Six Nations mothers opposed participation in WW1

OTTAWA – At the advent of WW1, there were many Six Nations young men who signed up for service in the Canadian Military which made some mothers and father proud of their young Warriors, but not everyone. The following is a letter found in the Canadian Military Archives which shows advocates for not only some who signed up too young without their parents approval, or that of the Confederacy Council of the day.

This argument, although perfectly true and solid, was ignored by Canada and Britain and as far as we know, no one we sent home as a result.


Six Nations Indian Reserve

Grand River, Brant County



Jan 31st, 1917.


To his majesty King George V of England.

May it please Your Majesty to listen of our pressing business, to lay it before Your Majesty and it is this.We the undersigned our sons and young men, the are not of age, but they enlisted in Your Majesty’s army by the persuasion of other men, therefor send them home.


And our grounds for for asking Your Majesty to discharge our Sons is this, as Your Majesty see in this letter engraved and inserted, a “Wampum belt Treaty” between us the Five Nations (now Six) and your British Nation’s Government.

Having one row and two men standing, one man at each end of the row, holding the Covenant

Silver Chain. This signifies the Two Nations.

And the first Nation is Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas holding one end of the Covenant Silver Chain, and the British Nation holding the other end of the Covenant Silver Chain.

Thus the two Nations did Covenanted themselves together as Allies, to defend the another in case of war.

And if the British is (sic) in War, if the British needs help, then the King or Queen will write a letter to the Governor General of Canada and ask the Six Nations Union Lords, now commonly called Chiefs, to ask them to help the British in their War.

Then the Six Nations Union Lords will hold a council will address the Five War Chiefs to repare and get ready of their common Warriors to go and help the British in their War.

The next Wampum belt, “Treaty of Two Rows”

This Two Rows of Wampum Treaty signifies the Two separate government Governments shall exist. Namely; The Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas and Senecas, and the British Nation’s government shall exist and independently from each other, forever.

And the Six Nations shall not rule over the British Nation.

And the British Nation shall not rule over the Six Nations.

And the following names are enlisted in Your Majesty’s army:

Pte Robert Skye, 739597, B.Co. 35th Batt.

Pte. James Williams, 739810, B.Co. 35th Batt.

Pte. Hardie Fish, 739941, Canadian Reserve, B.Co. 35th Batt.

Pte. Willie Fish, 4th Canadian Reserve, B.Co. 35th Batt.

Pte. Josie Bumberry (sic) 4th Canadian Reserve, B.Co. 35th Batt.

Signed by the mark of

Joseph Sky

Lucinda Bumberry (sic)

Maggie Williams

Elizabeth Fish.

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