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Cultural bullying at NRL work shutdown not beneficial to anyone

Cultural bullying at NRL work shutdown not beneficial to anyone

Broken down to its core, bullying is unfair treatment. Negative, unfair treatment. In some instances, perpetrators will invent a false rumour about their victim in an attempt to manipulate others to join in on attacking their target. It’s different if someone really was caught doing something unethical — like stealing money for example. If the

Broken down to its core, bullying is unfair treatment. Negative, unfair treatment.

In some instances, perpetrators will invent a false rumour about their victim in an attempt to manipulate others to join in on attacking their target.

It’s different if someone really was caught doing something unethical — like stealing money for example. If the community does not trust them with money anymore that is NOT bullying.

But if a lie is formed to create a false narrative about a person — a fake story that isn’t based in fact — at that point any negative treatment that person receives due to the lie becomes bullying.

This week a terrible act of what we call cultural bullying was launched on Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation’s employees Matt Jamieson and Tabitha Curley when about 25 people blocked A6N workers from heading back to work.

Colin Martin has emerged in recent weeks as the new speaker for the HCCC. Martin took it upon himself to ask both Jamieson and Curley about their lineage.

When he asked Tabitha who she was and she answered by giving her name and clan family Colin asked her a question. “Are you saying you’re Haudenosaunee?”

Tabitha replied by saying, “Yes. And I’m saying I’m also a member of the Confederacy. Everybody here is.”

Colin’s reply was, “The confederacy council has allowed you to have that identity.”

This is a clear example of cultural bullying.

According to the Great Law and our Haudenosaunee way of being, Tabitha is Haudenosaunee by birth — she is Onondaga, Beaver Clan by virtue of being born into a family that loves her and holds her as one who belongs. And she is a member of Six Nations by virtue of being born into this community.

This is fact, and not something that needs to be qualified or verified by Colin Martin, the HCCC or anyone else.

Maybe it made Colin feel really important to be able to speak to Tabitha in this way. Was it proof that he knew more than her? Or maybe a demonstration to the people around him that he was better connected to the HCCC and knows the “real rules” of what it means to be a Haudenosaunee?

Another person in the crowd shouted out to Matt Jamieson, “What kind of a Haudenosaunee are you?” A question to which he replied, “I grew up here man.”

It was a good answer.

If the HCCC really feels like this is justifiable behaviour by all means, carry on.

But there are thousands of Haudenosaunee people whose identity and membership in this community does not depend on whether or not they have the HCCC’s permission to be called a Haudenosaunee.

There are thousands of people on Six Nations who belong to the 49 clan families, lineages that were disrupted by colonization. People who, through no fault of their own, don’t know who their clan or chief or clan mother may be. People who don’t deserve rejection or critical analysis by the HCCC or any of it’s speakers to qualify what box they fit in.

There is no Haudenosaunee measuring stick.

Cultural bullying only teaches us that we can’t trust each other.

We shouldn’t judge one another. If you are going to pass judgement — judge justly by examining both sides to a story and drawing an unbiased conclusion after the evidence is heard. Too many people have formed opinions about each other without having access to the facts and trusting rumours way too much.

We shouldn’t punish each other. If you are going to punish someone because you think they deserve it, whether it be the silent treatment or some other form of lateral violence you should recognize that punishment isn’t our way and it was taught to us through colonization, Christianization and residential school.

No matter how bad it gets in Six Nations we should remember what our ancestors went through in the name of peace. Think of the very first Grand Council when all 49 families were represented there. The Onondaga wizard Tadadaho had murdered Hiawatha’s daughters, and some say that Tadadaho either raped them or ate them, depending on who you ask. Either way it was super horrific and couldn’t be much worse.

Hiawatha and Tadadaho put their personal differences aside to find a pathway to peace — respecting one another’s differences and autonomy. One can only hope our current leadership can do the same thing.

6 comments
Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow

Nahnda Garlow, Onondaga under the wing of the Beaver Clan of Six Nations, is Outreach Editor for the Two Row Times. Her popular column, Scone Dogs and Seed Beads brings weekly thoughts on current day indigenous identity. Nahnda has been a journalist with the Two Row Times since it's founding in 2013. She studied Journalism, Human Rights and Indigenous Studies at Laurier University. She is a self-proclaimed "rez girl" who also brings to the Two Row Times years of experience as a Haudenosaunee cultural interpreter, traditional dancer and beadwork aficionado. Nahnda is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.

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6 Comments

  • Alex Jamieson
    May 6, 2019, 7:07 pm

    So Colin Martin, as an apparent representative of the HCCC/HDI, has stated (in effect) that the right of Six Nations people to have a voice on land rights issues depend on whether or not the "hereditary chiefs/clanmothers" recognize you as a Haudenosaunne person.
    These are the same people who have consistently and steadfastly refused to engage in a process of clan membership and titles research which may find that chiefs clan mothers don’t even belong to the clan they claim to represent.
    These are numerous concerns, usually spoken in hushed tones lest one also gets punished for questioning the actions of the hereditary and legitimacy of those who take it upon themselves to try to speak for our people when they themselves are taking control of our issues while "getting paid" at the same time.
    Yes the Band Council is guilty of the same, dictatorship, thing.
    When there is no other defense, the HCCC /HDI through, the actions of Colin Martin and mob rule, have chosen to make those who critique them targets in and attempt to discredit them.
    We need a public meeting, facilitated by an objective group.

    REPLY
  • Alex Jamieson
    May 6, 2019, 9:03 am

    Colin Martin seeks to emphasis the differences among our people rather than what we have in common. He (and others who support his behaviour) should have no role in community engagement and consensus-building/peace making. We will see how the HCCC deals with this divisive action, not only of emphasizing differences, but also the implication that this HCCC/HDI group will not hesitate to use force against our own people to gain a foothold in controlling developments on our territory. While yes the Band Council, with 7% voter participation, has no democratic mandate from the people, but then neither do the hereditary chiefs and clanmothers, who do not know who the vast majority of their clan members are, let alone getting their clan’s perspective on the issues before making decisions on their clan’s behalf. What we are left with are now two dictatorships running the show. What Great Peace?

    REPLY
  • John Hill
    May 2, 2019, 10:59 am

    Enough divisiveness already. We are all in this together and are all of the same heritage whether we attend longhouse or not. The HCCC and the SNEC are both for the improvement of life for our people and should not operate as adversaries. The HCCC states that the SNEC is an arm of the governments and does their bidding. But if the HCCC replaced the SNEC then they would become an arm of the government also. I am one of the ones who has their heritage and customs taken from them and would love to see everyone work together to correct this for all others in the same boat. I question Mr Martin and the HCCC’s right to question any member of Six Nations as to their heritage while taking orders from Aaron Detlor a non member. Times have changed in the last 100 years and so must we, something to think about as we use our big screen tv’s,microwaves, drive nice cars on paved roads. We now need move past our differences on both sides and work together to restore our culture. Kudo’s to the HCCC for saving our culture and customs and Kudo’s to SNEC for making Six Nations the best reserve in North America. Compassion,understanding,forgiveness and compromise should be shown by all people of Six Nations.

    REPLY
  • Teri
    May 2, 2019, 7:27 am

    @colin martin you need to sit down

    REPLY
  • Robert longboat
    May 1, 2019, 11:12 am

    What side am i on …….

    REPLY

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