The Bonafide Oneidas of The Thames

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The Oneida Nation is one of five nations with an ancient binding relationship with each other. However, like other Nations, the post-contact period has this nation situated in a confined territory, as indicated on maps which forced European private property concepts. 

Like Many Nations, Oneidas Rotated Villages

When Oneidas were faced with resettlement efforts, relocating was based on preference. According to historical records; decisions were made with three distinct parties in addition to those who chose to remain.

A Retelling

One hundred eighty-two years ago, on October 9th, 1840, some 242 men, women and children travelled the Erie Canal to board a ferry at Buffalo. Stepping off a Ferry in Port Stanley, they started to walk to their newly purchased land.

The Bonafide Oneidas paid $41.00 each towards purchasing some 5,500 acres along the Thames river.

The proceeds were from coerced sales of their land in what is now called New York State. The province of Canada acted as a broker and did not purchase the land for them. Purchasing of their land placed the Bonafide Oneidas in a unique position. However, It raises the question of why the Federal and Provincial governments are interfering in their matters.

People of the standing stone

The move did not make the Oneida immigrants as history suggests; in fact, Payment was an act of diplomacy to share territory that served as hunting grounds.

The Oneida occupied settlements in Napanee called Ganneious before the Messassauga occupation in 1696. The area had also already been included in Earlier Negotiations providing a kick back for the second negotiators

 

Tracing The Steps of Our Ancestors

Participants of Anniversary Walk. Photo Yakowennahskats

Recently, that anniversary was celebrated by the descendants of some of those very same people. They were starting off in a north-westerly direction from Port Stanley, just as their ancestors did on that autumn day all those years ago. 

…They agreed and told us we need to decide who is Bonafide and who isn’t

Darryl Chrisjohn

 “the ones who were last to come did not pay for the settlement like our families did, and it caused a bunch of bad trouble, and then that’s when they did a roll call of the names and had a general council meeting, Bonafide Oneidas attended that meeting then they made membership list sent to the government they agreed and told us we need to decide who is Bonafide and who isn’t” … Explains Darryl Chrisjohn who completed the walk. 

Marking a clear delineation between incorporated  Canadian entities Controlling Band membership and the original membership controlled exclusively by the Bonafide Oneida. 

Standing at the Same Height

Image taken from Facebook

Chrisjohn is evident when he speaks about the Bonafide Oneidas as not being in a hierarchical authority but as those descendants actively upholding agreements with deep roots in Onkwehonweneha over those who are negotiating as arms of a foreign government, including HDI. 

Several chapters are yet to be discussed, but this is a starting point. 

Old News: Act Threatens Extinction Of Indian People?

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The article originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen in 1951.

A three-man delegation from the Six Nation Indian reservation near Brantford warned here yesterday that the passage of the Indian Act in its present revised form would threaten the Indian people with extinction In two years.

They said If the act became law, the Indians across Canada would become “bitter enemies” of the present federal government. The delegation centred Its fire on the compulsory enfranchisement clause of the act.

Under this clause, a government-appointed committee may enfranchise an Indian whether or not he has applied for such enfranchisement.

Once he Is given the vote, the Indian loses special reservation rights such as free schooling, free hospitalization and exemption from taxes.

The delegation objected to Section 4 of the Act giving the minister, in this case, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Walter Harris, unlimited powers with no recourse of appeal.

Criticism was also voiced to the provision under which an Indian who asks for the vote must sign a waiver eliminating his exemption from taxation.

Members of the delegations, who saw Mr. Harris, were: E. P. Garlow, chief councillor of the Six Nation Indian Council; A. C. Moses, council secretary; and James Powless, councillor.

Mohawks Revealing Their Hidden History

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The Kanatso:ronon are members of the Kanienkehaka Nation, whose traditional territory includes, and is not limited to, the geographical region of Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec. 

The Kanienkehaka of Kana:tso have obtained archaeological evidence, as well as documented records of past events and times that support the assertion of Indigenous, property, and civil rights. 

Woodland Pottery Shards: Yakowennahskats

Before written history, legal and living memory, the Kanatso:ronon hunted and harvested on their inherited geographical hunting grounds. The Kanienkehaka of Kana:tso were an organized society of Indigenous families who inhabited and controlled their Indian village.

The Kana:tso village is recorded historically and furnished medical supplies by the Department of the Secretary of State, “Indian Branch.” The historical rights bearing village precedes and followed petitioned Indian Reserves, a creation of the Crown under the Indian Act. 

The Kana:tso habitation was last recorded on the north shore of the Ottawa River, south of Laurier Ave, adjacent to their ancestral burial ground in Gatineau, Quebec. The village burial ground was unearthed and desecrated in 1843, slighting its spiritual significance to nation members.

Disbanded?

Canadian law stripped the community of identity through disbandment to support advancing European settlement. The Provincial Court set an eviction date for Apr 15, 1903. 

