John Lennon wrote a great theme for all the working class people of the world. No, it was not “Imagine,” it was a song called, “Power to the People.”
The Elected Band Council has stated that they are gathering consensus from the Six Nations community on the MacKenzie Meadows housing development in Caledonia.
The mechanics of consultation and accommodation have always been ambiguous at Six Nations because of the low numbers that show up to such input sessions. That being the case, at what point does the input from the community become an accurate measure? 25 people? 50? Maybe 1000?
Conceivably, and as has happened in the past, when an issue is brought before the people at a community meeting, only a handful of people come, while 90 per cent of the community stays home and get their rotten tomatoes ready to throw if the decision made isn’t what they want to see.
The problem with this Six Nations reality is that it becomes far too easy to skew the results. If the consensus of those in attendance is a “no”, for instance, and there are only 25 people at that meeting, is the result of the question a “no” or will it be ignored by Band Council as inconclusive? If the same number of people says “yes”, is that considered the mandate of the people? What is the default position of Elected Council on such matters?
“It’s a general rule of thumb that if there isn’t much opposition, knowing how it works here having lived here all my life, if not many are really opposed to it, generally they would be considered in favour of it,” says Lands and Resources Director and lawyer Lonny Bomberry.
That being the case, if people are abstaining from the process, they are actually being counted as being in favour of it. If that is the intention, fine, but don’t complain if it doesn’t go the way you want it to.
So to those who are quick to say, “you don’t speak for me”, here is your chance to speak for yourself, and you should do so when given the chance.
This Thursday night at the Community Hall there is a very important opportunity to let your voice be heard on the subject of a housing development planned for 107 acres almost directly across Argyle Street from Kanonhstaton, which was reclaimed in 2006.
The benefits being offered to Six Nations are significant and could certainly help with all the federal funding cuts going on. It promises, temporary work for those in the building trade. But at what cost? That is the question one should be asking, and have the duty to ask at this meeting.
We would also recommend that people who don’t know much about what is going in front of them to get the facts before they offer an uninformed, knee-jerk response, one way or the other.
Maybe the decision is a good thing for the community, but maybe it is not. What do you think? If you won’t speak for you, someone else is going to.
Power to the People, right on.
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