Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 31 (31 May 1983)
By: Canada (Parliament)
Citation: Canada, Parliament, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government, 32nd Parl, 1st Sess, No 31 (31 May 1983).
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HOUSE OF COMMONS
Issue No. 31
Tuesday, May 31, 1983
Wednesday, June 1, 1983
Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
of the Special Committee on
The status, development and responsibilities of Band
governments on Indian reserves, as well as the financial
relationships between the Government of Canada and
(See back cover)
first Session of the
Thirty-second Parliament, 1980-81-82-83
SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON
Chairman: Mr. Keith Penner
Vice-Chairman: Mr. Stan Schellenberger
Clerk of the Special Committee
Pursuant to Standing Order 69(4)(b):
On Tuesday, May 31, 1983:
Henri Tousignant replaced Rene Gingras.
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
TUESDAY, MAY 31,1983
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met “in camera” at 9:51 o’clock a.m., this day, the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.
Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Manly, Oberle, Penner, Schellenberger and Tousignant.
Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.
Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.
Witnesses: From Thalassa Research Associates: Dr. Dan Gottesman, Partner; Mr. Rob Egan, Partner and Mr. Harold Wilson, Consultant.
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Reference dated Wednesday, December 22, 1982. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Wednesday, December 22, 1982, Issue No. 1.)
The Committee proceeded to consider its future business.
On motion of Mr. Tousignant, it was agreed,-That the contract for the services of the First Nations Consultants Inc. be extended under the same condition of the original contract.
On motion of Mr. Manly, it was agreed,-That the contract for the services of David L. Humphreys and Associates be extended under the same condition of the original contract.
On motion of Mr. Manly, it was agreed,-That the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government send a letter of inquiry to the Minister of Indian Affairs regarding the accusations made by the Oka Band on May 27, 1983 with respect to the information on the band’s land claim provided in the briefing notes prepared by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for the Special Committee.
Dr. Gottesman tabled the research project entitled: “The Economic Foundation of Indian Self-Government”.
Dr. Gottesman made a statement and, with Mr. Wilson and Mr. Egan, answered questions.
At 12:07 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned until 3:30 o’clock p.m., this afternoon.
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met “in camera” at 3:49 o’clock p.m., the Vice-Chairman, Mr. Schellenberger, presiding.
Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Chenier, Manly, Oberle, Penncr and Schellenberger.
Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.
Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.
Witnesses: From Thalassa Research Associates: Dr. Dan Gottesman, Partner; Mr. Rob Egan, Partner and Mr. Harold Wilson, Consultant.
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Reference dated Wednesday, December 22, 1982. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Wednesday, December 22, 1982, Issue No. 1.)
The Committee resumed consideration of the research project entitled: “The Economic Foundation of Indian Self-Government”.
Dr. Gottesman, Mr. Egan and Mr. Wilson answered questions.
At 4:40 o’clock p.m., the Chairman assumed the Chair.
At 6:07 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 1, 1983
The Special Committee on Indian Self-Government met at 3:58 o’clock p.m., this day, the Chairman, Mr. Penner, presiding.
Members of the Committee present: Messrs. Allmand, Chenier, Manly, Oberle, Penner, Schellenberger and Tousignant.
Ex-officio member present: From the Assembly of First Nations: Ms. Roberta Jamieson.
Liaison member present: From the Native Women’s Association of Canada: Ms. Sandra Isaac.
In attendance: From the Research Branch of the Library of Parliament: Mrs. Barbara Reynolds and Mrs. Katharine Dunkley, Research Officers. From the Parliamentary Centre for Foreign affairs and Foreign Trade: Mr. P.C. Dobell, Policy Co-ordinator.
Witnesses: From the Haudenosaunee Confederacy: Mr. Bob Antone; Mr. Venus Walker; Mr. Bruce Elijah; Mr. Loran Thompson; Mr. Mike Myers and Mr. Robert Jamieson.
The Committee resumed consideration of its Order of Reference dated Wednesday, December 22, 1982. (See Minutes of Proceedings, Wednesday, December 22, 1982, Issue No. 1.)
Mr. Antone made a statement.
Mr. Walker recited a prayer and made a statement in his native language.
Mr. Elijah interpreted Mr. Walker’s prayer and statement.
Mr. Thompson and Mr. Myers each made a statement.
On motion of Mr. Allmand, it was agreed,-That the following documents tabled by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy be printed as appendices to this day’s Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence:
l) Statement of the Haudenosaunee concerning the Constitutional Framework and International Position of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (See Appendix “SEND-36”)
2) Declaration of Principles for the Defence of the Indigenous Nations and Peoples of the Western Hemisphere (See Appendix “SEND-37”)
3) Statement concerning the Lands and Government of the Haudenosaunee (Appendix “SEND-38”)
4) Appendix: Letter to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II from the Grand Council of Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee, November 29, 1981 (See Appendix “SEND-39”)
5) Excerpts from Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons appointed to continue and complete the examination and consideration of the Indian Act (See Appendix”SEND-40″)
Mr. Myers, Mr. Antone and Mr. Jamieson answered questions.
Mr. Jamieson and Mr. Antone each made a statement.
Mr. Walker recited a prayer in his native language.
At 7:29 o’clock p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.
Clerk of the Committee
(Recorded by Electronic Apparatus)
Wednesday, June 1, 1983
The Chairman: Today’s session of the Special Committee on Indian Self-Government is in order.
We welcome to Parliament Hill and to the special committee the delegation from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The spokesman for the confederacy is Mr. Bob Antone.
Mr. Antone, I would ask if you would introduce to the members of the special committee the delegation that is with you, and then if you would let us know the manner in which you would like to proceed. I note that you have several documents that have been tabled with the members. We would like to know whether you wish to summarize your statement or whether you want it read into the record; whatever is best for you. We will certainly accommodate your interests.
Mr. Antone, please.
Mr. Bob Antone (Haudenosaunee Confederacy): Before we proceed with the introductions, we have a certain procedure that we have to follow, in accordance with our traditions. I would like to table the introductions until the formalities of our traditions are carried out.
To begin with, we would like to open our presentation with a thanksgiving and greetings. We will begin that with Mr. Walker. Also, there will be an interpretation of this presentation.
The Chairman: Thank you very much.
Mr. Venus Walker (Haudenosaunee Confederacy) (translation): The first thing we do with our people when two people come together and they meet is to give a thanksgiving for all the things the Creator has put here on earth. So at this time, as our people come together, we would like to say we hope that in our homes and the places we come from everything is well with our families and there is nothing too serious or too bad in the news. So with that, we bring our minds together and give a thanksgiving.
Then we mention the ground we walk on, our sacred Mother Earth, the importance of what the Creator has given to our people, to acknowledge the very basic things here–and we have been given the mandate to look after these things. So we look to the earth as a sacred mother who holds everything in the palm of her hand to give us things so that every day and every night our families are in good health. So at this time we will bring our own minds together and give a thanksgiving to our mother, the earth.
Then we mention the stra wherries, the first berries to give fruit when the warm winds come. We were told us the importance of that; that there will come a day when we will
not see strawberries any more and all the rest of foods will die away. We were told what to do at that time. So come spring, almost at the time that we see the strawberries bloom again and give berries, we put our minds together and give a thanksgiving to all the berries of the world that came to us from the Creator’s land. We put our minds together and give a thanksgiving for that.
Then we mention all the medicines. When we come out of our homes, when we come out of that door, the medicines are there; they start from there. There are people amongst us who are given the right to have the ability to help our people with medicines. It is in the grass, it is in the shrubs, it is in the trees; it is all around us. Only a chosen few know what that is and how it is supposed to be used. So at this time we bring our minds together and give a thanksgiving for those things that are still being carried out to this day. So be it in our minds.
We mention all the trees that are around us; and again we see the leaves coming forth. We say that the head one of those trees is the maple tree, because it gives us sugar at a certain time when the sap runs, and we set a day aside and there are ceremonies that we do in thanksgiving. Those things are still carried on. All the other trees in the world-we put our minds together and we give a thanksgiving for all those things that are still alive to this day; all the trees.
Then the animals. They say that they are our brothers and our sisters-the animal world, the four-leggeds-and they say that they are put here for a purpose and we are supposed to look after them; we ·are supposed to live in harmony with our brothers and sisters of the animal world, the four-leggeds. So at this time again, we bring all our minds together and give a thanksgiving for all those animals that still exist, and we know that there are some that have gone, that have become extinct. We still mention them and we still give a thanksgiving. So we bring all our minds together and give a thanksgiving for all the animals of the world.
We mention the bird life. They say that the eagle is the most important to our people; it is a symbol, the tree of peace that was given to us … a great law of how we are supposed to conduct ourselves with one another. The eagle at the top of that tree is supposed to look far into the distance and he will give a cry when he sees danger approaching our people. So again at this time, we put all our minds together and give a thanksgiving for all the bird life of the world. We know too that some birds have become extinct, but we still mention them in our ceremonies. We have never forgotten them. So we give a thanksgiving for that. So be it in our minds.
Then we say that there will be two suns in the heavens, the first one is “wasekwatiha “; that is the man, the male, the sun. He is given a purpose never to remove himself or be late at any time. He still functions in the way that was given to him for us to sec on the horizon and around us all the beautiful things the creator has given us. At this time we put our minds together and give a thanksgiving for the most beautiful thing, which was put there for a reason, and we still acknowledge it and give thanksgiving to our eldest brother, the sun.
At night we give a thanksgiving to our grandmother, the moon.
In everything that we have mentioned there is a male and a female: in plant life, in the animal world, in the tree life, even in the fish life. Grandmother Moon was given a purpose, that she would control all that, all the female life in the world, what we look at and how we understand what surrounds us. She is in control of the future generations of all these species, and so are women. That is how we look at the months, as to when to conceive, to give birth, to give life, to continue. So it is time to bring all our minds together and give a thanksgiving to our grandmother, the moon.
And at this time we also mention the stars in the heavens, for there is our history written, in the stars in the heavens: Our old people say that if we look at the stars they will tell us when to conduct our ceremonies, when it is time. And still to this day our people carry this on. Still to this day we have people who can tell you what that means and what it says. Our history is recorded there; it is given to us in that way.
So again we bring our minds together and we give a thanksgiving to the stars, for they still continue in the ways that were given to them, in the order that was given to them to bring our minds together and give a thanksgiving. So be it in our minds.
We also give a thanksgiving to the thunder-makers who come from the setting sun. They bring the rains to quench the earth, for all the things to make life possible. We have been given a great responsibility. They say there were huge animals at one time on this earth, that roamed this earth, and we, our people, asked the grandfathers to put them down into the earth, and so they did. There will come a time when we will not be able to give a thanksgiving to the thundermakers, and they say that the earth will open up and those huge animals will surface again. And the dangers that we talk about today in the world that we live in are nothing compared to what will come. So there is a reason why we exist today. We have never forgotten that. We still carry out the ceremonies, and we still give a thanksgiving to the first thunders that we hear. So bring all our minds together and give thanksgiving. So be it in our minds.
We asked the four beings who come from the Creator’s land, who say they come to us at this level-they do not touch the earth-where we see, where we hear, where we speak from, where our minds are. They come to us in our dreams. They tell us of the things that need to be done, what needs to be said … concerns that we have for our people. So we give a thanksgiving for those that are still carried out to this day. Our ceremonies are still being conducted, in ways as far back as we can go in our language.
So at this time we would like to thank those four beings, because we asked them when we left our homes that we get here safely, to protect us, and that we go back to our families, back to our homes safely. So we give a thanksgiving, bring our
minds together as one, give a thanksgiving for those. So be it in our minds.
Then we come to the Creator himself. He has put himself in a place where we say that we do not know his face. We will never know his face, but all those things of what is possible for us, he gave us a responsibility to look after.
So to this day we carry that out to the best of our ability. So we bring all our minds together as one, giving thanks to the Creator for making all these things possible. So be it in our minds.
At this time we would like to express that our leaders and chiefs, the traditional chiefs of our people, when they heard that there was a possibility of coming here to give a presentation, had a great meeting for all the people. So the leaders and chiefs said they would like to send their greetings to the people we were going to meet. They sent good wishes and good health and good spirit to put our minds together. They said, when you get there, we hope they will be able to hear our voice and our concerns for their health. So at this time that is the message that we bring from our leaders.
Also, our clan mothers, who are the head ones of our nations, are the ones that pick out the chiefs.
When they heard we were coming here, they too said, we would like to send our greetings of good health and good wishes to the women of their people. So today their message comes to you in that way.
And also amongst our people, in our ceremonies and in our ways, we have what are called the faith-keepers, who see to it that the ceremonies are carried on and are reminders to us of all the important things we should look at. They consist of both the men and the women of all ages. They too, when they heard we were coming here, said, we too would like to send our message and our greetings of good health and good wishes to the people here who may have positions, both the men and the women. So at this time it is possible that you hear the message they send.
Also, our people who have no positiOns, again of all age groups, men and women-some people never attain a position, but they are the backbone of our nation-when they heard that we were coming here they too said, we would like to send our greetings. So again, this day we have people here who may have no positions, both men and women of all age groups. So you can hear the message they send of good health and good wishes.
And our children who run about, who crawl on the earth and who are on the cradle boards, they too when they heard we were coming here said, we would like to send our greetings of good health and good wishes, for we are sure the people you
will talk to have children and grandchildren; we hope that their concerns will be the same; we talk with those in mind, for future generations to come. So at this time you hear the message they send.
There is a symbol of our people that we use at a time when there would be a setting-up of chiefs and maybe a death among our people and we have a condolence. We use the first three; we take out the first three wampums at this time. Again, when our leaders heard that we would be coming here, it was told to us that we would relate this message to you, to say that their leaders go after water-cold, clear, spring water … and they give you a drink to quench your thirst so that we can speak clearly. Our throats are clear, so we can talk of the things that the Creator has given to us. We can talk proud and in a very clear and honest way. That is the symbol we give at this time.
We say we take the softest and whitest feather from the eagle. We say we take that and clean your ear so we can hear the words, the good words, on what the Creator has given to us. And we talk about the ways of our people-the past, the present, and the future-and all the spirits will come forth and will hear the things, the concerns, that we are going to talk about. So we take that symbol and we clean our ears. We say we take the softest white leather that we can find and we cleanse your eyes, we wipe your eyes, so that you can see into the future, so you can see· the concerns of our people. So again at this time we hope we will be able, and we will encourage that we talk; we use soft words, good words, for no one can argue about what the Creator has given us. If we take those symbols, we hope we will be able to understand and we will be able to hear the concerns we have.
At this time, those are the messages that we bring from our people.
Mr. Antone: Now that the formalities have been completed, at this time I would like to introduce the delegation that is here and point out clearly that the people you have before you are what are called the Land Rights Committee of the Haudenosaunee. We are, in a sense, a committee of our government, much as you are a committee of your government. We have been given a responsibility to look at all the historical relationships of the Haudenosaunee with all the different countries we have had to deal with in our history.
The ones before you today are Venus Walker, the interpreter Bruce Elijah, Loran Thompson, Mike Myers, Vince Johnson, Brian Deer and Charlie Patton.
We want to proceed by presenting a historical relationship in the way we understand it from our old traditions. That will be presented by Loran Thompson. Following that, we will read a section of the position paper that has been presented to you. But we would also like all the documents and position papers appended to the record.
Following the reading into the record of the last few pages of the position paper, we will present how we see ourselves today, and how we can deal with the future, and then we will be prepared to answer any questions you have, following that. So I will turn it over to Loran.
Mr. Loran Thompson (Haudenosaunee Confederacy): First of all, we would like to let you know that whenever we have delegations going to different meetings from our nations, as representatives from our nations, we have our meetings and they give us a string of wampum, to show to the meetings that we are going to attend, so that we are there officially, from the nation. We are instructed on what to say and on how to conduct ourselves on our trip. That is what that string is about right there. What it has here is a circle of the confederacy, which came about before the coming of the non-Indian to our continent. It is a circle of 50 chiefs that was put in place by a man we call “the peacemaker”. That peacemaker came among the Mohawks, who are the elder brother-one of the elder brothers. The Senecas are the other elder brother. The Onondagas are at the top. They are one of the elder brothers. The Cayugas are one of the younger brothers. The Oneidas are one of the younger brothers.
The Onondagas today, as when it was new, still have 14 chiefs representing their people. Their chiefs are still put in place by their clan mothers in their clans. This system is not a hereditary system. It is not a system where, when a man dies, his son takes his place. It is a system such that the clans and the people decide who is going to represent the nation. The Onondagas have one long string which represents Tadodaho, who is the person who is to see to it, when we have our meetings, our Haudenosaunee meetings … He is the one that makes sure that the subjects, we talk about, do not wander away too far. We always stay on the subjects …
The Oneidas also have nine chiefs, and they too today, as when it was new, in spite of all that our nations have been through, still have nine chiefs. And they still go on conducting the ceremonies and performing the politics which the Creator meant us to do.
