Thursday, 16 July 2015

Sovereignty, Haudenosaunee Passports, and Inconsistency

This posting was triggered by an article in "Two Row Times", 15 July 2015, p.4, entitled, Haudenosaunee U-19 women will not travel on a foreign passport.  Before addressing the specifics of this article, it is necessary to explore the facts in relation to the assumption that would lead some at Six Nations to consider a Canadian passport to be a "foreign" one.

As bizarre as it may seem to many in say the United States, there are separatist movements in Canada.  The one which has received the most publicity is the separatists in Quebec.  Basically, there are a large number of Quebecois, largely those of old stock French Canadian ancestry, who want their own country.  In other words they want to separate from Canada and form their own country.  I can recall from childhood the emergence of the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ).  The movement begun in 1963, involving such acts as bombing mailboxes, came to a head in the October 1970 ("the October Crisis") when the Quebec Minister of Labour Pierre Laporte, and British Trade Commissioner James Cross were kidnapped, and the former murdered.  With the resultant application of the War Measures Act (supported by the vast majority of Canadians), those Canadians living in Quebec and Ottawa for some months got used to having armed troops wandering our streets.  They were welcome to the Anglophone minority in Quebec who felt very threatened.  The senseless murder sealed the fate of the separatist movement for a time - but it never disappeared, although the militancy was much attenuated.  The movement shifted gears to become more political and formed the Parti Quebecois (PQ) which came into power during the 1976 Quebec election, defeating the incumbent Liberals and leaving the rest of Canada feeling that the country was about to fragment, and uncertainty became endemic.  In 1980 the PQ established a referendum for what they termed "sovereignty - association", however this initiative was soundly defeated - although during their term of office they enacted Bill 101 the "notorious" "Language Law" which is a red flag for many Canadians to this day (the "language police" are an all too real entity).  Referendums followed in 1985 and in 1995 - again, each went down to defeat, although the latter by less than one percentage point.  Later the Bloc Quebecois (or simply, "the Bloc") emerged at the Federal level and put forward an agenda that was hauntingly similar to what was seen with the PQ.

The supporters of independence have failed to consider the fact that Canadians would do everything in their power to make it difficult for Quebec to succeed in promoting their "romantic but unrealistic" viewpoint.  Canada would be unlikely to allow the perceived traitors to share its currency, consular offices, and on and on.  Furthermore the pro independence group underestimate the can of worms that would be opened.  The aboriginal groups stated they would never agree to an independent Quebec.  For example the Mistassini Cree, Kahnawake Mohawks, and other First Nations groups polled showed that over 95% wished to remain in Canada.  They have made it abundantly clear that they have agreements with Canada, and would do everything in their power to stand in the way of the independence movement.

While the assertion by many Six Nations of being a "sovereign nation" is not precisely the same as the situation in Quebec, the latter provides a relevant background or comparison point for a discussion of the "Six Nations version of sovereignty".

As I have noted many times, the concept that Six Nations are a sovereign people is a fiction, fueled by a fabricated document which is only a 1613 trade agreement with the Dutch and uninterpretable wampum belt (Two Row Wampum).  The second underpinning of this false assumption is a bogus "treaty" which is actually a gift of land with a request to retain hunting rights gifted by the then Five Nations to the King of territory not then owned by the Five Nations since it was taken from them by right of conquest by the Mississauga in 1696 (Nanfan "Treaty" of 1701).  There is nothing, except documents taken out of context, that could be used to support any claim that the Six Nations are a sovereign people.  In truth they acknowledged that they were subjects of the King of England and Great Britain, and their land tenure along the Grand River reflects this reality - the Haldimand Proclamation is a grant not in fee simple, but a document offering the Six Nations rights of occupancy of lands vested in the Crown.  See here for one of my articles on this subject.

This misconception, this twisting of history, has been in place since the Six Nations were acknowledged as allies of the Crown in the wars against France.  The word "allies" in the 18th Century context does not automatically invoke sovereignty - but that fact eludes many.

So we have Deskahe visiting the League of Nations in 1930, and various delegations at various times arguing that Six Nations were a sovereign people.  That has never been approved - only vague concepts of "rights to self - determination" by those who have no right to speak for the Nation of Canada within which Six Nations Territory is situated.  None the less, reality has never deterred factions at Six Nations who would assert that they are a sovereign people, and that their "nationhood" should be recognized by countries such as the United Kingdom or France or Botswana for example.  A "country" of about 23,000 is in theory feasible, but it would be a long road ahead to be accepted as such by the United Nations or any body charged with the responsibility of recognizing say the Czech Republic as a country after it broke away from Czechoslovakia, and earlier from the Soviet Union. One would be hard pressed to find any legitimate rationale for considering "Haudenosaunee" as anything but a region within Canada where people who call themselves Haudenosaunee reside.

In the above noted article in Two Row Times, we learn that, The U-19 Haudenosaunee Women's Lacrosse Team has dropped out of the World Field Lacrosse Championships which they were to compete in Edinburgh Scotland at the end of this month.  The reason, Haudenosaunee passports they were to travel on, were not acceptable according to Canadian, American and Scottish border crossing policies.

