Six Nations Council wants redress for boundary expansion snub; land rights need to be recognized

Six Nations Lands and Resources Director Lonny Bomberry has suggested elected council consider legal action against the City of Brantford after a discussion at Monday’s Political Liaison meeting on Brantford’s exploding development activity.

Legal action was suggested in response to the city of Brantford failing to compensate Six Nations after redrawing its boundaries with the County of Brant in 2017.

Now, those lands are the subject of massive development.

When the city added 2,700 hectares of land during the boundary expansion, it did not consult Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, despite those lands being under claim, council heard.

Now, with development exploding across the city, Bomberry says council might want to consider legal action.

“We are trying to have something done but we don’t have that ability to stop them, other than starting an individual lawsuit, which might be something that could be considered but we have been concentrating more on our lawsuit with the feds and the province.”

Housing developments are underway in the west end of the city, said Coun. Helen Miller.

“There’s tons of them,” she said. “Tons. Are we going to be doing anything about those…trying to get money or something?”

“We are talking to Brantford,” said Bomberry, adding that Six Nations was “at the table” for boundary expansion talks but in the end, “we got shut out. That is still a sore spot with me. We were supposed to be accommodated for all those lands going under Branford’s jurisdiction and that never happened. And development is about to take off in those areas, although there has been a lot of development in Brant County, as well, particularly around the Paris area. Something needs to be done….you can’t go full blast developing in these areas without consulting Six Nations and getting their approval. As of now we don’t have the veto power or the ability to get accommodation from any of these developments that are occurring. That’s just the way the law is right now.”

Coun. Hazel Johnson said there is no consideration for Six Nations’ land rights.

“They just keep forging ahead with their developments. They’ve taken the land, they do whatever they want with it, they know it’s not theirs, but they still develop it and now it’s almost like a slap in the face to Six Nations. Our land claims are going to be heading into the courts very, very soon and the outcome of that, whatever it may be, just might have impact on what they’re doing today without having any consideration for Six Nations. It just doesn’t make any sense. It’s stolen land. You steal something and you just do whatever you want with it and you don’t have to be accountable in no way. Here we are, all these years, still trying to figure out a way to make them have consideration for Six Nations.”

She said elected council needs to step up.

“It’s almost like we’re just cruising along and we need to get stronger willed in getting our points across.”

She suggested council hold a meeting with municipalities up and down the Haldimand Tract – a million-acre plot along the Grand River deeded to Six Nations for their loyalty to the Crown during the American War of Independence.

Tell them, from now on, there’s going to be rules and regulations to follow, said Johnson.

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