In the Six Nations, Elected leaders are engaging with municipal and provincial leaders, and hereditary leaders are writing letters to claim elected leaders are trying to erase them — there between the elected and hereditary leaders sits a vast and empty canyon.
It is in that great gulf between the two sides where a black hole of information, fact, and data exists. Unfortunately, that void of information has become a foothold of opportunity for those looking to profit and a place where those looking to sincerely engage in reconciliation with the people of Six Nations are being misled.
It’s not a phenomenon that is exclusive to Six Nations. Nor is it a new problem. For generations, people have been making money off of the lack of accurate indigenous facts by selling indigenous stories, lore, and fascinations to well-meaning non-indigenous people.
Let’s talk economics. How much does it cost to run the rez? That is the kind of actual information that should be easily findable and put out there by leadership – but it’s one of those unknown facts that fall in the void.
As the cost of everything rises due to inflation, and pending economic recession — what is the shortfall going to be that Six Nations is expecting?
Again – data that we don’t have, taking space in the void.
How are Six Nations families supposed to plan for changes anticipated to hit their businesses if no one in government is having this conversation with members?
Six Nations has a unique economy and unique financial stressors. Are Six Nations businesses empowered with the information they will need to plan for a recession?
The hereditary leaders want to assert authority after 100 years of being benched by the federal government. Their latest news conference and best foot forward has been to accuse the elected leadership of bullying them. Meanwhile, the economic needs of the Six Nations are an ‘X’ factor that they have not presented any information on, nor have they given any indication that they have a plan on how they would govern.
How much money does HDI bring in yearly? Again, the data is not there. Six Nations does not know who HDI has done business with, how much they are getting, or where that money is going. Though they have used a large portion to acquire municipal lands in Norfolk, Haldimand and Brant — none of those property holdings, their price tags or the land taxes have been made public.
How much money would HDI need to bring in yearly to properly fund the HCCC running the reserve?
These are the kinds of questions both elected and hereditary leaders need to be answering before any Six Nations member can make any kind of an informed choice on who to support.
To make the stakes even higher, Six Nations is walking ever forward toward settling our land claims.
What is the magic number that those walking into settlement conversations would propose to both financially set Six Nations up to run itself in perpetuity and ensure that the families of Six Nations see reparations for lost generational wealth? Has either elected leadership or hereditary leadership had these conversations with this generation of families?
And if that number eventually runs out, which it will, what are the plans to ensure that either side will never tax Six Nations residents? Can either hereditary or elected leaders guarantee that they will never tax the people of Six Nations once the land claim is settled? What is the plan?
People are tired of leadership establishing programs and events. They want change, they want real reconciliation within the community — not just from outside the community. And they no longer want there to be a void of facts where who knows who is “in talks” with who knows what corporation settling an unspoken value using all our families as the stakes at hand.
It is unjust, it projects further harm on the families of Six Nations and leaves too many people out of the loop.
Here is some data we do have. Half of the people entitled to live on Six Nations can’t because there is nowhere to live. No land, no houses available, and no laws to protect those who rent what is available on the territory, and yet — neither the elected leadership nor hereditary leadership have come out to make movements on the housing crisis throughout the entire pandemic despite it being a known issue that has existed for decades.
People want real houses to live in.
Millions are being paid to hereditary leadership by unknown corporations and developers that are now being used for them to gain a foothold somewhere; have talks with federal leaders, pay for government engagement in Ottawa, and advance a political agenda that no one in the community is allowed to find, read or see unless they physically attend monthly meetings that are never advertised. And even then, you don’t get to ask questions at those meetings — unless you start digging for where to even begin.
Why isn’t any of the development money that HCCC brings in through HDI going to at least a rental supplement program for the community?
For that matter — the Six Nations Economic Development Corporation could have been doing the same for a decade now. Building a fund for renters on Six Nations to supplement what they have to pay out of pocket for living expenses. But as it stands, at the very least the people of Six Nations have some really nice crosswalks and some cool camping huts to point at as we drive off the reserve to spend our money in the surrounding communities for our essential needs. Remember the Six Nations Leakage Study? How many millions of dollars generated by Six Nations businesses are seeping out to surrounding municipalities still?
In the void of information, people are waiting for answers.