OHSWEKEN — A collection of letters going back and forth arguing who speaks for the Six Nations Men’s Fire have emerged in the community.
The first was an unsigned notice posted in the editorial page of a Six Nations newspaper saying that certain men within the collective known as “The Men’s Fire” were no longer speaking on behalf of the group.
The notice alleged “Bill Monture, Wilf Davey n such others that follow these two men” have brought “great shame n embarrassment” and committed “treason against the Kaianerenko’:wa”.
This prompted Davey and Monture to respond in an interview with the Two Row Times saying that the notice was critical of their pursuit of a class-action case against the Haudenosaunee Development Institute and the Ontario incorporation they created without the knowledge or consent of the people of the Confederacy.
Well, now new letters have emerged. Last week a member of the Men’s Fire, Sonny Maracle, hand delivered a copy of that letter to the Two Row Times office and said the real issue is not Monture and Davey pursuing the class-action against HDI but alleges Monture helped the Six Nations Elected Council in a different lawsuit surrounding the dispute over Burtch lands.
The new letter, now signed by 6 Mohawks, 1 Onondaga and 1 Cayuga gives notice that there has been a “change in the voices in Hodiskeagehda” and says that the “Hodiskeagehda is directly accountable to the Hereditary Chiefs, Clan Mothers and the Community” and “in our culture, no single group or person is able to make decision, or speak, for all.”
Ironically, a second notice sent by one individual, Leroy “Jock” Hill, on behalf of the Six Nations “Iroquois” Confederacy — condemns Monture and Davey along with three other men: Bob Frank Jr., Lester Green and Moe Sandy.
Hill says that the five named are “acting without and have never had the authority or sanctioning” of the chiefs and clan mothers of the HCCC.
Hill goes on to state in his letter that the five Haudenosaunee men named are “outside the sanctity and protection” of the Great Law and are not representative of the people of Six Nations.
Those five men have now responded to both letters and notices — saying that the voices of the Haudenosaunee men and their responsibilities don’t change “because there is a new regime in place” because the Great Law never changes.
The five men allege there is a divide in the community between the men — those who are choosing to follow the Code of Handsome Lake religion and it’s governing Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council structure and those who uphold the original instructions given by Deganawida in the Great Law.
The five men corrected the new collective claiming to represent the Men’s Fire — that the responsibility of the men is to maintain the peace in spite of differences of opinion. “We wish to remind you that when Dekanawida travelled amongst our people, it was a time when people were not getting a long. He did not choose only those who were of his opinion.”
The five men also issued a stern correction to Leroy “Jock” Hill about the Great Law.”The voice of the families have always governed our people and not the voice of the chiefs…To suggest that no one has a right to speak and represent the teaching of the [Great Law] is preposterous. Kaianerekowa recognizes that each and every individual has the responsibility to look out for any danger that may be harmful to the people…”
The five men say that the origins of the Men’s Fire revival were rooted in the land reclamation at the former Douglas Creek Estates in 2006. This they say is where the concept of Otiokwanhoksta was discussed and and a mandate from all the men gathered from all Haudenosaunee territories across the Confederacy — to set up the Men’s Fire to re-establish the teachings and “empower the people to their rightful place”.
The five men issued a second correction to Hill — saying “Kaianerekowa never abandons anyone. The protection is always there. Even when those who have alienated themselves by going outside the circle of our ways. No one would ever be abandoned.”
All four letter have been posted to our website. You can see them at www.tworowtimes.com