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Hoyane Sam General says he will not be dehorned

Hoyane Sam General says he will not be dehorned

SIX NATIONS  — A controversial move by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) at the July Confederacy meeting on Saturday to re-instate a former Cayuga clan mother has a lot of people in the community rattled and wondering what is going on. In wanting to know more on this story, Two Row Times reached out

SIX NATIONS  — A controversial move by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) at the July Confederacy meeting on Saturday to re-instate a former Cayuga clan mother has a lot of people in the community rattled and wondering what is going on.

In wanting to know more on this story, Two Row Times reached out to Cayuga Wolf Chief Sam General to hear his perspective of what happened.

Upon going to speak with General, he was found sitting under a tree beside a house of old plywood working a piece of soapstone that was in the shape of a sleeping wolf. With large slabs of soapstone placed near his feet, perched on a make-shift table, he asked what was wanted as he dipped the wolf carving in and out of a pail of water.

This was the start of an interview that truly proved there are two sides to every story.

“So, it’s true that they’re trying to get rid of me because I’m a thorn in their side,” said General. “I’m not a ‘yes’ man, I’m the kind of guy that grew up in the old ways and I gotta question things. I’m not a guy that’s gonna sit there because they throw a paper and want me to sign it like I gotta sign it right away. Which is what you see within council,” he said.

General then explained that he wasn’t even in attendance at the council meeting due to a death on Thursday of last week.

Normally a death within the community usually calls for confederacy council, socials, and even ceremonies to be postponed out of respect for the mourning family.

“When I found out, I told the other Cayuga Chief that I was gonna leave because that’s disrespectful,” he said.

General said he was friends with the person who passed. “[He and I] used to play ball against each other, I wanted to show respect for him.”

But without General present, and against showing respect for a mourning family, HCCC proceeded and first on the agenda was a Cayuga Wolf matter.

Normally issues within a specific clan are that clan family’s business. It is unclear as to why this particular matter was brought to the entire council to have a voice on.

The council heard that titleholder beads for the Cayuga Wolf clan mother had been taken back to the clan family and away from former clan mother Gloria “Em” Skye nearly 10 years ago.

General said that Skye is originally a Wyandot and she was ‘borrowed’ to hold the title of Cayuga Wolf Clanmother for a time.

The council heard a request from Skye to have her title reinstated.

Mohawk Turtle Chief Allan McNaughton said believing the beads should return to previous Clanmother Gloria “Em” Skye.

This was agreed to by a chief on the Cayuga bench and accepted by the Onondaga bench speaker Cleveland Thomas.

HCCC Secretary Jock Hill then stood to explain saying, “It has been decided by the Chiefs that Gloria is still the Clan mother, and those horns will be with her. It was the council that placed them there,” and then Jock suggested she could change title then, effectively removing (dehorning) Sam General as a chief.

Hill said Skye could also wait until a later date.

General said the council making a top-down decision like that was against traditional protocol.

“It was wrong for them to do that, because she (Skye) was released a long time ago,” he said. “Why all of a sudden after all of these years they want her back in there? We already have a person that’s going to take that spot, because we’re trying to do it the right way.”

But following protocol or the ‘right way’ has seemed to escape various aspects of the Council lately, and General disagrees with what transpired in his absence on Saturday.

“The clan that I represent doesn’t agree with what happened,” he said. “I told some of my brothers and they didn’t agree, they said that it was wrong for them to do all of that.”

When asked by the Two Row Times if he will be dehorned he said, “It ain’t gonna happen, I didn’t do nothing wrong. My family says I did nothing wrong.”

General is, by virtue of being a traditional chief title holder, one of the fifty shareholders in all business conducted by HDI on behalf of the HCCC and the people of the Confederacy. He said many of the questions he has raised about HDI, lawyer Aaron Detlor and the business they are conducting on behalf of the people of Six Nations of the Grand River receive the equivalent of crickets.

“I’ve asked different questions about this and that, like why do they [the Haudenosaunee Development Institute or HDI] want to incorporate us? There was no answer for that. I asked Detlor that one time the same thing and there was no answer,” he said.

Some in the community voiced concerns about the action taken by the Chiefs at Council to re-instate former clan mother Skye and suggest she remove General from a position of authority in the council.

A number of additional clan families from Six Nations and Oneida have stated publicly that they do not support or endorse HDI doing business on their behalf, confirming the HCCC and HDI do not have the required full consensus of the Confederacy.

Minutes from May’s council meeting were distributed indicating that both Sam General and Shirley Hill, a Mohawk clan mother, said HDI lawyer Aaron Detlor was not to proceed with business on behalf of the Confederacy.

However, HDI requested to the Confederacy that two letters be drafted by HCCC Secretary Hohahes Jock Hill for Monday, July 4. One stating that the HCCC “still owns a 10% interest in Grand Valley 2 Limited Partnership” — and the second “verifying that HDI is still functioning and has the full support of this council.”

HCCC did not achieve consensus to write those letters and heard verbal opposition from clan mothers to writing the letters on the grounds that HDI no longer has full support of the Confederacy or the people of Six Nations of the Grand River.

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2 Comments

  • Alson J Gibson
    July 7, 2016, 5:13 pm

    With my family’s consent, I write this letter to address some concerns we have regarding this article.

    First of all, Sam General and Gloria “Em” Skye were both stood up at a big condolence on the same day, picked by the Cayuga Council of Chiefs since both previous holders never replaced each other. If Sam objected to Gloria being placed as his clanmother because of her lineage, why did he wait so many YEARS to say and do something about it? There is a proper procedure to remove a condoled clanmother, yet he did not follow it. That is where his actions were wrong.

    Secondly, he refers to his family, yet he has never consulted with my mother, who is his sister, nor any of us descending from her. We still have a voice in this matter, whether he likes it or not. We have not married outside the circle, and we continue to participate in traditional ceremonies, study & speak the language, but not once has Sam ever notified or consulted with us of his intentions or actions. It appears that he is talking to his family members that have changed religion or married out or don’t even participate in ceremonies – basically those who have no voice in this matter anymore. Disregarding our voice is grounds for his own removal.

    Third, as a Hoyane he is supposed to set a moral example, however, disowning his own child and publishing it in the newspaper is outright deplorable behavior.

    It is unfortunate that this issue had to be placed before the entire Six Nations Council, but since Sam will not listen nor consult with us, his own clan family, then it was hoped he would listen to his peers. It is our opinion, in agreement with Council, that he return the wampum to Em, as he never should have taken it in the first place.

    -Alson John Gibson

    REPLY
  • Jim Douglas
    July 6, 2016, 5:25 pm

    I only found out I was a Chippawa at age 39 and even I know the waiting periods of different Nations and the standard I have been under is 10 days and 10 nights without any Clan business or socials taking place. As for the Clan Mother! Was she given full personage through ceremony or was she a Wyandot and she was ‘borrowed’ to hold the title of Cayuga Wolf Clanmother for a time. The time is usually determined as a female child may inherit the position once of age. Was any permanency ever given and who gave it?

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