OHSWEKEN – A group of citizens and business people gathered at the GREAT Theatre last Thursday to take steps towards forming a people’s committee to address the question of taxation on Six Nations Territory. They will be meeting each and every Thursday beginning at 7 pm as they discuss strategies and get updates on how to resist the Ontario and Federal government’s efforts to impose taxation on Haudenosaunee people both on and off reserve.
The meeting was a follow up from a recent public meeting called by Elected Chief Bill Montour at Six Nations Polytechnic when the community was given an opportunity to speak to the taxation issue. At that meeting Chief Montour recommended a people’s committee be formed to seek ways to stop the further erosion of Haudenosaunee rights and freedoms, including taxation.
Audrey Squire-Hill of the Turtle Island Business Association called for a referendum of some kind to seek input from as broad a cross section of the community as possible.
Dire warnings were presented outlining government strategies used elsewhere, especially in British Columbia, where offers of immediate money and promises of a certain amount of autonomy, have lured some Onkwehon:we peoples into a trap whereby they ultimately give up their rights as sovereign peoples, and in essence, become Canadian citizens
“We know that Harper’s termination plan is coming,” said Squire-Hill. “How do we develop a strategy to stop it? We’re not talking about going to Band Council or talking to any group. We’re talking about developing a people’s agenda and a people’s initiative.”
She pointed out that historically her people have sat back and done nothing until after it hits, but this time, she wants her people to be ready with an action plan to resist before its becomes too late to do so.
“People are unaware of how imminent this is,” she warned.
One thing that came from this first of many community meetings on the subject was a recommendation to begin to develop an information and communication network with an informative website and an active social media campaign and a list of people willing to join together and resist Prime Minister Harper’s assimilation tactics against Six Nations in particular, but Onkwehon:we people at large as well.
The meetings are open to all and will continue every Thursday at the GREAT Theatre from 7 pm until 9 p.m.