Monday, 29 April 2019

The Hereditary Council Supporters are Once Again Attempting to Block the Hydro One Reinforcement Line Project April - May 2019

In the 24 April 2019 issue of Two Row Times (click here for online version), in an article entitled, "Construction to resume at Niagara Reinforcement Project", it was reported that,

"SNGRDC Director Matt Jamieson said in an emailed statement that there is no new arrangement between Hydro One and the HCCC, but says Hydro One wishes to continue on the original agreement and complete the NRL.
In a public notice, SNGRDC announced it was returning to work on the project, saying the decision to return to work was reached by the “SNGRDC Governance Group and it’s Shareholder.”
“The Governance Group is comprised of the SNGRDC Board of Directors, SNGRDC Advisory Committee, and Economic Development Trust- Board of Trustees,” said Jamieson. SNGRDC’s shareholder is the Six Nations Elected Council.
“We have spoken to our shareholder and Governance group on numerous occasions and the consensus is that the project gets completed pursuant to the original plan as communicated during the engagement process.”

Turtle Island News26 April 2019, in an article entitled, "Six Nations Grand River Development corp Restarting Work on NRL Under Police Presence" (click here for online version) provides a different (or more direct) twist on the matter.  Apparently the various elements of the Six Nations Elected Council (e.g., the Grand River Development Corporation) has had enough of the above noted antics of the various groups of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (e.g., Men's Fire).  The 3 month delay in the stringing project is costing the Community money, jobs and other benefits.  Hence they are resolved to provide manpower to support the Ontario Provincial Police and Hydro One security to literally stand in the way of any attempt by Men's Fire or other agents of the Hereditary Council to impede the legitimate work of Hydro One - which should require only a month or so to finish the project.  While I would argue that no one at Six Nations has any business sticking their noses into this matter, or profiting from a project that they brought to a halt resulting in multi millions of dollars of costs and losses to Hydro One and the Ontario taxpayer, it is heartening to see that the project will likely proceed irrespective of the retrogressive elements of the Hereditary Council.
Recall that these people used a cutting torch or other device to take down a metal Hydro One tower, and drag it across Argyle Street South on multiple occasions between 2006 and 2016 - so I am not brimming with optimism that this project will proceed smoothly ................ we shall see.

A good summary of this matter to Sunday 28 April 2019 can be found in Two Row Times in an article entitled, "The basics on the current dispute surrounding the Niagara Reinforcement Line" (click here to view online version).

So, it is now Monday 29 April 2019, and work is set to resume on the "stringing of the wires" on Hydro One's Niagara Reinforcement Line.  Based on the above, and knowing the "players", one might predict what would occur and be on solid ground - but best to seek out verifiable facts.

In an article entitled, "Hydro One's Niagara Reinforcement Line is being blocked by Six Nations" published in the 29 April 2019 online edition of Turtle Island News (click here to view the original), we learn that the supporters of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) are up to their old tricks once again.  

The Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC), and A6N (a subsidiary company) are affiliates of the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC), who are the legal representatives of the Six Nations people.  These groups are working with Hydro One (see above) to get the line stringing project between Niagara Falls and the grid finished.  However, factionalism has reared its ugly head yet once again to stir the pot and complicate matters.  

What appears to be a group of a dozen or so of the perpetually disgruntled Six Nations activists, in learning of the above noted plan to resume work on the Niagara Reinforcement Line, decided that they would act unilaterally as supposed representatives of the Six Nations people to block the work!  This scenario involves an entirely illegal confrontation against not only Hydro One (or a developer), but here also the legitimate representatives of the Six Nations people.  In a nutshell, the HCCC wants Hydro One to work ONLY with them, and have nothing to do with SNEC or related agencies.  The HCCC supporters have shown that they are willing to play hardball to get their way, fueled by their belief that only they are the legitimate body able to represent the Six Nations people - and that SNEC should be swept aside since they came to power after a coup in 1924 (subsequent to the then HCCC proving to the progressive members of the community and the Government that this Council had become totally incompetent and unable to govern the Reserve).  100 years later these struggles for power continue unabated. So even though the Community is receiving major financial considerations (the legitimacy of any Six Nations involvement whatsoever can of course be questioned), the HCCC is willing to risk this and perhaps much more (if the truth about land claims ever reached the ear of someone willing to bring it to Court - and Six Nations could be left with nothing but bills to pay).

