SIX NATIONS – The Six Nations Elected Band Council has ordered CAS off reserve by October 1st. There have been many protests and personal stories of broken families and broken cultural connectedness through the Brantford based agency for many years, and the issue has been a longstanding political hot potato.
Band Council and CAS already have a working agreement signed, which would allow the agency access to Six Nations until May of 2014, Council is now ordering them off, almost immediately.
CAS says they have received a letter from the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) asking the agency to stay.
Elected Chief Bill Montour is quoted saying that he doesn’t believe the Confederacy is fully aware of the problem.
The move has once again brought the power struggle between the Confederacy and the Elected Council into the spotlight.
In total, lawyer Aaron Detlor, on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, and Jock Hill, Secretary for the HCCC, have sent CAS at least three letters explaining their stance on the issue, both stating that the Elected Band Council has no jurisdiction over CAS and that the Confederacy fears a sudden change will put Haudenosaunee children at risk.
In the most recent letter dated September 12, 2013, on behalf of the HCCC and addressed to Andrew Koster, Executive Director of the Children’s Aid Society of Brant, Detlor, states, “… the HCCC do not believe that the Haudenosaunee are the subject of provincial legislation, including any matters relating to our children and our future generations. With that said, we have significant concerns with respect to the “designation process” which has been initiated by the Six Nations Elected Band Council.”
He goes on to point out that there has been no engagement or consultation between the CAS and the HCCC and that, from that perspective, the Band Council cannot, “compel your removal from our territory.”
“The authority and jurisdiction in matters relating to children rests solely with the Haudenosaunee, through the structure and law of the Haudenosaunee, and in particular, with our women and our clan families,” he writes.
It concludes by stating in no uncertain terms that the HCCC are not in favour of the Native Services Branch of Brant CAS leaving the Six Nations community, for fear that such a displacement would endanger the well being of at risk children.
Detlor also offers Koster or his staff, and invitation to meet with the HCCC, possibly the week of October 7th, to open talks with the Confederacy.
However, that suggested date is after Band Council’s Oct. 1, deadline to got off reserve.
HCCC Secretary, Leroy Hill, drafted a letter on behalf of the Chiefs and Clan Mothers dated July 6, 2006, in which he explains the role of the Clan Mothers in regards to the protection of Haudenosaunee children.
Again on April 2, 2011, Hill sent another letter on behalf of the Chiefs and Council, again underlining the duties and responsibilities of the Clan mothers regarding child welfare.
According to Detlor’s most recent communication, there has been no response from the CAS to date.
There will be a special Community Presentation entitled “Parent’s Survival Guide to Dealing with a Children’s Aid Society” featuring guest speaker, Child and Family Justice Advocate, Vernon Beck this Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 at the Six Nations Community Hall beginning at 6:30 until 10 pm.