Samsung project, potential new policies discussed at Chiefs Council

By Jayson Koblun

SIX NATIONS – A report from the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) was an important topic at the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) this weekend that addressed several concerns council had brought forth in previous meetings.

Members of the community and a few council members were still unclear as to what was happening with respect to the multi-billion dollar windmill project planned by Samsung – regarding sovereignty and land rights.

Aaron Detlor, HDI lawyer, said that he tried to deal with those concerns directly, but had to receive an outside second opinion before everyone would come to an understanding.

“Since the last meeting we have tried to talk through concerns with them [community and council members] directly, but they were still not happy so we went and got a second opinion,” said Detlor. “The second opinion told us no rules were being violated concerning sovereignty and did not suggest relinquishing any land rights.”

It was not made known to those listening in on the council meeting who the second opinion was from.

Detlor is hopeful that after this council meeting the problems with Samsung could finally be put to rest – aside from the fact that Samsung is refusing to pay their administration fees on the project – which total upwards of $75 000.

“We’ve asked them [Samsung] to honour their terms, but they are refusing,” said Detlor. The council decided that it would be a good idea for HDI to continue in trying to receive payment.

The Haudenosaunee Tobacco Commission (HTC) was asked at the last council meeting to begin to put together and present a visible work plan. To show some of their progress, HTC would like to form a team of board members consisting of individuals from HTC and the council to represent the community.

Council said they will consider having board members suggested by the next council meeting. HTC is looking for three members from the HCCC to be representatives on the board.

Justice Gethin Edward and Amber Skye, coordinator of the Moving Forward Together conference, were at council in the morning and gave a presentation on the two-day health conference regarding traditional health and were looking for approval at a national level.

Skye said that she and her team are trying to find a way to integrate mainstream and traditional health practices together so that supporters who hold to either side can still feel connected.

“Many traditional practitioners are already on board with us,” said Skye. “Several clan mothers showed a lot of interest in the council meeting.”

Lynda Powless, HDI media director and publisher of the Turtle Island News, put forth some ideas for the council to consider as well.

She is asking that the council consider posting the meeting’s agenda ahead of time to give people knowledge of what is to be discussed throughout the day and also for the minutes to be posted sometime after the previous council meeting.

Powless proposed to council that she would like to be given the opportunity to develop a reporter’s policy at the HCCC, asking all news outlets to follow the protocol of announcing themselves prior to a meeting so council would be aware of any reporter’s presence.

“All legitimate media follow these standards,” she said.

Council said that they would consider allowing Powless to develop a reporter’s policy for all journalists to adhere to if they are seeking admission into the council meetings.

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