Sunday, 7 June 2015

Things that Go Bump in the Night: Mysterious Disappearances Around and About Six Nations

On a relative scale, matters around Caledonia and the Grand River Territory have been rather quiet of late - hence the relative lack of postings.  Those of us well inured to the experience of protest rallies, road blockades, and friction of one sort of another largely traceable to the events surrounding the contentious issue of the Douglas Creek Estates (Kanonhstaton) in 2006, have been pleasantly surprised of late.  We have had a winter and spring free of any bitter acrimony between some of the residents of Caledonia plus other Haldimand County communities, and some of the residents of Six Nations.  While this turn of events appears to be something to celebrate (while it lasts), there is something rather unsettling lurking in the shadows of this apparent blessing.  Specifically, things have gone missing, without a whisper, let alone any fanfare.  Quietly disappeared they have - no explanations available - just no longer present and accounted for.  Strange unexplained mysteries.  So what, specifically, are these puzzling events and circumstances?

1)  Online transcripts of the Six Nations Council Minutes between 1841 and 1849 documenting the surrenders of land by the Chiefs in Council have been removed.  While the originals are still to be found at the Library and Archives Canada (LAC) in Ottawa, and the microfilm copies of this documents that can be accessed at the LAC, and the Archives of Ontario at York University in Toronto, the transcripts which were appended to  "A Short History of the Six Nations" (2011) by Garry Horsnell were the only version that could be seen on the Internet.  I became alerted to this removal by clicking on a bookmarked link to the document and seeing "404 Error File Not Found" from the website that used to host the document.  A Google search did not even reveal a cached copy available. However, someone using the handle "feisty2" did upload the 2008 version of "Short History" to the Scribd site here.

2)  Similarly the "Reports of Joan Holmes Filed on the City of Brantford's Injunction Notice" has disappeared from the same webhost.  Fortunately, it can be found uploaded to a "Voice of Canada" WordPress site seen here.

Thus there remain tenuous links to the very documents which unequivocally undermine the credibility of the claims to properties such as Douglas Creek Estates (DCE).  There are many hard copies of the above documents in circulation, and should there be further "removals" these important resources will pop up somewhere else.  None the less, there is a story as to why the documents were removed from the primary site.  Alas, the present author has no information as to what initiated the disappearance of what might be viewed as "contentious" documents.

3)  A group called "Solidarity with Six Nations" has sputtered out of view.  It was last seen in 2012, and there have been no postings to their website here since then.  The group was composed largely of non-Native university students including radicals of every stripe (communists, anarchists, etc., etc.,).  It had become a very controversial group at Six Nations, and was every bit the "provocateur" to the people of Haldimand County that Gary McHale had been to the people of Six Nations.  It's disappearance from the landscape hereabouts has been one of the reasons why a calm has descended.  None the less, the real story of their demise has not been told.

4)  Those deemed to be "agitators" by one community or another have also "vanished" or kept a low profile.  The "Solidarity" leader T. K., a radical communist - anarchist, who has been a part of the pain and suffering of the Haldimand community since 2006 has not been seen in these parts for some time.  He appears to be involved with one of the two Reserve newspapers in an administrative capacity - but uncharacteristically quiet.

This brings me to Gary McHale, who some might say is the greatest thorn in the side of Six Nations (at least that is the perception of many there).  Since 2006 he has been a familiar figure standing up against the "two - tiered policing", and the illegal land grab / land reclamation by Six Nations at DCE, and the many hypocrisies that local residents have endured.  The Internet has not been helpful in determining his whereabouts or activities since his last appearance in Caledonia in 2014.  This begs the question as to whether he has given up on Caledonia, or simply moved on to other pursuits (perhaps those that would permit making a living).  He was such a prominent and consistent figure for so many years, and now, who knows ....................

Since we are on the theme of persons or things that have "disappeared" of late, it would seem apropos to review a few others that have not yet been solved.

5)  The papers and records donated by one of my contacts to the Haldimand County Museum and Archives circa 2002 have still not surfaced.  These amounted to about 10 archival boxes of documents copied from the originals in New York and Ontario pertaining to the Six Nations.  The collection included all of the deeds, "treaties" and other documents which were signed by the Chiefs of the Six Nations between about 1613 and 1850.  In 2009 my contact inquired about their donation, and they were shown a single archival box containing the "dregs" of the collection - everything else was gone and was not found despite a thorough search of the building.  By chance, three years later, the contact met the former curator of the Museum, who accessioned the collection, and in response to the obvious question about the possible whereabouts of the material, the former curator said something rather interesting.  The documents were last in the possession of "two women from Ohsweken".  Humm.

