SixMiles Inspiring Friends

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The Terry Fox Foundation for Cancer Research

This weekend was a first for Ohsweken, seeing its first annual Terry Fox Run. We caught up with event organizer Miles General and the SixMiles Inspiring Friends team to find out what inspired him to bring this event to the Grand River territory. 

General explains that he had just completed a two-year jail sentence less than a day when he received a visit from his grandmother Roma Laforme who passed away from Cancer just eight months after his release. 

He finds his inspiration for the event multifactoral and draws from his experience with sobriety, family and the personal goals that he has set for himself. 

Investing in community

Well travelled as both an ironworker, Lacross player and now coach, General found the most rewarding investment he has made is the one he has made to his community. He wanted to dedicate this effort to his Grandmother but soon realized he had to honour everyone in the community facing cancer and those who have lost a loved one. 

Not all heroes wear capes. 

The event drew Ryan Sandy’s attention, who himself is taking a scheduled break from radiation therapy for his diagnosis. However, his participation is admirable given the physical and sometimes unseen effects these treatments have on the mind, body, and spirit. Proof that we don’t know what others are going through in their battles. 

Statistically Speaking

First Nation Populations are at greater risk of experiencing some types of cancers compared to their non-native counterparts. So much so that specific programming is required to assist with supporting our communities. 

Talk to your health care team to learn more and Take care of yourselves. 

VOTE OUT OF THE CANOE

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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.

November 2, 1896 “They are no more Iroquois Government Subjects”

If Canada does not understand its laws or treaties to follow them, then why would Onkwehonwe understand it?  

“They haven’t killed us off yet, so I guess it’s not all bad,”

No One

 

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.

Ohsweken Clan Mothers and Chiefs circular 2021

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.

To add to the late Art Manual’s quote, “Quit crying on the shoulder of the people who are stealing your land,”… “Quit begging the system trying to assimilate you for membership.” 

Kanyenkehaka Citizen

The Two-Row should remind Onkwehonwe to stay out of the ship’s matters and mind our own; otherwise, your ship awaits you!

Back to School Is Not The Same For All Children

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Sage has been hesitant about attending school, which puzzled me because she is a social person. This morning, she told me that she was afraid that she would never see me again. 

My children know about the recent recoveries at the residential school, But unfortunately, Sage doesn’t understand the difference. It broke my heart; I reassured her that I would never let anyone take her away from me and that her school was NOT a residential school. 

She was terrified, with tears streaming down her face. I just held her really tight and told her that she was safe. I made sure to inform the school, and they will be talking to her as well. No one deserves to feel that way. 

I’m thrilled that we have a great support system to help me deal with these kinds of things. 

Remember to be grateful for the little things, Like our Children.

About the Author: Heather is Nehiyaw Metis on her mom’s side and Ojibwe Anishnaabe from Skownan First Nation in Treaty two territory in Manitoba.

Combing Out the Snakes: A Therapeutic Approach

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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.

Three Sisters

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.

Loons

Material: Bone

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. 

The Origin of Tobacco Amongst the Iroquois

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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.  

Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

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.

Michael Rice @copyright 1987

Image

Controlled Chaos

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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.

Binbrook, Ontario. Yakowennahskats

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.

Blast from the past Kathy Rene/General Winning a derby

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.

Ruthven and Various land grants, the total land lost amounted to up to 900,000 acres.

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As told By Jim Hutton

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. 

Welland Canal

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!

First Annual Jonathan Styres Memorial Run

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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.

Yakowennahskats

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.

Yakowennahskats

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.

Oyenko:ohntoh

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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.

“Rotiskenhraketakwa are like conscript fighters, men who would normally not be fighting except when conscripted to defend the peace, Oyenko:ohntoh are more akin to the Japanese samurai. One of our more sacred protection medicines is tobacco, oyenkwehonwe, and in the old days, it was cured by hanging it up in the rafters of the longhouse, arhenton, “in the shadows.” Thus, hanging tobacco in the longhouse rafters protects the house. Oyenko:ohntoh are not conscripts but sacred protectors; they are anonymous shadow warriors in a secret society whose duty it is to protect the house.”

 Taiaiake

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. 

Mind-Body-Whole

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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. 

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