I mostly went to #8 School growing up in the 1980s on Six Nations but one year my parents sent me to the portables at #3 school and it was pretty good there until it was shut down. In ancient times before the mega schools were built we had numbered schools from 1-12 sprinkled throughout the concessions. Now they are mostly parks.

Mohawk Road was entirely gravel back then so cars travelling by passed much slower and kicked up way more dust. Maybe that was one of the reasons why buses didn’t travel down my stretch of road. Except for Kindergarten, I had to walk half a concession up to 1st Line to catch a school bus.

All that ended the year Six Nations schools were shut down for asbestos. Yep asbestos, the same cancer causing product that U.S. President Trump is bringing back into fashion for Fall 2018.

But back in the late 80’s in response to the Six Nations asbestos crisis, a little Garlow named Jonathan was sent up north to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory for half a school year.

Attending the Bay of Quinte Elementary school was awesome because it was the first time I felt safe from bullying. Everyone was extra friendly to me (the quiet and nerdy visitor) and it was like an oasis, a respite from the constant physical assault and psychological torment that I had grown accustomed to from a segment of Six Nations students and teachers.

Although the wounds of my past are still healing I will choose to dwell on the good. I still think fondly of the Tyendinaga people and the school system there. They really take their planting and gardening to the next level. Nia:weh to Deanna and Ronald Brant, those guys are the very best.

Something horrible happened that allowed me to experience something great.

In 2006 I videotaped a unified Six Nations removing illegal O.P.P. officers from our land. Maybe they existed at the time but I wasn’t aware of any factions, it seemed like everyone was helping one another. Even Christian and Longhouse people were cooperating so I thought anything was possible at the time.

Canada started paying for negotiations and once their cash started to flow in I think it ruined the spirit of everything that our people had fought so hard for. We were fighting for justice and for our ancestors, not for money or for corporations.

Now it seems like we are fighting each other. We are doing to our own people exactly what the Canadian government did to us and it isn’t right.

Some people think that deleting the Elected Council is the answer but without a better plan in place I think demolishing the admin building would just make everything worse. Look at the collapse of HDI right now and imagine if that was our entire government.

So hate it or love it, the Elected Council to our Nations is like a bionic implant that was engrafted by evil colonial engineers – yes, maybe it should be removed but we can’t just rip it out easy-peasy without doing collateral damage. Don’t get mad at me for saying the truth.

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