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Mohawk land deal topic of important meeting at Kanata

BRANTFORD – Saturday’s “Mohawks and such others”, meeting at Kanata Village was well attended with representation from other Haudenosaunee territories present after responding to the invitation wampum strings which runners from the Mohawk Workers sent out earlier.

BRANTFORD – Saturday’s “Mohawks and such others”, meeting at Kanata Village was well attended with representation from other Haudenosaunee territories present after responding to the invitation wampum strings which runners from the Mohawk Workers sent out earlier.

Before the meeting, Mohawk Workers spokesman Bill Squire told the Two Row Times that, although the Mohawk Workers organization was still intact, they would be seeking the involvement of all Mohawks of the Grand River by now referring to themselves as the Mohawk Nation of the Grand River, of which the Mohawk Workers organization is a part.

“There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about that, so we decided to step away from that name for now and take on a much broader and more representative name,” said Squire.

He says there has also been a lot of misunderstanding about the proposed {Signed} land deal with Guswenta Holdings.

Partnership Agreement Signed June 4, 2013 (between Steve Charest and Ted Squire, wolf chief)

“There’s one thing that people don’t understand about this land here on Birkett,” Squire says. “If Steve and Brian (Guswenta Holdings) didn’t come along and buy the rights to it, there’s an injunction on the property, another developer would have come in an bought it up and there isn’t a damn thing we could do about it. That is what could happen and is happening around the city. Walton is going ahead full force on Tutela Heights, with the Elected Band Council’s approval. It’s happening all over the city.”

The most misunderstood part of the picture, according to Squire, is that by entering into this agreement, they are not giving up any future claim to this part of the original Mohawk Village of the Grand River Territory.

“There is no extinguishment on that,” assures Squire.

Memorandum of Agreement Signed October, 20 2013 (One of many versions)

There was a well-represented cross section of all stripes of Mohawks of the Grand River Territory at Saturday’s meeting. Most came to listen, consider and voice their concerns or support of a land deal under consideration between the “Mohawk Nation” and Guswenta Holdings.

Guswenta is a two-thirds Six Nations owned developer which has purchased the rights to the controversial lands located at the west corner of Erie Ave and Birkett Lane, in Brantford.

In very recent years, this piece of land has been bought and sold a few times after Six Nations land protectors stopped services from being piped onto the property from Erie Ave. In fact, it has now been stopped 12 times. It is one of the sites named in the Brantford injunction, which prohibits named and unnamed Six Nations land protectors from interfering with development in Brantford.

Naturally, when it was announced that a deal was signed by the Mohawk Workers to allow development on this power keg, there was backlash and a lot of it, not only from the Six Nations side of the river but from Brantford city hall as well.

The issue pitted Mohawk against Mohawk and had potential for a physical confrontation, which both groups of Mohawks insist they never wanted.

Saturday’s meeting was somewhat of an extension of last Wednesday’s meeting at Kanata Village location, which did get quite fiery at times.

But on Saturday there was a much different atmosphere, thanks to how the meeting began.

A sunrise ceremony was held around a sacred fire behind the Kanata Museum building to prepare for the daylong meeting of minds and hearts.

The first three strings of the wampum were enacted; that of cleansing the eyes, ears and throats of the people so that the people would see hear and speak in truth, respect and honesty.

Strong personalities from each side of the argument sat together according to their clans, and not their political stripe or personal opinion. There was representation from all sides of the fire as well, including several women and elders.

After the Condolence ceremony, there was a time of singing and dancing together, which also served to break down walls and barriers. Then, a light lunch was made available.

When the meeting resumed, there was an explanation of the meaning and function of the circle wampum and the dish with one spoon wampum, which helped focus those in attendance towards the need for restoration of the roles and responsibilities of the Confederacy as brought to the original Haudenosaunee Five Nations by Peacemaker and Ayonhwatha (Hiawatha.)

“We are here to ensure and assure the reasons behind Erie Ave. / Birkett Lane land deal,” Mohawk Nation moderator, Ellis Hill explained.

The people were admonished that the continuing factionalism within the Mohawk People in particular, spells the demise of all of Six Nations, and that peace can come only be through the restoration of the Clans and Clan Mothers.

Then came the meet concerning the immediate issue at hand – The land at Erie and Birkett Lane.

Steve Charest and Brian Porter representing Guswenta Holdings, explained the details and reasons behind their precedent setting proposal of purchasing land under claim and handing 12 acres of it back to the Mohawk Nation while developing another 35 acres for general housing.

