If this Federal Election is anything like previous ones, many Onkwehonwe will not be participating in the federal election. But Why?
Quite simply, We have violated the obligations to our wampums and lifeways.
If Canada does not understand its laws or treaties to follow them, then why would Onkwehonwe understand it?
Canada is not a developed country or even a first-world one. It is confused about its role globally; it has no confidence in itself but has resorted to authoritarian tactics to manage objections.
Reducing the Rafters
One of the reasons the proverbial rafters were removed was the length of time it took to pass the matters back and forth across the fire. That is how we arrived at a consensus as Rotinonhsyonni, and we took as long as we needed to ensure that it was a good fit for everyone. If it wasn’t, then it wasn’t considered further until Our Nations reached mutually beneficial terms.
The federal system has a long and demonstrated history of “Killing the Indian to Save the Man” and continues to interfere in efforts to preserve our Rotinonhsyonni lifeways.
Those who wish to understand and choose to live on the Kayanerekowa and the responsibility that comes with walking that path have chosen to restore the intrinsic relationship with the natural world. This is what reconciliation actually looks like.
The continued attempts to encourage people to vote in the Canadian election on what little territory we have left is insulting to many. Meanwhile, No one is stopping anyone from voting, but the continued pressure by select members of the community to host election stations in Oshweken is a perpetuation of cultural genocide. No one is stopping anyone from departing the canoe, But stop trying to coerce anyone else to follow.
The Two-Row should remind Onkwehonwe to stay out of the ship’s matters and mind our own; otherwise, your ship awaits you!
After the Tekanawita had finished giving the message of Skennen, Kanikonriio and Kasatsensera to the Onkwehonwe, he said, “Now I have completed my duty given to me by Rawenniio.
I have tried to unite all the native peoples on this island, but I have made little progress. But, finally, I was able to get the consent of the Wisk Nihonwentsake; Kanienkehaka, Oneiote’aka, Onontake’aka, Kaionke’aka and the Onontowanen’aka, to accept the Kaianerekowa, and that is a start.
I have planted the Tioneratase’kowa, and its Four White Roots of Peace shall go out in all directions. So that if any nation traces these roots to their source and desire to follow the laws I have laid down, they may join the League of the Great Peace.
I now leave it in the hands of you, the united people, to carry on the ways of Rawenniio. So that other nations shall know the law and join with you for the future good and welfare of all native peoples’.
Now I must go across the great water to an evil people. They have forgotten the ways and instructions of Rawenniio, and it is my duty to bring the message to them.
Before Tekanawita left, the people asked him, “How will we know of your well-being? And when will you return?”
Tekanawita replied, “There is a certain tree that you must chop in the spring, and if blood should flow from it, you will know I have been killed. But if nothing flows from the wound, then you will know I am well. You will see me return in my stone canoe, which will glow in the distance in the direction of the horizon of the rising sun.”
Then he walked to the river with the people, who wished Tekanawita good luck on his journey. He put his stone canoe in the water and paddled swiftly in the direction of the rising sun until he could no longer be seen in the distance. Finally, the people returned to their homes.
Every spring, as Tekanawita instructed them, the people chopped this particular tree. But no blood flowed from it, and they knew he was alive and well. So every spring, the people carried this out for many years until they chopped the tree, and blood flowed from it one day. Then, the people said, “Tekanawita has been killed, and he shall return.”
In the distance, the people saw a bright light coming over the eastern horizon, and they went to gather by the riverside, waiting for Tekanawita to arrive. They came with food, drink, clothes and gifts to offer him on his return.
When Tekanawita arrived in his stone canoe, the people rushed forward to welcome him back. They wanted to kiss and hug him because they were glad to see him once again.
But Tekanawita said to them, “Do not touch me, for I am not the same as you anymore, for I no longer have a living body such as yours.”