The chiefs are tied together, which symbolizes that they are holding hands together. The outer string is woven around. We are told that when the Peacemaker put them together and mentioned that to them, he told them that in Onondaga, the centre point, there will be the Tree of Peace. He said that some day you are going to sec that tree fall, but it will fall on the arms of your chiefs, and they will be holding together so tightly that the tree will not fall to the ground. That is why the
outer strings are tied together like that; they hold the 50 chiefs together.
The Cayugas also sit beside the Oneidas. They have ten chiefs and they too still carry on the way the Creator wants them to carry on, in spite of everything they too have been through.
The Senecas have eight chiefs and they are still carrying on their duties. And we too.
Inside the circle the Creator sent the messenger, who told us that everything the Creator has given to us is going to be on the inside of this circle. We were told that some day there will be something that will come to our shores; there will be things on the outside of that circle which your people will want. And they asked at that time, what will the people do? The answer was given, your people are free; your chiefs are holding together, but there is room to pass underneath. But let it be known that when they do that, they leave everything that they are on the inside. They leave all of what the Creator has given to them as Indians on the inside, and they stand on the outside of the circle with nothing. They are not anything any more. They have accepted something other than what the Creator has given to us as Indians.
Then another question was asked: what happens when they find that they do not like it out there and they want to come back? What is the answer? They said, they can come back in the same way they went out; but when they come back, they can no longer hold a position of any sort in our system, spiritual or political. They are only workers in the nation. They do not have any voice any more, because they have proven that they can leave and desert our people.
That is what we are talking about today. When your government wants to go off on its own and our people want to participate, we as the Haudenosaunee know what the Creator has given to us and we know how far we can go. And we know we have to stay with what the Creator has given to us as Indian people. He has given us a way of life that will deal with everything, all of nature that the Creator has put in this world. It is for us to watch over them and to work with them, not to order them around or to dictate over them, but to work with them and understand them. And that is what we are still trying to do today, although it is getting more and more difficult because of the influences coming from other places.
Your Constitution today presents a big problem to us. We look at it-if it goes through the way it is, we see it as the biggest real estate robbery ever done. You are trying to legalize the biggest theft of land since you came to our shores. You are talking, in this area, of Haudcnosaunee lands. You are talking about our rights.
Our chiefs were given certain responsibilities. Our chiefs have made certain agreements with your mother country. We have made treaties. There are many things that were said
when those treaties were made, but we have always had a hard time trying to understand why your government does not want to respect or carry out the agreements that your political officials have made.
In this circle, if you follow all that the Creator has put in there, you will have peace. You will have righteousness and you will have power. But we were told not to abuse anything that the Creator has given to us.
There are many more words that come along with this wampum. But because of the level of the talks that we are engaged in today, our older chiefs, the ones who really know it all the way through and can explain everything, are still waiting for your political officials to open up the doors for talks on a truthful level-meaningful talks.
They have not seen that for many years, and they cannot understand why your political officials living on our lands try to act as if there are no Haudenosaunee people in this area who have treaties with your people.
That is as far as I will go on the circle of chiefs.
Later on, when your ancestors came to our shores, after living with them for a few years, observing them, our ancestors came to the conclusion that we could not live together in the same way inside the circle. So they decided that something had to be done, because we had to live together somehow. Some sort of an agreement had to be made. So our leaders at that time, along with your leaders, sat down for many years to try to work out a solution. This is what they came up with. We call it Gus-Wen-Tah, or the two-row wampum belt. It is on a bed of white wampum, which symbolizes the purity of the agreement. There are two rows of purple, and those two rows have the spirit of our ancestors; those two rows never come together in that belt, and it is easy to see what that means. It means that we have two different paths, two different people.
The agreement was made that your road will have your vessel, your people, your politics, your government, your way of life, your religion, your beliefs-they are all in there. The same goes for ours. But there is a little more: it tells that our land is in that row. They said there will be three beads of wampum separating the two, and they will symbolize peace, friendship, and respect. We wonder, as we look at this, what has happened to that from your end. It seems that your ancestors were sincere when they made this agreement, yet today our officials try to meet with your government and they are sent to other branches; nothing is ever done. We see people all over who are the same as we are, who have made agreements with your government, and we sec that your government is not trying one ounce to uphold those agreements, because those people are starving and dying today. Those treaties are recent, and these are a little bit older than those treaties. But
we hold fast to these treaties, because our ancestors were sincere; they remember when they made agreements.
There are, again, many words to this belt. There is a pipe that goes along with this belt, a silver pipe with a chain. It was supposed to symbolize the purity from your side, the strength and the brightness. But our people at that time, in one of the meetings, said we do not understand this medal that is made of silver, for we are told that it will rust or tarnish. So because it is your medal, you know how to treat it. It will be your responsibility to come into a meeting, and we will sit together and we will polish the pipe-polish the relations between us. And we will take the dust off the two-row wampum belt, and we will work together.
We will be the same, the same height. Your nation, your government is over here. Our nation and our government is over here. Never do they cross anywhere, meaning that your government does not have the authority to legislate for our people. You will not make laws over our people and we will not make laws over your people. It is simple. It is really easy to follow. Yet over the years you could come up with a book that high, with laws that your people and your government have legislated for Indians.
We have not legislated anything yet for your people, because we still remember the agreement that was made. Governmentwise, it was not very long ago-just a few seconds ago. Yet your people have forgotten. We have to come together, our officials have to come together and talk about this belt, talk about that pipe, along with the other agreements that we have, and make relations, good relations between our people and our governments.
When the day comes that our chiefs can sit alone and talk with your leaders, you will hear many other words that go along with this belt and that they remember a lot better than I can. That is as far as I will go on the two-row.
Mr. Antone: As you can see by our very existence, we the Haudenosaunee have a natural and original right to live freely as a confederacy of nations, with our own political institutions and with a fundamental right to use and occupy our original lands. The recognition of aboriginal rights has its origins in the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European interpretations of international law. It is now generally recognized that regardless of where the boundary of the royal proclamation of 1763 lies, aboriginal rights apply throughout the area now known as Canada. And the source of those rights is in the international law of nations.
But aboriginal rights exist independently of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, as has been confirmed not only
internationally, but as has also been repeatedly acknowledged by Canada’s own courts and by the executive and legislative branches of both levels of government in Canada, as well as in Great Britain. We therefore declare that the original rights of the Haudenosaunee to our territory have never been extinguished.
The Haudenosaunee also have, as a right of people who have been subjected to alien domination, the right of self-determination. This has been confirmed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article I of each covenant states:
All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
European biases in interpreting the rights of aboriginal peoples under international law have recently and gradually come to be corrected. In 1977, the first international conference ever to look at the problems of the indigenous peoples of the Americas was organized by the nongovernmental organizations of the United Nations. This International Conference Against the Discrimination of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas was held at the United Nations in Geneva. The Haudenosaunee took a leading role in the development of the conference, and helped to organize and co-ordinate the participation of native delegates from Central and South America. Of the 125 delegates who took part in the conference, 21 were Haudenosaunee who travelled to Geneva on passports issued by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
One of the results of the conference was the adoption of the Declaration of Principles for the Defence of Indigenous Nations and Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Of particular significance, in light of the Canadian government’s proposed “optional” legislation concerning Indian selfgovernment and in light of the past interference of Canada in the affairs of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, is Article 7, on jurisdiction:
No state shall assert or claim to exercise any right of jurisdiction over any indigenous nation or group or the territory of such indigenous nation or group unless pursuant to a valid treaty or other agreement freely made with the lawful representatives of the indigenous nation or group concerned. All actions on the part of any state which derogate from the indigenous nation’s or group’s right to exercise self-determination shall be the proper concern of existing international bodies.
Also of particular significance, in light of the hearings of the Canadian parliamentary subcommittee on Indian women and the Indian Act, is Article 12, on indigenous membership:
No state, through legislation, regulation or other means, shall take actions that interfere with the sovereign power of an indigenous nation or group to determine its own membership.
In late summer of 1981, the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights passed a resolution for the establishment of a special United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, comprised of human rights experts, to focus attention on the rights of Indians and other indigenous peoples.
The subcommission felt there was a need for further standards regarding the human rights of indigenous peoples, a need for a forum within the United Nations to which indigenous peoples could address themselves on a regular basis, and a need for an ongoing system of fact-finding within the United Nations into the problems affecting the human rights of indigenous peoples.
Shortly after the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights .Subcommission, a United Nations Conference on Indigenous Peoples and Their Land was held September 15 to September 18, 1981. There were 130 indigenous delegates including the Haudenosaunee-72 NGO delegates, and 94 support group members in attendance. In addition to strongly endorsing the idea of a working group on indigenous peoples, the conference concluded that the 1977 Declaration of Principles for the Defence of the Indian Nations and Peoples of the Western Hemisphere should Serve as the basis for an international covenant on the rights of indigenous peoples.
On March 10, 1982, a resolution in support of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations was adopted by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. The resolution was adopted by the commission in a vote of 34 in favour and four against, with seven countries abstaining. The Working Group on Indigenous Populations in the United Nations is now a permanent international institution and meets every summer in Geneva.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is sovereign in the international community. Its constitutional authority is in the Kaianerakowa, the great law of peace, within the international law of nations. In addition to the Kaianerakowa, since the arrival of the Europeans in North America the Houdenosaunee Confederacy has adopted the two-row wampum, the silver covenant chain, and certain other agreements and treaties as part of our constitutional framework.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy meets the fundamental requirements of nationhood: (1) having a permanent population; (2) having a defined territory; (3) having a government; (4) having the ability to enter into relations with other nations.
We are proper subjects of international law, not Canadian law. We draw our authority from the Kaianerakowa, not the Constitution of Canada. Like the constitutions of many nations in the world, the Kaianerakowa includes the following: (1) the principal objectives of political life; (2) a definition of the main institutions of government; (3) a definition of the division of powers; ( 4) a definition of the relationship between governments and the people.
In several of our communities the people have come to recognize the source of our division during the past 100 years or so: the imposition of the band council system, the interjection of external laws into our communities. The Haudenosaunee recommend the Canadian government re-assess its present policies with respect to the Haudenosaunee communities and the proposed Canadian legislation on Indian selfgovernment.
Canada, one of the inheritors of the obligation of its mother country Great Britain, is bound by international law to recognize the continuing validity of the agreements and treaties with the Haudenosaunee. In light of these historical agreements and the current circumstances involving our nations, there exists a need for immediate talks between our two nations to begin resolving the longstanding issue between our peoples.
Since our government and our territory is surrounded by two other nations, Canada and the United States, the Haudenosaunee strongly recommend that the appropriate agencies of the United Nations be requested to assist, facilitate, and oversee the difficult negotiations that need to take place to sort out the political, legal, judicial, territorial, and economic relationship between Canada, the United States, and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is under the protection of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Declaration of Principles for the Defense of Indigenous Nations and Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. We seek only the rightful recognition of our historic current and future rights as one of the original confederations of nations of North America.
At this point I want to turn it over to Mike Myers to give a presentation in terms of today and the future, in terms of economics and our international and future relationships.
Mr. Mike Myers (Haudenosaunee Confederacy): In the discussions that we have been having inside of our country about where Canada is going with its new development as a new country, as we look back over the historical reality of this relationship between us, one fact-and I think your government has begun to acknowledge it-that cannot be underplayed is the role of racism in the ballgame between us.
Canada, the United States, Guatemala, Brazil, Nicaragua- do not care what country you talk about in the Western
Hemisphere-would not exist if it dfd not start from a racist premise that Indian people and Indian nations do not have a right to exist, that only that which is European has the right to exist.
Starting from that premise and moving forward to 1983, 1984, the year 2083, whatever we want, unless that premise is dealt with you will constantly be on a course for the eradication of indigenous peoples and nations.
We are put here on the earth … When we talk about the circle wampum, the two-row wampum, or any of the things that we call tradition-and there are other things that we call historic presence, etc.-let us be clear. Those things that we call the tradition of our way of life are those that are given to us by God or whatever word you want to use-Creator, God, whatever. We were placed here. We were created here in these lands on this half of the world, not on your half of the world.
You are still guests here. But the guests came with a racist assumption, built over a period of 4000 to 5000 years, that somebody who might be a little darker, someone whose language might be a little different or whose religion is different can be subjugated. It starts in a different place; racism or sexism starts in a place where the human begins begin to believe they can subjugate, they can own trees and animals and rocks and water. That is about I 0,000 years ago, and it is a short mental step from being the owner of animals and trees and rocks to being the owner of other human beings. The nature of the discussion that has been going on since Canada declared that it was going to have a constitution has been Canada’s internal argument wihtin itself. Well, how are you going to manage and own the Indians and the land they were created with? The base of the problem between us has always been economic. You came here looking for economic gain. For Canada to continue to exist, it must have economic viability based on the resources and the homelands of our countries. Canada cannot exist if we do not give you those resources and if we do not give you access to economic viability.
So the game here . . . It is not a game of political self-determination- not at all; it is an economic argument. Mr. Indian, will you please participate in the economic future of Canada by contributing your resources, by coming to our Indian Claims Commission and signing off that which God gave you? We cannot do that. Our government cannot do that. We will never do that. Our homelands were created here, with us, at the same time. We were created together. We were placed in this half of the world, and in that placement we were given a mandate aout our existence, which is held within that circle wampum.
Now all the things were placed inside that circle and the chiefs’ hands and the peoples’ hands were bound together to protect those things, to work along with those things, in a unity and in a founation of peace among ourselves and all other nations. Now we have attempted that. The two-row is the grandfather of all the relations we have with all nations in the world. We set the terms. We are in that canoe, and in that canoe we have our people, our government, our beliefs, and the land. In your ship, you have your beliefs, your government, your people-but you do not have land, and you are here. You have shiny objects that you brought from the old world with you, shiny objects that you continue to improve upon. But the only way that you can make those shiny objects over here is to get on our land and extract from our land the raw materials necessary for the creation of those shiny objects.
To get to that land you will use any trick necessary, whether it is a treaty, or the reserves, or the band councils, or optional legislation on Indian self-government, or strengthening band council government, or the creation of Indian organizations to act as front men for economic intervention into our homelands- whatever. We have watched that. We have seen it for years. Our government looks at the creation of the Constitution, the creation of Canada. We look at your rhetoric. You say you are a new country now. You have finally cut all the strings with your mother. Her apron is totally in her kitchen. You are in your own kitchen now, and you are going to prepare for your own future.
If that is true, there are rules that you must follow to do that, and Canada sends out contradictory statements about this. One of the rules you must follow is the succession of treaties, and a succession of obligations from the colonial era to the new era.
In England, Canada said: Yes, we are acceding to all the treaties. Back in Canada, Canada said: No, we are not acceding to all the treaties, only to some of them-those that we will pick and choose. Canada does not have a right under international law to pick and choose what treaties it will deal with or not deal with, without notifying the nations those treaties and agreements are with.
Our government has received no notification from your government. Now, what arc your plans- -to continue the relationship, to abrogate the relationship, or to negotiate a new relationship? Those are the three options you have, and the three options we are looking at to build upon.
What we are doing in a preliminary way on a very beginning basis is extending the concept of the two roles to Canada, to this new government, to this new entity. That will be the foundation of the relations between us. Those questions that arc internal to us arc internal and we will not answer questions about them. Those arc our business and arc none of Canada’s
business-no more so than we ask you questions about some of your internal business, unless it directly affects us.
We worry that you have words that you have not provided definitions to. This committee has met for a long time now and you have heard people from all across the country. We know you have gone to the United States and you have delved into this and that and every other thing. Now on equality, equality has historically been the death-knell for indigenous peoples throughout the entire world. Whether we are talking about the Philippine people or whether we are talking about the Kurdistan people in the Middle East, whether we are talking about the tragedy going on in Guatemala or the rip-off going on in Canada, equality as people of Canada cannot exist for us-no way. That is because we always must remember the racist premise behind the word “equality”. One culture has won, which is the W.A.S.P. culture that dominates Canada. All who come to Canada must behave like a W.A.S.P. and put their culture and heritage in clubs scattered around here and there, where you can go to your club and you can do your dances and have your food and be ethnic. But when you come out in the main stream of Canada you must be a W.A.S.P.
We do not want that. We have a culture. We have a heritage which we will function inside of in our countries. We do not want to be equal, except as nation-to-nation, country-tocountry. And whether we get it this year or if it takes us 100 years from now to get it, we will get it one way or anotherhowever we have to get it, too, is the bottom line on that.
Trust responsibility: It seems that you have been hanging around the Americans recently. You have picked up two words from them-trust responsibility. We never heard those kinds of words in Canada before. We know what trust responsibility means in the United States, and we also know what those two words mean internationally. There is an international definition of trust responsibility. There is an international watchdog over the trust relationships between a more powerful entity and a less powerful entity. But we know and we understand clearly what western hemispheric definitions of the trust responsibility have been. If it is Canada’s intent and this committee’s intent to recommend that same pattern of trust responsibility, then we are all in trouble. We will be at each other’s throats again for a long long time. We will continue to have problems.