Hydro One's perspective is that they have an agreement with A6N (Six Nations construction workers), and they intend to honour their partnership, anticipating that work should be completed in two months.

It was reported that the SNEC Chief, Ava Hill, was present along with councilors, security personnel and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) facing off against the protesters blocking the driveway to the work site.  At this point it seems to be a standoff, although the OPP once again threatening to cave to demands, instead of arresting the activists, and so shut down the Caledonia Bypass which would create once again (how many times since 2006) a nightmare for Caledonia residents and people using Highway 6 to get from Hamilton to Port Dover - and again seeing the OPP acting as enablers for the HCCC and their "affiliates".

During the last blockade of Argyle Street by these activists, many Six Nations businesses took a serious financial hit.  Hence the Communications Officer of the SNGRDC has requested that these owners show up and help bolster SNEC in their efforts to get on with things.  The SNEC / SNGRDC and the A6N (Aecon Six Nations) subsidiary company supporters have made it clear that they plan to remain on site from 11 am to 4 pm to ensure that these is no disruption of the project.

The 1 May 2019 edition of Two Row Times, in an article entitled, "Work fails to restart on the Niagara Reinforcement Line" (click here to see preview of article) the bottom line is that the work is not proceeding and the respective leaders of the GRSNDC and the HCCC (Hereditary Council) are at each others throats, with the Aecon Six Nations construction workers caught in the middle.  So, stalemate and once again the Ontario Provincial Police stand by seemingly impotent, and allowing legitimate work to be halted by criminal protesters.  

Things are so bad between Community members that the Two Row Times included an article, "Cultural bullying at NRL work shutdown not beneficial to anybody" (click here for article) today (1 April 2019).  Basically the author is demoralized that the two sides once again can not even agree to meet (being at the same table in the past has been perceived by the HCCC as giving support to the view that the Six Nations Elected Council has any legitimate role to play in the Six Nations Community).  More specifically, in this case an HCCC member was calling out SNEC supporters for now knowing their Clan name or the name of their Clan Mother.  The present author (of the blog) is well aware that the Clan structure has broken down due to, for example, men being appointed to a Chief's position for a Clan, family, and even Nation that he does not belong to but there is a need for a warm body to fill the role.  So sadly it is largely become a sham anyway.  The "I am better than you, and more Haudenosaunee, because I know my Clan" type of bullying is unproductive according to the author of the above article.

So things are at a standstill and the Community is in tatters - once again.  The present author (of this blog) has said it numerous times that if the Community doesn't get its act together it will lay the groundwork for the total demolition of any claims Six Nations is putting forward to lands or any role in development projects, and instead will be stuck with an astounding bill for the burden their actions have placed on the Ontario taxpayer.

Stay tuned.


Thursday, 25 April 2019

Six Nations Continuing Extortion of Money and Land from Uninformed and "Push Over" Developers

Here we go again.  As has happened so many times before since 2006 with the Douglas Creek Estates (DCE) take over, and over the subsequent 13 years, the Six Nations of the Grand River has been able to obtain land and money from developers (land and green energy) based on extortion / threats, whether direct or indirect.  It has become clear that this process will never end in Caledonia and surrounding areas.  The most recent instance is reported in the 24 April 2019 issue of Two Row Times (TRT) under the title,  "Developer makes accommodation to Six Nations for new Caledonia housing project" (click here for online version).  So it would seem that once again the law and morality will take a back seat to expedience and compliance to pressure groups, but it is important to explore the details of the "deal" struck between the various parties involved before making a final determination.  First, a little background is in order.

