SIX NATIONS — Six Nations Elected Chief Mark Hill says a delegation from SNGR met with a number of land defenders and a delegation from the HCCC Tuesday afternoon at the Onondaga Longhouse as a start of discussions to seek a resolution to the ongoing standoff at the McKenzie Meadows housing development.
Along with Elected Chief Hill were councillors Audrey Powless-Bomberry, Melba Thomas, Michelle Bomberry, and Phil Monture.
Hereditary leadership sent a delegation to the meeting made up of Alan McNaughton, Kobe Williams, Colin Martin, Roger Silversmith, Cleve Thomas, and Gary Johnson.
A delegation from the LandBack Lane occupation attended as well as one clan mother.
“It was a good meeting, very optimistic and very hopeful,” said Chief Hill during closing remarks at Six Nations of the Grand River’s General Council meeting Tuesday evening.
“It was a very positive meeting. We know that there are many issues. It’s not going to be fixed overnight,” said Hill.
Hill shared that the discussions focused on plans to rectify the McKenzie Meadows occupation as well as looked to how the HCCC and SNGR could strategize an inclusive and unified approach to upcoming discussions with the federal and provincial governments.
Hill said there is an opportunity to open talks with the federal government, pointing to a letter from August 2019 from the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett.
In August 2019, an MOU was signed between SNGR and Canada allowing Six Nations and Canada to engage in exploratory talks to possibly resolve the many issues at hand encompassed in Six Nations Breach of Fiduciary/Trust Accounting Claim against the Government of Canada. That case is headed to court in 2022.
The August 2019 MOU puts several specific items on the table for discussion including resource and revenue sharing throughout the Haldimand Tract, Taxation matters related to Six Nations Peoples, International Relations; Governance; Administration; Community Engagement, and the legal interpretation and effect of the Haldimand Proclamation.
The agreement was signed in August 2019 between then Elected Chief Ava Hill and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett.
In March 2020, SNGR was seeking to extend the MOU through to March 2022.
Hill said as part of the council’s renewed commitment to transparency and accountability he would like to focus on providing band members regular updates on resolving the land dispute at McKenzie Meadows and says while it will not be an overnight fix, it is important to have community feedback from all perspectives on the issue.
A follow-up meeting will be held on December 28 to carry on discussions over the holidays.