Bilateral discussions: We know that is a notion which has been furthered by some of the native organizations, and we will need to put a definition there ourselves. Our government is open to bilateral negotiations, but there arc two governments involved-that is, our government and the Government of Canada. The AFN or any other organization would not be speakers for us. No organization created by humans can come ahead of a.n organization created by God. What the Creator put on the earth comes before any organization put together by humans. That is the lawful and the correct representation of our country, of our nation-not what you may consider to be a gathering of appropriate Indians who have the correct
language, but also have some other desires and things in the economic sphere that will change their politics and create something new.
Ongoing relations, as defined in the two-row wampum, as defined in the silver covenant chain, as defined by a number of historical agreements we have always made-we have always known we have to have ongoing relations.
I know last week in Kahnawake, the question was asked: Is there legislation or is there something that can be done which will entrench a trusting relationship between Canada and the Indians? Our answer is no. Just look at the history; you know darned well that cannot happen. Sure, we could write something here today or tomorrow or whatever; but 50 years from now, when economic situations have changed, when our population has grown, your population has grown, and the whole world is going to be different, something is going to happen. We do not know what that is, so we need to have those mechanisms where we are constantly coming back together and saying: Look, reality is changing for both of us; how do we improve on our relations with each other? How do we move ahead with the new realities that are coming without trampling all over each other, constantly at odds with each other and constantly wanting to fight with each other?
It is part of our mandate in that circle. We are mandated to follow the most peaceful way as possible, and we have been attempting to do this through this constitutional process. As we have watched it, we have talked to England, we have talked to the United Nations-not in depth about Canada, but we have raised the question there-and we are raising the question here. How do we find the most peaceful way?
For us, our reality is that the Haudenosaunee is comprised of 17 communities. We have nearly 100,000 in population, but we only have 250,000 acres in our control. In 50 to 60 years, we know our population is going to double. You can imagine what our population is going to be like in 100 years.
We know your population is growing old. Most of your population is centred in the south, in our country, in our territory. When the influx of new people comes, it comes to the south. So your cities, your suburbs, and your towns and villages in the south are expanding inside our country. We have to deal with that.
We both need land. We are willing to have a co-existence, which we have always tried to structure between us; but that co-existance has to be based on the three beads that separate the two rows: peace, friendship, and respect between the two countries, between the two nations. We will continue to pursue whatever avenues we can to find that relationship.
Last week, I think someone on the committee asked about our passports. Now we switch from wampum to the printed word, and we issue two kinds of passports. We issue a diplomatic passport and we have a regular passport for our people. We have currently entered 17 countries with these passports. We are issued visas against these passports, recognizing the passports of countries that those countries do not have formal diplomatic relations with yet. In the future, as our own diplomatic corps and ability improves, those relationships will come.
But this is not new. This is not something we dreamed up in 1977 or in 1924. This has always been the nature of our existence. That is what is inside that circle; that is what is inside the two-row wampum; that is even what is inside the string of wampum that is sent from the council. This is the nature of our existence as we see ourselves in the universe and our relations with all other peoples. We just continue to follow that and we continue to pass it on.
You can tell by the mix of our people who have come here: We have young, we have old, and middle-aged people. But there is a continuity to the thought. In our own schools, our own education processes that we control, we are continuing that thought. In our economic programs, we are continuing that thought. In our social programs we are continuing that thought. In all the areas of rebuilding our country, we are continuing that thought. We are a country of North America, and we will continue to exist.
Now, we do welcome questions or responses or whatever. What we would like to get into this afternoon is a dialogue with the members of the committee, because you have been on the road so much. You have been exposed to a lot of different thoughts and ideas, and we would like to hear from you some of your definitions to some of these words and some of these concepts that are flying around Canada today.
So we thank you for your time, and we hope we can have a fruitful afternoon.
Mr. Antone: We are prepared at this time to answer any questions you have.
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Chairman, first on a point of order.
The Chairman: Mr. Allmand, on a point of order.
Mr. Allmand: I just want to make certain that we attach the right documents to the record of today’s meeting. We first have Statement of the Haudenosaunee Concerning the Constitutional Framework and International Position of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. I understand that that should be printed in its entirety.
Mr. Antone: Yes.
Mr. Allmand: Then there is Declaration of Principles for the Defense of the Indigenous Nations and Peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Did you want that tabled as well?
Mr. Antone: Yes.
Mr. Allmand: Then we have Statement Concerning the Lands and Government of the Haudenosaunee, Passed by the Grand Council of Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee, December 26, 1982.
Mr. Antone: Yes.
Mr. Allmand: They want that tabled as well. Then there is Appendix, Letter to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, from the Grand Council of Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee, November 29, 1981.
Mr. Antone: Yes.
Mr. Allmand: They want that tabled as well. And excerpts from the special joint committee of the’ Senate and House of Commons appointed to continue and complete the examination and consideration of the Indian Act. These are from the meeting of June 12, 1947. If I understand correctly, these are extracts from …
Mr. Antone: From your own records.
Mr. Allmand: -a previous committee. It was a special committee set up in 1947, representing the Senate and the House, and you have taken these from their proceedings. Do you want those tabled as well?
Mr. Antone: Yes.
Mr. Allmand: Have we missed anything?
A witness: That is it.
Mr. Allmand: Mr. Chairman, if it is in order, I would like to make sure that the documents I have mentioned will be attached.
The Chairman: You are so moving?
Mr. Allmand: Yes. I would just point out that the one document, Statement of the Haudenosaunee Concerning the Constitutional Framework, from page 13, at the bottom, to the end, was read into the record, so the remaining part will be appended. Fine.
The Chairman: All right, you have heard Mr. Allmand’s motion.
Motion agreed to.
The Chairman: We are ready now for questions. Mr. Manly, would you. like to begin?
Mr. Manly: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank the representatives from the Haudenosaunee for a very impressive appearance before us. It raises a lot of questions. I think the whole concept of the two-row is something that we as a committee are going to have to wrestle with. It is a different
concept from what we have been used to working with in terms of most of our hearings.
We begin with the understanding that you have a government that has existed since before the coming of European people to this continent, that that government has been in continuous existence but it has not been recognized by the Canadian government. What would you say needs to be done by the Canadian government? What should this committee recommend to the Canadian government to be done in order to have a proper recognition of your government?
Mr. Myers: On page 17 of the main paper, the first paperthe statement-we begin to make a series of conclusions. One of the points is on the imposition of the band council system and the interjection of external laws. As far as our government has always been concerned, and we have repeatedly tried to tell Parliament and the Queen, etc., those laws do not apply in our country.
In terms of our country, the rollback of those laws, the hands off to allow the political processes that we have going on inside our communities to resolve our internal strife that has existed in the past, must not be tampered with. Now, we have not enjoyed that in the past. We have always kind of lived under the threat, and we have seen it in some of our communities, that when power shifted back to the original government in some of our communities we found ourselves occupied by the RCMP or by some other paramilitary force-or at least a threatening of that.
If we knew that threat were not there and that we were able to continue to pursue a peaceful course of resolving what are not our differences-! think this an important point to understand, that our communities have begun to realize that these differences that we thought we had in the past are not our differences, they are differences brought to us by Canada and the colonial system of managing Indians and Indian rights. And now that we have gotten clear about that, now we are in the phase of working that out of our system and coming back to a new reality which will be most appropriate for us, in which all views are represented, in which all of our people participate fully in the development of our country.
Mr. Manly: Is there some mechanism that you could suggest that would satisfy the Canadian government, for example, that a majority of your people wanted to do away with the system of band councils and accept a traditional form of government?
Mr. Myers: Why do we need to satisfy the Canadian government’s curiosity?
Mr. Manly: Well, I suppose because it feels it has a vestigial responsibility for people for whom it has assumed responsibility over the last how many hundred years.
Mr. Myers: What else arc they afraid of?
Mr. Manley: Pardon?
Mr. Myers: What else are they afraid of losing? It is not just a question of vestigial responsibility. What else are they afraid of losing, that they must have some kind of indication from us that a government is a popular government in our country? What concern is that to the Canadian government, except for continuing to manage our lives or figure out how the managerial relationship between us is going to be? We will work that out after our country is re-unified. We will work out what that relationship, based on the two-row, is between us. But in the meantime, it is really none of Canada’s business how we work these things out inside of our country and inside of our communities.
Mr. Manly: But in the meantime, in many of your communities there are also two governments: one that you would say is legitimate, and one that you would say is not legitimate, but that has, perhaps with a little bit of juggling here and there, more or less fallen within the legislation established by Canada. So up until now we have, as a government, recognized the legitimacy of some of those councils; to suddenly say that they have no further legitimacy-! think there has to be some basis for the government to be able to say that.
Mr. Myers: Is Canada not already raising some questions about the legality of the band councils? Is there not already some very serious question about whether there is a legal basis for the existence of band councils at all, even within the framework of Canadian law? Did not Minister Munro start raising some questions about that?
Mr. Manly: My understanding is that the question is whether or not band councils are legal entities and a level of government that can enter into specific contracts and so on, but not whether they exist under Canadian law. But that is a quibble that I do not really understand, because I am not a lawyer.
Mr. Myers: You see, we are at a point where we are working these things out among ourselves, and it is a very ticklish time to be doing that. We are beginning to understand where some of the so-called animosities that· used to exist among ourselves come from, how they got there, how they were implanted into our communities, and that they are not genuine to us. We are working it out on the basis that we are a family and that the family will have its arguments within itself.
The overall commitment in the seven commumt1es is to move toward a reunification of our communities, a reunification that satisfies all the needs. That is going to take us some time. How we arrive at that-I cannot even forecast what that is going to look like, what different styles it is going to take. I do not think any of us can, because it is a very, very organic kind of thing.
The major theory we have is that Canada will move ahead with something such as this alternative of optional Indian band government legislation. If we remember, back in 1884 the Indian Advancement Act was supposed to be optional; and
whether Indians wanted to opt into that or not, it became mandatory, in a sense. What we are afraid of is that something like this optional Indian band government legislation, which theoretically we can buy into if we want or do not want, will suddenly become the norm; if whatever we work out among ourselves does not conform to this, then Canada is going to go on a rampage, calling us illegitimate and saying we must conform to this.
Canada has no business telling us that. Whatever we create in our communities, as long as it is genuinely from the people, is none of Canada’s business whatsoever. What form that takes and how it elects itself, or what its membership rules are, or anything-none of that whatsoever is any of Canada’s business.
Mr. Manly: Could I move on to a slightly different question? It is very closely related.
You pointed out that you have a population of about 100,000 people and a very restricted land base, at least as recognized by Canadian and American governments. You pointed out that the fundamental problem is economic. So there has to be some recognition of this fact. Along with the recognition of your rights as a government, there has to be some recognition of your economic right. What mechanism has to be put in place to make that possible?
Mr. Myers: We have to create that. Our government and Canada have to create that mechanism. What we are saying is there has to be a third party that takes part in the creation of that mechanism. To us that third party has to be the United Nations, whether it is the International Office of Trust Responsibility or the U.N. Working Group on Indigenous Peoples or the U.N. Human Rights Commission or persons from each of those kinds of offices, fine; but we cannot trust Canada to sit down at the same table with us and say, oh, yes, we are going to create this wonderful mechanism-and actually believe that in the future that is the way it is going to be. There has to be some international supervision of these relations between us. The record shows us we cannot just expect one side to trust the other side.
Mr. Manly: You cannot trust Canada; and that is a legitimate thing for you to say, I suppose, in view of your history. But can you give Canada some idea of the kind of mechanism you would like to see?
Mr. Myers: Face-to-face negotiations; government-togovernment negotiations.
Mr. Manly: You objected to the whole imposition of laws regarding membership. Does that mean your confederacy does not recognize, for example, Section 12.1 (b) of the Indian Act or the double-mother section of the Indian Act? You have never accepted those as being valid dcterminations of your membership?
Mr. Myers: No, they have not.
Mr. Manly: But they have affected the rights of some of your people to have access to certain programs offered by the Canadian government.
Mr. Myers: It is not just a question of having access to government programs. It has been a severe cultural disruption. We are a matriarchy, based on the mother; who the mother is determines us. We also base it on a cultural definition of how a person exists, in the context of that circle. How that person performs within our communities is another determining factor for who that person is. The imposition of external membership laws has severely disrupted our way of life, has had deep ramifications through the whole culture and at levels about which I think a lot of our people are not even conscious. We are just becoming conscious of how deep that runs and how much we have to work out of our system, how much disruption that has caused.
We have heard discussion in the past, in some of your hearings, talk about blood quantums and stuff like that. This whole thing is a fiasco in the States, this whole concept of blood quantums. Each nation, each culture has a definition of who its people are, and that is the only valid definition that exists. No settler state like Canada, the United States, or Guatemala has a right to make that determination of who is Indian and who is not.
Mr. Manly: But perhaps it is important for the nation of Canada to understand who you would say was not in. Would you agree that is a valid concern, that other Canadian people know who is not included in your people?
Mr. Myers: That would be a determination of our government at the time we were determining the individual’s status. Mr. Manly: A woman who married a man who was not a member of your confederacy, would you say that woman would still be entitled to remain a member of your confederacy? Mr. Myers: Yes. We go by the motherhood. What the mother is is what the children arc.
Mr. Manly: I see. So whether or not Section 12.(1)(b) is imposed or removed does not affect the status of women within your confederacy.
Mr. Myers: Not under the original government.
Mr. Manly: One final question. As I hear your presentation, I get a different sense of what you see as the resolution of your problem than I do when I hear from other Indian people across Canada. It seems to me that you want to see the confederacy as a nation in the international community rather than a nation within the structure of Canadian federalism. Am I wrong in seeing it that way or not?
Mr. Myers: No, you are correct. We are not part of Canada. We have never desired to be a part of Canada, and we have no future plans to be part of Canada.
Mr. Manly: Would you want to see an independent land base with clearly defined international borders?
Mr. Myers: We already have that. We need to expand it.
Mr. Manly: Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Before I call on Mr. Allmand, I wonder if I could just get a point of clarification on one of Mr. Manly’s questions. Your response was a bout blood quantum formula in the United States. Is it not the case that this is only used with respect to federal government services and access to them, that it has nothing to do with membership in a tribe? Is my understanding incorrect on that?
Mr. Myers: No, it also determines membership. It depends on what department you are talking about. Now, the department of health and human services in the United States does not even go by blood quantum. If a person can round up 10 other people to say they recognize that person as an Indian, then that person is eligible for health and human services moneys that are allocated to Indian people. The Indian Claims Commission, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Department of the Interior are the guys who started tinkering with quantum over the settlement of title, and specifically in establishing how large a membership a nation has, so that they finally pay off everybody who could possibly ever make a claim against them-get them all paid off and get them all out of their hair.
Mr. Antone: Before we move on, Mr. Jamieson from Grand River would like to make a statement on some of the questions that were asked by Mr. Manly.
The Chairman: Thank you very much.
Mr. Robert Jamieson (Haudenosaunee Confederacy): I know quite a few of the people who are here.
The question you have been asking, the question you want to know about Grand River: What had happened to us prior to 1860 … ? Well, prior to 1924, I would say, when the government was changed by Colonel Cecil Morgan … we will go back a little further. The confederacy has governed the people way back, even in the Grand River area. Nine years later, from 1784, the chiefs were invited to come and sit down with the government. They came from Buffalo Creek after the revolution. They settled there. At that time there was an agreement-what Great Britain calls a treaty. There was a treaty presented to the Mohawks and such others of the Six Nations who wished to settle in that quarter. So everthing was fine right up until I guess 1924.
Prior to that, in 1860, Queen Victoria transferred our moneys over here, all our business over here for the Imperial Government of Upper Canada to look after our moneys. In her statement, the Six Nations of Grand River form no part of the subjects in Canada. So what did they do two years later? The Canadian imperal government, let us say, formed a policy to govern the Six Nations in 1869. They had a meeting in Sarnia in 1869.
Well, when the Six Nations Confederacy chiefs went there and found out what the meeting was all about, they were going to introduce the policy and have all the other nations … There were 21 … well, that is a year later.
At that time, the Six Nations returned as soon as they found out what this meeting was all about in Sarnia. In 1870, there were 21 different tribes gathered in Ohsweken. They had a 10- day conference on this Indian Advancement Act. Every section of that act was read out and translated. Every tribe had a translator who translated to the language they spoke, explaining what the sections were, one section at a time. I think the minister at that time was T.N. Gibbs.
So everything was rejected. Every tribe, at that time-21 different tribes rejected that policy. That is 1870. Whatever happened … it seems to me that it went through the House of Commons without the Six Nations knowing of the fact that it had gone through the first reading.
So what happened in 1890? The minister at the time-I think it was Cameron-came down to the council; he sat in the chair. He said that he was going to put that policy in second reading in the House of Commons. Again, the confederacy rejected everything. They contacted William Paterson-he was an MP for Brant County-to give them a little help in the House of Commons. That second reading was never passed, nor was the third reading.
So what happened in 1924? They came down there with the Mounties, and the superintendent at the time, Colonel Cecil Morgan, presented a proclamation dissolving the confederacy and put up an elective system. That was 1924. They were renovating the council house at the time. That council house was built in 1863. Because of the renovations to the council house, they had their council at the agriculture hall, and they had taken only a scribbler for a minute book. They left everything in this little box-a chest box they had–under lock and key. They had their wampums and their mace in there and all their documents.
