OPINION: Elected leaders advocates for growth, not just merely administrators

In this election year, accusations of misconduct and theft toward the Six Nations Elected Council and their employees has hit an all-time high.

Claim after claim emerges from the Grand River Gossip Group multiple times a day — intent on spreading rhetoric that the community’s elected leaders are “merely administrators”.

This is not new. The “merely administrators” meme is a public relations device that can be traced back to a strategy document drafted for the Haudenosaunee Confederacy by a lawyer from Toronto on how the hereditary chiefs can claim governing power. That strategy outlined several steps the Confederacy needed to take to claim authority as a “true government”; including using the press to get the community to accept the “merely administrators” narrative and pushing for SNEC surrender letter.

Actually, Six Nations elected leaders and council employees have been doing way more than “merely administrating” — actively advocating for the community and proving themselves to be strong negotiators and powerful networkers making strides for change — working to bridge the socio-economic gaps that exist between indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

In 2013 SNEC negotiated a new Policing Agreement gaining eight permanent new officers for the community.
The council completed and opened a water treatment plant, a skate park, a youth centre, new fire and emergency services building, community splash pad and the new Gathering Place Convention Centre.

A Six Nations Youth Council was created to make space for young people’s concerns and visions for the future.
During her time in office, Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill lobbied provincial legislators and Hydro One and successfully eliminated delivery charges for every on-reserve First Nations resident in Ontario. This cut most people’s on-rez bills by 50%.

Chief Hill has been appointed as s Special Advisor to the Ministers Cabinet Table on Poverty Reduction and Social Inclusion. She also began an initiative to keep the community informed by giving accessible monthly updates both on community radio, and on videos posted to the council’s website and social media accounts.

The sitting council developed a 95 unit housing development that is in the works.

In 2017 — they made a Declaration to Combat Drug Abuse in the Community and launched a public awareness campaign.
SNEC has established an annual fundraising Firefighters Gala, First Responders Breakfast and saw the first Six Nations Fire Department graduating class of indigenous firefighters.

Action has been taken by the council to fundraise for surviving family members of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

In 2015, a development corporation was created as a mechanism for Six Nations to create community wealth. The Six Nations of the Grand River Development Corporation has received national awards from the Canada Council on Aboriginal Business and Deloitte — acknowledging them for having a large number of millennial employees.

The council secured $10 million for water pipelines to two Six Nations schools. Work on the waterlines continue to this day.

SNEC has taken community feedback to get involved in Green Energy and become partners with renewable energy projects throughout Ontario. Six Nations is now a stakeholder in the new Green Economy.

Elected Council and staff worked hard as hosts for the PanAm Games and have developed a partnership to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games with Niagara Region.

Over $102 million dollars from the Brantford Casino has been committed over 20 years to Six Nations. Another $10 million dollars is coming to the Six Nations Language Program.

The Six Nations Elected Council and council staff actively advocated in a landmark case — which ruled Indigenous people have inherent rights to use traditional medicine in Canada.

The elected leaders and council employees of Six Nations are not “merely administrators”. They are individual community members each bearing the heart of an advocate with a love for the Rez, it’s people and our collective future.

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