ONEIDA NATION OF THE THAMES — The Men’s Fire of Oneida has issued an official statement — opposing the Haudenosaunee Development Institute claim that they are the proper party to speak for the entire Haudenosaunee population in the upcoming Six Nations land claim legal battle.
“We, the Lotisk^laketeh (Men’s Council of Oneida of the Thames) would like to clearly state our strong objection to the request the HDI is to be named the official Land Negotiator or Stewards of all lands within the Beaver Territory as outlined in 1701 Treaty (Montreal),” says the statement.
Under the Haudenosaunee Great Law process, there are hereditary title holders, people the HCCC refers to as ‘chiefs’. These title holders are traditionally ceremonially installed by the women of each clan, as speakers for their families within the Confederacy.
The Men’s Fires are another important part of the Great Law process. In combination with community fires, or women’s fires — these collectives serve as an accountability measure — collecting the perspectives of the people, ensuring the chiefs follow proper protocol, are representing the needs and wants of their families, and are not acting outside of their duties.
The current HCCC structure has excluded the voice of the community councils from its deliberations, and made the decision to enter into the Six Nations land claim as an intervener at the direction of a small collective of male title holders. This was much to the frustration of the people of the Six Nations Confederacy, who say that they were not consulted prior to HDI making application to the courts as an intervenor — and further — that the HDI has “no business” claiming to represent the entire Haudenosaunee population.
The statement reads, “The Lotisk^laketeh are upholding our duties and responsibilities bestowed upon us within K^nthyukwanhasta (People’s Circle Wampum) and following the protocols outlined in Kayatikowa (Great Law). We write this letter to remind the incorporated entity, one, the Band Administration Chief and Council (INAC) and two, the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), that both entities are not in our circle and that you both are under the Crown of England and their Corporation Canada. We also remind you that you have no business negotiating within yourselves, Haudenosaunee issues that include land negotiations, as you do not have the authority of the Clan families, their heirs and descendants, because of this you do not have their best interest at heart. Let us remind you that corporations do not have land (ownership), clan families, clan titles, language, songs, ceremonies as all of thee things belong inside the K^nthyukwanhasta (People’s Circle Wampum).”
“Lotisk^laketeh have the responsibility to maintain our duties and responsibilities as our role is outlined within K^nthyukwanhasta and Kayatikowa to protect our women, children, homelands, language, our way of life and everything else that makes us who we are as Haudenosaunee.
HDI have removed themselves from our circle wampum and therefore no longer have the protection of the clan families their titles and they do not have the authority to engage in land issues or any business that will try to assimilate our culture, our language and our very existence as Haudenosaunee. Lotisk^laketeh will also remind Band Administration Chief and Council that your only role is to administrate for the people as you were appointed by the Federal Government (INAC),” says the statement.
“In closing, the Lotisk^laketeh (Men’s Council of Oneida of the Thames) are in full agreement and stand united with the Hodiskeagehda (Men’s Fire of the Grand River Territory) in our strong objection to HDI and Band Administration Chief and Council request to be named the official Land Negotiator or Stewards of all Land Claim Issues within the Haldimand Tract,” says the statement.”