SIX NATIONS – When Britain first tried to superimpose British Common Law over its self-proclaimed colonies in North America and elsewhere, they were faced with a new wrinkle they had not encountered before — Indigenous people.
Historically, when they could get away with it, genocide was the first tool in the tool kit. But where they could not, for whatever reason, they tried to retro-fit the old law to fit their new reality.
These people, that had no concept of owning land, were in the way and had to be removed, one way or the other.
According to the law they had perfected over time, you could not simply kill the inhabitants and move in. At least not legally. They already had the stamp of approval from the Pope to remove all “heathens” from the land and take their possessions if they do not conform to Christian belief. This was based on one verse found in the Bible taken out of context from the book of Proverbs 13:22 which states, “A good person leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the wealth of the wicked is reserved for the righteous.” Some translations say “heathen” rather than “wicked” which was to say, acknowledged that there is a Great Spirit God, but actually meant anyone who does not pay haulms to the church.
The reality was, even if you did surrender all you have, chances are you would be enslaved, killed or jailed anyhow.
This obviously profitable misinterpretation became the “legal” backbone of the colonization-for-profit models followed by the Dutch, French, Spain, Portugal and others, but none more so than the Britons.
The other way land can be transferred from one people to another is by way of conquest, as in the historical wars and counter wars that formed Europe itself. Generally, one army would send a message to the other asking for surrender or face sure annihilation. When that happened, the people were rounded up and used as slaves or, in time, melted into the community. Although it was a brutal choice, “legally” there was a choice given —give up your land and possessions or die.
That satisfied the religious and the economic goals of the ruling class, Britain.
There are no Indigenous peoples of Briton although there is a succession of journeys of early man, including the most northerly Neanderthal skeletal remains found dated being 400,000 B.P. (Before Present). But there was no lengthy stay for any of them. As the Ice Ages came and went, so did early man.
Before the Romans, in 53 and 54 B.C., there were Gauls, Celts, Saxons, and Flemish, that even the powerful Roman Legions could not totally eradicate. But all of these early inhabitants came from Europe when there was no English Chanel between Briton and mainland Europe.
In more modern times, after the wide land bridge connecting Briton to mainland Europe disappeared under the rising ocean water, more permanent inhabitants arrived and built societies, one succumbing by conquest or assimilation to another ever since.
So when the Magna Carta became the standard by which canonized the basic rights of people in Europe in 1215, there was no provision for an indigenous race of people, so it was easier to simply consider them to be subhuman and not worthy of human status or treatment and therefor outside of the provisions of the Magna Carta.
According to Professor Sidney Herring author of “White Man’s Law”, the fledgling North American experiment had to be made up as it went, in relation to indigenous land title anyway. The British model did not fit.”
This created large and obvious inconsistencies that today’s indigenous people around the world and at home, are still dealing with today. It also necessitated the purging of unflattering history, but that became impossible to hide with the advent of the information age.
Now, what is being faced is the clash between what is legal and what is right. How much justice can Canada actually afford after illegally building almost the entire country on Six Nations trust funds without permission and without recompense.
The steps forward are slow and small and some are understandably getting impatient.
To those who adhere to the Great Law, Six Nations ancestors have been here since man emerged and have followed a parallel path to that of “the old world” but oblivious to each other.
To those not willing to believe that Indigenous North America was in some ways just as or more civilized than those who came to stay, a new and fresh look at history, anthropology and archaeology is being written every day. And there is a lot to learn.