Burtch land use still debated

SIX NATIONS – Chief Ava Hill made an attempt to clarify the Burtch land transfer issue in this week’s message to the community aired on the local radio station, CKRZ: 

“There has been a lot of misinformation and finger pointing concerning whether to plant on the Burtch land or not and who is to and is not to do the planting, as authorized by whom.”

“Some have said Band Council put up the signs prohibiting entry to the land, while others say it was the Haudenosaunee Chiefs Council, only to further the distance between the two government bodies.”

“To clarify Burtch Lands,” Hill began. “Six Nations farmers have been farming the Burtch lands for the past 5 years and (elected) council issued them a letter of support to continue to farm that land for this year.

“The Province, however, has refused to allow anyone to farm it and have installed gates and barricades to deny access. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs is David Zimmer, and we hope to have a meeting with him to talk about all this.”

It is the Elected Council’s position that the Province needs to transfer this land to the Six Nations community as soon as possible. It is also their position that the only governing body they can legally transfer the land to is the Six Nations Elected Council, “since that is the body the Province recognizes as the legal governing body,” she says.

“This does not mean that Council is to own that land,” Hill goes on to qualify, “But what it means is that Council will administer it on behalf of the community. The Burtch land will be owned by the community. Council has decided to put up a sign on that land stating that this is Six Nations Land.”

The Province as well as some farmers, who know the condition of the soil, are saying the land needs to be rested to become more fertile.

In the meantime, nothing has been planted to date, and the land is yet to be transferred to Six Nations, as promised and re-affirmed by the Provincial Government.

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