STATEMENT OF UNITY ON GRAND RIVER AKA HALDIMAND TRACT
Grand Back, (officially Grand River United Front) is a collective of concerned Grand River residents, from Haudenosaunee supporters and land defenders to the many brave-hearted people of Brantford and beyond that have been fiercely resisting the almost total devastation of our Haldimand Tract heartlands.
To name a few desecrated lands Arrowdale, Oak Park Road Expansion, Shellards lane to the occupied lands in Paris, Caledonia, Cambridge, Waterloo and on and on. Our show of unity is a direct action to let all Developers and the City of Brantford know that our home is not for sale! Our treaty rights are not for sale!
The Development Moratorium put in place by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council on the Haldimand Tract, a land promised to the Mohawk and Such others of the Six Nations allows for time to resolve ongoing land rights issues, this time is integral for establishing a meaningful understanding of the underlying problems with rampant development.
The ceaseless encroachments into these promised lands is enough. The Grand River United Front will build partnerships with our allies at large to end forced dispossession and to restore the Haldimand Tract.
Honor the Moratorium, Restore the Haldimand Tract!
GRAND BACK Grand River United Front Haldimand Tract est.1784
MORATORIUM ON DEVELOPMENT
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy at Grand River has put in place a moratorium on development in the Haldimand Tract. No development can proceed along the Haldimand Tract without the consent of the Haudenosaunee.
We understand that we share these lands with our Allies and we all agree to uphold the agreements between our people to live in peace, friendship and trust. Our vision for the future is self-determined, based in our inherent right to protect our lands for future generations of Haudenosaunee children.
The Haudenosaunee intend to exercise our jurisdiction over our lands and waters in a way that maintains the delicate balance between Creation and humans, focusing on sustainability and responsiveness to climate change to protect waterways and ecologically sensitive areas.
The moratorium builds on our Land Rights Statement (2006) to end the exploitation of lands and resources along the Tract and marks a shift on land stewardship within a portion of the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee.
Contact Grand Back email@example.com
Instagram Gallery @grandriverunitedfront
Disclaimer: Yakowennahskats does not endorse this statement but sharing as part of the ongoing battles against colonial interference. Please contact the page directly for any information.
The Council of Chiefs of the Haudenosaunee, Grand River Territory, wish to affirm and clarify our land rights in the tract conferment by Governor Frederick Haldimand on October 25, 1784. In making this statement, the Council of Chiefs wants to make it clear that we hold certain land ethics and principles that must be respected in any agreements on land use or occupation. The Haudenosaunee, and its governing authority, have inherited the rights to land from time immemorial. Land is a birthright, essential to the expression of our culture.
With these land rights come specific responsibilities that have been defined by our law, from our Creation Story, the Original Instructions, the Kaianeren:kowa (Great Law of Peace) and Kariwiio (Good Message). Land is envisioned as Sewatokwa’tsherea’t, (the Dish with One Spoon); this means that we can all take from the land what we need to feed, house and care for our families, but we also must assure that the land remains healthy enough to provide for the coming generations. Land is meant to be shared among and by the people and with other parts of the web of life. It is not for personal empire building.
First and foremost is the concept that we are connected to the land in a spiritual way. The earth is our mother and she provides for our long-term well-being, provided that we continue to honour her and give thanks for what she has provided. We Haudenosaunee have upheld our tradition of giving thanks through ceremony, and in the cultural practices that manifest our beliefs, values, traditions and laws. Planting, cultivating, harvesting, gathering, hunting, and fishing also have spiritual aspects that must be respected and perpetuated if the land is to provide for our future generations, and the future generations of our neighbours. We are stewards. Our spiritual obligation is part of that stewardship.
Second, according to our law, the land is not private property that can be owned by any individual. In our worldview, land is a collective right. It is held in common, for the benefit of all. The land is actually a sacred trust, placed in our care, for the sake of coming generations. We must protect the land. We must draw strength and healing from the land. If an individual, family or clan has the exclusive right to use and occupy land, they also have a stewardship responsibility to respect and join in the community’s right to protect land from abuse.
We have a duty to utilize the land in certain ways that advance our Original Instructions. All must take responsibility for the health of our Mother.
Our ancestors faced overwhelming odds and relentless pressure to give up our lands. We all know that unscrupulous measures were employed to seduce our ancestors into “selling” the land. At other times, outright fraud took place, as was acknowledged in the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The agreements we recognize reflect an intention to share land, and to lease land, within the context of the Covenant Chain relationship that our nations maintain with the Crown.
Our wampum belts, treaty council documents and oral history inform us that we always retained the right to hunt, fish, and gather upon all of our lands. This reflects the spirit of sharing that we expect to continue and is another example of the Dish with One Spoon.
We seek justice in our long-standing land rights issues. We seek an accurate accounting of the use and investment of the funds held by the Crown on our behalf, and land transactions conducted by the Crown involving our lands. For nearly two hundred years our Chiefs have been asking for such accounting and justice. Generations of our elders have passed away with these matters unresolved. It is time to end the injustice.
