Enforcement of residency bylaw proving difficult job for police, council

The Six Nations’ residency by-law appears to have no teeth as enforcement of the by-law has once again proved to be difficult as a non-native man continues to live on the reserve in contravention of the by-law.

As per the 1985 residency by-law, which forbids non-Six Nations band members from living on the reserve, an eviction notice was recently handed to a man from Hamilton living on Six Nations of the Grand River territory, but according to community member Rick Clause and Coun. Helen Miller, the man had yet to leave the territory.o

The lack of enforcement has left Clause wondering if elected council or the Six Nations Police are prepared to do anything to enforce the by-law and eviction notice.

“Why isn’t nobody doing anything about it now?” Clause asked SNGR elected council last week at a general council meeting. “We have a guy that’s here that’s not from the reserve and the cops aren’t doing nothing. If he was given an eviction notice, why is he still here? Why didn’t he leave?”

Coun. Helen Miller said she guesses the man, who is living at a Chiefswood Road address, doesn’t want to leave.

“We followed the residency by-law,” said Miller. “He was given an eviction notice and my understanding is the police delivered the eviction notice to him. We’ve done what the residency by-law requires. There’s no more we can do with it.”

Clause said he should be the by-law officer, in that case.

“I’ll get him out of here.”

Miller said the residency by-law makes no mention of kicking people off the territory.

It simply states elected council should draft an eviction notice and have the Six Nations Police deliver it.

“The by-law is no good.”

Coun. Miller said non-members who are delivered eviction notices use the excuse that they have a separate address they are living at aside from the Six Nations address they are residing in. In this case, the man argued he had a Hamilton address and didn’t leave upon receiving the notice.

Jerry Clause, Rick’s brother, asked if elected council has special privilege, naming a band council employee who allegedly allowed the person to live on the reserve and build on there.

“She has worked for band council all this time,” he said, referring to the band council employee. “She should know the policy.”

Jerry Clause said the man in question was “causing chaos” to the family nearby, and even went as far as accusing the man of committing elder abuse.

He is 65 years old.

“This is getting too far,” Jerry said. “If there’s no (recourse) what’s the use of even having band council?”

Coun. Miller insisted the by-law has been followed.

“You’re wrong,” said Rick. “It’s not. Otherwise, he would be gone. He wouldn’t be lipping off. We have him on camera, because we had to put it there because my sisters are scared of what he does.”

Clause said the man installed a fence on his property.

He said the by-law also included provisions for a $1,000 fine but Coun. Miller wasn’t aware of that.

Clause said the man works on Six Nations and lives on the reserve 24/7.

“I don’t know who he thinks he is that he can stay here,” said Clause.

If the residency by-law can’t evict anyone, he said, “we might as well invite everyone to live here.”

Coun. Greg Frazer echoed Miller’s explanation on how the residency by-law works.

“We present him with that eviction notice by the police and he’s given time to leave. If he says he’s got an address on the reserve – we can only remove him if he’s got a license that says his address is on the reserve. When they have the address off the reserve, they’re guests. I understand 100 percent what you’re saying. He has an address in Hamilton. That’s the loophole.”

Darrin Jamieson, council’s senior administrative officer, said the by-law is flawed because it doesn’t include enforcement provisions.

However, he said, there is a residency by-law working group that is seeking to revise the by-law and one of the key components is the revision of the enforcement part.

“The residency by-law is under review as we speak,” said Jamieson.

One of the main issues is having a by-law enforcement officer, he said, as well as Six Nations having its own court system to deal with such issues, which it doesn’t.

Once it’s revised, elected council will have to review it, said Jamieson, adding that council’s justice department can also work with the police on this issue.

“This matter is not a dead matter,” said Jamieson. “We can certainly follow it up. It’s something we will continue to activate.”

It’s not the only residency by-law complaint, either, he said.

“I appreciate your frustration, though,” said Jamieson.


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