The Crown of England was entrusted with the fiduciary responsibility to protect the nation’s rights, interests, and inherited land at Kana:tso. Unsurprisingly, the Crown failed to protect the vested interest of these Mohawks. 

After disbanding, the community struggled to continue culturally and spiritually and have their fundamental rights acknowledged. Subsequently, certain afflicted Kanatso:ronon moved blocks away in the Township of Hull, while others remained adjacent to the Ottawa River on the property of the Kana:tso village. 

Hidden in Plain Sight

The historical habitation of Kanatso:ronon now supports Jaques Cartier Park and the Museum of History and is presently controlled by the National Capital Commission. The historical hunting grounds of the Kanatso:ronon now supports the present-day cities of Ottawa, Ontario, and Gatineau, Quebec.

Photo provided

Joseph Cole, pictured above, was an identified Kana:tso community member who was born in the Indigenous village circa 1872, following an exceedingly severe epidemic of Smallpox, just a few years after that confederation. 

Cole was raised by kin Kanatso:ronon in Hull and learned much about his traditional lands. After the nations disbanding in 1903, Joseph Cole, his wife, and his offspring continued to live at his residence south of Laurier Ave, adjacent to the Ottawa River.

We’re Still Here

Cole shared a collective inherited right through the traditional customs of his ancestors, including culture, righteousness, and land at Kana:tso.

Jason Arbour

My name is Jason (Rotisken’rakehte) Arbour, Appointed Chief and Legal Representative of Kana:tso Kaniengehaga First Nation. In 1903 my family/band was disbanded from our Indian reserve and place of origin at Gatineau, Quebec. To date, I have been chosen to raise awareness and respectfully represent our community’s legal interest to re-establish our historical rights to our traditional territory at the Chaudiere Falls. 
I am indigenous to the Ottawa-Hull region of Canada. I was born and raised in Ottawa and happily married with five boys and two grandaughters.

The Family Home on Reserves and Matrimonial Rights and Interest Act!

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The Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Rights and Interest Act (FHRMIRA) became Canadian law in 2013, with the first part of the act, “First Nation Law Making Mechanism,” coming into force in 2013.  

Part two was the “Provisional Federal Rules” that came into effect the following year in December of 2014, which provided a template for Onkwehonwe communities to use until that community could develop their own.

“Laws are not tested before application; they do not bear witness to reality until they are already enforced and already causing harm”

Mohawk, Turtle clan member

Essentially the Indian Act had erased thousands of years of matrilineal land entitlement, only to be replaced by a male-dominated land ownership model. Although Politicians and Organizations thought the act would balance out the damage that the Indian act had caused, it has unsurprisingly created other problems.

Reserve land, often referred to as Crown Land, is mistaken as having no real value in the Canadian worldview. The misconception of Ownership has devalued property to the point that Onkwehonwe cannot use their land as collateral for loans.

It simultaneously created a situation where Onkwehonwe partners would not benefit similarly from the division of assets. On the other hand, a Non-Native partner could benefit by forcing a sale of a Matrimonial home using off-reserve home values

The legislation may have been well-intentioned in the beginning, meaning its development was created to protect a Marginalized and Vulnerable population from experiencing catastrophic loss and prevent homelessness. 

But like every piece of Canadian legislation forcefully applied to Onkwehonwe Nations through federal band councils, there have been consequences and many cases of misuse through manipulation. 

Lets Talk Land

U. S. May Revive Iroquois Plan of Confederacy

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April 27, 1928-Originally printed in Press and Sun-Bulletin.

The Senate committee Investigating Indian affairs with the Idea of reorganizing the Indian Bureau is giving attention to the plan under consideration for several years by the Iroquois, or Six Nations, reviving the ancient tribal confederacy to meet modern conditions, says the Buffalo News. 

It may be that the plan, in some measure, will be applied to the Indians who are wards of the government. However, the Iroquois are not under Federal control.

Ths plan of the Iroquois is to create a fund of 1,000,000 million dollars to develop Industries and establish schools, and eventually a university. The sponsors of the project intend to begin the ambitious undertaking at Onondaga, N. Y., where a model village will be set up. 

There are today some 15.000 members of the Six Nations Senecas, Oneidas. Mohawks, Onondaga,  Cayugas and  Tuscaroras, about 6,000 are In New York, state and the remainder in Canada. 

In the days before and during the American Revolution, the Iroquois were efficiently self-governing. The “Long House” was their seat of government. The possibility that their old spirit and fundamental solidarity may be applied Industrially, educationally and otherwise to raise them again to the high estate is engaging. 

They have the right within limits that do not conflict with the order the white men have established in this land. The ‘ Indian bureau should be taken out of politics. There are black spots on this country’s record with regard to the red men, attributable to the political management of Indian affairs. 

Most of the Indians now are citizens. They should be placed in a position to help themselves to stand on their own feet.

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