threats, destruction of property such as cutting down metal hydro towers, intimidation, blocking of public thoroughfares, flaunting of Court Orders, civil disobedience and on and on know that this group of thugs terrorized the community in Caledonia from 2006 until today - and we are powerless to do anything about it because we have been abandoned by every level of government - we are on our own, and eventually must take steps to bring law and order back to our community - even if it means a Court action to recover the millions upon millions of dollars lost due to the thugs of DCE and bankrupting all of Six Nations by issuing a penalty on each registered member.  Eventually it is going to be, "so you want to play hardball, ok, here we go - time to pay the piper".  The land was surrendered in 1844 through a perfectly legal action by over 40 Chiefs in Council - yet today people would disavow the actions of their ancestors and demand back land that has been out of the hands of Six Nations for 170 years.  It is completely insane, but since no one at any level of government has to date shown the willingness to do anything but pussyfoot around .................. one can only hope for a champion of our cause, who is willing to allow accusations of "racism", "colonialism", lack of "cultural sensitivity", "cultural genocide", and all of the unsupported nonsense that is slung at politicians and anyone who dares to tell the truth to appear, and walk the walk.  We can dream of justice, and someone with a spine, but at the moment that is all we have, dreams.

Continuing with the content of the recent newspaper column, things get more and more bizarre (if that is possible).  The author accused the "person of African descent" with being, downright ignorant, and culturally insensitive to where they were working and what they are doing.  The author then rants about how, This is the whole policy marker's plan.  They sit back and watch two indigenous people bicker and argue and then laugh at us both.  One completely happy with getting kicked around, and one sovereign Mohawk trying to be free of mind, because freedom is a state being tempered with respect and love for all of creation.  That's the ultimate goal.  Once again the present commentator is left scratching their head trying to figure out what really happened - since nothing seems to make sense.  One thing is clear though, the author of the column was not going to let things go without further acrimony (yet just a sentence earlier claimed how the goal was love and respect ........... ).  Here comes a further rant:

It's up to the enslaver/oppressor to try take away our peace that is why we must have a strong good mind with seven spans' thick skin for these kind of coercive techniques.  If the Haudenosaunee of the Grand River are set to take over our at-risk children's destiny, we must make sure we don't go from bad to worse.  Here the first sentence is indecipherable, but the second one makes perfect sense - it seems to caution that there are dangers afoot when Six Nations takes on the role presently being performed by the Brant CAS.  However back to the rant that does not to me make sense, except that once again Ottawa is being accused on being some sort of tyrant.  In the words of the author, Because if you follow the money for the new Six Nations Children's Aid agency it leads to Ottawa, and what good ever came from there when it comes to our wellbeing?  More Ottawa bashing - but somehow they are supposed to understand the factions tugging at Six Nations and play arbitrator and of course that means giving in to the faction supported by the author of the column - otherwise Ottawa is very bad.

Somehow, and I don't know how the line of thought ends up here, but apparently whatever is, Just like this new Bill C-51 on terror is one more step in the 1,000-year-old plan of world domination and absolute control over every living being in the world.  We are going to have to go live in the bush as clans very soon.  What in blazes does this mean?  Talk about a conspiracy theory!  You have to be kidding.  Over the top, over the moon - world domination???

Time to bring in another chestnut.  The next sentence reads, And as we all know, child protection agency is a pretty little ribbon on an old word - genocide.  Yes, I guess it was time to add the usual spiel about the Canadian government committing genocide.  Whole groups of people being murdered selectively to eradicate them - perhaps because they are pesky or in the way or something?  As I have said many many times, the only true genocide within recorded history is the ethnic cleansing and genocide perpetrated by the Five Nations against the Huron, Petun, Erie, Neutral and other nations who were wiped off the map during the 1640s, thus removing "competition" for the valuable fur trade.  Indeed it was more complicated as these were also "mourning wars" to replace lost tribal members - but the result was the same.  How can any action taken by Canada at any time be compared in any way to what happened in the 1640s - that was ethnic cleansing and genocide and yes, my own ancestors were among the killers roaming Ontario targeting innocents in the planned extermination of entire peoples.  This is a crime against humanity - nothing Canada has ever done - ever - even remotely compared to the actions of our Five Nations ancestors. 