What happens when the colonel sees some work and returns from the agricultural hall? We got the Mounties to bust that lock and took everything out, everything out. I am only talking about what happened to us at Six Nations and in Grand River.
Well, from there on we set up an elective system of 12 councillors and a chief, chief councillor. The first chief
councillor was Calvin Hill, and they had 27 people changing this year like the majority of people used to call the Mohawk workers, or the confederacy. Out of 27 people, this was formed-an elective band council. From then on we have been struggling; the confederacy, we have been struggling every year with that. They went to England, they went to The Hague.
In 1921 to 1923, our old chief at the time, Levi General … his title in the confederacy was as a title-holder of a chief. And Canada sends Senator Dandurand to represent Canada at the world’s court at The Hague. What was said in there, he says: There was no such thing as an army down there or police dragging the confederacy out; there was nothing around down there.
I have a statement in my collection from what they call the League of Nations’ official journal. In that statement of Senator Dandurand, it says that the ultimate aim of the Canadian government is to put the Indians into full citizenship; that is the ultimate aim under this Indian Advancement Act. So they came back, there was nothing done, and we were beaten. They enticed other governments at the courts at the time to agree that there was nothing wrong.
Again in 1930, a delegation of chiefs went to England. They made their own passports, the confederacy; they went to England, which they always do-they still do. They went to England as a delegation of I forget now how many people; I can recall, let us see: Chancy Garlow, Arthur Anderson, Jake Lewis, Joseph Logan, David Thomas, Emilie General, Dora Jamieson-I think that is the lot that went over. Well they took the treaty of 1784 with them, they took the wampums, they took the silver covenant chain and the pipe of peace-in fact, the House of Commons in England had a smoke all the way around, had a good puff out of it. I have the pictures of that too.
So what happens, they have to decide in the Commons in England what is the best thing to do after they put all their complaints in there about what happened in I 924. One man had to wait-1 do not know just how long he had to wait for the answer before he could come home-the rest came home. When he got back, the message he brought back-1 think it was Winston Churchill-his statement was that it was within the competency of the Canadian government to deal with the Six Nations. So from there on we have been trying to deal with the Canadian government having that in mind, but we are not getting anywhere. Instead of that, they asked him: What is wrong over here; what is the matter over here, anyway?
I guess Mr. Garlow was the speaker, and whether he was shaky just like I am now, the secretary at time says: They want to put us under subjection. That is the very aim of the Indian Advancement Act. It deals with that all the way through. You read the section; it deals with subjection. Here we are supposed to be allies, just as Frank Oliver’s statement in the House of Commons, 1914-I forget the month and date; I have it there.
Our secretary at the present time of the confederacy has the statement of Frank Oliver. He says that the Six Nations came to Canada after the revolution lost their domain in New York State. They were granted lands, came here on a special treaty, not as subjects of Great Britain but as allies of Great Britain. Those are the very words, and it is the policy of this government to have that in mind at all times. It is for the Canadian government to have that in view at all times.
I could read that statement if Mr. Longboat will give me that. I will read it properly to you. Frank Oliver stated in the House of Commons of Canada:
There are a band of Six Nation Indians located on the Grand River in Ontario, who, I maintain,.are in a different legal position from any Indian bands who are native of the country. These Indian bands on the Grand River had their original home in the United States. At the close of the War of the Revolution, they immigrated to Canada and were given lands under a special treaty, not as subjects of Great Britain but as allies of Great Britain, and I maintain that the holding of these Six Nation Indians on Grand River is of such a kind that this Parliament has no right to interfere with it. I admit that Parliament has the power to interfere with the rights of Indians under treaty made with this government, but I say that this government has no right to interfere with a treaty made between the Imperial Government and the Six Nations.
House of Commons, May 11, 1914, Hansard, pages 35 to 37.
This statement was quoted with approval by Blackmore in the House of Commons Debates, May 17, 1951, page 3111.
On April 5, 1909, the Minister of Interior of Canada wrote the following letter to Chief Johnson, Deputy Speaker of the Six Nations Council. Chief Jacob Johnson lived right in the village in Ohsweken and he was a chief. I forget the title he held, but he is the one who wrote this letter to the Minister of the Interior. I knew him from when I was a little boy because he used to be an undertaker and a postmaster.
The letter of the Council of the Six Nations dated February 23, 1909, which was read to me in the presence of the Deputy Superintendent General on March 25 by Chief A.G. Smith, is before me, and I beg to reply in the terms of our conversation so that my reply may be on record. It is the policy of the Canadian government, as I understand it, to recognize the relations with the Six Nations of Grand River as being on a different footing from those of other Indians of Canada. The Six Nation Indians of Grand River came to Canada under a special treaty as allies of Great Britain, and the policy of the Canadian government is to deal with them having that fact always in view. It is no part of the intentions of the Department to take any official action except through recognized tribal authority of the Six Nations.
So here you are.
What this Indian Advancement Act places in all the tribes across Canada really, especially the Six Nations, is put us under subjection, and an Indian advancement act will put you there in due time. This is what is bothering us.
We have our own government, the Six Nation Confederncy, and we have our own constitution, made from time immemorial, they called it. Now, even in 1867, the men of those days seemed to recognize our status. Colonel William Klaws when he presented the wampum-a token of regard, to the Six Nations-he said that the Six Nations were a nation within a nation, and that bugger over there says there can never be a nation within a nation. Well, that is the truth. It was even so when Queen Victoria was alive. She appreciated the help and the alliance of our people, the Six Nations. She used to send her own currency on her birthday, to Canada, to buy us bread and cheese, on her birthday, May 24. Now, since she is dead, we have to buy our own. So for all these things, here, you want an answer to what is the matter, what is wrong.
Now, in 1959, we had a little uprising. It was not an uprising. We wanted our government back in, but not by taking votes of the people. When you take votes of the people, you just spread the people apart. Some like the Indian Act. If they like it why do they not go, why does the government oot place them, under that Indian Act? They were told, by H.F. Jones, the Minister at the time, that every band council was not a legal entity and that it had no legal status. They were told, again, in the 1970s, that they have no legal status. Now, they are giving us cards at the Indian Office-status cardswith your picture on it, under the Indian Act. That is one thing I will never accept. We have a status card of our own, not under the Indian Act. It is a policy to subject us into the policy you have made for us. You understand that, do you not?
Mr. Manly: I am slow, but I am getting it.
Mr. Jamieson: So there you are. I guess I could go over a lot more, even Arthur Meighen when he was a minister. For a little while he was the prime minister and then he was the Minister of Indian Affairs. Gosh, I wish you would bring that up, too. I could read it to you, Arthur Meighen, 1921. Is that your brief case or mine? I think this is the one. Following is a speech made by the Hon. Mr. Meighcn. Arthur Meighen his name was. In March, 1921, Mr. Meighen, being the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, at that time, said:
The policy of the Canadian government towards the Six Nations, since assuming guardianship in the 1860s …
As I said, Queen Victoria sent all our annuities and moneys over here for the imperial government to look after the money.
-and has followed the well known manner of home authorities, one of the tender solicitude, in respect to their welfare and of preserving absolute good faith with them. In a very brief way, it may be stated that it is claimed, on their behalf, that the power of Parliament, to deal with the Six Nations, is limited by the international obligations between them and the British Crown.
In other words, by virtue of treaty rights, extending as far back as 1664—that is that wampum you see there, 1664—specially recognized, lately, at intervals.
Well, I said this before, 1860 Queen Victoria transferred business, finances. Superintendent General of Indian Affairs, Canada stated that Six Nations in Grand River form no part of British subjects in Canada.
That is enough on that, I guess. And there is another thing I wanted to bring up, it just slipped my mind. Anyway, this is the struggle we have been having. Oh yes, one more thing. In 1889 Chief William Smith was delegated out to England to see if the Haldiman Treaty was still good from the day it was made. According to-was it Edward? I forget now who was the King at that time-he said, it is as good as the day it was made and it is good as long as the British government is in existence. That is the very words, the letter he brought back from Buckingham Palace. And that letter was in that strongbox that Colonel Cecil Morgan wrapped and took it. I guess it is locked up somewhere, whether it is in Brantford yet or something, but we could never get hold of it. The elected system just would not give us a chance to look on those records, but I say again the Six Nations have their original treaty.
The court case you had here, the Supreme Court, how many years ago? It was 75 or 76, I forget. I heard the lawyer there say the great seal could never be found. I guess he did not look hard enough because King George III himself had that treaty registered under the Imperial Seal of Upper Canada. And the Six Nations today has that document, which we very much treasure.
I guess I have said enough now. Whether you are going to get that into your head, what has happened and what the government is trying to do under this policy, the Indian Advancement Act … I have a book which says the Indian Act says “office purposes only”!
Thank you very much. I think I have said enough.
Mr. Antone: Thank you, Mr. Jamieson. As you can see, that is just a brief bit of evidence from only one of our communities. There is much more of that that is alive in the minds of many of our elders in our communities. And you can see why the position that this committee, the lands rights committee, has taken is because of that strength and because of that belief in ourselves as Haudenosaunee and not being subject to anyone, except to the Creator himself. We believe that very strongly.
We can spend hours here presenting evidence. We can bring many of the elders here to explain the history of our relationship, one that has caused many problems. And hopefully this is a new era, that we can resolve some of that so that maybe some of these elders can sec a resolution in the near future to what has taken place, the historical, colonial history of this country.
So I will turn it back over to you, Mr. Chairman, for your questions.
The Chairman: Mr. Oberle.
Mr. Oberle: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have no difficulty comprehending in my head what your position is …
Mr. Jamieson: Can I mention one more item? In 1792 they sent Lieutenant Governor John Graves Simcoe out here and he made another treaty. It was similar. He included one thing and another, women and children and kings and all that, in this treaty curtailing some of our lands. That there, we find out when they went to England, that treaty never existed over there. In, I think it is, 1889, from records, a third search was made in Toronto, in the archives. The Simcoe document could never be found, but the Haldiman was found … , and it says there that the Simcoe document was put as an escrow for some time for the government to use. I think they are using it now. Thank you
Mr. Oberle: From what you have said, there is no doubt that you have no intention or you do not wish to participate in the affairs of Canada, the affairs of the institutions of Canada. Do your people participate at all in federal, provincial elections?
Mr. Myers: On a very, very limited level. There are very, very few people who do. According to our law, participation in such an election, in such a process, automatically takes the person outside that circle and outside of our government. They have participated in another government in another country and so their rights go into suspension in terms of our system if they choose to go that route.
Mr. Oberle: Do you see any obligation on the Canadian government to fulfil the treaties you made with Queen Victoria, or with the Crown of England?
Mr. Myers: The obligation that Canada has is found in, I guess, what is called the International Rules for the Succession of Treaties. Those rules prescribe three steps that are in front of Canada now to carry out.
They are to indicate to the various nations that the treaties exist from the former colonial era, or whatever the era was before the change in circumstances: whether they wish to continue that treaty relationship, to discontinue and abrogate that treaty relationship, or to negotiate a new relationship. Those are the three options that arc in front of Canada. Now that is what we are waiting to hear from Canada, which of the three options Canada is going to exercise. Each has its own set of circumstances and changed reality, however you move with any one of them.
Preferably, we would like to sec ongoing negotiations; we would like to see talks open up between our government and Canada to see where we arc going to go. If it is Canada’s desire to continue the treaties, all right, then we arc still going to need talks to bring those treaties to 1983 and beyond and to address the violations of those treaties that have occurred; and there are major violations that have occurred and have to be, in our eyes, adequately and justly addressed. That is going to take us some time to do that.
What we are worried about, quite frankly, has been the historical patterns of settler countries to create supposedly indigenous representation for all indigenous nations and. use that representation as as vehicle for abrogating any responsibilities that it has to those nations. Any kind of dialogue that is happening around the question of the Constitution, and whatever indigenous organizations, the Native Council of Canada, whoever, are participating in that dialogue, that is their option, but it does not apply to us and we will not be bound by whatever they strike with the Canadian government. That is up to them, and if their people, their constituencies, believe they got a good deal, fine for them, but we will not be bound by that.
Mr. Oberle: You see, I think that in a sense what this committee is doing is really exercising the third option you have mentioned. I certainly, as one member of this committee, feel that I am involved in a process of working out the third option, a new arrangement. There is no doubt that terrible, terrible sins have been committed in the past-acts of genocide, at least in a cultural sense. There is no question about that. I am convinced that no amount of money, nothing that anyone could do-even a nation as economically strong as Canada-could ever redress or remedy the sins of the past. What we can do together is to work out a new relationship.
So what you were really saying is that you are prepared to negotiate a new type of relationship. Are you foreclosing forever the notion that in some way, with total sovereignty in all areas of culture, economy, religion, you would become a partner in confederation? Do you think there can be an accommodation within confederation which would permit you to retain your sovereignty and your nationhood?
Mr.Myers: The Creator made us and put us on the earth, and chose that we would be in this particular part of the universe. The language we speak is specific to northeast North America; you cannot take our language out of here and put it down to the Amazon, it will not make sense down there. We cannot go to the southwest deserts; we cannot talk about that environment, except superficially. All of our way of life, all of our existence, our ceremonies, the way our councils operate, the whole basis of our existence, is placed here. That is what the Creator gave to us. Canada is not the Creator. So we cannot join that; we cannot become a part of that.
Mr. Oberle: Look, could we talk about that for a moment? I have some very deep religious beliefs myself. I believe that the Creator made me too. I even believe it was the same Creator. Now then, do you think that the Creator made one continent for one people and another continent for other people?
Mr. Myers: It certainly looks like that. If you look at the globe, one whole half of the world, this hemisphere, is one kind of people. The other side of the world has three kinds of people. The other side of the world has come here. We have not invaded anywhere else. One half of the world was one kind of people-and that was us.
Mr. Oberle: Yes, but you know when you look back in terms of how the earth was created, certain continents were joined.
Mr. Myers: Maybe.
Mr. Oberle: Well, not maybe; we know that now. They were joined. There is the theory that the North American Indian people may have been … the Creator may have put them in Asia. We do not know that; we say, maybe. But would you hold the belief that the Creator created certain continents and intended them to be for special people?
Mr. Myers: It sure looks like that to us when we look at the world. I mean, Aryans once popped up in the middle of Africa. They are there now, sure. But they certainly did not start out there. They are there through a process. Now, what we have to be clear ·about is what, in some cases, has become a religious explanation for the subjugation and the exploitation of other peoples. It is being put out as religious truth nowadays by some institutions-that it is appropriate. We could find any number of right-wing religions like, say, the government in Guatemala, which bases all its theory for the eradication of Indians on the Bible. The early pilgrims, the early puritans, when they got here called us “redskins” because they fervently believed we were the children of the devil. The devil is red, and so we were redskins.
There has always been a racist assumption, but the racist assumption could find itself in some kind of spiritual basis, some kind of a spiritual imperialism upon the people. It is not just a political question for us. It is also a spiritual question. The beliefs are integrated into this particular part of the universe. Now, whatever part of the universe your people originated from, they had their own beliefs. And their language used to be specific to that part of the universe. Your beliefs were specific to that part. You gave thanks to the trees, the waters, the fish and those beings that were created with. your people back in those places.
We have all been victims of the same kind of imperialism. The same kind of destruction to the small nations of Europe swept across the European continent that swept across our continent. We have all been victims of the same process. But there is no reason in the world for you to continue to perpetuate that same kind of destruction among other people, whether it is here in Canada, in the Fiji Islands or wherever it is.
Mr. Oberle: The question is on the kind of interchange, the kind of relationship. What you are telling me is that we never had any right to visit one another or to mingle with one another. I knew a fellow who was the leader of the country in which I grew up, who believed very much in what you are saying: that you should not have racial integration under any circumstances. His name was Adolf Hitler. That is why I am in Canada today, because I did not believe in this kind of thing.
Mr. Myers: If there are those of our people who want to have racial integration, they are free to. We have explained that. If they want to go under the arms of the chiefs to the other people, they can do that, but by our law. What we said is that they go naked. They leave behind their clan, their language, their government, their ways, all that; and they fully join and fully participate in that other way of life.
That law is the same in reverse, if someone wants to come into our circle. They come into the circle naked; they bring none of the other things of theirs into it.
We will look-and we do-at the technologies; we look at the institutions; we look at the philosophies of peoples from throughout the world, and we are finally at a point in our development, under the oppression, where we can pick and choose now. We are not just blindly inundated or invaded with the technologies or the philosophies or the institutions.
Now, it is going to come in your relations. That is an extreme. Adolf Hitler is an extreme, and he did try to draw certain kinds of things out of what used to be the spiritual past of Germany; and this story goes into a mythology about world domination. We are not talking about world domination; we are trying to resist domination and continue an existence, a special existence.
The reverse of that question is: Why can we not have our own languages? Why can we not have our own government, our own ways? Why can we not have that? Why will Canada not let us have that? What is wrong with it?
