OHSWEKEN – It was number crunching time for Six Nations as the annual financial statement for the March, 2014 year end was made public for the community to see and hear at the Six Nations Community Hall.
About 40 community members were in attendance to hear of the efforts of the 56th elected council on such issues as education, tobacco, the thermal treatment plant, taxation, lands and child welfare designations, amongst others.
“We supported the rejection of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act (Bill C-33),” Chief Hill told those in attendance. “We continue to support other Chiefs in the country to call upon the Federal Government to meet with us to talk about Education Reform. Council also supported a review of the Federal Schools, which includes all of the schools at Six Nations.”
Regarding the recent efforts by SNEC against Bill C-10 and its negative impact on the Six Nations community, she reported, “Council conducted several meetings with Senators, and included members of the Haudenosaunee Trade Collective, in an effort to “kill” Bill C-10 (Contraband Tobacco). We also participated in a Rally on Parliament Hill and made a presentation to the Senate Committee. This Bill, however, has now passed third reading and is waiting for Royal Assent. Once Royal Assent is obtained, there will be a period of time (could be six months to a year) before the Bill comes into force. We are, therefore, strategizing on whether to move forward with a constitutional or legal challenge, particularly in light of the fact that we were never consulted about this Bill.”
The testing of the Thermal Treatment Plant has been done and the results are expected to be made known soon. She said that when those results return, council will “make its decision on whether to proceed with the Kearns system” or seek alternate methods of disposing of Six Nations waste.
“As everyone is aware, we cannot keep piling garbage in the pits that are there now,” Hill said. “We would also like to encourage everyone to recycle.”
As far as taxation is concerned Hill reported, “A community group was holding regular sessions at the GREAT Theatre to talk about the different aspects of taxation that the government is trying to impose on our people. SNEC was in support of these sessions and did participate when requested. We are also discussing the whole issue of taxation with the other Iroquois communities, through the Iroquois Caucus, and are requesting that the Assembly of First Nations host a Taxation Forum where we can share information with the other First Nations across the country and jointly request a meeting with the Minister of Finance.”
Chief Hill said her council has been working towards getting the principals back to the negotiations table to discuss finalizing many loose ends regarding land, including Burtch and Kanonhstaton. She also addressed the continuing battle with Brantford over land bequeathed to Six Nations, which was put on the auction block.
“Under duress, we paid the property tax on property that was left to Six Nations on West Street in Brantford. It is our position that we should not have been required to pay this tax and in an effort to get it refunded back to us, we are taking the City of Brantford to Court. This is an on-going case. We have also insisted that we be involved in the boundary discussions between the City of Brantford and the County of Brant. With respect to the lands at Burtch, it is our position that these lands should be legally returned to the Six Nations Elected Council to administer on behalf of the Six Nations Community. We are working with the Province of Ontario to finalize this transfer.”
Under the title of Child Welfare Designation, Hill says, “We are continuing to work on and finalize the Six Nations Child Welfare Designation. Leading up to this final designation, the Native Services Branch of the Children’s Aid Society has relocated to the City of Brantford, as was requested by the community.”
Each Councilor also published a report on the various portfolio items they are involved in.
The entire report is available on the Elected Band Council website at www.sixnations.ca.