At a follow up meeting Monday at Kanata, Men’s Fire representatives and “Mohawk Nation” representatives talked again in a more private atmosphere and, according to Squire, made a few adjustments to the proposed land deal, which Charest and Porter agreed to make.

The 35-acre parcel of land had become a bone of contention, so Guswenta agreed to purchase 35 acres elsewhere within the Haldimand Tract to also put under the Haldimand Deed through the Mohawks.

Charest and Porter built their proposal around two events. The first being the fact that Brantford is calling for back taxes from the Six Nations Elected Band Council for a property on West Street, which was willed to the Six Nations Elected Council. At the same time, it is not touching another property on Gilkison Street in West Brant, which was willed to the Mohawk Nation.

It caused Charest and Squire to wonder why? They believe it is because the City has recognized, even if it’s only behind closed doors, that the Mohawk Nation still retain underlying title to the land under the Haldimand Proclamation and the West Street property does not because it has been returned to the Elected Council.

Charest also talked about the Smokey Hollow lands located in Northeast Brantford, which he believes is the only remaining 50 acres of land still protected under the Haldimand Proclamation where it has quietly remained since 1784.

Coupled together, Squire, Charest and Porter believe this is the crack in the door which could present a way to restore Mohawk land under the Haldimand Deed through donation through a third party, in this case, Guswenta.

“This is very important to the other territories too,” said Squire. “That’s why we invited them to come and hear this. They are all dealing with the return of some land, however, it would be through the Indian Act and not the Haldimand.”

Squire said he spoke to Shawn Brant in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, about the matter as well. Although Brant himself was unable to come, there were representatives from Tyendinaga that did attend to hear the Guswenta/Mohawk deal and to see if something similar can be done in their territory as well.

“What some people may see as conflict, I like to see it as opportunity,” says Charest. “It’s all about perception and will.”

http://www.guswhenta.com/

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Jim Windle

Jim Windle

Jim Windle is a veteran news and sports reporter who has been published in a number of mediums and publications. contact Jim: windlejim@rocketmail.com

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17 Comments

  • Garry Horsnell
    December 1, 2013, 5:16 am

    In 1701, the Five (later Six) Nations Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) made the Albany (Nanfan) Treaty with the British Crown.

    In the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty, it says the following.

    “Wee say upon these and many other good motives us hereunto moveing have freely and voluntary surrendered delivered up and for ever quit claimed, and by these presents doe for us our heires and successors absolutely surrender, deliver up and for ever quit claime unto our great Lord and Master the King of England called by us Corachkoo and by the Christians William the third and to his heires and successors Kings and Queens of England for ever all the right title and interest and all the claime and demand whatsoever which wee the said five nations of Indians called the Maquase, Oneydes, Onnondages, Cayouges and Sinnekes now have or which wee ever had or that our heirs or successors at any time hereafter may or ought to have of in or to all that vast Tract of land or Colony called Canagariarchio beginning on the northwest side of Cadarachqui lake and includes all that vast tract of land lyeing between the great lake of Ottawawa and the lake called by the natives Cahiquage and by the Christians the lake of Swege”.

    Source: The Nanfan Treaty: A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875, U. S. Serial Set, Number 4015 beginning at page 552

    So, according to that treaty, the Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee, including the Maquase (Mohawk), “for ever quit claime” to land in southwestern Ontario and along the Grand River and it became the Crown’s land.

    On May 22, 1784, Quebec Governor Haldimand paid the Ojibwa Mississauga Indians for a huge tract of land including land along the Grand River and then issued an announcement on October 25, 1784 inviting Mohawks and other of the Six Nations from New York to enter, occupy and use the Crown’s land along the Grand River.

    later, in 1844, forty five Chiefs from the Six Nations of the Grand River agreed to surrender Six Nations use of the Johnson settlement, the Martin settlement, Oxbow tract and the Eagle’s Nest tract to the Crown so it could sell that land and put the money from the land sales into a trust fund for the benefit of the remaining Six Nations reserve.

    Source: Library and Archives Canada, RG 10, Reel C-1149, Volume 44, pages 83269 – 83279.

    The land Charest owns in Eagle Place on Erie Ave. in Brantford is in part of the Eagle’s Nest tract the Six Nations chiefs agreed the Crown could sell. Charest and Guswentha Developers Ltd. are third parties and now have title to that land.

    In the 2004 Haida case, the Supreme Court of Canada said “Third parties cannot be held liable for failing to discharge the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate. The honour of the Crown cannot be delegated, and the legal responsibility for consultation and accommodation rests with the Crown”.