In the words of the author of the column, Apprehension and care means to take your kids back to the mush hole and finish you irritating Mohawks off.  Really, that is the goal of the CAS?  That was my goal when I was working in the field?  There was in the real world nothing remotely like this gross exaggeration and spate of false accusations.  The so called "mush hole" was the residential school which many elders have told me fed them and taught them and provided experiences that would never happen in the impoverished homes of the day.  This, to many Six Nations, was a place of refuge, but to be politically correct you have to buy into the view that what happened here was the same as what happened in say Alberta where distance meant that children were transported 1,000 or more miles from their homes.  However there were benign reasons for this, as well as some abuses of course.

The rest of this "column" is just simply too off the wall to even consider any further.  What is most frightening to me is that these words likely reflect the sentiments of an untold number of Six Nations members who buy into stuff like this all the time and cannot seem to see the big picture, and only the negatives, and the supposed conspiracies.  I don't know when or even if that will ever change.  It hasn't done so in my lifetime, and if anything, attitudes have hardened, and evidence (actual facts) mean nothing.

Good luck to us all.



  1. DeYo: Besides reading this post, I have also read the Two Row Times "contributor" piece that you cite, "Let us celebrate our family, culture and health," April 8, 2015.

    In addition, I have read two related Two Row Times articles: Jim Windle's "Statement on the Creation of the Six Nations Child Welfare Authority," October 9, 2013, and Nahnda Garlow's "Update: Six Nations Child Welfare Designation," December 17, 2014.

    By the "'hood," the "Toronto person of African descent" probably meant she was raised in Winnipeg's North End. Wikipedia has an entry for "North End, Winnipeg." Under the "Crime" section, you will see that the incidences are "very high," although homicides have reportedly been dropping over the past few years.

    It appears the "contributor" has problems with the process being undertaken to establish the Six Nations Child Welfare Designation (a.k.a Ogwadeni:deo). But I do not think he makes it clear what he would offer as an alternative.

    What particularly disturbs me is his reference to 2006 and Kanonstaton. Your response to this is timely, particularly the part where you said: "[w]e can dream of justice, and someone with a spine, but at the moment that is all we have, dreams."

    I say timely because Chris Lewis, the former OPP commissioner, wrote a "Full Comment" piece for the National Post, April 9, 2015, in which he justified the way the OPP handled Caledonia. You will see that quite a few of the online commenters take issue with Lewis's justifications. I agree with many of the concerns raised by these commenters.

    It is one thing for the "contributor" to take issue with child and family services at Six Nations. It is quite another for him to bring up 2006 and Kanonstaton. I certainly hope the majority of Six Nations members do not agree with him making this connection.

  2. Hello Counterpoise,

    Well Chris Lewis must be the greatest magician and contortionist on the planet to be able to justify their response to what we faced here. On multiple occasions I have seen how the OPP here handle matters, and everything that is found in Gary McHale's book on two-tiered policing (one set of rules for "status" Natives, and another set of rules for those without a "status card") is directly on the mark. If I had not witnessed it myself, I would be inclined to dismiss these accusations - but it is what it is.

    Yes, there is no viable alternative plan for a Child Welfare system that is entirely Six Nations. People here operate in the world of the "ideal", but when it comes to putting forward a step by step plan that is practical, no one can agree on anything and the whole thing will fall apart because there is in fact nothing better than what is presently in place. Changes "envisioned" will ultimately victimize the children because pie in the sky does not cut it at ground level, as those in need of protection fall between the cracks set there by perhaps well intentioned, but incompetent, systems. You don't need to have a crystal ball to see that whatever problems there might be today will be magnified by a factor of 10 should the "plan" come to fruition. Helpless vulnerable children will pay the price for this ill conceived scheme.