Mr. Oberle: I asked that question myself; and I do not think there is anyone in this room, certainly among these committee members, who would not see the right or would not be prepared to fight to help you preserve the right to your own language, to your own culture, to all the things that are dear, that you believe to be spiritual and matters of the soul. But the question I am asking you is: Do you think there is the possibility of developing a co-existence which would …
Mr. Myers: Oh yes, definitely; co-existence, definitely.
Mr. Oberle: But I am going further: co-existence in a political, North American or Canadian territorial sense. Do you believe, through negotiation, through evolution, your system could be integrated into confederation; totally realizing, of course, that it would take fundamental changes to our Constitution, to the institutions that presently govern the relationship between Canada and Indian people? Do you see any hope for that at all?
Mr. Antone: I think one of the things you are doing is creating a theoretical argument over the idea of partnership. If you take a look at the idea of partnership, the foundation of partnership is trust; and it is one that we have not witnessed in. our history, that whole concept of trust.
Now, if we were able to talk about what is going to take place 50 years from now, we may be able to work for a partnership; but it must be a clear partnership that is going to enhance the circle of our life.
It must address not only the political, social, and cultural issues that reflect our lives and our existence as Haudenosauncc, but it also has to address the environmental impact your society is having in the destruction of the natural world. There are so many questions that need to be addressed in terms of partnership or in terms of co-existence. How arc we going to eliminate the current problem with acid rain that is
destroying our country as well as yours? There are many of those kinds of issues that have a spiritual significance to our people because of our spiritual relationship with their land. We would like to talk about those issues; but we would like to talk about them as equals, as brother to brother, as nation to nation, and see whether or not we can bring about a resolution to the destruction of this world that is taking place. We are all victims of what is taking place today.
We need to find a way to build on that trust, to establish the peace and friendship that our treaties are based on, so we can begin to establish that. That will only come through dialogue such as now. Hopefully, the door will be open for ongoing discussions in this arena; this kind of thinking that is taking place today. But I think to ask us at this point to trust you, which is what you are asking in asking us to have a. partnership with you-we would have to say no at this time, because of the historical evidence that has been presented. But if we can work for it as an objective for the future, then let us take a look at it; let us begin striving for it and see where it takes us.
Mr. Oberle: One other area, just briefly. Obviously your government-we are well versed now, having travelled throughout the country and having listened to many, many brilliant, deep, emotional speeches on the relationship of aboriginal people to the land, to the Creator, and the harmonious relationship with nature, it providing food not only for the spirit but for the body as well, the economy-how closely are you tied to -recognizing your tradition in law and convention, in your structure of government-but what about the economy? Do you see a transition, an evolution away from the economy of the land, of the resource-based …
Mr. Myers: That has been apparent.
Mr. Oberle: Are you not afraid of that?
Mr. Myers: No, what we are seeing is a reversal of that. We have experimented with industrialization. We have gone out and worked in a whole variety of areas, etc. In the home lands what we are seeing is a reversal of that. The younger ones are the ones who are getting more back to the land and are looking more back to agricultural development and preserving what we have.
There are some dangerous tendencies out there. Some of our people’s thinking has shifted radically, and they have been trying to make arguments for things like private land ownership and the ability to use our lands as collateral so they can bring in urban-style development and things like that into our communities.
No, we do not envision a pattern of urban industrialization in our home lands at all. Small cottage industries, land-based development: yes, that is happening; that is going on. We have a broad number of projects happening in that area. Again, given the past history, and since non-lndian people can understand Indians who talk about urban industrialization and the need for capitalization of their development programs and stuff like that, there may be a tendency to want to pass legislation or pass enabling policies or whatever to allow that kind of person to do those kinds of things in our home lands. Then we are going to have a conflict; because of your belief in
the individual, our belief in the group, we have a problem. The mass is more important than the individual on a lot of different levels. The individual is also very important as long as they stay within the context of what that circle says. If they go outside that circle and try to start bringing in another thing, we have trouble. Then we find invariably, whether it is the U.S. or Canada, government suddenly rushing to protect the individual through the courts or through their policies or through their acts. That individual belongs more properly in Canada or in the United States and not in our country, doing that kind of activity.
Mr. Oberle: The problem I see, and it is a problem that will undoubtedly affect us all in the future, is that the population of the world is increasing at an accelerating pace, even though western civilization-so called-has brought some controls; it has brought population growth under control. By the year 2000 the population of the world will have increased from 4.5 billion to 6 billion people, and land and resources are becoming an ever-increasing precious commodity, particularly if you do not learn to get off the resource-based economy. That is why there is this terrible pressure toward the information-based society and economy. You would obviously want to participate in this new thing, would you not? You would want to do it on your terms,surely. I see the dangers. I starved. I was a child who experienced starvation. It is such an incredibly thin line between human dignity and beastiality when you are hungry, and a hungry world will take from those that have plenty.
Mr. Myers: The hungry world is hungry because of the policies of the west and the manipulations of the west in those countries. There are people growing crops in central America that they do not even eat themselves; grown primarily for export. The majority of their best agricultural land is used for export purposes.
Mr. Oberle: I do not wish to go into that kind of international problem; that is the challenge of the next century-certainly we have to find a solution to the Third World problems. I am talking about you now, your nation, sitting there with their own land, which you do not wish to share with anyone, insisting on a traditional land-based economy, and the whole world around you starving. Do you really believe that if you refuse to make accommodations and share you would be able to do that forever? The answer to that, of course, is no. That has been the problem in Europe-space and land-and that is what created most of the wars and human conflict.
Mr. Myers: It is an incredibly complex question because it takes in many factors. I mean, we are in the midst of North America; we are in the midst of an entity called Canada and an entity called the United States. For the starving millions of the world to get to us and to our land, they have to invade the
United States and Canada and have a war with them, and they probably would get annihilated by the bombs that the United States has. But when we are talking about starvation, whether there is going to be starvation, say, in Indian country, because of a lack of a land base or because of government interference and manipulations of economics … I look at some of the examples of mega-development that is going on in Indian country. It used to support a lot of people until the United States government aided and abetted the multinationals to go in there for coal. Now, the first water table is disappearing; the whole area will become an absolute desert. You know, we are willing to share, but there is a framework of our sharing. As we look at it, the framework of our sharing, in terms of environmental considerations, is something that both Canadian development and American development really needs, at this point, to think about. You just cannot roll into some of these eco-systems that we have been a part of for thousands of years and do what is being done there. You cannot. The local folks, our culture, who have been there for a long time, can explain that, if they are listened to and if they are treated equally and as nations in that area.
We are already sharing. We shared Toronto with you. You are on our land in Toronto. You are on our land here. You are on our land in Montreal. We are already sharing that. Yes, we need more area for our expanding populations; we are going to have to get that. How do we build that? How do we build that relationship between us? How do we build it based on the three principles of peace, friendship and respect, and continue an ongoing process in which we maintain those three principles between us, that we agree to have third parties or whatever help us in our most disputes between ourselves?
If Canada has a really sincere willingness to go that route, to really work this out and not just ramrod it down the native nations’ throats, fine, I think you will find that the native nations are more than willing to sit down and work at this, put a lot of energy, a lot of people and a lot of time into making it happen. If you are not-and our experience is the occupation of Grand River by the RCMP and the assassination of chiefs at Akwesasne by the RCMP-and if that pattern is going to continue, then you will find that we will put just as much energy into defending ourselves.
So we have two roads in front of us. We are hoping that it will go for the long process of discussion and not be overruled by political or economical expediency, that we can work these things out, that we can make some of this stuff happen. Now, if it is real that Canada is a new country with its own Constitution, then Canada stands chance to demonstrate to the entire world a whole new era of settler-indigenous relations that does not exist anywhere else in the world. Canada will be able to go to the UN and other places and really pat itself on the back
and say, look, we have hammered out something that can be a model. That is the challenge in front of Canada, and we are willing to work through that challenge.
Mr. Oberle: As I said at the outset, I believe this committee to be very sincere and genuine in its attempt to begin ever so slowly this process, I certainly would like to be your friend; you certainly have a lot of my respect. I am just overwhelmed with your testimony. It is very moving in a lot of ways.
This committee is beginning this process, so I guess my final question is germane to our work in what we will be recommending in our report. In terms of how Indian self-government should evolve, I think you are telling us that you want us to be flexible, not to arrive at any fixed positions, and to accommodate the native people, wherever they live, within the kind of framework from which these negotiations can progress and conclude. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Oberle. Our next questioner is Roberta Jamieson.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think it is significant for me, and I hope for the rest of the committee members-those who are left-that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy has sent the land rights committee to meet with this special committee. I think it is important that we understand the principles that have been outlined, the Two-Row Wampum, the Covenant Chain and much more. I know that is just scratching the surface, but at least that is the beginning.
One thing I think extremely clear to the committee members is that Canada or Britain has dealt with Indian nations across the country in different ways and has different arrangements and different treaties, and stands to have different obligations towards different Indian nations across the country. But one thing that has been very clear to me as we go across the country, a very common thing I have heard, is that government- to-government relations did exist and must continue to exist, that it is an evolutionary relationship. There is no finality; you do not pay the bill and be done with us.
The other thing is that co-existence is definitely on, as it always has been. No one is talking about cutting up the country or throwing everyone into a boat and setting them adrift, but in that fashion many people try to characterize what Indian witnesses are saying to this committee. So I wanted to say that.
One thing that this committee has had its attention focused on everywhere in the country is the contents, the elements, of a document that I shared with the witnesses just before we began, and that is the Declaration of First Nations and the treaty and aboriginal rights principles. This has been cited by
almost every Indian witness before this committee. I wonder, if you have had an opportunity to review that, if you would ~peak to the elements of that document in terms of whether or not it is appropriate to the whole Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
Mr. Antone: I believe this is the document you are talking about. I think everyone should be very clear that the Haudenosaunee did not participate in the drafting of this declaration simply because many of the organizations and entities that were a part of that declaration were actually governments that were created by Canadian law and because of that we felt that we would be destroying our own status whether as allies or as non-subjects of the British or Canadian government. We could not participate with the other Indian nations who signed this document because of that.
I think it is very clear that the treaties and aboriginal rights that we have and that we envision as the Haudenosaunee lie very clearly in the Two Row Wampum and in the covenant of the Haudenosaunee. That is where the origins of aboriginal rights are. In many cases that we have seen with Indian nations in this country they have begun to say that treaties gave Indians rights. That is not true. If treaties gave Indians rights, what did we have before there were treaties? Did we have nothing? Treaties might have given us benefits for us to enjoy, but our rights as the Haudenosaunee lie within the covenant of the Haudenosaunee. That is where our rights come from. Our rights are in there and our gifts from the Creator.
We keep stressing the importance of the Creator because in these woven strands the spiritual and political nature of our societies are bound together. The spiritual beliefs are the foundations of our political decisions, and so it is very important.
There are some things in here we might not agree with, but at this time we cannot question this document because we are not a part of this document. This document belongs to the other Indian nations in this country. If that is their wish, then we wish them the best that they can get in terms of their declaration. But at this time we are not a part of it, and if we were to be a part of it we would not be talking to Canada about it but we would be talking to the other Indian nations about our participation in this declaration.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
You have made reference today to governments that are existing on Indian lands throughout the country that have been created by Canadian law, and you have also, at the beginning, said that is going full circle now. I agree with you: it is going full circle now.
I will share with you something that happened a couple of weeks ago. I was out at a meeting of what is known as the Assembly of First Nations. It is a group that has one person representing each band in the country, and they passed a resolution there that indicated that they would establish a type of confederacy that would have a representative from each
Indian nation in Canada, however the people chose to determine what that was.
So I see things moving full circle away from the Indian Act. I sat in Kahnawake a few days ago and heard from an elected council that we were the wrong council; we are the wrong people here; what we are doing is divesting ourselves of the power we are exercising and turning it over to someone else, in some fashion. Without getting into that kind of internal struggle, which I agree with you is a matter we have to sort out ourselves, do you see that there is room-for instance, there is the Dakota Confederacy, there are the Dakota Nations, there are others-and several that span the borders: the Haida and others. Do you see room for a negotiated relationship among Indian nations in Canada?
Mr. Myers: The confederacy currently has a number of active treaties, one with the Hopi Nation, the Seminoles, the Lakota, the Creek; we have been developing a treaty relationship between ourselves and the Navaho. Again, it becomes a question of how you perceive who you are; how you will move in the world. A band is not a nation. A band may be a community of a nation. When that nation is in a position to relate to our country and to our government, then we open up those kinds of dialogues. We have had a dialogue with the Ojibway in western Ontario, and there is an old treaty relationship that goes back, I think, to the 1700s between us and them. There is a wampum belt between the two countries. Recently they asked to reactivate that belt and to begin to look at that again. The eastern nations … there is an old-time relationship between our government and what was their confederacy, and there is a wampum belt for that one too. They too have remembered that wampum belt and they have looked it up and they brought it back out and they are talking about, well, how do we move ahead with this.
To me at this moment Canada is doing a massive injustice to Indians, because Canada is prodding Indians on to talk in national terms, when it has been years and years of Canadian policy never to deal with national entities but to deal with these things they call “bands”; constantly to demote the psychological reality, the psychological basis, of national identity; constantly to denigrate it and demote it down to this miniscule band level, always referring to the band; always referring to the band. It is almost like talking about the individual in society, to talk about the band inside the nation and refer always to the band in the nation and not deal with the nation; not to deal with the Cree nation or whatever nations existed in this country.
So now it looks to us as if Canada is attempting to strike while the iron is hot and while there is an identity crisis in Indian country about their national existence to eo-opt them all into participating in Canada, without ever adjusting-not historic problems. When we say “historic”, we are talking
about last week; we are talking about yesterday. That is history to us, because we know somewhere in Canada sombody just got ripped off, probably an hour ago, by a Department of Indian Affairs official, or by a Health and Welfare Canada official, or by somebody in the Canadian or provincial governments. Some Indian somewhere just got ripped off; and is continuing to be ripped off.
We do not have to go back 20 years, 40 years, to talk about this. And unless we deal with how Indian nations have been deliberately and systemically destabilized and oppressed, then all the rest of this dialogue is garbage; because a new reality will not emerge. A neo-colonial reality will emerge, in which Canada maintains its colonial administration over Indians and their resources. That all has to be dealt with; and the time has to be allowed-not two years from now; a whole lot more than that-for the Indian nations to reconstruct themselves and to pull themselves back together. For the Canadian government to be putting those kinds of deadlines and those kinds of pressures on the Indian people is just unrealistic; totally unrealistic.
Ms Jamieson: Thank you.
Time has been the subject of much of what we have heard. All across the country people have said, we will develop and exercise the governmental powers we think are appropriate and we will determine the pace-that is what is lacking. I agree very much with your comments on the optional Indian band government legislation. I trust that is dead. I fear it is not, but I hope it is, and any other movements in that area. As we have been told, this committee commissioned four research projects and I will tell you that consistently the message has been that if you are seriously talking about-I think our job is not to go around telling Indians what government is or telling them how to run their affairs. Our job is to tell Canada what it must do to alter its laws, its institutions, to allow Indian government in whatever form to coexist.
I will tell you that all of our research projects, in my view, have come back and said to us, if you are serious, what that means is fundamental change, basic change. And I have argued for a long time that that means the kind of Indian selfgovernment that I hear being discussed, and has existed in this country for hundreds of years, requires power-sharing.
I think it was put very well by Richard White the other day when he said that Canada, or Britain, came over here and at the time entered into relations with First Nations, assumed responsibilities and obligations and decided to exercise jurisdiction.
I think those points were very well made. I think you have challenged this committee today, and I agree with you that
there is much work that needs to be done in our own communities. Living in Grand River as I do, I am well aware of that. I hope that when this committee provides whatever report, in whatever fashion that we do in the fall, that the Haudenosaunee Confederacy will see fit to make its views known on the contents of that report, because that is very important.
Unless we make it known across the country, as Indian people, how we view the report or moves that the federal government is considering making … granted, they will only be recommendations that we make-then things will go forward like the Indian Advancement Act.
Mind you, there is no guarantee that, even if we say we do not want it, it will not happen. We have learned that. But I think it is important now to make our views known. It is my own personal view that there is no more room, that Indian people have had it-whether you are talking about band councils or confederacy or whoever you are talking about, there is no more room for Canada to dictate.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to provide you an opportunity, or the other members an opportunity, to dialogue with the witnesses. Those are all my comments.
The Chairman: Okay. Any further questions? Sandra.
Ms Isaac: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Throughout our hearings we have heard a lot of the whole concept of collective versus individual rights. Our society stresses the collective concept, but individuals have freedoms as well. Could you elaborate or define individual freedoms in your society or nation and, if so, how do they fit into the collective? Could you respond to that, please.