    Only the Canadian federal government and provincial governments are the Crown. Third parties like Charest are not the Crown and are not obliged to consult with or accommodate Indian bands like the Six Nations of the Grand River let alone groups like the Mohawk Workers and/or the Six Nations Men’s Fire that don’t govern the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve.

    In addition, the Ontario government (the little Crown) says it stand by its land titles system. The Canadian federal government (the big Crown) and the Ontario government (the little Crown) have both said they will not expropriate third-party land, like Charest’s, to give to the Six Nations in settlement of any Six Nations claim and former Six Nations Elected Band Council Chief Bill Montour said the Six Nations was not after third-party land outside of the reserve along the Grand River.

    Given that information. why would Charest and Guswentha Developers Ltd. have to consult with and accommodate the Six Nations and especially Six Nations groups like the Mohawk Workers and/or the Six Nations Men’s Fire who are not an official Six Nations government and who don’t necessarily represent all Six Nations people?

    REPLY
  • Garry Horsnell
    December 1, 2013, 3:59 am

    In the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty, it says the following.

    “Wee say upon these and many other good motives us hereunto moveing have freely and voluntary surrendered delivered up and for ever quit claimed, and by these presents doe for us our heires and successors absolutely surrender, deliver up and for ever quit claime unto our great Lord and Master the King of England called by us Corachkoo and by the Christians William the third and to his heires and successors Kings and Queens of England for ever all the right title and interest and all the claime and demand whatsoever which wee the said five nations of Indians called the Maquase, Oneydes, Onnondages, Cayouges and Sinnekes now have or which wee ever had or that our heirs or successors at any time hereafter may or ought to have of in or to all that vast Tract of land or Colony called Canagariarchio beginning on the northwest side of Cadarachqui lake and includes all that vast tract of land lyeing between the great lake of Ottawawa and the lake called by the natives Cahiquage and by the Christians the lake of Swege”.

    Source: The Nanfan Treaty: A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875, U. S. Serial Set, Number 4015 beginning at page 552

    So, according to that treaty, the Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee, including the Maquase (Mohawk) “for ever quit claime” to land in southwestern Ontario and along the Grand River.

    If the Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee, including the Maquase (Mohawk), “for ever quit claime” to that land, maybe that explains the reason Quebec Governor Haldimand could only let Six Nations people occupy and use but not own land along the Grand River.

    And Quebec Governor Haldimand did keep the Crown’s promise to provide land for Six Nations people. Haldimand and the Crown provided the Six Nations people with some of the Crown’s land along the Grand River for their exclusive use. The Crown just did not give the Six Nations people the land as their sovereign, separate territory or separate country.

    Later, Six Nations chiefs decided to surrender exclusive use of some of that land back to the Crown so it could sell that land as 45 chiefs from the Six Nations of the Grand River did when they agreed to surrender use of the Johnson settlement, the Martin settlement, the Oxbow tract, and the Eagle’s Nest Tract in 1844 so the Crown could sell that land and put the money from land sales into a trust fund to help run the remaning Six Nations reserve.

    REPLY
  • ChiefRock Sino General
    November 30, 2013, 2:42 pm

    The crown cannot own land there is no deed, its all a game of commerce. Its what you would call a fiction. It doesnt really exist, there is no way Crown can own anything, its a corporation named the crown, represented by the Queens agents. So they cannot give any rights to anyone, they can be offered in a contractual way but if the other party is ignorant to the fact that a right cannot be given to them, they can reject their offer. However, if you accept that right you are not under obligation because you now benefit from the right given. Meaning they offered rights, other party accepted the rights. If our nations accept rights we are entering into contracts with benefits, which take away any true natural right creator had bestowed upon us.So, for all those reading, contracts are dynamic meaning they move and are fluid. Which means you can change them, counter offer back to them to move the contract. Counter offers always remove the original offer and places the counter offer on top. Also, treaties and contracts can be terminated at any time and if our nations feel we been stiffed we can give in a notice of termination and request all these corporations leave our lands

    REPLY
    • Garry Horsnell@ChiefRock Sino General
      November 30, 2013, 4:49 pm

      Did the Five (later Six) Nations Haudeosaunee confederacy ever have a deed to the land they occupied in the Mohawk Valley and Finger Lakes region of what is now upper New York State U.S.A.?

      Did the Five (later Six) Nations Haudeosaunee people ever get a deed to the land they took from the Neutral. the Petun and the Huron in what is now southwestern Ontario during the 1650s?