Consider the world we live in, with a very palpable terrorist threat resulting in stepped up security at every level, should this refusal be a surprise?  Entry into the UK is a privilege not a right.  It must be supported by documentation that can be validated through a computer based system that will allow customs agents to be satisfied that the individual does not pose a risk.  In other words, a foreign national who wishes to enter the UK or Canada or any other recognized country and has a criminal record which is equivalent to what is found in the Criminal Code of Canada will be barred admission.  The obvious necessity is to be able to access criminal records in the home country and Interpol.  An obvious problem is that Haudenosaunee is not a country, and at least since modern record keeping has been in place, can not in any way shape or form be considered to be a country.  So here someone or a group wishes to enter the UK but they are not from a recognized country.  There is also no evidence that their passport would meet even the most basic of security requirements such as holograms and other devices countries use to make counterfeiting very difficult.  Looking at the tattered example of a Haudenosaunee passport included in the TRT article, it would be hard to imagine the border agents not shaking their heads in disbelief in the UK.

While it is politically correct today to give "aboriginals" across the world special privileges (which many see as rights), this does not extend to the level of the ridiculous and absurd.  Anyone who has watched the show "Border Security" on DTour or National Geographic will realize the immense security issues that face agents in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Trying to imagine these first line defenders of the country trying to assess whether someone with a "dodgy" and unregistered Haudenosaunee passport is suitable for admission is a no brainer.  There is no way that the prospective entrant could conceivably be admitted on any basis whatsoever, hence they would be refused entry and turned back (placed on the next available flight to the country or origin).  A bit of a problem, there is no country called "Haudenosaunee".  This is an ethnic group residing within the borders of Canada and the United States, the latter two are recognized as countries world wide, but not elements within.

If Haudenosaunee was a "country" then where are the consulates?  What would happen if a Haudenosaunee citizen ran into difficulties overseas, to whom would they turn for assistance.  If they are saying that they are not Canadian, then there is no reason to expect any help from the Canadian Consulate.  They don't have their own currency or anything that would signal that they are an independent country.  There are no border check points at say the Chiefswood Bridge, or 4th Line or anywhere.  Haudenosaunee people do not have an International Airport.  They use Canadian infrastructure in getting to any major service such as a hospital.  They depend on tax dollars from the Ontario Provincial Government and the Canadian Federal Government to function (via Canadian taxpayers).  Haudenosaunee do not tax their own people for services such as fire and policing, the funds come from Canadian taxpayers.  They are entirely dependent on Canada for their existance.  None of this sounds in any way as if Haudenosaunee are a country.  Lets see what further information is provided by the above article about the stance taken by the women's lacrosse group.

It is stated that, The UK requires security standards that our Haudenosaunee passports do not meet, so they were willing to allow us to travel on Haudenosaunee passports along with a Canadian or American passport.  The Confederacy would not agree to this because we are not Canadian or American citizens.  The obvious question is, if you are not Canadian citizens, why are you willing to accept funding from a "foreign" country such as Canada so that you can have municipal services?  Apparently the Confederacy boils things down to the fact that there is a, lack of recognition of our Haudenosaunee peoples as a sovereign nation by some countries.  I think that should read "all" countries.  Then the old chestnut about Turtle Island and having always been a separate, sovereign nation is brought to the surface.  The spokesperson for the lacrosse team stated how proud they were of the stand taken by the team, which is a, proud statement for Haudenosaunee sovereignty and national pride.

While some comments were sensible, of the "it is rather a shame that it came to this" variety, there were some off the wall extremist points of view expressed.  One columnist wrote, This is BS ........ There is fault to be laid here.  For the U.S., Canada and the UK to deny our people the right to freely travel without claiming their citizenship is a crime.  This violates the Human Rights Conventions ..........  Would it also be "BS" if the Basques demanded the right to enter the UK based on their Basque heritage rather than on Spanish or French citizenship.  It would never be accepted by any country in the world, so why should it be any different for the Haudenosaunee?

The article ends with a discussion of the Jay Treaty of 1794 which has absolutely no relevance for travel to the UK or any other country in the world except the USA.

If the Haudenosaunee are so adamant that they are not Canadian citizens, not Canadians at all, then why are so many Haudenosaunee thrilled to represent "their" country (Canada) at Olympic and Pan Am Games?  This brings me to the second article in the TRT, p.18, entitled, Carey Leigh Thomas excited about Pan-Am Games.  The large picture on this page shows Ms. Thomas wearing a baseball cap with the maple leaf and "Canada" as its logo, and her uniform shirt says "Canada" and right beneath it is the symbol of Canada the country, a maple leaf.  It is reported here that, Carey-Leigh Thomas will be representing Canada, once again on the international sports stage this summer as a member of the Canadian National Softball Team which is getting ready for the Pan-Am Games in Toronto this summer.  Ms. Thomas is Six Nations, Cayuga, Bear Clan who was "proud" to make the "National Team".  As a star player for the Women's Softball team, she has been called, "an outspoken ambassador for Onkwehonwe women in sports", and sees herself as a role model for all young women (she has been able to successfully juggle being a star athlete and mother).  In her role she has traveled (presumably on a Canadian passport) to compete in games as far away as South Africa.

So are Six Nations only "Canadians of convenience"?  Does the concept of separatist, or sovereignist apply?  Most people would agree that in these situations, either you are in or you are out.  Either you are a member and a citizen or you are not.  Something is very very wrong when one attempts to reconcile the content of this article focusing on Softball athletes, versus the above article on Lacrosse athletes.  One is willing to represent Canada and the other is not?  It is all very strange, inconsistent, and some might say, hypocritical.

What can be said with confidence is that many Six Nations men volunteered for service to fight for Canada during both World War I and II.  They fought, in in some cases gave their lives, for Canada and to stop the rule of tyranny, fascism and Nazi monsters at a time when the freedom of the entire world was at stake.  They are honoured for their role.  These brave men did not serve as foreigners in some French Foreign Legion unit, they fought and died as a band of brothers, as Canadians with their countrymen in lands far from home - under the Canadian and British flags, not the flag of the Confederacy.


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