OHSWEKEN – The alcohol ban on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory may seem draconian and even racist by some, but at Six Nations, it was a policy the people of Six Nations imposed upon themselves years ago, using the Code of Handsome Lake as their guideline, and not Canadian law.
The issue has been raised more than a few times at the Elected Council level. A decade ago there was talk of a referendum on the question. At that time, there was discussion over why the Veterans’ hall is exempt as well as the Community Hall following the Memorial Day parade, which is a licensed event, while the rest of the reserve is still dry.
There was such a backlash from the community at the thought of opening up the reserve to serve alcohol that the referendum never saw the light of day and the status quo has prevailed ever since. Until now.
The same question has surfaced again, partially as a result of conflicts arising from Six Nations police shutting down local facilities serving alcohol on the territory.
But, it is also being considered again this time as a potential revenue source by Six Nations Economic Development director Matt Jamieson. The opening of the community to alcohol could also be a foundation stone for not only the opening of a brewery on reserve, but also a possible gaming Casino and/or hotel in the future.
A motion moved by Councillor Wray Maracle and seconded by Carl Hill, at Tuesdays General Council Meeting called for Council to pay $25,000 maximum for the cost of conducting a January 17th, 2015 public referendum on the subject.