      REPLY
  • Garry Horsnell
    November 30, 2013, 6:39 am

    The Mohawk Workers and other SN groups seem to have pushed Charest into some sort of deal on the basis that the Six Nations owns, did own or should own the land along the Grand River but that is not the case.

    The Five (later Six) Nations Haudensaunee made an agreement to give control of the land in southern Ontario to the Ojibwa Mississauga Indians in June 1700. Ojibwa Chief William Yellowhead kept a wampum belt about that agreement.

    Despite that agreement, Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee chiefs, including Mohawk chiefs, surrendered the Six Nations beaver hunting grounds, including land in what is now the U.S.A. and land in what is now southwestern Ontario and along the Grand River, to the British Crown and “for ever quit claime” to that land according to the Albany (Nanfan) Treaty in 1701. For ever means for ever, right?

    Quebec Governor Haldimand arranged to buy a huge tract of land, including land along the Grand River, from the Ojibwa Mississauga Indians because they had control of that land and they sold and ceded that land to the British Crown at a meeting at Fort Niagara on May 22, 1784. Mohawk leader Joseph Brant and Six Nations chiefs were at that meeting and they agreed with the sale so the land became the Crown’s land.

    Six months later on October 25, 1784, Governor Haldimand issued an announcement inviting Mohawks and others of the Six Nations from New York to enter occupy and use the Crown’s land along the Grand River in what was then the British Province of Quebec. That October 25, 1784 announcement (document) was not a proclamation, not a treaty and not a deed. In fact, in 1835, a King’s Bench justice said the October 25, 1784 Haldimand document was no more than a “mere license of occupation”. In other words, it was a license for Six Nations people to occupy, not own, the Crown’s land along the Grand River.

    In 1793, Governor Simcoe offered the Six Nations of the Grand River a letter patent, a deed, to land along the Grand River. For governor Simcoe to have offered that deed that land must have been the Crown’s land in 1793 but Joseph Brant and the Six Nations chiefs did not like the conditions in the Simcoe Patent (deed) and would not accept the Simcoe Patent (deed) so the land along the Grand River remained the Crown’s land.

    Later, when Six Nations chiefs made surrenders and the Crown said it would put money from land sales into a trust fund for the benefit of the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve, the chiefs were were not surrendering land. They were surrendering the Six Nations ability to use the Crown’s land.

    Given the history, Six Nations people should not be able to claim land to which they would not accept a deed and which remained the Crown’s land. Six Nations people can’t now claim they owned or own land that was the Crown’s land.

    I do agree the Crown might owe the Six Nations of the Grand River a lot of money but the Six Nations claims are about money, not land.

    REPLY
    • Garry Horsnell@Garry Horsnell
      November 30, 2013, 6:58 am

      By the way, developers are not obliged to consult with, accommodate or make deals with Six Nations people. The Supreme Court of Canada says it is the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Indians bands if required. In this case, the Crown includes the Canadian federal government (the big Crown) and the Ontario government (the little Crown), not third parties like municipalities or developers.

      And, if Six Nations Haudenosaunee people have valid claims, it up to the courts or the Canadian federal government (the big Crown) to sort out settlements with the Six Nations and it is up to the Canadian federal government (the big Crown) to pay the money to settle those valid claims, not municipalities or developers.

      REPLY
      • Pentortoise@Garry Horsnell
        November 30, 2013, 9:02 am

        You Keep saying this Gary, “the Six Nations claims are about money, not land.”

        Show me proof of this from the mouth of the Nations.

        REPLY
        • Garry Horsnell@Pentortoise
          November 30, 2013, 1:33 pm

          Six Nations activists can make some claim the Six Nations owns the land along the Grand River but the history shows that isn’t true.

          Think about it. When Six Nations people think the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty is valid and when they are using it to claim they can hunt deer in Short Hill Provincial Park near St. Catherines, then according to that treaty, the Six Nations Haudensonaunee “for ever quit claime” to land in what is now the U.S.A. and in what is now southwestern Ontario and along the Grand River.

          When the Six Nations surrendered that land to the British Crown and “for ever quit claime” to that land according to the Albany (Nanfan) Treaty in 1701, the Six Nations can’t claim that land now because for ever means for ever. Isn’t that right?

          If the Six Nations can’t claim the land, the claims must be about money.

          REPLY
        • Pentortoise@Garry Horsnell
          November 30, 2013, 2:02 pm

          I understand your reasoning, but you’re not considering the collective rights aspect, those individuals who use such foreign edicts are spoken about in the great law. protocol 58, Does not mean the rest have to conform to individual Will.

