Burtch Dilemma

We asked young adult readers about their opinions on the Burtch land controversy and a lot of them told us they did not know what or where Burtch even is — or who is even fighting for it.

Some readers complained about a perceived lack of co-operation between councils and the example that is being set.

It seems that the younger generation doesn’t care. Maybe because they don’t benefit either way or maybe their apathy is symptomatic of all post-millennials, but who gets to plant crops on top of the old jail isn’t the hottest topic right now. Everyone seems too busy with more importnat things like Snapchat or Instagram.

Also, it’s a very difficult subject to discuss.

Here on Six Nations, views on the Elected System versus the Traditional ways are deeply entrenched with rhetoric and dogma. Facts are not important in these discussions. We have learned to identify as either “us guys” or “yous guys” as they say in the local idiom.

Even today the U.S./Canadian border is inconveniencing our ancient family connections. Our nations have been suffering ever since the colonizing masters began programming us as Indians, compartmentalizing us on reserves and purposefully disconnecting us from one another.

Now Canada has created a false dilemma by forcing the people of Six Nations to choose between councils. With HDI now in charge of the Onondaga Longhouse it feels like we are being forced to choose between the old band council and the new one. Are there any 3rd options?

Imagine what a Six Nations wide referendum on the Burtch lands would look like. Why do we have to choose between one farmer over the other? Are we willing to explore other non-farming options that could provide a greater benefit for everyone on Six Nations?

The Mohawks of Tyendinaga have their own airport, for example. Maybe Six Nations could use its very own airport on Burtch as an exercise of sovereignty. For purposes of national security we should have jurisdiction over our own airspace as well as land and water.

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