The metaphor for combing out the twisted thoughts of Atataroh provides a window into the significance of hair combing amongst the Rotinohsyonni. Combing out the hair of a loved one was an act of complete compassion, and one meant to uplift the mind of both men and women.
Beyond the artistic composition lies a lesson intertwined in metaphor, identity and even a factual recollection of an event within Onkwehonwe world views. These are a visual representation of history.
Material: Moose Antler
Artist: Stanley Hill
Every comb was made with the intention of use and not merely as a decorative. It isn’t the same concept as utilitarianism. Still, it is often misinterpreted, resulting in gratitude and honour for the known cartography of Wisk Nihonwentsake and part witnessed events.
The combs were very personal and often buried with our dead. Unfortunately, there exists a market for Onkwehonwe antiquities that was left unchecked for several decades that resulted in many private collection holders.
Artist: Stanley Hill
As a result, the image of the “Indian” that white scholars manufactured has almost entirely missed the cultural implications of these stunning pieces and the relationship Onkwehonwe maintained with them and vice versa.
Supporting the health of our minds was once dependant upon the act of loved ones compassionately combing out the twisted thoughts.
Revitalizing this practice is just as important as any modern therapy.
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.
While the fall fair season is quickly approaching, Extreme sports got a jump on the demolition derby season by showcasing one bad-ass heat after another this past Saturday, August 21st.
As temperatures rose, so did the hard-hitting action.
Officially categorized as non-racing motorsport, Demolition Derbys have been around since the ’50s and judging by the participants and the crowd this past weekend, it’s only gaining popularity. The best I can describe it is controlled chaos!
One thing that did not surprise me was the Onkwehonwe participants. Instead, it brought me back to my own childhood memories with a family full of car enthusiasts.
In the ’80s and ’90s, when I was first introduced to demolition derbies by my aunt and uncles, it was family-oriented, and the old field cars were now taking center stage at the fall fairs. It was fast-paced, and there were constant mechanical upgrades to solidify the front end or reinforce the interior. It was an adrenaline rush, and getting to participate in painting a character or two on the side or trunk was always coveted by the young budding artist in our family. It was a way to connect and work together or talk shop.
Not much has changed as the next generations are keeping it a family tradition. The categories for the types of vehicles have widened, and basic requirements to participate vary from event to event. Still, the passion for demolition derby engineering and perfecting the art of smashing bumpers are as strong as it was when I was a little girl.
One thing for certain, It’s a flex for the adrenaline junkie, and the mechanic all rolled into one.
Good Luck, Guys and Gals, for the upcoming demolition derby season.
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!
Ohsweken August 18 2021-Thanks to the quick rain shower ending just before the run, the first annual Johnathan Styres memorial run was successful. About 40 participants and supporters gathered at the corner of First-line and Mohawk road to run to the Grand River and back.
Gratitudes were shared, giving thanks for the natural world and reminders for keeping connected with our old ways opened the event.
For organizers, volunteers and participants, the event coming to fruition was meaningful in so many ways. “Im running for my grandpa who passed last year,” said one youth while others were running for the numerous friends and family members lost through addiction-related causes.
These are the hidden stories that are in some way related to ineffective coping with traumatic events having endured as the reality that exists for many Onkwehonwe people.
While Jonathan’s tragic and untimely death continues to affect so many within the Grand River community, This run today stood as a reminder of his memory and how every child does matter as they deal with the impacts of colonialism.
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.
It isn’t enough to acknowledge that generational trauma exists. We should be examining how it often guides the actions of those who experience it. Generational trauma needs to be accepted and treated just like any other health condition with its signs and symptoms, especially amongst Onkwehonwe community members.
This is precisely why Matthew Whitlow created Mind-Body-Whole. Matthew himself admits that he has struggled with addictions for half of his life and hasn’t always been the person he wanted to be. A father and grandfather now, Matt chooses to appreciate life and learn how to heal and move forward.
In 2016, Matthew was with his close friend Johnathan Styres when John died during an alleged auto theft. It changed everything for Matthew, including pushing him into his first step of recovery.
August 18th, Matthew will be running our roads to share a message of empowerment and honouring his friend who never had the chance to choose to turn his life around.
Matt knows It’s not going to be easy, and rediscovering the connections within Onkwehonweneha is key to our survival; it must be available to our entire population.
If you would like to participate or support, contact MBWrecovery@gmail.com or contact directly at 905-517-0383 for August 18th or if you are interested in recovery support through a holistic approach.
This original deed is in the safe at SS12 on Six Line, at Six Nations Of The Grand River, since five years ago, the other day I verified it is still there. It is the 1st DEED for Lot 4 West Range Mckenzie Road, CALEDONIA. The farm on the south edge of LANDBACK LANE, where I grew up, The HUTTON FARM. Robert Anderson died and left it to his sister in Scotland, near Dundee, way up along the northeast coast, she married a Hutton.
The farm shows the owner as Jas Hutton in the 1879 Haldimand County Atlas. This is my great grandfather James Hutton.
The deed demonstrates the debt owed by the crown to the Haudenosaunee People based on the £135 (and change) paid to the NDN Affairs Office.
Today it would amount to a minimum current debt over $13,000,000. The crown appropriated 95% of the Haldimand Tract, aside from lifelong leases of 99 years, forged to 999 years!
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.
Originally Published in March 1959 By PAUL KIDD, Spectator Staff Writer
The 6,000 Indians who have their homes in the Grand River Country are sitting on a volcano.
And it is one that could explode without warning.
Behind what some outsiders regard as the incredible happenings of the last two days on the Six Nations Reserve, 25 miles from Hamilton, a dangerous situation is smouldering.
This is recognized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who are waiting for “a tribal showdown” at any time between the elective and hereditary councils.
It could, said Inspector H.C. Forbes, result in mob violence.
“IT’S OUR JOB to see that this doesn’t happen,” declared the officer commanding the London subdivision, who has moved on to the reservation to take personal charge of the Ohsweken detachment.
If and when such a fracas did come, armed Mounties would probably have to act as “referees”.
So far it has been a bloodless revolution. Some 1,000 supporters of the Confederacy, ignoring RCMP warnings that they were breaking the law, tore down the doors of the council house and reinstalled the hereditary chiefs in power.
BUT the elected councillors, who slipped out of a back door 10 minutes before the building was broken into, have the support of hundreds of Indians who favor the democratic system of internal government introduced in 1924.
This faction has so far voiced no protest. To the Mounties, it is an ominous silence.
It is believed that the elective system’s supporters – of which there are at least 700 – may soon hold a mass meeting to indicate their rejection of the hereditary council.
If the two groups clashed, it is hard to predict what would happen, observers say.
IN THE MEANTIME, the RCMP will continue to recognize the elected council as the legal governing body on the reservation.
But the Confederacy has proclaimed itself the territory’s “only government.”
For the hereditary chiefs are seriously applying every word of their proclamation of independence, which outlawed the RCMP as the law enforcement agency at Ohsweken.
Supported by at least 1,000 men, women and children – and maybe more – the Confederacy is showing disregard for Canada and its laws.
“If one of our people should break the law, we will arrest and try him,” said 26-year-old Irvin Logan, who has been named “Chief of the Iroquois Police.”