Residency bylaw violator appeals for exemption amid allegations of abuse

SIX NATIONS — Six Nations Elected Council heard an appeal by a woman evicted from Six Nations on July 10 — challenging an eviction letter and requesting she be allowed to stay on the territory.

Jennifer MacDonald, who says she is Mohawk, was sent an eviction letter from SNEC earlier this month after several complaint letters informed the council she was not a band member and residing on the territory in violation of the Six Nations residency by-law.

MacDonald’s husband Nathan is a Six Nations of the Grand River band member and they have been married and living in the community for 17 years.

SNEC Councillor Mark Hill said that while the current residency by-law, which was written in the 1980’s, is outdated – it is the responsibility of the council to adhere to issuing eviction notices to those residing on the territory in violation of the current bylaw.

To date: only those people whose names appear on the Six Nations of the Grand River band membership have permission to live on the Six Nations Reserve.

Jennifer MacDonald said she is not listed as a Mohawk with any band in Canada. She claims family connections to the St. Regis Mohawks but says due to various family members being ‘disenfranchised’ by the Canadian government that she no longer has status and cannot get status.

MacDonald claimed that she has never accessed services of the Six Nations community in the 17 years she has been living here in violation of the bylaw — and claims the notice informing council of that violation is a personal attack.

“This has come to a vindictive act to remove somebody because they don’t like someone,” said MacDonald as she was before the council asking to be allowed to stay.

The HCCC Council Secretary sent a letter saying the Confederacy Council “…approved her request to continue residing on the territory as the council continues to investigate the situation. She has produced documentation of her mother’s family – determining her lineage as Mohawk Nation Bear Clan.”

Official complaints were sent to SNEC, with a long list of concerns not only of the residency bylaw violation but also alleging mean-spirited and psychologically abusive behaviour by the MacDonalds towards youth in the community.

Members of the Six Nations Elected Council did not have time to review those concerns prior to the MacDonald’s appealing the eviction notice — they were brought to the council by Councillor Helen Miller after the complainant families learned the MacDonald’s were approaching SNEC to ask they be allowed to stay.

The complainant families, who have asked their names not be publicly disclosed due to safety concerns for their children, say the ordeal has been psychologically traumatizing for their children.

According to letters shared with the Two Row Times — the complainants allege the MacDonalds, both Nathan and Jennifer, have engaged in psychologically aggressive behaviour against a number of Six Nations teens and youth in a series of events lasting almost two years.

The complainants allege the MacDonalds enabled and participated in a series of micro aggressions towards youth in the community that have psychologically damaged them to the point of seeking medical attention for depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and insomnia.

At least three Six Nations families are supporting the claims — one complainant stating that making an official complaint to the band about the residency violation seemed like the only tangible thing she could do to protect the children they feel are being targeted.

One of the youth, now 13, told the Two Row Times in an interview she feels unsafe to leave her home and attend public events in the community because of ongoing public humiliation and passive aggressive behaviours by Jennifer MacDonald since she was 11 years old.

MacDonald, who is a social worker in the community assigned to work with youth, was at the Elected Band Council meeting when two of complainants stood up and spoke to the council — articulating their safety concerns. Witnesses in the council chambers told Two Row Times that both the MacDonald’s laughed and shook their heads when those safety concerns were said aloud by the complainant.

No one from the HCCC approached the complainant families to hear their concerns before the council issued a letter of support for the MacDonalds. However the complainants told Two Row Times a letter outlining the allegations was submitted to a Mohawk Clan Mother and is being brought to the council for consideration.

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