EAGLES NEST — It is the belief of some Mohawks, and the Mohawk Workers in particular, that the Haldimand Deed is, in fact, a Mohawk document which extends to “such others of the Six Nations,” granting them six miles on either side of the Grand River from its source to its mouth.
While the main body of Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga, and Onondaga were offered a treaty of peace with the new American government (Treaty of Fort Stanwix), Joseph Brant and around 2,000 others, mostly Mohawk Warriors, refused to throw in with the Americans and three days later accepted the promise made to them before the American Revolution began and came to what is now Brantford to set up the Mohawk Village.
Other Nations of the Six Nations and their allies who came here in 1784, were allotted land by Brant and the Mohawks to settle in their own sections of the meandering Grand River according to their Nation and language.
Over time, the people of Six Nations were robbed, cheated and stolen from by settlers and settler governments. But other land parcels were sold legitimately while still others were leased by Brant for 999 years. There were also short-term leases granted to non-natives. The idea was a wise one designed to produce a perpetual source of income and self sufficiency for the people of Six Nations by keeping their land under 999 year lease terms.
In time and after several sub-leases were sold off time and time again, the Canadian government arbitrarily turned these leases into land patents and sold them off to settlers without Six Nations having much to say about it. They were clearly duped by unscrupulous politicians and land speculators.
Even the cash from these and other transactions known as the Six Nations Trust Funds, were administrated by the Crown and were absorbed into the everyday coffers of a fledgling Canada. Money was taken, without permission or, in many cases, the knowledge of the Six Nations people, to invest in building the infrastructure of Canada.
All this is common knowledge to most older Six Nations people, but very little of this is known off-reserve and, younger Six Nations residents who have lost touch with their heritage in recent years.
With the Two Row Times’ recent arrangement with the Grand Erie School board, our paper will be in the hands of young people and teachers alike throughout the region. We take very seriously this opportunity to educate those who don’t know. Each week we will be publishing interesting historical articles meant to answer or attempt to explain the real history of Grand River Territory.