The origins of the "problem" extend all the way back to the 2006 Douglas Creek Estates debacle.  Here a group of Six Nations activists succeeded in overrunning an ongoing housing development and "dispersing" the Ontario Provincial Police sent to enforce a Court Order.  They claimed, against evidence, that the land was never surrendered.  To this day Six Nations activists still occupy this property (after trashing everything of value on the land) with the consent of the Ontario Provincial Government.  When all was said and done these criminals (who committed theft, arson, assault ....... ) prevailed, setting a very dangerous precedent that lingers to the present day, and which underlies the situation discussed here.

As documented in numerous postings to this blog, between 2006 and 2019, both major competing factions at Six Nations (the supporters of the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council and the Six Nations Elected Council) have extracted millions of dollars from the Canadian Government (the Crown), the Ontario Provincial Government (the Little Crown), and individual developers of green energy projects and housing tracts.  All of this based on the claim that the lands given to the Six Nations for occupancy and located in the Haldimand Tract were never surrendered to the Crown and that all land patents are illegitimate.  To further extend the unwarranted claims, these groups have had the audacity to use a bogus document to put forward a claim to rights to all lands in Southwestern Ontario.  What is so infuriating is that no one is willing to stand up to the criminal activities of these groups, likely out of fear that activists will be sent to "enforce" their will upon the developers, or that those who speak the truth will be shouted down by being called "racists" - or perhaps the (very real) worry that physical violence will ensue.

The bottom line in 2019, according to the above source, is that, "Ballantry Homes has given 42.85 acres of farm land and $352,000 to the Six Nations Elected Council as part of the accommodation deal to approve two housing projects: Beatties Estates and McKenzie Meadows on the east and west sides of McKenzie Road in Caledonia."  To rub salt into the wound (for those of us who had to endure the 2006 to 2016 fall out of the Douglas Creek Estates anarchy), the development is immediately across the road (Argyle Street South, the scene of numerous blockades and confrontations) from the DCE property.

It is not clear at present how much total money would be involved (turned over to Six Nations), but in 2015 an offer of 1.35 million dollars was turned down.  By law (since the land was legally surrendered by Six Nations in 1844 and the monies placed in their Trust Fund) this is an illegal (certainly unnecessary) aspect.  As to the land give away, the above 43 acres is at Little Buffalo just west of Hagersville.  Apparently there is a "formula" developed for these cases now (after the deal by threat involving the massive McClung Avalon Homes development north and east of Caledonia).  In other words land traded for the promise not to disrupt the development with protests and blockades.  Here this involved, "seeing Six Nations receive payment in the form of property that is half the value of the developable land in the proposed project."  

It is amazing that the developers do not continue to challenge the actions of Six Nations (whatever faction they happen to be dealing with) in Court.  At least with a Court Order the Ontario Provincial Police, especially since we have a new Conservative Government, may actually enforce the provisions and arrest all protesters and the Court will hand them severe fines.  So clearly Ballantry doesn't have the "stones" to proceed in that direction but rather see it in their best interest to give in to the demands of the Six Nations.  It makes no sense economically, except for the fact that it will probably be the taxpayers of Ontario who are the ones who suffer most.  Every time land is taken out of the tax base and given to Six Nations a process kicks in and ultimately the land will no longer be taxed and the tax burden falls on the taxpayers of Haldimand and Ontario.  Amazing how timid developers and taxpayers are considering that the payments are entirely unnecessary.

