SIX NATIONS – It was 10 o’ clock Saturday morning at the Onondaga longhouse as chiefs, clan mothers and a few traditional adherents slowly entered in advance of a much-needed assembly of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council. An assembly that didn’t proceed.
There hasn’t been any confederacy business done in months as meetings after monthly meetings have been cancelled due to one situation after another usually involving issues with the sparse Elder Brothers bench.
In recent months Allen McNaughton has walked out of confederacy meetings but this time, he didn’t show up. Some speculate, due to the controversy over who is to cultivate the former Burtch Industrial Farm lands. The confederacy contends that they gave lease for a five-year term to Ed Green and Kris Hill.
But what happens when the two partners on one side of the confederacy issued lease are no longer partners? Some say the lease becomes null and void and should go up for tender again. But others say the lease is to remain in place for the duration of the contract, which now has three years left, and if there is any issue between the two former partners, that is to be dealt with between the two parties as a separate issue.
This is only the latest in a string of issues and Mohawk walkouts, which has created division between the chiefs and their clans.
To be fair, the Haudenosaunee website lists three other Mohawk Chiefs who were not there as well, Curtis Nelson (Bear), Ernest David (Wolf), and Howard Thomson (Wolf), to be exact.
Other clashes between Six Nations residents and the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) have shut down other recent attempts to conduct a monthly meeting of council.
By 11 a.m., everyone that was coming was in their place except for McNaughton. The Seneca bench has been vacant for a few years now. Without “the Well” there could be no meaningful decisions made, so after conferring with the other benches, secretary Jock Hill stood at the Onondaga bench and announced that there would be no meeting this month.
“As you can see, there is no Well,” he said. “No Well, and we can’t hold council.”
He seemed frustrated by the ongoing disunity being displayed by certain members of council, without naming names.
“We have not been acting with one mind,” he observed. “We need to figure out a way to fix it.”
He encouraged the others not to contribute to the tensions by attacking each other.
He also placed the onus in the clan mothers hands to bring their chiefs under control and stop the “mud slinging”.
“The prophesies say there would be a day come when the chiefs would be slinging mud at one another,” said Hill. “I believe in this and we must find a way to encourage each other.”
With that, the meeting, that was never really opened in the first place, was closed. Some stayed and began talking about the matter among themselves while others visited and still others left.
The HDI was on hand it appeared to give a report of some kind, but without the meeting being an official one, there was no report given and therefore nothing to report to our readers again this month.