Mr. Myers: The individual always has the full freedom to develop, to the best possible potential, the gifts he has been given, whether it is an artist or a construction person or planner; in the spiritual areas, or the medicine areas or whatever. But, as with any other government in the world, the citizens of our country, in the free development of their individual self, are bound to a responsibility to the whole. And their individual activity cannot happen in a way that is going to jeopardize the benefit of the whole. I think, when Mr. Jamieson was talking about how the elective system came, he said 27 people participated in the election, out of how many possible people 27 people decided to participate in the overthrow of one of our communities, one of our governments. Those 27 people do not have the right to overthrow our government. They have the right to come to the council and to argue if they think their individual rights are being trampled upon, or something, but they do not have the right to overthrow our government. We will do to them what any other government would do to traitors, in any of our communities where that happens.
The individual does not have the right to overthrow our way of life or to bring about its destruction. That is the same under Canadian law or American law. But there is the full democratic system through the clans, through the families, through
the local councils, through the national councils, through the confederacy council for someone to present his case if he thinks he is being wronged within our government, within our country. It is fully available to them to participate, if they choose to participate.
Ms lsaac: That leads me to my second question. Are there examples of where your traditional government has developed a harmonious working relationship with other Indian Act governments? There are examples, then, where you work together?
Mr. Myers: Oh, yes. We are developing fine relationships with most of the Indian Act governments. But the reason why it is happening is because the people in the band councils are suddenly realizing that to perpetuate the band council system in our communities is going to spell the destruction of our communities and the destruction of our way of life. That is dawning on them. Now they are saying: Wait a minute, we do not want to be any part of that. They do not want to repeat what the original 27 did-or the 16, or 18, or however many it was that began the process of overthrow. Let us return power where it properly belongs, let us return it to the original governments. The original governments have opened a dialogue and are working along in the local communities, through local committees, or whatever, to make that happen. We are very happy with the direction in which it is going.
Ms Isaac: Okay, thank you very much. I would also like to thank you for your very valuable testimony today.
If we are going on a second round, I will wait for my last question.
The Chairman: Go ahead, Sandra, there is no second round.
Ms Isaac: There is not?
You were speaking earlier of these rights, in response to Mr. Manly’s question. Could you expand on your definition of rights vis-a-vis the benefits derived for Indians through the Indian Act? Is that what you mean, or the program projects?
Mr. Myers: No rights come from the Indian Act. Let us start with that premise. The Indian Act is the management of Indians, it has nothing to do with rights whatsoever. Every nation in the world has the right, by the fact of its existence, to full unhindered control of the five broad areas that constitute a nation: the ability to govern themselves; the ability to have an economy; the right to production, the right to reproduction, not only in the human sense but in the environmental sense, the right of our forests to continue and the animals and the waters and all those things to continue to reproduce; the right of education, the right to educate our own citizens, our own members; and, lastly, the fifth element, which we call in English the psycho-religious element, but what is really ones control of ones identity, ones purpose on the earth and being able to perpetuate that and continue that. All nations of people have the right to control those five things.
We also meet the four-part definition that the international. community has come up with of what is a nation. We have a permanent population; we have a defined territory; we have the ability to govern ourselves; and we have the ability to enter into international relations. Those are rights that come from the Creator. They do not come from an Indian Act, they do not come from any settled regime in the western hemisphere. Those are inherent, those were here before the settlers got here. Those belong to us and no one else.
The settlers assumed that they had those kinds of rights because of their arriving as collectives of people. Then they bonded themselves together into what they now call the United States, or Bolivia, or Canada, or whatever and decided that we do not have those rights any more and decided to come up with elaborate, and now very sophisticated, processes for abrogating and trying to wipe out those rights. But no human has the right to do that to another. We have a right to free existence, and we have a right also to work out a co-existence between each other. That is what we have been trying to promote.
Ms Isaac: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The Chairman: Thank you, Sandra.
I think my colleagues on the committee have expressed much better than I could the appreciation we feel for your presence here today. We are delighted not only with those who are at the table giving testimony, but we arc also pleased that so many of your people came along with you to hear this exchange among us. I certainly do appreciate the special emphasis you have brought to this committee, important testimony in my view. There is much that I like in your tradition. I particularly noted the emphasis you place on respect, calling for our respect of you and your leaders and your people. I think that by appearing before us today, you have shown that respect for our traditions. That is very gratifying for us.
On behalf of the members of the committee, let me say we are genuinely delighted and pleased that you have taken a lot of time, travelled some distance, done a lot of preparation, and have been very forthright and pointed in the message you had to deliver to us. I do not want to repeat what my colleagues said, but certainly our report does not intend in any way to design systems for other people. Our emphasis, as Roberta Jamieson said, will be to give some instruction to the Government of Canada through Parliament as to what we can do to achieve this co-existence to which you refer.
That is all I want to say. I do want to turn it back now to the Haudcnosaunee Confederacy and ask if they have some concluding comments they would like to make.
Mr. Antone: At this point, Mr. Jamieson has requested a few more minutes of your time to present some more evidence
that he has missed during his first presentation. So we would like to give him a few more minutes, then we also have the traditional closing we would like to do, and maybe an overview.
Mr. Jamieson: I guess I will stand up again, because I will have to sit down for quite a while going home.
Talking about the Two-Row Wampum that you have just mentioned, the Covenant Chain and our circle of 50 chiefs, there is one thing here, you see … I do not have the letter here, but I have one at home-a letter from Buckingham Palace-stating that if there are any problems … Excuse my English; I am not too good in English. I am fluent in my own language, so you will have to excuse my broken English. Concerning this re-polishing-! overheard a while ago–the wampums, friendship treaty, the Two-Row Wampum, I thought I neglected to mention this letter I have at home from Buckingham Palace. It stated that for any problems of the Six Nations the proper channel is through the government as Her Majesty’s representative in Canada. That would be the Governor General, as I understand it. This is kind of a sticky question. If we are told to have our problems presented to Her Majesty’s representative in Canada, then why did Great . Britain or the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill at the time, say that it was in the competency of the Canadian government to deal with the Six Nations? So here is one that I thought I would remind you of. The last time the covenant was repolished was January 4, 1918, and this is the statement of the Speaker-in-Chief of the Six Nations Indians:
I have heard, with pleasure the address which you have just presented. I am glad to note your response for former times when the negotiation between the Six Nations Indians and the representatives of His Majesty in Canada was as cordial as it is at the present time. Although customs have changed, there is still, I am pleased to say, the mutual feeling of confidence and loyalty that has existed for so many years. In the language of old times, we now uncover the council fire and build it up new, restoring its vigour, brighten the silver links of the ancient chain.
Copy of an address by the Governor General, Duke of Devonshire to a deputation of Six Nations Chiefs, January 4, 1918.
So it is really puzzling. In some of our statements, you know, we say, well, the proper channel is through the Governor General and Her Majesty, or His Majesty. We think this is the fountain of justice. Great Britain. We are allied with them. It is supposed to be the fountain of justice.
So then, after they made an agreement, a treaty with the Six Nations after the revolution, and then there were some blocks sold, Grand River Tract. Also what SINCO has cut off at the end of what you call nickel line. Our length of the river here states 160 miles, through the records in the archives. There is a stretch of 40 miles past the nickel line which was never surrendered. But the government has used it and, I suppose, drawn revenue from it. For how many years now? That would
be 199 years during which they have been drawing revenue from it, and these other six blocks which were supposed to have been surrendered to the Crown. I will just read part of that. I dug this up in some old books.
“Block 1, 1798; 94,305 acres.” The price was 8,841 pounds sterling; paid not a cent cash. “Fortunate to secure a mortgage for the full amount.” Deed shows fingerprints of 41 chiefs and Captain Brant.
“Block 2; 94,012 acres.” Only 600 pounds sterling paid. Balance never collected.
“Block 3; to William Wallace; 86,078 acres.” Price was 16,364 pounds sterling. No down payment made, or ever.
“Block 4; 28,512 acres; Colonel Thomas Klaws.” Supposed to have promise to be bound of 4,564 pounds sterling, due in 1,000 years with annual pay of interest.
Is that not awful?
“Block 5; 30,800 acres; price was 5,775 pounds sterling; 600 pounds sterling payment; forgot to make any further payment.”
“Block 6; 19,000 acres.'” Price 5,000 pounds sterling. Colonel Klaus. Never collected a penny-neither cash nor mortgage.
Forty miles past the nickel line was never surrendered or the source of the Grand River. And the record I have here-the map-of what was found in the archives, is 160 miles. So it is only 140 miles to nickel line. So there is 40 miles that has never been surrendered, but they are using it. And it has never been paid.
Now, in that time there were 10 military men. Out of the 10, there were three selections to look after the interests, to collect the unpaid surrenders and the interest and the leases. Out of those 10 men, there were three appointed: Alexander Stewart, for one; David William Smith was another; and Colonel William Klaws was the third one selected to collect these unpaid surrenders, the interest and the leases and send it over to England. Our money went to England, every cent of it that was collected.
Alexander Stewart went back to England right after. David William Smith, it says in the records, went to the land of no return, wherever that is; I do not know. It left Colonel William Klaws with sole control of everything. It mentions in there he never collected one penny of the unpaid surrenders nor the interest. He was taken over the carpets of the confederacy consul at the time with Brant, and Colonel Klaws would never show up to give a record of what had been collected. He never showed up.
So there you are. So how much interest would that accumulate? Now, under the Indian Act, the Superintendent General
of Indian Affairs has sole control of all moneys and lands. You cannot do anything unless he okays it. This is what I am talking about, this policy that you have to do what he says. Even if you make a decision in your band council, they call it. There are some subjects they cannot get through; he will reject them. He has to okay everything. He has sole control of all land and moneys.
What was done in 1940? Colonel Randall was the superintendent at the time. He instigated what they called the location ticket and made everything Crown land, with the help of 10 councillors. One objected. A month later, at the next council, they were supposed to rescind that motion, and he told the councillors that it had already gone to Ottawa; they would not rescind it.
Why is it that the Indian Affairs superintendent has so much control that he made this Crown land? This is not Crown land; it is Six Nations land. We have a treaty for it. Why? This is what I would like to find out. Why is it?
All these other tribes across the country, in United States and Canada … They are trying to put us all in one pile under this proposed Indian Advancement Act. In Sections 82 and 83, they are going to tell the council that now we will put assessment on your property and your people. What does that mean? We tax your people. They are always asking for grants, core funding, education, welfare, road subsidies, everything. It is going to be just like any other municipality. In any other municipality, they get the grant from the federal and provincial governments. We will go easy on those Indians. We will give them about 90% of what they ask for for core funding for the coming year. Get the 10% from your people, now.
That is what I have been wondering. Is that fair? I would like to hear some answers, too. We have been giving you what has happened. We have been telling you what has happened here and what the Two Row Wampum is all about, the Silver Covenant Chain, the circle.
I know the Two Row Wampum; it is my canoe, your ship. If I have one foot in my canoe and one foot in your ship, suppose a high wind comes. Waves will spread the ships, and down I go. That is the interpretation of that Two Row Wampum.
You see, it is a big question. But there is time to negotiate, as Mr … What is his name?
I have got good English there really. And I said, it is time, you can sit down and negotiate sure. We do not hate anybody. Let us play fair. Do not try to govern us. We can govern our own but do not make a policy that we are going to have to under the law, Canadian law. Our confederacy dealt with
Great Britain. There are no dealings of the Six Nations with the Canadian government. Never. Never any dealings with them. Our dealings were with the Great Britain. Our treaty.
So that is the same with the immigration law. Here is a true copy from the Treasury Department, Washington, D. C.:
Referring to the eleventh instant, addressed to the Secretary of the Interior, and by leave referred to this Department, in which you ask, in behalf of the Iroquois and other Indians in Canada, that they be relieved from all taxes or duties in their trade and in intercourse with the people of the United States. I enclose herewith for your information that all Indians are free of duties passing or repassing the boundary lines of the United States and Canada, and also free of taxes, license in trading and selling bead-work, barkwork, baskets, snowshoes, moccasins, medicines, etc., etc., of their own manufacturing in premises. A copy of department reply thereto.
I am very respectfully,
J. F. Horthy, Assistant.
Here is another one. Our late Secretary of the time. He is dead now. This is from Blackburn:
Dear Mr. Anderson:
Please find enclosed a copy of letter I received from Judd Buchanan, Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. According to the Indian Affairs Department the Six Nation Reserve is in a special category as distinguished from other reserves and treaties. I trust this is satisfactory.
Here is his reply:
Thank you for the letter of May 31 concerning one you received from Mr. Arthur Anderson, Senior, requesting certain information about the Six Nation tribe of Indians. The policy of the Canadian government is to honour all its continued lawful obligations arising from treaty or other form of agreement with the Indian people of Canada. A treaty signed with the Iroquois Confederacy, however, were agreements of peace and friendship, as well as trade and commerce, prior to 1783, and. involved peoples of the Six Nations, the area comprising present day Pennsylvania, upper New York State, and the Ohio Valley region. The Canadian government does not have any active role to play in their local government or application, in this respect, as this responsibility was assumed by the American authorities after 1783.
To accommodate their Iroquois allies who had fought in the British side during their American revolution, the British Crown set aside certain lands in Upper Canada for their exclusive use and benefit, first, in I 784, with the Six Nations reserve located at present day Brantford, Ontario. I
am enclosing a copy of this land grant. I hope this will assist you in replying to Mr. Anderson.
There are a lot of things that have happened. Here is the deed for Manhattan, 1649:
6 fathom cloth for jackets, 6 do servant (wampum), 6 kettles, 10 knives, 6 addices, 6 axes, 10 bells, 10 corals or beads, 10 harrow teeth, 2 lbs. lead, 2 lbs. powder, 2 cloth coats, 1 gun. Deed for Manhattan 1649.
Here is a picture of the Confederacy Council as we sit. This was taken in 1898.
Another one here, pretty nearly the same. We have the Union Jack on there. Here is the pipe of peace, a photograph of it. Here is the friendship treaty, joining hands, our white brother and our red-skinned and the Two Row Wampum. That is an original photograph up there. Here is the registration of the Ha1dimand Treaty on March 5, 1795. Here is the reading of the length of the Grand River; that is in 1882: Chief A.G. Smith, Esq., Brantford, 160 miles.
Here is a notice of 1896:
To the People of the Iroquois Confederacy, residing on the Grand River Reservation in the Township of Tuscarora, Oneida and Onondaga, Province of Ontario:
That a General Council will be held in the Council House of the Six Nations, at Ohsweken, at 10 o’clock, a.m., sharp, November 23, 1896.
The firekeepers will promptly open the Council at this hour in due form.
The chief question to be submitted to the Council is whether it is the intention and purpose of those invited to maintain, or not, the ancient system of Constitutional Government which was formally recorded by means of wampum, strings and belts, but which has now been committed to writing, and which will be read to the people at the aforesaid Council.
The invitation is extended strictly to those Iroquois people who did not exercise the privilege of the Enfranchisement Act extended to the Indians by the Government of Canada, and the call is extended, in particular, to the women, who are by the said ancient Constitution made heirs and custodians of the Lordship titles, the Ka-ya-ne’-da’-okouh. And take you due notice that those Indians who have voted will not be permitted to take any part in aforesaid Council.
By Order of the Iroquois People.
Here is another one in 1940. I remember so well-I was a little bigger than a kid; of course, I am only 39-therc was a notice at all the stores and corners, I guess:
Owing to bills posted by Major E.P. Randle that Six Nations are required to register at the Council House, Ohsweken, on September 25th and 26th, Failure to do so subject to penalties.
At a duly called meeting of the Hereditary Chiefs, holders and Legal heirs of the Haldimand Treaty of 1784, Notice is hereby given to members of the Six Nations of Grand River not to register as Subjects, by reason of the following letter:
Department of National War Services
Ottawa, August 15th, 1940.
Arthur Anderson, Esq., Ohsweken, Ontario
Your letter of August 12, addressed to the Prime Minister has been referred to this office for attention.
Treaty Indians are not required to register in connection with the national registration.
(Signed) T.C. Davis
Associate Deputy Minister.
Done at the Onondaga Longhouse on September 22, 1940, Under the Seal of the Council.
I think that is about enough. I am talking too much now.
Mr. Antone: Thank you, Mr. Jamieson.
Before we close, I have three points I wanted to express. There was a point raised by one of the committee members about the flexibility of Canada in dealing with native people. I think also in that flexibility you have to recognize the diversity of native people in Canada and realize that the Haudenosaunee will hold fast to its diversity to other Indian nations. Some other areas that we did not talk about that are raised in some of the evidence that has been presented by Mr. Jamicson are in regard to land: the damages to the land, the land seizures, the illegal land transactions; the process of compensation for that, whether it is through your mother country or whether it is through your own country of Canada.
The other point that, I think, should be raised as an act of good faith to the Haudenosaunee if we are going to deal and build upon a trust between one another as nation to nation is the return of the wampum belts that have been seized by your government and by officers of your government, the return of religious items and of documents that have been seized in the illegal occupation of our country and of our governments. We would like included as a recommendation that, as an act of good faith, those things be returned to the Haudenosaunce and to their rightful owners of that material.
