Some hereditary chiefs and clan mothers on Six Nations are calling on federal election officials to remove polling stations from the territory — and are saying that those who participate in the vote are jeopardizing their Haudenosaunee identity.
In an undated, unsigned letter, “chiefs and clan mothers” say that polling stations on the reserve is a violation of treaty rights and the nations human rights to exist as distinct peoples and are discouraging all Haudenosaunee people from participating in the vote. The statement says that abstaining from participating in the election allows people to “remain in our circle where all our laws, rights, ceremonies, language and identity still lie.”
The letter does not reference which chiefs or clan mothers are making those statements.
This call comes just days after advanced polls were open on the territory for Six Nations and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation residents — and after the Six Nations elected leadership held a virtual event on social media for the candidates to speak directly to the community about their platforms. That event had significant community engagement with over 2300 people watching.
Two of the four candidates, Cole Squire and Alison MacDonald, are Haudenosaunee from Six Nations. Squire is running for the People’s Party of Canada and Alison MacDonald is representing the Liberals. Both candidates have stated that their Haudenosaunee identity is a driving factor in their decision to run and want to represent the community’s priorities if they are elected to represent the riding. The statement from some of the hereditary leaders did not mention either candidate.
The other two candidates, Larry Brock and Adrienne Roberts, both have professional experience having worked with Six Nations. Brock was a Crown Attorney for the region and Roberts worked in education. Both have included specific initiatives in their platform for addressing socio-economic needs on the territory with Brock focusing on economic opportunities and Roberts drawing attention to needed investments in Six Nations education.