Whose Land is it Anyway?

Posted on December 14th, 2019 by in History Read 5433 Times.

The Six Nations community has been home to escalating disputes between the imposed Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC). The SNEC had placed an injunction and put up “no trespassing” signs on a property that a Six Nations community member was farming under a lease provided by the HCCC. Both the SNEC and HCCC have claimed to possess the underlying title to represent and make dealings on behalf of the Haldimand Proclamation.

Meanwhile, the people of Six Nations are divided into factions over who is the “proper” and true governance of the people. For example, the SNEC has never received a voter turnout of over 50% (1924 Inaugural Election 300 votes cast – 2019 Election 0.02% turnout) for the total reserve population, while the HCCC has never operated with all of their seats filled by proper Chiefs and Clan Mothers, and not all of the people in the community choose to follow the Longhouse way of the Handsome Lake Code.

The one thing that many of the people seem to be able to agree on, is their inherent rights to the lands of Turtle Island, and to be able to utilize them and govern themselves without facing interference or repercussion from the Canadian Government or any other outside entities. Many people may think that this would result in widespread chaos without having the net of Canadian laws and jurisdictions to “herd the sheep” and keep the people in line. But one must remember that in following the traditional Onkwehon:we way of life, one must follow the Great Peace that was brought to the Mohawks by the Great Peacemaker, bestowed upon them to spread in all four directions in following the roots of the tree of peace.

The basis of this message was for all Onkwehon:we to treat one another in a humble and respectful way while keeping in mind that everyone and everything on mother earth is interconnected, and our actions will impact all life on earth in one way or another. Everyone was to work for the betterment of humanity while using their personal talents and skills to help along the way. Just like putting together many different pieces of a puzzle to complete the bigger picture, everyone has a purpose. This is a message that needs to be conveyed amongst our people once again, especially to our youth.

While the two systems of governance continue to face-off with each other over who represents the Haldimand Proclamation, the answer can be found for yourself once you review the facts pertaining to the document, and examine the document that leads to the creation of the Haldimand Proclamation.

Many people within the Six Nations community are unaware that the Haldimand Proclamation is not a standalone document. In fact, it was the fulfillment of a registered document delivered previously to the Mohawk Nation on April 7th, 1779 by Captain-General and Commander-in-Chief of Quebec, Sir Frederick Haldimand. This document is commonly referred to as the Haldimand Pledge of 1779.

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The Haldimand Pledge ratified the original promise Sir Frederick Haldimand’s predecessor, Sir Guy Carlton (Lord Dorchester), made to the Mohawk Nation for their steady attachment to King George the Third during the ongoing conflicts between the British and New England settlers (now Americans). As the encroaching war and hostilities continued to reign in closer and threaten their homelands, the Mohawks realized that they needed to create an alliance or face the possible extinction of their future generations, so the entered negotiations with the British.

Captain Joseph Brant, a member of the Mohawk Nation, advocated making sure that his people would be compensated for the losses they faced of their villages during the war that we now refer to as the American Revolution. This lead to the manifestation of the Haldimand Pledge, which reads “as soon as the present troubles were at an end, the same should be restored at the expense of the Government, to the state they were in before the wars broke out, and said promise appearing to me just, I do hereby ratify the same and assure them the said promise, so far as in me lies, shall be faithfully executed, as soon as that happy time comes.”

The Haldimand Pledge of 1779 (PDF)

Five years after the delivery of the Haldimand Pledge, Captain General and Commander-in-Chief Sir Frederick Haldimand brought to the Mohawks the document which we now refer to as the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. The Haldimand Proclamation is the closing of the agreements made between the Mohawks and Great Britain as equal entities, which is why the document refers to the Mohawks as “His Majesty’s Faithful Allies” and not subjects to the crown. The lands conveyed in the Haldimand Proclamation make up nearly one million acres of land, tallying in at approximately 950,000 acres. These lands were reserved for the Mohawks and others who chose to follow, to settle upon the banks of the river commonly referred to as “Ouse” or “Grand River extending 6 miles deep on each side of the river, for them and their posterity to enjoy forever.

The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 (PDF)

On January 14th, 1793, Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe attempted to meet with the Mohawks and replace the Haldimand Proclamation with a document containing similar provisions known today as the Simcoe Patent. The Simcoe Patent attempted to replace the Mohawks with the term “Six Nations”, which Canada uses as a loophole to only recognize and negotiate all land dealings pertaining to the Haldimand Tract with the SNEC, an arm of the Canadian Government. This creates an engrossing conflict of interest. Also, the amount of land conferred in the Simcoe Patent was considerably less, as it only included approximately 675,000 acres of land. Mohawk Nation elders and historians can verify that the Simcoe Patent was firmly and completely rejected, and never negotiated by the Mohawks.

One may concur from the reading the Haldimand Pledge and Proclamation that the true underlying title of the Haldimand Lands remains in the hands of the Mohawk Nation, who state they have never relinquished their rights to their territory to this very day. This statement insinuates that any past or present land deals or negotiations that Canada has made with the SNEC or HCCC has been done so fraudulently with illegitimate representation and falsified documentation. Members of the Mohawk Nation firmly believe that serious crimes and acts of treason have been committed by members of their own community, as they state that the Mohawk people have never given consent for their lands to be sold or abrogated.

Although it seems like a lot of information to wrap your head around, the history of the Mohawks needs to be shared as they may hold the key to unlocking a door that could help lead Onkwehon:we out of the clutches of the Canadian government. The Mohawk Nation-states they have never attempted to enforce a hierarchy over the other Original Nations with their claim to the Haldimand Proclamation. They simply are the only Nation that has a legal underlying title to the document, as it was made between themselves and Great Britain, on behalf of the people.

The Onkwehon:we have long strived for freedom and independence from the oppressive genocide and colonization that has been enforced upon them for centuries. If Canada truly seeks out truth and reconciliation with the Onkwehon:we people, attempting reparations with the Mohawk Nation is arguably a good place to start.

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Tags: 1784, grand river, haldimand proclamation, john graves simcoe, mohawk nation, news, pledge, six nations, special treaty. Want to see all the Tags?