6)  While the above has a air of mystery about it, the following disappearance is more clear cut.

The theft of the records in the possession of the Indian Office in Brantford has still not been admitted by anyone, and so the perpetrators are "officially" unknown.  All of the records were by law to have been sent to the Library and Archives Canada so that they could be preserved and microfilmed for access to researchers.  After a large part of the collection had been sent to Ottawa, a friend complained to the Indian Office that this material is of importance to local genealogists and should stay in Brantford so that they could be consulted by researchers.  Unfortunately, according to the friend, her efforts backfired because representatives of the --------- Council entered the Indian Office and demanded the records, which were duly handed over to them.  The result was that important records are not only unavailable to local researchers, but are also not available to the Federal Government who is supposed to be responsible for land claims and so are hamstrung by this theft.  What I know is that the records were taken to the Woodland Cultural - Educational Centre (as it was called then) for microfilming.  I know because I saw the records there with the Indian Office label on them.  The records were later removed to their present location in Ohsweken.  No one is allowed to view them without the permission of the Band Council, which is never given.  The only way to see a particular item of interest is to provide enough information that the employees can search the collection to find the piece of information needed (assuming it is not "sensitive") - I know, I went through the process and paid the stiff fee.  This would / should have all been free for anyone to research (the Archives staff redact anything that is recent and not appropriate for public viewing - such as personal information about living people).  The upshot of this is that both the Six Nations and the Federal Government can view the Land Inspection Returns 1844 - 1848 for Oneida Township in the original or microfilm, but only Six Nations have any access to the comparable data for adjoining Seneca Township. 

My friend termed it (asking that the records remain locally) was the worse mistake of her life, and it caused her a great deal of grief.  At a broader level it also means that the Federal Government is unable to "play with a full deck" since Six Nations retain sole possession of key records (which by law should be in the hands of those who generated it - the Federal Government).



  1. The quiet before the strategies and propaganda being revised in light of the Truth and Reconciliation report with new emphasis on victimhood and "genocide" which is already getting widespread attention with countless numbers of articles and "eyewitness accounts"; I would expect more moves for land and compensation claims,etc. of course the illegal deer hunting saga will continue and expand into even more provincial parks and "protected" areas...all aided and abetted by this totally pathetic excuse for an Ontario government which is already working very hard at covering its ineptness and incompetence and buying political support from the usual "brain-dead zombies" of "truth-deniers".

  2. Hello My Orenda. How right you are. Perhaps I will write a blog on the "perpetual victim", and how there is no conceivable way that the self perception of "victim" will permit the society or individual to "suck it up" and move forward. Other groups with a more persuasive claim to the "victim" category have not dwelled on it, but dusted themselves off and as a consequence become successful, leaving their "victimization" in the tire tracks while jetting ahead to move to the head of the pack. That will never happen to those who dwell on the label "victim" - which alas I see here as the norm.

    Your assessment of the current Liberal Government is spot on, and they continue to wallow in inertia and grotesquely poor decision making. Toronto and the GTA elected them - and basically threw the rest of us to the wolves. The day KW shows an ounce of caring about Caledonia (or our hydro bills in Ontario) will be the day hell freezes over - that is how bad it is. We are sacrificial lambs. The Pride "celebrations" are just around the corner, where she will be front and center, and in her element. I don't suppose she could give a tinkers damn about the pain and suffering of those of us in Haldimand County, the key for her government is to remain steadfastly politically correct, irrespective of the truth and justice and all of us rubes out in the boonies.

  3. DeYo, I was appalled to hear about the boxes that have gone missing from the Haldimand County Museum and Archives (I have an archival background). The disappearance of the other records is also troubling.

    There needs to be less emphasis on political correctness and more emphasis on resolving the sacrificial lamb issue in Haldimand County.

    Have downloaded the Truth and Reconciliation Commission executive summary, which was released June 2, 2015. Plan to read it next week. Am trying to reserve judgement until I have finished looking at it.