So in closing, on behalf of the Land Rights Committee and as citizens of the Haudenosaunee who are present here, we would like to thank you for the time that you have spent with us and the opportunity to express our concerns to the committee. We hope that in light of all the evidence that has been presented, there can be an ongoing relationship, whether it is coexistence or not. But you must realize that there is going to
be a relationship because we are going to always be here; we are going to always exist in the northeast of North America. Regardless of whether Canada or Great Britain recognizes us, we will always be here. So we would like to share that and express that the discussions that were carried out were meaningful. There were no hard feelings expressed, and we hope we were able to help you understand our situation and what the future looks like as we see it in terms of our own development and our continuing existence as the Haudenosaunee.
So at this time we would like to traditionally close this meeting, which is our way.
The Chairman: Thank you.
Mr. Manly: Just on a point of order before that, Mr. Chairman, could we ask the Haudenosaunee to furnish us with an inventory of the wampum belts, the religious objects and the documents they would like to have returned.
Mr. Antone: Do you want that list today, or could we … ?
Mr. Manly: No, that could be forwarded.
Mr. Antone: Forwarded to you, okay.
The Chairman: At your convenience, yes.
Mr. Antone: We will do that.
The Chairman: If you would forward it to our clerk. Thank you very much.
Elder Venus Walker: (Speaking in his native language)
The Chairman: The meeting is adjourned.
CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK AND INTERNATIONAL POSITION
Constitutional Framework and International Position
“We will place at the top of the Tree of Great Peace
an eagle, who is able to see afar. If he sees in
the distance any danger threatening, he will at
once warn the :people of the Confederacy. “
from the Kaianerakowa,
the Great Law of Peace
of the Haudenosaunee
The Haudenosaunee have in recent ITDnths and years observed the confusion that is evident arrong the Canadian people and the Canadian government, over the issues of sovereignty, government and nationhood. There is discussion in the committees of the Parliament of Canada concerning constitutional arrangements and “Indian Self-government.”
The Haudenosaunee have no desire to be governed now or in the future by the Indian Act, or by any Canadian form of “Indian Self-government. ” The Indian Act as it stands today, and as it always has been over the years in its various forms, is a detriment to our people and our Confederacy (known to the English as the Six Nations Confederacy, and known to the French as the Iroquois Confederacy).
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is made up of six nations: The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. The territory of our people extends from the region on the north side of the St. Lawrence River Valley and Lake Ontario, south to the Allegheny region of present-day Pennsylvania; and fran the Richelieu River Valley – Lake Champlain system west to the Ohio River Valley and the southwestern peninsula of present-day Ontario. During the time of contact with the Europeans, the influence of our people was felt as far north as James Bay, as far south as Louisiana, as far west as the Mississippi River Valley, and as far east as the Atlantic Seaboard.
Today, we now find ourselves in effective control of only small “two-by-four” parcels of land, “reserves” as they are scrretimes referred to. However, we have never given up title to territory outside of our present day communities.
We have, and have always had, our own government, covenant and laws. What follows is an explanation of the constitutional development of the Haudenosaunee.
Before the arrival of the Europeans in North America, at the time of the founding of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the Peacemaker gave us a message fran the Giver of Life, the Creator. The message he gave was that we should put away strife among our nations, and that we should actively strive for the establishment of universal justice. The way of peace given to the Haudenosaunee evolves fran three principles:
a) Righteousness: meaning the justice practiced among
people using their purest and most unselfish minds
in harmony with the flow of the universe.
b) Reason: meaning the soundness of mind and body, and
the peace that comes when the minds are sane and the
body cared for.
c) Power: meaning the authority of law and custom, backed
by such force as is necessary to make justice prevail.
The Creator also gave to us the Covenant Circle Wampum of the Haudenosaunee. The intertwining strands which form the Circle represent our hands round so firmly and strongly that if a tree should fall upon it, it could not shake or break our Circle. Inside of the Circle, the Circle of fifty chiefs of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, is our people and our future generations in security, peace and happiness. Inside of the Circle is our language and culture, our clans and the ways we organize ourselves socially, our laws and the ways we organize ourselves politically, and our ceremonies which reflect our spirituality and our cycle of life.
A further meaning of the Covenant Circle, is that if at any time one of our chiefs or our people chooses to submit to the law of a foreign nation, he is no longer part of the Confederacy. Those who go outside of the Circle leave behind the clans, laws, ceremonies, ways and traditions of the Haudenosaunee.
The Circle of Fifty Chiefs represents the Five Nations (later six) of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The chiefs of the Onondaga Nation are the caretakers of the central fire of the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. They hold fourteen titles in the Circle. The Mohawk and Seneca Nations (along with the Onondaga Nation) are the elder brothers of the Confederacy, and sit on one side of the council fire. They hold respec- tively, nine and eight titles of the Circle. The Oneida and Cayuga Nations are the younger brothers of the Confederacy and sit on the other side of the council fire, opposite their cousins the Mohawk and Senecas. They hold respectively, nine and ten titles in the Circle. The Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy meets at the central council fire maintained by the Onondaga Nation.
The Kaianerakowa, the Great Law of Peace, as handed down at the founding of the Confederacy, also provides for a method of councilling and decision- making between the elder brothers and the younger brothers, with the fire- keepers confirming and sitting in judgement of the proceedings. This method involves ceremonies and procedures which builds toward a consensus of the people.
The titles of the fifty chiefs in the Circle are in the possession of the clan mothers, who have the power to appoint and remove chiefs in consul- tation with the people and the other women in the clans.
The clans in Haudenosaunee society are organized matrilinealy; that is, the children of the Haudenosaunee belong to the clans of their mothers. The women are the proprietors of the lands, the gardens and houses.
The chiefs are at all times the mentors of the people, and consult with the women and the people in their clans.
The councils of each of the nations in the Confederacy, and the councils of the communities within each of the nations, conduct themselves in a similar fashion, except that the clans are arranged on opposite sides of the longhouse.
When the Haudenosaunee first came into contact with the European nations in the early 1600’s, they realized that it was not possible to bring these nations (the Dutch, French, English, and later the American) inside the Circle. Therefore a treaty of friendship and peace was made with each European nation respectively. Each of these agreements is symbolized by the “Gus-Wen-Tah” or the Two Row Wampum. It describes how two different peoples relate to each other and how they can exist with one another in a way of peace.
Probably the first time that the Two Row Wampum agreement was made with a European power was with the Dutch. Symbolically, there was a river flowing called the River of Life. In that River of Life it was agreed that the Hauden- osaunee and the Dutch would travel together, side by side in parallel paths which would never cross or meet. In their vessel the Dutch agreed to keep their government, their laws, their ways and beliefs. In our canoe, the Haudenosaunee were to keep our laws, our ways of government, our traditions and beliefs. Neither the Haudenosaunee nor the Dutch were to make laws over each other.
The principles of the Two Row Wampum became the basis for all treaties and agreements that were made afterwards with the French, the English and later the Americans.
Neither the Haudenosaunee nor the French, neither the Haudenosaunee nor the English, neither the Haudenosaunee nor the British colonial Dominion of Canada, were to make laws or force our ways on each other. We were to live in peace and friendship, fully respecting each others’ rights to exercise one’s sovereignty.
Now that Canada is a fully independent nation, perhaps it will be possible some day for the Haudenosaunee and the Canadians to strike up the Two Row Wampum between us, so that we may go our way, side by side, without interfering with each other, in friendship and peace.
Another symbol of the relationship between the Haudenosaunee and the European colonial powers was that of the Covenant Chain, pure, strong and untarnished, which bound those who grasped it, binding nations together without causing them to lose their individual characters, or their inde- pendence. The Covenant Chain was first formed in the early 1600’s with the Dutch, then later the French, the British, and the Americans. Those who grasped the chain were responsible for keeping it polished.
In 1763, the Haudenosaunee Chiefs met with the William Johnson of the English, saying,
“. . .for our parts, we are not used to silver, and cannot
brighten the chain, which we are apprehensive begins to
weaken from the rust it has contracted; we must therefore
entrust you to brighten and preserve the same in order to
prevent it from breaking”.
The Covenant Chain is designed for expansion, with new links being added as other nations join their arms into the compact. Each nation with its arms in the chain is equal to each other. Though some nations might have certain functions in maintaining or renewing the Chain, the equality of the nations
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within the Chain is an important part of its strength. Any nation guilty of a breach of commitments, a lack of faith, or inattentiveness, allows the Chain to “slip from one’s grasp”.
The Silver Covenant Chain is a relationship which does not maintain itself; but requires constant effort and renewal to keep it bright and shiny, making sure it does not rust. To this day, the Haudenosaunee and the Americans meet from time to time, to brighten the Covenant Chain. Now that Canada is a fully independent nation, perhaps it will be possible sane day for the Canadians to grasp the Covenant Chain, to bind our nations to- gether, with respect for each other.
One of the most important treaties made between the Haudenosaunee and a European power was the Treaty of Fort Albany in 1664, an application of the Two Row Wampum.
It provides for the establishment of peaceful relations and trade, and for separate personal criminal jurisdiction between the Haudenosaunee and the English. The terms of the Treaty deals with situations in which the citizen of one nation harms a citizen of another nation. Thus, upon complaint to the colonial authorities, any English subject doing “any wrong, injury or violence”, to a Haudenosaunee subject, was to be punished if he was found. Similarly, upon complaint to the Haudenosaunee chiefs, any Haudenosaunee subject doing “any wrong, injury or damage”, to an English subject was to be punished if he was found.
It is assumed that offences between citizens of one nation are to be dealt with internally within that nation.
Thus, the Treaty of Fort Albany provides for each nation to deal with its own citizens. Each nation is to be responsible to the other nation for the wrongs cannitted by its citizens against the citizens of the other.
Throughout the history of Contact between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the European colonial powers, the Confederacy has always regarded itself as independent and sovereign. The English and the French frequently attempted to put across the idea that the “King” was the “father” to the Haudenosaunee, who were to be his “subjects”. To the Haudenosaunee however, the colonial governments of the King of England or the King of France were “brothers” and equals to the Confederacy. The Confederacy therefore acted accordingly.
By the late 1600’s, the French and the English were disagreeing over whose “subject” the Haudenosaunee were. Governor Dongan stated that,
“…We therefore hereby charge and require you, to give
notice at the same time to the said Governor of Canada
i.e.: New France that upon mature consideration we have
thought fit to own the five nations or cantons of Indians
vis the Mohawks, Senecas, Cayugas, Oneidas, and Onondagas,
as our subjects, and resolve to protect them as such…”
The pretention that the Haudenosaunee were English subjects was entirely novel to the French,
“…those Indian nations have acknowledged the Dominion of
the French…since the years 1604, 1610, when Sieur Champlain
took possession of all those countries…in the name of His
Majesty; and that all of the Iroquois nation concluded in 1665
and 1666, a solemn treaty … thereby they placed themselves
under His Majesty’s protection, and declared themselves his
A Haudenosaunee reply to such pretenses was that given by Garangula, to the Governor of New France, De La Barre, who had attempted to invade the territory of the Haudenosaunee:
“We are born free; we neither depend on Yonondio,
Governor of New Francegor Corlaer, Governor of New
York. We may go where we please, and carry with us
whom we please, and buy and sell what we please”.
In 1763, in a despatch to England, Sir William Johnson wrote, “It would have startled the Six Nations people had any interpretor pronounced the word “subject” as applicable to them”. In 1769, he wrote, “One who would call the Six Nations our subjects needs a good army at his back”.
In the twentieth century, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy has continued to re-assert ourselves in the international community. In 1924, during the time that the band council system was being imposed at Grand River, Deskaheh of the Cayuga Nation attempted to have Haudenosaunee issues heard at the League of Nations in Geneva. He was unsuccessful in making a presentation to the League, but renewed interest was stirred amongst the European people.
In 1948, a delegation of Haudenosaunee chiefs laid the cornerstone to the United Nations buildings. This happened because the United Nations historians discovered that the Haudenosaunee had organized a “united nations” within which member nations were equal regardless of size, long before the formation of the present-day United Nations.
In 1947-48, the Haudenosaunee communities of Kahnawake, Akwesasne, and Kanehsetake appeared before the Joint Senate and House of Commons Committee of the Parliament of Canada, on the Indian Act. The Kahnawake delegation was a unified representation of band council chiefs and traditional chiefs. The three Haudenosaunee delegations put forth the resolution that the Indian Act be re- moved from our communities, that we were not liable to any federal and provin- cial laws in our territories.
They informed the Committee that we were already in possession of rights and privileges as a nation, and that we were sticking by our treaties, and the principle of the Two Row Wampum.
In 1960, after the Canadian governenent had ‘granted’ to the “Indians of Canada”, the right to vote in Canadian federal elections, a telegram was sent to Ottawa on behalf of Kahnawake, rejecting the “right” to vote, ex- pressing the exact sentiments of the Haudenosaunee as a whole. To this day, the Haudenosaunee do not take part in Canadian federal and provincial elections (nor in American federal and state elections).
On December 26th, 1982, the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee passed a resolution concerning the lands and government of the Haudenosaunee. One of the points made was that:
“The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is sovereign in the
International community, not within the Canadian (or
American) context. The Haudenosaunee have no desire
to separate from Canada, since the Haudenosaunee have
never been part of Canada. We have always had our own
country and our own government”.
When the Dominion of Canada was created in 1867, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy had been long accustomed to dealing with the British Crown. But gradually, we found ourselves dealing more and more with an Indian Department that was acting as a colonial Overlord, rather than an intermediary between sovereigns, which is what the Crown was (and should be today).
Since its existence in I867, the Dominion of Canada, like a child that has never matured, has never assumed the responsibilities left with it by Great Britain, the mother country; it has violated our rights under the terms
of the Two Row Wampum, the Covenant Chain and other Treaties and agreements. It has violated those treaties and agreements by passing laws and legislation for application over our people, the Haudenosaunee.
Since the inception of the various Indian Acts, including the Indian Advancement Act of 1884, the Indian Act and the band council system has divided our people in Kahnawake and in all of the Haudenosaunee communities on the “north side of the river” (the Canada-United States border). The Mohawk community of Akwesasne, in particular, straddles the alien borders of Canada, the United States, Quebec, Ontario and New York State.
In introducing the elective band council system, the Canadian government saw it as more “democratic” than traditional govanrnents, and ignored the role of the people and the clans, the wcmen and the chiefs, in Haudenosaunee society. The Haudenosaunee had serious problems with the Indian “advancement” sections and the elective band council system:
a) They did not allow for the participation of women
(They could not be on the band council, or vote)
b) By virtue of “one-time” elections, individuals were
vested with the authority to make decisions without
the participation of the people and the clans.
c) It provided for fixed, contentious, and competitive
elections, contrary to the method of building toward
In each of the Haudenosaunee communities at Oneida, Grand River, Tyendinaga, Akwesasne, Kahnawake, and Kanehsetake, there were strong objections to even the possibility of the imposition of the Indian “advancement” provisions. The very concept of the Dominion government of Canada making laws that would govern the Haudenosaunee was most unacceptable to the Confederacy.
The Haudenosaunee, consistent with their laws, the principles of the Two Row Wampum, and the history of our relations with the Crown, delivered numerous complaints and petitions to the Governor General of Canada, and expressed their desire to remain with their own governments. The Indian Advancement Act violated the Haudenosaunee right to self-government, the government of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy under the authority of the Kainerakowa, the Great law of Peace.
Just as today the provisions of the proposed legislation on “Indian self-government” are described as “optional”, the Indian Advancement sections in the 1880’s were described as “optional” — they would not be imposed on any community that did not want them. As has been the past experience in Canadian Indian Affairs history, the “optional” provisions became mandatory over a period of time, through political pressure and through executive or legislative action. As for the Haudenosaunee communities, the elective band council type of government was imposed by the Canadian government by sheer force of arms. In one particular community, Akwesasne in 1899, the forced imposition of the band council by the Canadian government, with the assistance of the Dominion police, resulted in the killing on one of the traditional chiefs, and the jailing of several others of the traditional council.
The nearest local paper, the Huntingdon Gleaner, was outraged. Its ed- itorial of May 4, I899 is worth quoting at length:
“That the killing of a man at St. Regis should have given
shock to this community is not to be wondered at, for we
are neighbors to the Indians. But we trust it will have a
wider effect, that it may be the means of calling public
attention to the treatment of the St. Regis Band, and induce
the government to look into the causes of the trouble which
had so deplorable a result.
“Had the Indian Advancement Act not been made to apply
to the St. Regis Band, there would not be today a woman
and three children mourning over a dead husband and father,
and the tribe would be spared the painful ordeal they are
now undergoing of being harassed by the officers of the law. . .
“It is because the Ottawa Department was determined on forcing
the change before these people are ready for it that the shocking
collision took place. A body of Dominion police were sent from
Ottawa to maintain the majesty of Red Tape and departmental
wooden-headedness by arresting the leaders of those who defeated
the attempt to elect councillors.
“In reality, the whites have been the aggressors all through the
wretched affair, which has had so tragic an ending. It was the
whites who passed a law to interfere with the internal management
of an inoffensive tribe, and the Indians were merely resisting an
attempt to change the customs that are dear to them, and which
concern themselves alone. They simply ask to be let alone, as
independent community, ruled by themselves, and we do not see why
what they ask should be withheld. The Government can well afford
to call a truce, to stop further proceedings, and send a message
of peace to St. Regis that it will be classed among the reserves
exempted from the operation of the statue they so much dislike”.
