Well, unsurprisingly, it seems that the once powerful and influential Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), which claimed to speak for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), the Hereditary Council replaced by the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) in 1924, is about to sail into the sunset and sink under the weight of its own rhetoric and changing times.
It would not be an understatement to say the not only residents of Caledonia, but also the Provincial and Federal Governments, and even the HCCC itself are getting sick of, or losing faith in, the HDI, which emerged after the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) / Kanonhstaton reclamation / theft and the brutality, arson and anti - social behaviour on the part of many Six Nations members as the activist - militant group self proclaimed to speak for Six Nations on any matter dealing with "unsurrendered" land (that was in fact sold 170 years ago), and bogus "treaty rights". People are now starting to catch on - rhetoric (attended with non - transparency) and not fact is all they have to offer.
Here I will summarize my take on the events of the last three weeks as seen in the "Sachem", "Turtle Island News" and Two Row Times" newspapers. There is no need here to provide, as I have in all other postings, complete references. The data can be found in the above three newspapers, and in my numerous postings (complete with photographic copies of the actual original documents) below.
Recent Events: HDI is upset because the Province will not negotiate or accommodate or consult with them (or the HCCC) on the following matters:
1) Completing the repairs of the Cayuga Bridge (which the HDI shut down in 2014). The Province maintains that the legally constituted authority to negotiate with them is SNEC - and they are absolutely correct. If the HDI wants to be included they will need to work out things through with SNEC or risk Six Nations be seen as a community divided (which it is), and lose all credibility.
2) Then there is the mega 3000 plus residential homes project along McClung Road to create, eventually, a "second Caledonia" equal in size to the present community. Personally I believe that this would be a disaster, what with one bridge (which also desperately needs to be replaced) and a traffic nightmare on Argyle Street at any time of the day which would rival what one would find anywhere in Los Angeles - and to double the trouble with twice the vehicles crossing the one bridge! So I would love to see this ill conceived project grind to a halt, but the HDI does not have the clout to do it. They tried, using as a pretext the assertion that the archaeology was not properly done. Actually it was. I am very familiar with ASI (Archaeological Services, Incorporated) and they have followed the letter of the law on the matter and have brought in monitors from Six Nations and New Credit - just not the HDI monitors (whose training is questionable and whose demands for payment are embarrassing). At any rate consultation with Aboriginal Communities is a guideline not a standard of practice in archaeology - so by having monitors from both New Credit and Six Nations (just not those with HDI approval) they are actually doing more than is required.
3) A similar situation is brewing at the Tutela Heights residential development project in Brant County.
A Major Problem for the HDI: There is no law or legal precedent or even requirement that HDI be involved in any way. HDI maintains that only they have the connection to the Crown and the governance body which is legitimate. That is only true in a fairy tale world. They say that everything in not only the Haldimand Tract, but Southwestern Ontario is "Treaty land", coming under the supposed "Nanfan Treaty of 1701" and the "Haldimand Proclamation". They even trot out the "Two Row Wampum" arrangement of 1613 to bolster their argument. The problem here is that not one of these entities gives Six Nations any claim to lands beyond the 45,000 plus acres which now comprise the Six Nations Reserve in Tuscarora, Oneida and Onondaga Townships. As I have shown over and over with all the original supporting documentation - the Six Nations claims are a myth, and nothing more. Taking each in turn:
1) The Nanfan document of 1701 is nothing more than a request by 20 Five Nations chiefs that their Sovereign Lord the King of England grant them beaver hunting rights on lands in Southwestern Ontario. A couple of problems here. The document was never given the seal of the then Governor of New York, John Nanfan; nor was it given the Privy Council Seal in England. It is not a treaty, it is a request. Secondly, the Five Nations had no right to request anything in this particular geographical region. After the Five Nations had committed acts of genocide to remove the Wyandotte (Huron), Attiwandaronk (Neutral) and other tribes in the area between 1642 and 1649, by 1696 the Mississauga and their allies had destroyed 8 Haudenosaunee settlements north of Lake Ontario and had taken the lands by conquest from the Five Nations. No group can negotiate for lands that do not belong them.
2) The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 is not in any legal sense what the HDI is claiming. Southwestern Ontario was Mississauga land in 1784 when Governor Sir Frederick Haldimand purchased the land along the Grand River and allowed the Six Nations and their allies to settled upon these lands, but the title to the lands was vested in the Crown.