The people were saddened and asked Tekanawita what had happened to him in the land across the great water. He replied that he spoke to these people about the message from Rawenniio, and they listened to him. For many years he tried to reason with these people, but they did not want to follow the laws of Rawenniio. They became angry with him, put him upon two pieces of wood, put holes in his hands and feet with metal spikes, and placed a wreath of thorns on his head. They speared him, tortured him, spat at him and ridiculed him.
Now that they had killed his body, Tekanawita would go into the woods to cover himself with bark. The people asked him, “Who will be our leader now that you will be gone? How will we communicate with you now that you will no longer be here in body? ”
Tekanawita replied, “Tharoniawakon will be your leader; he never grows old, and he never will die. So I will tear off a piece of my flesh and throw it on the ground. From this will grow oienkwa’onwe which you will use to communicate with Rawenniio and me.
You must always plant it, harvest it and respect it, for it shall be how you shall communicate your words to Rawenniio and thanks for all of his creation.
You must always burn this oyenkwa’onwe on a wood fire since I have covered myself in the bark. So I will rest here in the woods and listen and watch over you forever.
If you should ever be saddened, depressed, or have any problems which you cannot solve, grab hold of a tree, and you shall become well again. But, should troubled times ever return to the people and the world become evil once again, you must burn this oyenkwa’onwe on a wood fire and call my name three (3) times, and I shall return.”
Tekanawita then went into the forest and covered himself with bark. There he still rests in spirit, listening and watching over the affairs of the Onkwehonwe peoples in the hope that all peoples will hear, understand and accept the Kaianerekowa. And abide by the principles of Skennen, Kanikonriio and Kasatsensera, the ways of Rawenniio.
As the crown sold off farms, any money paid to the NDN Affairs Office was hoarded, stolen, squandered, borrowed, and fraudulently invested in a conspiracy involving the Grand River Navigation Company.
Just one example, Six Nations were MANIPULATED into owning 75% of this company, which NEVER SHOWED ANY PROFIT BEFORE OR AFTER, and with only 1 NDN on the board of directors. It floundered when the railway arrived in 1855 and went bankrupt.
THE CO-OWNER who sold his shares WAS THE NDN AFFAIRS AGENT for Six Nations and the ELECTED MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR HALDIMAND COUNTY in the Upper Canada legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
HE BUILT A MANSION ON 1,500 ACRES near Cayuga with the loot he had and named it RUTHVEN; HIS NAME WAS Colonel David Thompson of the War of 1812. THE OTHER CO-OWNER, Wm Hamilton Merritt, HAD HELD BOTH HIGH RANKING POSITIONS BEFORE HIM and somehow transferred power to his partner when accused of financial crimes while in office.
The pair had previously built the Welland Canal together, flooding many acres of Six Nations Land in the Dunnville area when a canal and dam were built to supply extra water to the Welland Canal lock system.
That dam ended up being the first dam used and others upstream to create the Grand River Navigation Company canal and lock system, which began transporting goods and settlers along the Grand River, CREATING A MASS INFLUX OF IMMIGRATION TO THE HALDIMAND TRACT along the Grand River beginning in the 1830s.
Colonel David Thompson probably promoted the railroad’s coming as the representative for Haldimand County. His insider information would have convinced him to dump his shares and co-owners shares of the GRNC by coercing Six Nations’ purchase of the 75% ownership in it.
The conspiracy becomes clear to anyone who learns this hidden history of deceit and duress. It is no wonder the land along the Haldimand Tract is called stolen land, as Six Nations have never received payment, and so, it’s all NDN LAND!
The Ideological Colonization of Rotiskenrakehte misinterpreted as the “Warrior,” has contributed to diminishing the responsibility of these Nation members and reducing their role into trouble makers existing on the fringe of our society. It also entirely dismisses a closely related spiritual responsibility referred to as Oyenko:ohntoh.
Rotiskenrakehte describes a state of being and mindset conceptually translated as the men who carry the burden of their ancestors, referring to what we are made of. Oyenko:ohton, on the other hand, exists in a constant state of awareness of responsibility conceptually translated to those who hang/care/prepare the tobacco in conjunction with an established relationship that is often hidden or unseen.