However, Canadian government did not call a truce. Warrants for more of
the traditional chiefs were issued, and the Canadian band council was there to
stay. By 1934, there were band councils installed in all Haudenosaunee
Yet, despite the existence and presence of the Canadian band councils, the
Haudenosaunee traditional councils continued to survive, and have continued to
function to this day. But the existence of the Canadian band councils has
caused hardship and division to this day.
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES FOR THE
DEFENSE OF THE INDIGENOUS NATIONS
AND PEOPLES OF THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
Having considered the problems relating to the activities of the United Nations for the promotion and encouragement of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and related international covenants have the individuals as their primary concern, and
Recognizing that individuals are the foundation of cultures, societies, and nations, and
Whereas, it is a fundamental right of any individual to practice and perpetuate the cultures, societies and nations into which they are born, and
Recognizing that conditions are imposed upon peoples that suppress, deny or destroy the culture, societies or nations in which they believe or of which they are members.
Be it affirmed that,
1. RECOGNITION OF INDIGENOUS NATIONS
Indigenous peoples shall be accorded recognition as nations, and proper subjects of international law, provided the people, concerned desire to be recognized as a nation and meet the fundamental require- ments of nationhood, namely:
a) having a permanent population
b) Having a defined territory
c) Having a government
d) Having the ability to enter into relations with other states.
2. SUBJECTS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW
Indigenous groups not meeting the requirements of nationhood are hereby declared to be subjects of international law and are en- titled to the protection of this Declaration, provided they are identifiable groups having bonds of language, heritage, tradition, or other common identity.
3. GUARANTEE OF RIGHS
No indigenous nation or group shall be deemed to have fewer rights, or lesser status for the sole reason that the nation or group has not entered into recorded treaties or agreements with any state.
4. ACCORDANCE OF INDEPENDENCE
Indigenous nations or groups shall be accorded such degree of in- dependence as they may desire in acoordanoe with international law.
5. TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS
Treaties and other agreements entered into by indigenous nations or groups with other states, whether denominated as treaties or otherwise, shall be recognized and applied in the same manner and according to the same international laws and principles as the treaties and agreements entered into by other states.
6. ABROGATION OF TREATIES AND OTHER RIGHTS
Treaties and agreements made with indigenous nations or groups shall not be subject to unilateral abrogation. In no event may the municipal l.aws of any state serve as a defense to the failure to adhere to and perform the terms of treaties and agreements made with indigenous nations or groups. Nor shall any state refuse to recognize and. adhere to treaties or other agreements due to changed circumstances where the change in circumstances has been substantially caused by the state asserting that such change has occured.
7 . JURISDICTION
No state shall assert or claim to exercise any right of jurisdiction over any indigenous nation or group or the territory of such indigenous nation or group unless pursuant be a valid treaty or other agreement freely made with the lawful representatives of the indigenous nation or group concerned. All actions on the part of any state which derogate from the indigenous nations’ or groups’ right to exercise self-determina- tion shall be the proper concern of existing international bodies.
8. CLAIMS TO TERRITORY
No state shall claim or retain, by right of discovery or otherwise, the territories of any indigenous nation or group, except such lands as may have been lawfully acquired by valid treaty or other cessation freely made.
9. SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES
All states in the Western Hemisphere shall establish through ne- gotiations or other appropriate means a procedure for the binding settle- ment of disputes, claims, or other matters relating to indigenous nations or groups. Such procedure shall. be mutually acceptable to the parties, fundamentally fair, and consistent with international law. All pro- cedures presently in existence which do not have the endorsement of the indigenous nations or groups concerned, shall be ended, and new procedures shall be instituted consistent with this Declaration.
10. NATIONAL AND CULTURAL INTEGRITY
It shall be unlawful for any state to take or permit any action or course of conduct with respect to an indigenous nation or group which will directly or indirectly result in the destruction or disintegration of such indigenous nation or group or otheiwise threaten the national or cul tural integrity of such nation or group, including, but not limited to, the imposition and support of illegitamate governments and the introduction of non-indigenous religions to indigenous peoples by non-indegenous mis- sionaries.
11. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
It shall be unlawful for any state to make ore permit any action or course of conduct with respect to the territories of an indigenous nation or group which will directly or indirectly result in the destruction or deterioration of an indigenous nation or group through the effects of pollution of earth, air, water, or which in any way depletes, displaces or destroys any natural resource or other resources under the domination of, or vital to the livelihood of an indigenous nation or group.
12. INDIGENOUS MEMBERSHIP
No state, through legislation, regulation, or other means, shall take actions that interfere with the sovereign power of an indigenous nation or group to determine its own nembership.
13 . CONCLUSION
All of the rights and obligations declared herein shall be in addition to all rights and obligations existing under international law.
CONCERNING THE LANDS AND GOVERNMENT
OF THE HAUDENOSAUNEE
Grand Council of Chiefs
of the Haudenosaunee
December 26, 1982
concerning the lands and government
of the Haudenosaunee
For some time we have watched with great concern the actions of the people of Canada as they created a new constitution for them- selves, succeeded in patriating their constitution, and became a new emerging nation. Our concerns had been heightened as the work on the new constitution of Canada set a course toward the destruc- tion of the long history of peace and friendship between ourselves and Great Britain. The course that was followed led to the break- ing of long-standing international treaties between the Haudeno- saunee and Great Britain
We feel at this time that we must remind Canada of the long- standing commitments that had been made between the Haudenosaunee and Great Britain over several centuries, and exemplified in such historic agreements and treaties as the Two Row Wampum and the Silver Covenant Chain. For centuries, the principles of the Two Row Wampum had formed the substance of all our mutual agreements with Great Britain. Each of us had pledged not to take actions that would lead to the subjugation of either nation by one of the parties.
We were to live in peace and friendship, fully respecting each others rights to exercise ones sovereignty within ones territory. Time and again, we have reaffirmed these principles in many other agreements and documents between the Haudenosaunee and Great Britain.
The Haudenosaunee, or the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, has existed in what is now known as southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and New York State since time immemorial.
Our name “Haudenosaunee” means People of the Longhouse. The Confederacy of the Haudenosaunee is made up of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora nations. The Confederacy is nationally governed by the Grand Council of Chiefs which meets at Onondaga, the central council fire or capital of the Confederacy Onondaga has been the capital of the Confederacy since time im- memorial. The Confederacy is governed in accordance with the Great Law of Peace, or Gayanerakow. The Chiefs which sit at the Grand Council are selected by the clans of each nation according to the Great Law.
Since the formation of our Confederacy long before the European invasion, the member nations have functioned as a single Confeder- acy with regards to all matters of vital importance. Each nation in the Confederacy has maintained its own government or council fire, and each community within each nation has its own council fire; however, all matters of general importance are the exclu- sive responsibility of the Confederacy and the Grand Council of Chiefs.
Since the earliest years of contact with the Europeans, treaties and other relations between the Haudenosaunee and other nations have been the responsibility of the Haudenosaunee as a Confederacy. The Haudenosaunee has carried on formal diplomatic and trade relations
with Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, and other nations for more than 250 years before the creation of the colony of the Dominion of Canada.
The Haudenosaunee and all of its constituent nations have con- tinued to exist and to function as governments up to the present time. The nations, communities and people that make up the Haudeno- saunee are still located in our original territory.
However, after the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, and the passage of the Indian Advancement Act of 1884, the Cana- dian government began to impose its own form of government upon Haudenosaunee communities on the “north side of the river.“ The Canadian form of “Indian government” called for the election of chiefs to band councils for the exercise of municipal powers. The clan mothers and people of various Haudenosaunee communities pre- ferred to remain with their own traditional councils, and resisted the imposition of the Canadian band councils. The resistance was suppressed by the Canadian government with the help of police forces. By 1934, Canadian band councils were forced upon all of the Haudenosaunee communities on the north side of what became to be known as the “border” between Canada and the United States. Yet, the traditional councils continued to survive, and have con- tinued to function to this day, despite the presence of the band councils. But, the existence of the Canadian band councils has caused hardship and division to this day.
Historically, the territory of the Haudenosaunee extended from the Richelieu Valley-Lake Champlain region of present day Quebec and Vermont, west to the Ohio Valley and the southwestern penin- sula of present-day Ontario; and from the region along the north side of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River valley, south to the Allegheny region of present day Pennsylvania. Historically, the Haudenosaunee extended its power over a vast area from James Bay to the present-day Carolinas, and from the Mississippi River valley to the Atlantic seaboard.
During the period before the creation of the colony of the Dominion of Canada, the Haudenosaunee entered into numerous trea- ties relating to lands and the growing settlements of Europeans. The last of these treaties was made with Great Britain in 1768 at Fort Stanwix, by which a line was established as the western boundary for European settlement. The line began near Fort Oswego at the bottom of Lake Ontario. The Treaty did not attempt to deal with any lands north of this point. This northern area remained exclusive Haudenosaunee land. And the Royal Proclamation of 1763 had provided for the non-disturbance of homelands on both east and west sides of the Proclamation line.
After the American Revolution, some members of each of the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy moved northward to the southwestern peninsula of present-day Ontario, in territory that was in the possession of the Confederacy. However, long before the
American Revolution, the Confederacy had communities on both the north and south shores of the St. Lawrence River.
By 1794, as a consequence of the American Revolution, a “bor- der” was establised between the United States and colonial British North America, now known as the Canadian-American border. Yet, the Haudenosaunee have never given up its lands on either side of the line; title to its lands on the “north side of the river” has never been extinguished.
The Haudenosaunee can never sell or give up the underlying title to these lands. But we have always been willing to share these lands on a reasonable basis, provided our people have lands suffi- cient for our needs and for our future generations.
The Haudenosaunee in recent months and years has observed the confusion that is evident among the Canadian people and the Cana- dian government, over the issues of sovereignty, government, and nationhood. There is discussion in the committees of the Parlia- ment of Canada concerning sovereignty, constitutional arrangements, and “Indian self-government.”
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy is sovereign in the international community, not within the Canadian (or American) context. The Haudenosaunee have no desire to separate from Canada, since the Haudenosaunee have never been part of Canada. We have always had our own country and our own government.
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy throughout its entire history of contact with the Europeans down to the nineteenth century has always declared itself to be independent of, and not subject to, other nations. This was made known to the Dutch, French, British, and other nations. Throughout the twentieth century, the Haudeno- saunee have made it known to Canada and the United States that we are neither Canadian nor American; we are Haudenosaunee.
The Haudenosaunee have been, and continue to be firmly resolved not to allow themselves, or their nations, to be absorbed by any process of “Canadianization.“
Therefore, the new constitution that has been granted to the Parliament of Canada by Great Britain will have no jurisdictional authority within our territoriesor over our peoples. Again, we remind Canada that this is not a new position, but is one that we have held throughout our long history with Great Britain (and with Canada as one of its Dominions). Our people are citizens of our nations, and do not seek citizenship within the nation of “Canada.”
Any effort to subjugate our people under “Canada” is a viola- tion of our right to self-determination under international law, for which we will hold Canada responsible within the world com- munity. We will resist any attempts to force jurisdiction or alien- tion of our lands upon us with all the means at our disposal.
Grand Council of Chiefs
of the Haudenosaunee
December 26th, 1982
Grand Council of Chiefs
November 29, 1981
THE SIX NATIONS IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY
November 29, 1981
Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II
The Grand Council of Hoyaney of the Houdenosaunee (Iroquois Confederacy) wish to extend to you, and your people, a greeting and thanksgiving on behalf of our peoples. We have instructed our representative to hand carry this message to your governmental representative at the United Nations because of the urgency and seriousness of the matters facing our member nations and people.
For sometime we have watched with great concern the actions of your people living in the lands called “Canada” as they attempt to create a constitution for themselves. Our concerns have been heightened as the work on this constitution has deliberately set upon a course that seeks to destroy the long history of peace and friendship between our peoples.
The course that is being followed can only lead to the breaking of long standing international treaties between our two countries. If enacted, as proposed by the “Canadian” leadership, that have existed between our peoples.
We feel at this time that we must remind you of the longheld commitments our two countries have made to each other over several centuries and exemplified in such agreements as the Two Row Wampum and Silver Covenant Chain treaties.
For centuries, the principles of the Two Row Wampum have formed the substance of all of our mutual agreements. We remind you, that each of us has pledged not to take actions that lead to the subjugation of either nation by one of the parties; that we live in peace and friendship; and fully respect each others right to exercise their sovereignty within their territories. Time and again, we have reaffirmed these principles in many other agreements and documents between our nations.
Ever since the time the Crown removed itself from direct control of affairs in North America, there has been constant strife between our nation and your colonial administrators. Under the “Indian Act”, they have attempted to subjugate peoples through a system of indirect rule called the “Band Council System”. They have sought to impose “Canadian” citizenship
on our peoples, and have made numerous other attempts to denegrate our sovereign national status and annex our homelands.
The people of the Houdenosaunee have been, and continue to be firmly resolved not to allow themselves, or their nations, to be absorbed by any process of “Canadianization”.
Therefore, we inform you that the “Canadian” constitution, if granted by your Parliament, will have no jurisdictional authority within our territories, or concerning our peoples. Again, we remind yo that his is not a new position, but is one that we have held throughout our long mutual histories. Our people are citizens of our nations and do not seek citizenship within your colony.
Any effort to subjugate our people within “Canada” is a violation of our right of self-determination under international law, for which we will hold you responsible within the world community. We will resist any attempts to force jurisdiction or alienation of our lands upon us with all the means at our disposal.
Pursuant to our treaties, we formally request that your government delay any Parliamentary action on the proposed constitution until Great Britain is prepared to re-affirm our sovereign and territorial rights, independent of the “Canadian” entity.
We will be authorizing a delegation to travel to England, on passports issued by our government, to open discussions with your government, to open discussions with your government on these issues. We wish to formally request a meeting with yourself, and the Foreign Secretary to address these matters. We respectfully request an appointment to be set by your office during a convenient time in January, 1982.
Daw nay toh,
The Grand Council of Chiefs
The Houdenosaunee, Six
Nations Iroquois Confederacy
(Original signed by)
(Original signed by)
Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House
of Commons, appointed to continue and complete the
examination and consideration of the Indian Act.
Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence
Thursday, June 12, 1947.
Testimony from the Kahnawake delegation:
“We have no desire to be governed in the future by the Indian Act, or any other form of government. The Indian Act as it stands today is a detriment to the progress of our people …. The Indian Act is the most bureaucratic and dictatorial system ever imposed on mankind”.
“The Indian Act” tends to divide then destroy the red man. The elected council came into being by fraud and treachery. On one of our reserves the elected council came into being by sheer force of arms and threat of violence which disbanded our government, but in the minds and understanding of our people, there can be only one government for us, “The Six Nations Government”.
“Therefore, we charge you, the Canadian government, aided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, of invading our domains and forcing foreign laws on our people by force of arms”.
“Gentlemen! The Indian was once the ruler of this vast and rich country, now today he has a two-by-four reservation left and still your government is not contended until it takes all. Gentlemen! Is it too much to assume that you do not want us or a foreign government to make laws for you? Then how can you expect us to accept or like the laws you impose on us?”
“Therefore we the councillors and chiefs unanimously resolve not to make any suggestions to the revision of the Indian Act, where our people are concerned by virtue of our ancient treaties, but demand the abolition of the Indian Act on behalf of the Six Nations Confederacy. The Act retards the progress of our nation, and as it stands today can be criticized from the beginning to the end, every section of the Act. It is too dictatorial and the powers vested in the Indian agent and superintendent general are too arbitrary and autocratic, and binds our people on a double chain of pauperism and mental servitude.”
“We therefore insist that treaties, as made by our great forefathers were in the form of agreements between two equal soverign nations, but that you the whites took the attitude that we, the Indians, were not your equal, when you abrogated treaty clauses which guaranteed to the Indians of the Six Nations rights of self government as an independent nation”.
“That by virtue of our treaty rights Indians of the Six Nations are not liable to any federal or provincial laws within their territories”.
“The right to decide as to who or whom belongs to this band or other bands of Six Nations lies within the jurisdiction of the local chief and councillors. It does not lie within the jurisdiction of the local chief and councillors. It does not lie within provincial nor dominion government jurisdiction”.
“You would not want us to decide for you as to who or whom is a citizen of Canada. It is only just that only the Indian can justly decide for himself, as everyone knows one another in our reserves, as to who or whom is a member of this band, or bands of Six Nations Indians of Canada. The Indian Act and your government has done enough, so much in fact that it has made white people members of this band”.
From the Thalassa Research Associates:
Dr. Dan Gottesman, Partner.
Mr. Rob Egan, Partner.
Mr. Harold Wilson, Consultant.
From the Haudensaunee Confederacy:
Mr. Bob Antone.
Mr. Venus Walker.
Mr. Bruce Elijah.
Mr. Loran Thompson.
Mr. Mike Myers.
Mr. Robert Jamieson.
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