3) Going from the sublime to the ridiculous is the supposed "Two Row Wampum" treaty or agreement of 1613. Somewhere, perhaps on the present Onondaga Reserve near Syracuse NY, is a document written in old Dutch supposedly in 1613, but of highly suspect provenance, which is a trade agreement between two Dutchmen (only one of whom can be identified), and four Mohawks whose status is unclear. There is nothing whatsoever to suggest that it is a treaty, nor do the signators have authority to make any such arrangement. Somehow this questionable piece of paper became linked to a wampum belt that has two purple rows set on a background of white wampum (shell beads). Its age is unknown, Its provenance is unknown. Its meaning is unknown. However, I would venture to say that many to most at Six Nations believe that this is a valid arrangement between the Crown (despite it being signed long before England took New Netherlands in 1664), and that each purple row represents a vessel - one being a canoe (the Five, later Six, Nations) and the other a ship (the Dutch and later the British Crown). Boiling down the supposed meaning (there being nothing objective to support it) is that the canoe and the ship were to sail independently on their own course not interfering with each other, but interacting to their mutual benefit as befit the circumstances. Sorry not a shred of evidence, but the belief is strong to this day and data or evidence take a back seat to what is believed to be the case - which is also held out as "proof" of a sovereignty arrangement between Six Nations and the Crown - which in fact it does nothing of the sort.
Serious Problems Facing the HDI: So now the HDI is being left out of any consultation process on the bridges along the Grand River, Developments such as the McClung Road Development near Caledonia, and most recently the Tutela Heights Development in Brant County. The Government and the developers are holding their ground this time and in the case of the McClung Development, they have obtained an injunction (Cayuga Court) such that any interference with the project will result in the Ontario Provincial Police being called and the protesters being charged with trespass if they try to impede the developers. This is more or less what happened with DCE, so what is different this time - two things basically. In addition to the fact that the HDI has no legal authority there are some other difficulties they will inevitably face.
First, at long last the County, and the "Little Crown" (Ontario) and the "Big Crown" (Federal Government) are playing hard ball and turning to the law which says they only need to consider any negotiations with SNEC as the proper representatives of the Six Nations people. That is the law.
Second, one might ask why it is not likely that another 2006 take over event will occur at either McClung or Tutela Heights. In a word, geography.
What those who do not live here would not realize is that the DCE property at the south end of Caledonia is within a few minutes of the Reserve and that by driving down 6th Line and taking the dirt road before Argyle Street (old Highway 6) Six Nations reinforcements could stream down to the site in seconds without having to pass through more than a few farms enroute to the protest site. Taking McClung as an example, they would have to find their way to Argyle Street and then get locked in traffic like the rest of us trying to cross the bridge. Even closer access is Stirling Street Bridge which at one time brought traffic from the Reserve to Argyle Street near the Bridge - but that went up in flames during an episode of arson during the 2006 take over of DCE - and it is doubtful that it will ever be rebuilt.
Chiefswood Bridge off Highway 54 (Sutherland Street in Caledonia paralleling the Grand River and leading to McClung about a mile east of the lights) is another access point - but distant. Either way the OPP would have ample opportunity to "discourage" and "disperse" - something not available to them in the 2006 crisis. So in this instance the "phone tree" and social media would not be particularly helpful, and only the most dedicated of souls would venture into such uncertainty where they would not have their neighbours and kinfolk streaming down right behind them. The OPP could send them on "detours" that would highly discourage any organized agglomeration of Six Nations radicals. Here the OPP would be in a position to "shine" and perhaps redeem themselves in the eyes of local residents - something that surely is in their awareness. Any hearty souls who did make it to McClung would probably be met with a lot of angry Caledonians who would be in a position to block the exit of the protesters, and give the OPP the opportunity to arrest the leaders and clip off the head of the snake. All entirely different from the dynamics of 2006.
Also, it has become apparent to many at Six Nations that 2006 created a public relations nightmare and deep wounds. It is questionable whether there would be the same level of support for an event of that nature in 2015 - just as things are beginning to normalize.
Basically the HDI have been partially declawed and defanged, and whatever they do they are likely to run into a "roadblock". Even on the Reserve they are under intense scrutiny by those who see them as lacking in any transparency, and making decisions on their own without Council (HCCC) approval. These are not halcion days for the HDI - these times were in the past. Perhaps some are coming to realize that in order to survive, even the HCCC is going to have to change. Nothing can stay the same from Stone Age times. That is not the way the modern world works - it is more along the lines of adapt or become obsolete and fall by the wayside. This is the danger that the HCCC faces unless it changes to meet the challenges of the times. The HDI would drag them back to maladaptive ways and along paths to meet their ultimate demise. Clearly if HDI is to play a role in the Six Nations community it will need to also change - what it is doing is not working - to continue in this way is called perseveration which is a clear sign of pathology.