It must be remembered that the actual data (evidence) could not be more crystal clear in relation to the legitimacy of the actions of Six Nations here - all of the lands in the Haldimand Tract have been surrendered, beginning in the 1780s, and peaking just before the consolidation of the present Reserve in 1847.  The present author has posted scanned copies of key surrenders (e.g., for the lands upon which the Douglas Creek Estates are situated) to this blog, showing the signatures or marks of all of the Chiefs from all Nations residing on the Grand River at the time (see later for references).  The signatures were witnessed by the Chiefs who were literate, and most particularly Jacob Martin (Mohawk) who was the interpreter.  Over 170 years later descendants of those who legally and fairly sold the land are saying it never happened.  In the TRT article, the land researcher for Six Nations stated, "All of these lands under the Haldimand Tract are under land claim no matter where it is. Douglas Creek is no different than MacKenzie Road. Oneida Township was never surrendered but it went out of our possession in 1845. It’s been in third party hands since then. All these lands were patented in the 1850s and 1860s."  That statement is absolutely incorrect.  The records are there for all to see in the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa, RG10 Indian Affairs collection.  Surrenders were debated in Six Nations Council by all Chiefs and over the years they signed off on surrenders of ALL lands except those they chose in 1847 as a consolidated Reserve (Tuscarora Township, and part of Onondaga Township in Brant County; as well as the most westerly part of Oneida Township in Haldimand County) - IR 40 the present Six Nations Reserve.  As long as no one challenges the statements of the land researcher, people will come to assume that what they say must be correct - but it is not, it is outright wrong and can easily be proved!  To make matters worse the land researcher, in the recent TRT article, states that the Courts are saying that there is a statute of limitations on these matters and that is why it is useless for Six Nations to go to Court.  Not so, the reason is that the Court would decide (as they already did in 2009) that the claims of the land not being surrendered have no merit.  Somehow this decision by Justice Arrell of the Superior Court in Brantford, based on the Holmes Report of 2008 using the documents from the above RG10 records in Ottawa, has failed to set a precedent.  There is a huge scope for a legal challenge - but no one to initiate it.

A comprehensive summary and meta analysis on the matter of land surrenders and treaties can be found in an earlier posting to this blog seen here.

There is plenty of blame to go around in this ongoing situation - but ultimately it is those unwilling to stand up to being used and abused who need to be the targets of the finger pointing.

When will taxpayers, developers, or the Government put forward a challenge to the false statements coming from Six Nations?  Wish I knew the answer, but so far "never" seems to emerge as the most likely scenario.  For those who respect the truth beyond anything else, the matter is ultimately infuriating as those who speak falsehoods hold sway.


Friday, 22 February 2019

Hydro One Dealings: Threats of Violence, Extortion, False Narrative, Superstition Versus Rationality

As will be apparent from the time gap between this and the previous post, I have not commented on anything for an uncharacteristic interval of time.  Some of this is due to prioritizing, for example deciding that this or that matter is really somewhat trivial.  The recent blockade of a road in Brant County over solidarity with an Aboriginal - related issue in British Columbia almost made the cut.  However, with the publication of information in the most recent edition of Two Row Times (TRT) (20 February 2019), I feel compelled to speak out against the gross injustices that have occurred recently.  All relate to the subject matter of the previous 3 of 4 Blog postings.  In other words, there are notable developments in the outlandish rip off of the Canadian and Ontario taxpayers relating to stringing the high tension wires leading from Niagara Falls to the grid.

The present post relates to content in the News (pp. 2-3), Editorial and Letters to the Editor (p. 6) sections of the print version of TRT.  Online content from this newspaper can be viewed here.  TRT is a relatively unbiased source of information concerning what is happening in "Six Nations Territory"  whereas the other Reserve newspaper is an unapologetic supporter of, and mouthpiece for, the Haudensaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC).

