In defense of myself and the land

My name is Nowendawih and I am under the wing of the Onondaga Beaver Clan – a natural born Haudenosaune of the Grand River Territory at Six Nations. My father is Sagoyehsahta and our lineage follows his mother – Kawineta.

After the passing of my mother-in-law Elle Garlow, I also became the matriarch of the Garlow family. I am the natural born descendant of Deskaheh and Gahendineh – two strong opposers of manipulation of the Haudenosaune people at Six Nations of the Grand River.

My birthright to this territory is long. I am a natural born citizen of Six Nations of the Grand River. My colonial Indian registration is as a Lower Mohawk of Six Nations. Every year of my life has been spent on this territory. As such, I am a natural born protector of this land, of the Haudenosaune people who dwell here and those faces yet to come.

As a Haudenosaune woman and Garlow matriarch, I have the voice and the authority to speak for the welfare of the Garlow family, our lands and our resources.

When I have a concern, as a Haudenosaune woman, my voice is honoured, considered, and respected as matriarch of the Garlow family – and a protected member of the Onondaga Beaver Clan family.

All natural born and adopted Haudenosaune people are assured personal autonomy and protection under the Great Law and all of our treaties and wampum agreements.

Non-indigenous allies have the opportunity to sit beside the Haudenosaune people as long as they behave properly and follow protocol as members of a voiceless clan – that is the agreement for allies to sit under the Tree of Peace alongside the Haudenosaune.

According to all of my above stated roles, it is my responsibility to stand up and correct any ally when they are behaving outside of protocol – and if my words aren’t heard – to take further action to correct the breech – for the wellbeing of all people and to maintain the peace.

Recently, a non-indigenous ally attempted to misappropriate the Great Law to subjugate me and negate my autonomy as a Haudenosaune woman and matriarch of my Garlow family. This caused me great emotional distress and was an act of abuse.

This is a cease and desist notice – to all allies on the Six Nations territory that any actions to abuse, manipulate, ignore or subjugate natural born Haudenosaune people is a breach of your role as an ally.

Many allies have lost their way and have come to my territory with an agenda – some of us call this “white saviour complex.” They come with a mission – to “save the indians” and thereby change the entire world.

This is a sick and perverted mindset. It is a form of neo-colonialism – just a new and revised version of the historical oppressions committed against my people.

This kind of behaviour is unacceptable. It is my responsibility as a Haudenosaune woman to remind all allies that you must remember who you are and what your role is in the relationship.

This is fair warning to all allies that any and all acts of neo-colonialism initiated on the Six Nations territory toward the Haudenosaune people will not be tolerated.

This includes emotional manipulation of Haudenosaune citizens, breeches of proper protocol, misappropriation of Haudenosaune culture and any other actions taken in order to subjugate a person of Haudenosaune birth.

I would also like to encourage my Haudenosaune ‘cousints’ here at Six Nations that you are born with autonomy over your own being and over the lands at Six Nations of the Grand River. Nobody can take your voice away. No non-native person can come to this community and try to gain power over you on your own land. That is abuse. And if they try, it is fully within your autonomy to tell them to leave.

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