Our faith in the Canadian people is strong, as we feel that the majority of Canadians also want to see justice on these matters. However, their elected representatives and public servants have failed to act effectively to address and resolve these matters. It is time to lift the cloud of denial and to wipe away the politics that darken the vision of the future. It is time we are heard clearly, and our cases should be addressed with utmost good faith and respect. We firmly believe that if we have respect and trust, we will find mutually agreeable solutions that will reflect our long-standing friendship.
We want the land that is ours. We are not interested in approving fraudulent dispossessions of the past. We are not interested in selling land. We want the Crown to keep its obligations to treaties, and ensure all Crown governments-federal, provincial and municipal-are partners in those obligations. We want an honourable relationship with Canada.
That relationship, however, must be based on the principles that were set in place when our original relationship with the Crown was created. That is the rule of law that we seek. It involves the first law of Canada-the law that Canada inherited from both France and Britain. It is the law of nations to respect the treaties, to not steal land, or take advantage of indigenous peoples by legal trickery. As the Supreme Court of Canada has frequently stated, where treaties are involved, the honour of the Crown is always at stake.
We seek to renew the existing relationship that we had with Crown prior to 1924. That relationship is symbolized by the Tehontatenentsonterontahkwa (“The thing by which they link arms”) also known as the Silver Covenant Chain of Peace and Friendship. Our ancestors met repeatedly to repolish that chain, to renew its commitments, to reaffirm our friendship and to make sure that the future generations could live in peace, and allow the land to provide its bounty for the well-being of all the people. The Covenant Chain symbolizes our treaty relationship, also symbolized by Tekani Teyothata’tye Kaswenta (Two Row Wampum), which affirms the inherent sovereignty and distinctness of our governments. An essential part of the relationship is our commitment to resolve matters through good-faith negotiation between our governments, including consultation on any plans, which might affect the other government or its people.
In any land issues, we want it understood that the following principles will govern any actions taken by the Haudenosaunee Council of Chiefs of the Grand River Territory:
The land is sacred to us. It defines our identities, belief system, languages and way of life.
We hold the aboriginal and treaty title to our lands collectively.
Our treaty relationship with the Crown is still alive and in force and directs our conduct in our relationship to Canada Within this relationship, the terms of the treaties continue to bind both our government and the Crown.
We require a careful accounting for the Crown’s dealing with our lands, and return of any lands that were improperly or illegally taken from our ancestors.
We require an accounting for the funds administered or held by the Crown for the Six Nations people, and restitution of any funds unaccounted for.
It is not only within the context of our treaty relationship with the Crown that we see justification for such accounting and restitution. Canadian and international law is clear on the right of the Haudenosaunee to see justice on these matters.
In any agreements with the Crown concerning land our goal is to promote and protect a viable economy for our people on our land-an economy that will be culturally appropriate, environmentally sustainable, and not injurious to our people and our neighbours.
Our fundamental approach is that Six Nations lands will come under the jurisdiction, management and control of Six Nations people. The federal and provincial governments must not impose jurisdictional, policing, taxation, and/or economic activities as part of the land rights settlement.
Our people, our laws, and our government have survived by being thoughtful, respectful, diligent and practical. In our relations with the Crown, and in any negotiations concerning land and the resolution of land-related issues, we will continue to apply those principles.
If you know me well, you know, I like to make analogies of the things I see.
I stopped to take a break from travelling at one of my favourite spots by the river. I noticed that the barn swallows that nest under the bridge have returned, along with the chimney swifts—incredible little birds. I sat watching them come back and forth from their little mud nests high up on the underside of the bridge.
A great blue heron flew by a while later, and the giant bird made the swallows look like mosquitoes; such a big impressive bird can’t help but take our attention away from the little swallows, like eagles and sparrows.
Anyways, the heron had passed, and my attention was back on the swallows; I noticed how colourful, fast and agile they are in the air compared to the lumbering heron.
The heron is large, solid and impressive, but the swallows are colourful, speedy and agile. We all have our purpose, some better suited to one thing than others. The moral of the story is we’re all unique, and No one person is better than the next. Try not to focus on what others are better at than you are; jealousy serves none. Appreciate your worth because that person might be thinking the same about you.
Fish will always be seen as incapable when we compare them to a squirrel in a tree-climbing contest.
Three Mohawks and A Mohican walk into a royal court, and they were made KINGS. They showed up to make sure the Queen was doing right by the Onkwehonwe allies.
Having survived the six to eight-week crossing by ship, The four men would have appeared as beacons of health and strength, the likes that most had never seen. The ensuing fanfare was not enough to allow important matters to be forgotten.
The Queen Anne War was interfering with Onkwehonwe lands and the Kayanerekowa since her accession to the throne in 1702. It was among many in a series of “French and British” wars; in all reality, these wars had nothing to do with Onkwehonwe but were merely happening within our territories.
In 1710 the man who arranged the voyage was Kwiter (Peter) Shuyler, The first official mayor of Albany turned Governor of New York and brother to the official “Mohawk” Translator. He was also a military man, having led several earlier notable battles against the French and their Mohawks.
To ensure that the spokesmen were equal parts, savage and savant, they were given clothing by a theatrical assistant and offered the finest materials. Royal treatment was bestowed to the guest to ensure success on the British side of the war.
