TORONTO — A Toronto courtroom was packed with 18 non-Indigenous Canadian lawyers Monday morning and continue to debate this afternoon what the Six Nations land claim case will look like.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Jasmine Akbarali adjourned Intervenor hearings until Tuesday morning at 10:00 a.m. after lawyers for the Haudenosaunee Development Institute requested a last minute case conference with all parties to see if the issues at hand can be resolved.
TRT reporters were the only non-lawyers present at court Monday.
Anyone who was not a lawyer was asked to leave and not permitted to stay to hear the case conference. Lawyers for HDI told the court they were not sure if the outstanding issues could be resolved in one day and said they would do their best to resolve things by 4:30 p.m. Monday afternoon.
The intervenor hearings are concerning the upcoming Six Nations land claim, which has been inching toward the courts for more than 30 years.
Six Nations elected council first launched the land claim in 1995. It was put on hold while Canada and Ontario entered into negotiations with the band council and HCCC following the Douglas Creek Estates in Caledonia reclamation in 2006.
Six Nations and the HCCC were working together on the land claim up until 2009 when the relationship between the band and hereditary council broke down. In an open council session in 2009 the elected council voted to leave the negotiations, in part because of what they said was a lack of transparency, professionalism and accountability coming from the HCCC. At that time the band returned to the land claims process in the courts.
Now – HDI says they were appointed by the HCCC to challenge the band councils land claim. HDI says that the land claim is not for just Six Nations people but all Haudenosaunee people worldwide and says the HCCC at Grand River are the governing body for those people.
The Men’s Fire of Six Nations and the Elected Council are both arguing that HDI lacks accountability and should not be a party to the land claim.
Ontario responded to HDIs motion and says that it should be dismissed because HDI and HCCC do not have legal standing as they are not a natural person or a corporation.
They say that HDI told the court during cross-examination that regardless of the outcome that the HCCC Chiefs and Clanmothers will not abide by any order of the court, and as such there should be orders given if HDI is successfully added to the case – specifically an order that legally binds the HCCC Chiefs and Clanmothers to abide forever by the determination of the court.
Canada also responded and says HDI has no interests in the litigation and that they are not a rights holder that can advance the trial in any way. They also say that the trial judge deserves to hear a historical Haudenosaunee perspective through the trial and says the court should appoint an HCCC representative to participate.
Updates on the results of todays case conference are expected by late Monday afternoon to determine if the hearings will go ahead on Tuesday morning as planned.
Full details on all the Intervenors in this case can be found online at www.sngrlitigation.com.