Once again the concerns raised here are a result of the actions of the Haudenosaunee Development Corporation (HDC) and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), specifically "Men's Fire".  The HCCC is a group of individuals who purport to represent the original Six Nations hereditary system, and are vehemently opposed to the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) who are elected, and since 1924 are the only group recognized by the Provincial and Federal Governments.  Numerous examples of the antagonism between the two groups can  be found in the postings on this Blog.  The HCCC's opposition to virtually anything proposed or accomplished by SNEC ensure that the Six Nations community is composed of two opposing factions.  The acrimony is such that  the HCCC will not even meet with the legitimate Elected Council for fear of giving up the claim to power that they insist is theirs alone.  Unfortunately the most recent "efforts" of HCCC will ensure that millions of badly needed dollars will not be seen by the community, and perhaps risk a highly controversial agreement with Hydro One that, if re-visited, may well require the payment of not millions, but returning billions of dollars owed to the Canadian and Ontario Governments.  A very risky proposition.

To give a quick historical perspective, as profiled in the above noted Blog postings, in 2006 Six Nations militants "reclaimed" (stole) the Douglas Creek Estates (Kanonstaton), which had been property ceded by all the Chiefs of the Six Nations (including Nanticokes, St. Regis Onondaga, Tutelo and other smaller tribes who were members of the Six Nations before being absorbed into larger tribal / nation units) in 1844 (see the original documents in earlier Blog postings).  As part of their unconscionable series of actions (e.g., arson, assault, mayhem), the militants put Mohawk Warrior flags on the metal hydro towers already installed, that needed only the stringing of wires to bring power from Niagara Falls to the grid system.  The message was "cease and desist" "or else".

The threats of violence ensured that gutless Hydro One simply abandoned the project and the forlorn towers (except the one taken down to use on multiple occasions as a barrier to traffic on Argyle Street and the Caledonia Bypass) sat idle from 2006 to 2018.  Despite there being absolutely no legal reason to do so, Hydro One and the Ontario Government signed agreements with Six Nations Elected Council representatives to a deal that would "permit" the project to go ahead - with Six Nations receiving millions over 20 years for doing absolutely nothing; and with no compensation for the massive loss in revenue, the tax bill each year having been picked up by the Ontario taxpayer - not Six Nations.  Clearly Hydro One just wanted to get on with it and were willing to pay money obtained by "negotiation" (extortion) to ensure that the project was completed.

As has become standard practice, the HCCC and their representatives wanted to be cut in on the action, and to be recognized as the "legitimate" group that should be negotiating with Hydro One and / or the contractors doing the work.  At the end of January the Men's Fire issued a "cease and desist" order (which has no meaning except to them), and they had threatened the workers that if they did not stop work, then people (specifically, "men from all the territories") would come streaming from the Reserve in great numbers (as they did in 2006) to forceably shut the work down.  They would, however, let the project go to completion if they were given $250,000!  That was a direct threat, that was extortion, and what did the Ontario Provincial Police do - nothing.  I have not heard of any Court Injunction being issued, although there is every reason to do so.  If a dozen people from Caledonia did the same thing the OPP would most assuredly arrest them, and a Court date would be set.  However this is Six Nations, so the rules are different.  Kid gloves, tread lightly - one set of rules for those defined as "Native" and another for those defined as "non - Native".  A double standard which we came to see was to be the norm during the 2006 crisis, and had hoped that the dynamic had changed (there were successful Court Injunctions concerning developments in Hagersville and the massive McClung Road Avalon development east of Caledonia).

The HCCC used as a rationale (if they bothered to use one at all) that Niagara Falls was Haudensaunee land and they must be consulted.  As I have shown on multiple occasions, the "Nanfan Treaty" of 1701 was not a treaty at all, and even if it was considered legitimate by the Crown (which they did not), it only spoke of hunting rights.  After the wanton genocide of the 1640s where all of the true "owners" of the land, the "Neutral" or Attiwandaronk people, were no more - having been tortured and murdered to "cleanse" to area of competitors in the lucrative beaver trade.  While the then 5 Nations did establish 8 settlements in Southern Ontario after the genocide (giving them "rights by conquest"), by 1696 all were destroyed by the Mississauga and their 5 Fires allies (e.g., Pottowatomi as well as the Huron / Wendat remnants who escaped the fate of 95% of their people in the genocide of the 1640s).  The "owners" of the land after then were the Mississauga, their descendants today being for example the peoples of New Credit (New Credit Reserve bordering on Hagersville).  So if anyone is going to demand a "cut of the action", why is it not the New Credit people?  In reality, the lands were purchased legally by the British Crown beginning in 1784, so in effect the land is now a part of the Province of Ontario.  The stakeholders are those who pay taxes to the Canadian and Ontario Governments, and I might add, stiff fees for the electricity generated at Niagara Falls and elsewhere in Southern Ontario.

