The Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council says they are putting a moratorium on all development along the Haldimand Tract during a livestreamed statement on Tuesday in front of the Onondaga Longhouse.
The decision comes after years of unfettered development along the unceded Haldimand Tract, a swath of land six miles on either side of the Grand River deeded to the Haudenosaunee in exchange for their loyalty to
Six Nations’ land rights were once again thrust into the spotlight this past year when a small group of Six Nations people stopped construction of a 200-acre subdivision on McKenzie Road in Caledonia, saying the people were not properly consulted on the project, formerly named McKenzie Meadows and now dubbed Land Back Lane.
The Haldimand Treaty of October 25, 1784 set aside approximately 950,000 acres along the Grand River for the use of the Haudenosaunee. Today, the size of the reserve is approximately 5% of the lands described in the original proclamation.
Today, 38 municipalities exist along the Haldimand Tract.
“The development – it’s uncontrolled,” said HCCC Secretary Leroy Hill at Tuesday’s press conference. “It’s not being resolved in a just manner. They just keep issuing permits on unresolved lands and in the meantime we’re losing our ability to expand for our families. The leaders have been mulling this over for awhile.”
The announcement came on the 15th anniversary of the April 20th raid of a peaceful Six Nations camp at the former Douglas Creek Estates housing development site in Caledonia in 2006 that sparked a massive land rights movement on Six Nations that remains unresolved to this day.
“1492 Land Back Lane (the nickname for the McKenzie Meadows development site) is just one small part of our territory,” said Land Back Lane spokesperson Skyler Williams. “Our rights were chipped away at over decades and slowly eroded. I think what we’ve shown is how committed we are as a people to take every action necessary to protect our lands and waters.”
Cayuga Chief Roger Silversmith said, “Land is a birthright. With these land rights come specific responsibilities. Land is envisioned as a dish with one spoon. We can all take from the land…but we must ensure the land remains healthy enough to provide for the coming generations.”
The HCCC has declared that no development can proceed along the Haldimand Tract without the consent of the Haudenosaunee.
“We understand that we share these lands with our Allies and we all agree to uphold the agreements between our people to live in peace, friendship and trust,” the HCCC said in a statement. “Our vision for the future is self-determined, based in our inherent right to protect our lands for future generations of Haudenosaunee children.”
“The Haudenosaunee intend to exercise our jurisdiction over our lands and waters in a way that maintains the delicate balance between Creation and humans, focusing on sustainability and responsiveness to climate change to protect waterways and ecologically sensitive areas.”
“The moratorium builds on our Land Rights Statement (2006) to end the exploitation of lands and resources along the Tract and marks a shift on land stewardship within a portion of the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee.”
The Haldimand Treaty of October 25, 1784 set aside about 950,000 acres along the Grand River for the use of the Haudenosaunee. Today, the size of the reserve is about five per cent of the lands described in the original proclamation.