Three clan families of the Oneida nation have publicly denounced the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) and consultant Al Day in a signed letter from the three clan title holders, hand delivered by runner to HDI during a public meeting held at the GREAT Theatre in August.
The two page statement was issued by three of the 49 traditional title holders of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy: Owatsatha title of the Oneida Bear Clan and endorsed by the Teyohakw’t Oneida Wolf Clan and the Thanahak’tha Oneida Turtle Clan.
Those three clan families say they are not and never were in agreement to proceed with five solar farm projects located in Amherstbug, Belmont, St. Clair-Moore, St. Clair – Sombra and Walpole that HDI negotiated with on their behalf starting in 2011 through consultant Al Day.
The letter reads: “We, the Owatsatha Family are opposed to Al Day or any other persons or corporations misrepresenting/misleading the public that our family is in support of their actions with these above mentioned solar farms, and using our family name to benefit only himself or anyone he represents. We are telling anyone who believes they have the authority and who continue this practice of oppression on our family: stop this action immediately. We will never agree to this practice. We also know, no one chief or person has the right to sell or lease any land because we are only to use the land and protect it for the future and the unborn.”
The three title holders state HDI’s negotiation process puts lands at risk and they are not in consensus with leasing lands for development in the 1701 Albany treaty territory.
It also states that because Day formerly held the position of elected band council chief in Oneida, he cannot hold a valid position of authority within the traditional governance system.
This is the first known official statement delivered to HDI, but the third cease and desist notice the corporation has been served in the last five months from Haudenosaunee Confederacy clan families, bringing the total to six Haudenosaunee Confederacy Clan families who have expressed they no longer are in consensus with HDI negotiating on their behalf.
According to Haudenosaunee Confederacy protocol, all 49 clan families must be in consensus before it receives valid ratification at the traditional governance level.
“There is no one title holder that speaks for the whole nation. No right is given to one individual to exercise his right or jurisdiction over the lands held and occupied by any other nation of Haudenosaunee people. Yet we clearly see this is the present action of HDI/HCCC,” the statement says. “The 1701 Treaty is not to be used for personal gain, yet this is what we are seeing happen with the HDI Corporation (2438543) and the HCCC. The Owatsatha is not in agreement with this action.”
Since 2007, HDI has been charging developers engagement fees and receiving money on behalf of the Haudenosaunee people in exchange for “free and prior consent” to develop lands belonging collectively to the Haudenosaunee people.
Many developers have paid in good faith believing they are honouring the Six Nations community. However earlier this year, details of multi-million dollar engagement agreements leaked to the press showed HDI agreed to waive Haudenosaunee sovereign immunity and the application of Haudenosaunee Law over lands leased to Samsung/Pattern — twice in 2013 and 2014 without first acquiring the consensus of all 49 clan families.
Previously the Cayuga Snipe Clan family, Cayuga Wolf Clan family and the Onondaga Beaver Clan family have all expressed publicly that they believe HDI is no longer acting in good faith toward the Haudenosaunee people and are wondering where money collected from developers is going.
In an emailed response sent directly to the Two Row Times about the Oneida decision HDI Director Hazel Hill wrote “…a “letter” received at the meeting has been forwarded to the HCCC secretary for council’s attention.”