The Oyenko:ohntoh carried strong medicine such as Oyenkwehonwe that contributed to the greater good behind the scenes without calling attention unless compromised. It is associated with a broader thought pattern that sees a contemplation of every action of everyday life and not while just engaging in the matters that lead to disagreeableness.
Neither is a hive-minded arrangement but one most closely related to trees. Together to support but still be responsible for one’s actions.
The violent warrior was created as a symbol based on misunderstanding and fear of the first settlers and passed down as their version of generational inheritance. Now it is interfering with the related concepts and responsibilities.
We all have responsibilities within our nations; Rotiskenrakehte and Oyenko:ohntoh are just a few concepts requiring increased understanding.
Tekanawita, a Huron-Wendat, brought the Great Law of Peace and ended civil war amongst the Mohawks. His words offer a possible solution to political divisions in Kanesatake.
The Great Law is the social, political and spiritual constitution of the Six Nations, the Mohawks, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora Nations. Tekanawitas’ words have been passed down orally and have become part of the cultural fabric of the Kanienkehaka people. This system of traditional government and chiefs exists in most Mohawk communities. However, it is not recognized nor supported financially, politically or legally by the Canadian government. Nevertheless, it is recognized in most Mohawk communities as the legitimate Mohawk government by the majority.
The only First Nations governments recognized by the Canadian government are the elected band councils. Band councils are a British colonial creation designed in the 1840s to undermine indigenous government systems and substitute them with a municipal form of government. Band councils are composed of a grand chief and a number of chiefs depending on the populations of the band. The Grand Chief is essentially the mayor, and the chiefs are councillors. The term “chiefs” is only cultural icing for a municipal council.
The Canadian government supports band councils financially, legally and politically to deliver programs, services and information to First Nations peoples. Band councils may pass municipal by-laws only, subject to the approval of the Minister of Indian Affairs, provided they are not considered unconstitutional. They do not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This is a democracy, according to Canadians, their leaders and the media. It is not a democracy, according to First Nations peoples. The Dominion of Canada’s intentions in 1867 was to thrust “democracy” on Mohawk communities and implement it by force if necessary. The Dominion Police, the RCMP, Provincial Police forces and Federal law attempted to abolish First nations forms of government-provided that force. Those that refused “democracy” were branded and treated as “criminals and hotheads”. Thus, creating the stereotype of Native Peoples that resisted the coercive policies of the Government, the Churches, and the law as threats to “law and order.”
As hard as the Federal government, Police and Church-run residential schools tried to suppress First Nations socials, cultural and political structures; our people secretly kept our languages and cultures alive. Part of that cultural transmission was chiefs were chosen to represent their people. That included consulting the wishes of the people and making decisions in their best interest.
If a chief or chiefs ever lost the esteem of their people, the people could ask the clan mothers to remove the offending chiefs from office. Mohawk society is matrilineal, and women pass on their clan and citizenship to their children. Once a chief was removed from office, he never regained it as his removal was considered a disgrace.
According to Mohawk society, this is a responsible government, as their leaders remained leaders as long as they worked for the welfare of their people and held the popular support of their people. However, once they no longer worked for the welfare or lost the esteem of the people, their horns of a chief’s office were removed, and they were forced to step down as a chief.
The band council system introduced by the Indian Act of 1876 changed this to chiefs being elected by popular votes, with the candidates winning the most votes becoming elected leaders. Consensus in Mohawk society was replaced with the creation of opposing parties. The party having the quorum or majority of seats has the political power and recognition of the Department of Indian Affairs to pass by-laws. Once the chiefs have been elected, they are no legal obligations for the party having the ability to consult with their constituents.
Thus, a handful of “chiefs” can negotiate an agreement with the Federal government without obtaining the approval of the opposing party of chiefs and the people living on the reserve. And this is the root of the political problems in Kanesatake.
The people living in Kanesatake want a responsible government that listens, consults and follows the community’s wishes. And if its ruling party fails to do that, to have the right to call for a non-confidence vote to remove their leaders from power.