The separation of the Kanienkahaka families as French Allie’s was devastating, and petitions to come home by the Kanyenkahaka families as British Allies caused a great deal of distress for the nation. These efforts further caused tremendous unrest for both warring countries’ statesmen and missionaries alike, who were only vying for territorial assets control.
With all the pomp, circumstance and grave misinterpretations of language, Onkwehonwe survival in peace has always balanced our exception to war.
In 1703, tensions grew from ratihnaraken encroachment on territory, and It just so happened to be where the Tuscarora lived and thrived for ages untold. According to David Cusick; The Tuscarora crossed a great vine that unfortunately separated them from their family once the crossing became too dangerous.
The boundaries for where the settlers were to remain had started to move, and they were given years of reminders, but it wasn’t until 1711, and the death of a trespasser named John Lawson brought these tensions boiling over.
The act of war had been deliberated by Clan Mothers, Chiefs and Warriors, and included their relations words. This deliberation went on for nearly a decade before any actions took place in 1711
Even then, it was to only lay waste to any villages of trespassers who had been given ample opportunity to remove themselves from the protected forests and clearings.
The British historians of the era had wildly exaggerated The loss of life, and the wordsmiths claimed that it was the Tuscarora who had killed many innocent people. In fact, it was the Tuscarora who had suffered greatly at the force of a combined North Carolinian and South Carolinian British militia.
This war and the eventual rape, torture and enslavement of their people may have impacted the visiting Tuscarora’s decision in the 1780s in New York State during the American revolution when they returned home rather than coming to Canada to fight alongside the British.
In 1803 years after the Tuscarora had reunited with members of their nations who had remained in North Carolina, The Nation set about reminding the USA that despite the efforts to kill them all, They had only missed a few thousand of them. Thus the United States of America rekindled the war on Tuscarora territory.
The few warriors who stayed back with their Seneca cousins in New York would again take up arms, but this time for the United States of America. They would commit a grave act with their services to the United States; The few Tuscarora who remained took up arms against their elder brother nation during the war of 1812.
The 1812 war itself was not in favour or against the Onkwehonwe, and the Oneida bid to remain neutral was observed by the entire confederacy until such time that our peace was broken. While we were never meant to take up arms against each other, The war of 1812 served as a valuable reminder as to why we are not to fight wars for other nations.
On the other hand, the 1711 North Carolina Tuscarora war has never had peace declared, leaving one to boldly state that they remain the Bad### cousin who survived every attempt to eradicate them and are STILL warriors
My name is Shel (Michele) of the Tuscarora Nation. I live in Six Nations, Ontario. I wanted to let you know I’ve joined the David Suzuki Foundation’s Butterflyway Project as a volunteer Butterfly Ranger.
The project is a resident-led movement that is creating habitat for local bees and butterflies in communities throughout Canada.
In my role as a Butterflyway Ranger, I am looking for friends and neighbours from Six Nations of the Grand that can help fill our yards with native wildflowers that support pollinating insects.
My hope is that together we can start small – adding native plants to our gardens and yards this spring – but dream big, with hopes of creating a network of pollinator patches in yards, parks and schools throughout our community.
Four goals to help pollinators on Six Nations are:
Create dedicated native plant gardens
Create 100 new milkweed patches to help Monarch butterflies
Create an online one-stop-shop of information about how to help our native pollinators.
I am currently training to expand my knowledge about native plant gardens & care and their pollinators. I would be happy to provide more information and guidance.
I look forward to hearing back from you! If you have any questions or comments, drop them in the comments below and I will get back to you soon. Nya:weh (thank you) for your time.
The 100,000-year-old ways belonging to the Onkwehonwe civilizations were outdated and were very difficult for the new country to adapt to. They presented significant hurdles according to the colonization schedule; the new Canadian state needed a new and shiny tool that would keep the savages separated from their federal system but would stroke the egos of Onkwehonwe.
Onkwehonwe women are the life-givers keepers of the Nations’ land while men protect it and the women as they live their roles. Men are not superior or inferior, for that matter. It’s about balancing respectfully within the world that gave Onkwehonwe Women the power of absolute freedom, first documented by Jesuits in the 1600s despite these types of balancing displays having existed for thousands of years.
The Canadian strategy targeted this balance by removing women’s voices from political matters for over 116 years. This strategy effectively removed the unbroken matrilineal bloodlines for millions of women and even forced them out of their community by having male members siding with the young nation.
Despite being a common practice amongst some onkwehonwe nations, women took men from other nations as partners for as long as we have been here. It was a means to redistribute the gene pool and avoid inbreeding into oblivion properly.
Onkwehonwe women did not get the right to vote equally until 1985, unlike their non-native counterparts, having earned their right in 1916. Still, many Onkwehonwe do not vote in any federally recognized elections to this day.
The VOTE out of the canoe
Excerpt of Letter signed Nov 2nd, 1896, by Governor-General John Campbell Hamilton Gordon Signed with a simple “X” by three Indian Warriors and two Chiefs of the Iroquois Confederacy, witnessed by Seth Newhouse.