Since the Six Nations community had been given a "sweetheart deal", it is amazing but not surprising that the HCCC would raise objections and try to shut the work down in order to assert their dominance.  Hence once again we have the hereditary and elected councils pitted against each other (it has ever been thus - for almost 100 years now) - factionalism.  In fact the Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation (SNGRDC), a legitimate body at Six Nations, is now faced with the wrath of the HCCC - and a significant loss of funds to the entire community simply to make a point by the latter.  Six Nations have already lost $500,000 in much needed (although ill gotten) revenue.

In an all too familiar portrait, at a meeting between the SNGRDC and the HCCC (a rare event), once again the latter torpedoed the dialog .................. why ..................  because a wampum string fell on the floor and it was seen as "a bad omen".  In a Letter to the Editor the unnamed author wrote that during the "heated dialogue", "the Chiefs Wampum, which represents the Fire, fell to the floor from the bench upon which it was situated".  The reaction of the Chiefs and Clan Mothers was that it was then necessary to shut down the meeting and perform a propitiation ceremony to ensure that nothing bad comes of this event.  In the Editorial, the Editor stated that while the HCCC claimed that this is, "a bad sign, there are others who would just assume that it was a happenstance".  Correct, that is what reason and rationality would assert.  The Editor goes on to say that, "because some beads fell on the ground, no matter how sacred one holds them to be, is not a sufficient answer to the people of the Six Nations" not to be able to find common ground.

Once again the HCCC is acting on its own authority, through one of its various agencies (e.g., Men's Fire), and making demands that are in their own interests.  They have never accounted for any money they obtained since 2006 when the Provincial Government was "forced" to make "compensation" for excessive, unreasonable, and irrational demands.  So why trust them now - transparency is something that many at Six Nations are demanding before they would consider looking at the actions of the HDC or other hereditary council groups as legitimate or not.  Follow the money.  Who has the money?  Were pockets lined at the expense of the community?  How can anyone attribute any legitimacy to a group that will not open the books to ensure the monies have been used in an appropriate manner?

However the bottom line, as alluded to above, is that the HCCC may be opening up a can of worms, or Pandora's box - and ultimately once again the community is in turmoil because of the actions of a small group of militants who take advantage of the Six Nations and the wider community.  Frankly if it were up to those most impacted by the actions of the HCCC (Ontario taxpayers), after reading all the evidence, they would press forward to charge the Six Nations for standing in the way of this project for 13 years, and costing the people of Ontario multi millions of dollars.  Instead the gutless wonders who make these decisions from Hydro One on up, cow tow to the unwarranted and illegal demands of those who should not have a stake in this work.  What a crazy situation - and how much press coverage has this seen outside Six Nations?  There was an update months ago, but where are the reporters in the general community who should be looking at the evidence, and keeping the public up to date with developments such as the brash extortion attempt by Men's Fire which will result in delays, and the loss of who knows how many more millions of dollars of taxpayer money.  Why is there no Court Injunction against the Men's Fire to bar them from impeding the work of the contractors?  Do the people of Ontario care that they are being dinged for millions of dollars?  Does anyone care that this has come about due to blatant extortion?  Since when is extortion not a crime? Are Six Nations to continue to be "given a pass" with false claims and questionable actions in the matter?