Government is such a horrible word for Onkwehonwe (indigenous) people because it has the word govern in it. Every now and then arguments open up on Haudenosaunee Facebook pages with people trying to decide if the traditional government was historically democratic, republic or socialist. Most agree with the phrase “egalitarian society.”
The thing about our ancient government is that no individual actually governed. Each man, woman, and child possessed their own voice and authority which was given by the Creator.
It was vital to the Peace that each family was equal to one another and each person in the family was equal as well, there were no classes or castes, black sheep or castoffs. Each person retained their autonomy which created a complete decentralization of power without sacrificing individual identity. Forget what you have been taught, these lands were not filled with chaos and bloodshed thousands of years ago, quite the opposite actually.
All of these concepts are contained within the Circle Wampum which the late Jagwedeth Sandy used to call Kentyohkwenhahsta. Francis Boots a fluent elder from Akwesasne agreed with Sandy and says in it another way when he says, “We are all the same height.”
As it pertains to authority, 500 years ago everybody had the authority of a chief, even kids. That’s why today the social-cultural differences between indigenous people and their Canadian and American visitors are vast. Two different worldviews have been colliding since 1492, both thinking the other is backwards.
Hollywood did tremendous damage to the image and identity of the Onkwehonwe (Original People) and now we have mostly forgotten who we are and who our ancestors used to be. True teachings are guarded and scarce and in today’s age, it seems like trust has been lost.
So, for all the damage done by the Canadians and their colonizing, it makes sense that many families on Six Nations do not know what their clan even is anymore and many do not have a sanctioned clan family which they belong to. Haudenosaunee people are supposed to have only one right, which is the right to a clan, the rest are responsibilities.
If this is indeed true then logically we can see that the HCCC is actually allowing the Elected Council to exist by not properly representing those most adversely affected by colonization. Instead of pointing to 1924 they need to help their cousins, nieces and nephews find their way back to their clans and stop forcing those same voters to vote for Elected Council year after year due to lack of better options.
It seems like those who are without a traditional clan family are often blamed for their own clanlessness, as if they are enemies of the Confederacy or something. This needs to stop.
Once all the families of Six Nations Territory are properly represented at HCCC then for the first time we can have a legitimate council that everyone can take part in. Until some forgiveness and reconciliation happens internally, Six Nations Elected Council will continue to represent the clanless and the voiceless who have nowhere else to turn.
SNEC was never meant to be a government. They are a de facto government kept in place by military and police force.