I am one of the litigants named in the Injunction at Brantford, Ontario. I have just learned that the appeal launched by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute has failed and Brantford has been awarded $350,000 plus $25,000 in costs, a portion of which they claim I am liable for.
I am one of the litigants named in the Injunction at Brantford, Ontario. I have just learned that the appeal launched by the Haudenosaunee Development Institute has failed and Brantford has been awarded $350,000 plus $25,000 in costs, a portion of which they claim I am liable for. I’m not concerned with the award going against me personally as I went into this with my eyes wide open and knew there could be consequences. That, to me, is what a warrior does and what he does, is honour his responsibilities as peacefully as possible. We are not rabble or terrorists, neither are we anarchists and, we are certainly not irrelevant as much as they would like us to be. Too many times the media, non-Natives and the colonial authorities have mistakenly seen our determination as confrontational. All of us at Six Nations know that is patently false!
Concerning this absurd ruling, which, in my layman’s opinion, this entire process has been illegal from start to finish. Is there no high-powered lawyer or firm in Canada that sees the absolute injustice of this ruling, who will help us take this to the Supreme Court of Canada? The lower courts seem completely incapable of following due process and the letter of the law and are devoid of any objectivity and sense of fairness.
From the moment Brantford filed for an injunction against us, I have held that, since Canada has recognized our land claims in the area means one thing and one thing only; the ownership of the land is in question, period! No other explanation is possible. To my mind, common sense dictates that the ownership of the land must be determined before any other form of legal action commences or, for that matter, before any sale or development of the lands under claim is allowed. On one hand, Brantford is permitted to sell these lands to developers while having full knowledge of the land’s legal status (under claim) yet we, on the other hand, who have defended this land based on the same information, are not permitted to defend our interests in said land and criminalized when we do.
To reach this decision, is, in my opinion, an abuse of the law that Canada must address and answer to. Due process and the rule of law have not been adhered to in this matter, plain and simple. Once the ownership of the land(s) in question have been dealt with once and for all, then, and only then, can we all move forward.
I am fully aware this could possibly re-open a huge and mind-boggling can of worms that will go all the way back to the beginning unless better minds than mine can find a way to shorten the journey. So I must ask, is there no one who can somehow stop this insane bullying of Six Nations’ people, who will not put up with Canada’s bullying and stalling tactics and force Ottawa to behave with honour and integrity? The Crown of England may have turned its back on us but we have their signature on perfectly legal and binding treaties which are living documents today, as they were then. Canada must be forced to abide by the laws it created.
My opinion is, the courts have put the cart before the horse in the Brantford injunction. How is it possible legal proceedings can take place against us before the ownership of the land in question has been determined? How can Canada refuse to enter the fray when called upon, claiming it is the province’s responsibility? How is it that Canada can steadfastly refuse its responsibility under the law and ignore its fiduciary responsibilities as demanded by its own laws?
We should be under no illusion Canada will ever come to the table honourably. One way however, would be to shame Canada before world opinion and drag it kicking and screaming into the very courts of law it created. I’m telling you now, Canada does not want us to assert our Nationhood. But if we’re serious about it, we’ll have to fight for it…..or lose it. Whether we do or not, is completely up to each and every one of us, individually and collectively. If we do not commit to this, we can expect to lose it all and sooner than we think. Are we the great Iroquois Confederacy…..or not? Will we have real leadership from the traditional chiefs or more of the same apathy we have seen in the past? That same apathy that seems to affect most of us. If Six Nations of the Grand River Territory ever becomes an irrelevant footnote in the history books, it will be our own doing.