          You can sell or quit your interests to the collective, but the collective still has these rights.

          REPLY
        • Garry Horsnell@Pentortoise
          November 30, 2013, 1:56 pm

          Six Nations activists can make some claim the Six Nations owns the land along the Grand River but the history shows that isn’t true.

          Think about it. When Six Nations people think the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty is valid, when they are using it to claim they can hunt deer in Short Hill Provincial Park near St. Catherines and when the Ontario government (the Little Crown) says the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty applies on land in southwestern Ontario, then according to that treaty, the Six Nations Haudensonaunee “for ever quit claime” to land in what is now the U.S.A. and in what is now southwestern Ontario and along the Grand River.

          When the Six Nations surrendered that land to the British Crown and “for ever quit claime” to that land according to the Albany (Nanfan) Treaty in 1701, the Six Nations can’t claim that land now because for ever means for ever. Isn’t that right?

          If the Six Nations can’t claim the land because they “for ever quit claime” to it, they should only be able to claim money. isn’t that right?

          REPLY
        • Pentortoise@Garry Horsnell
          November 30, 2013, 2:10 pm

          There is a problem here Gary “If” Who is going to answer this Hypothetical question?

          Was there a Collective waiver to these lands, Expressed by the nations and proof they wanted such, Its all too Ambiguous.

          By what doctrine does canada Claim these lands?

          REPLY
        • Garry Horsnell@Pentortoise
          December 1, 2013, 6:12 pm

          Here is what it says in the 1701 Albany (Nanfan) Treaty (deed) between Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee and the British Crown.

          “Wee say upon these and many other good motives us hereunto moveing have freely and voluntary surrendered delivered up and for ever quit claimed, and by these presents doe for us our heires and successors absolutely surrender, deliver up and for ever quit claime unto our great Lord and Master the King of England called by us Corachkoo and by the Christians William the third and to his heires and successors Kings and Queens of England for ever all the right title and interest and all the claime and demand whatsoever which wee the said five nations of Indians called the Maquase, Oneydes, Onnondages, Cayouges and Sinnekes now have or which wee ever had or that our heirs or successors at any time hereafter may or ought to have of in or to all that vast Tract of land or Colony called Canagariarchio beginning on the northwest side of Cadarachqui lake and includes all that vast tract of land lyeing between the great lake of Ottawawa and the lake called by the natives Cahiquage and by the Christians the lake of Swege”.

          Source: The Nanfan Treaty: A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774 – 1875, U. S. Serial Set, Number 4015 beginning at page 552

          The Maquase we now call Mohawks. The great lake of Ottawawa is now called Lake Huron. The Cadarachqui lake is now called Lake Ontario,and the lake of Swege is now called Lake Erie.

          So, according to that treaty, the Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee, including the Maquase (Mohawk), “for ever quit claime” to land in southwestern Ontario and along the Grand River and it became the Crown’s land.

          And I guess that treaty and those words came from the mouths of Five (later Six) Nations Chiefs who were put in place to make decisions and speak on behalf of their people.

          When the Five (later Six) Nations Haudenosaunee “for ever quit calime” to that land in that solemn treaty, they can’t claim that land now so they must only be able to claim money.

          REPLY
      • Pentortoise@Garry Horsnell
        November 30, 2013, 9:15 am

        Do third parties have a right to enter contracts they are not signatories to, any contested land s there’s Two Parties the Crown and the Indians, anyone else are interlopers and should know better, As, not so innocent third party purchasers.

        REPLY
  • Pentortoise
    November 27, 2013, 11:59 am

    How is the Partnership agreement Signed and dated before the Memorandum of Agreement?

    Where is the Trustee document that lists the Alleged Trustees?

    REPLY
    • Decolonizer@Pentortoise
      November 28, 2013, 1:40 pm

      Attend any one of the numerous15 or so mtgs on this issue. They are free with the information, unlike HDI or the Chiefs Council. Oh, btw, did you know that Allan McNaughton is not a legitimate chief? This is where the microscope should be aimed given all the decisions he has made with the misleading impression McNaughton is a real chief.

      REPLY
      • Pentortoise@Decolonizer
        November 28, 2013, 2:20 pm

        That may be so I think we all should have our Family trees done and you may find some pretty Interesting Facts, All that aside, Im just not a fan of the One Chief is better than None Reasoning, As i see it its a 1/3 clan deal not a national deal.

        REPLY
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