Common sense for Band Council reform

OHSWEKEN – Six Nations Band Council can represent all people who are members of 13 Six Nations bands so why not use that structure?

There are 13 bands who are part of the Six Nations membership; Delaware; Oneida; Tuscarora; Lower Mohawk; Upper Mohawk; Walker Mohawk; Bay of Quinte Mohawk; Upper Cayuga; Lower Cayuga; Barefoot Onondaga; Onondaga Clearsky; Tonadaha Seneca; Niharondasa Seneca.

Everyone has a band number and is a band member. Whether you like it or not no matter what your religion is or even your race, everyone on the band list is registered in one of the 13 bands. Me? I’m Bay of Quinte Mohawk 191.

Here’s the proposal. Each of the 13 bands will have a band meeting and select one person to represent their voice on the Band Council – with no elections (and we save that money).

Here’s the process:

  1. In August, all the Bay of Quinte Mohawks meet at Chiefswood for the BQM BBQ.
  2. Those who show up of the 800 BQMs get to talk about who they’d like to represent their voice on the Band Council.
  3. A process is designed by the BQMers, who are a talented group of people who are famous for using practical reasoning (mostly to avoid getting involved with the current state of knuckle-headedness).
  4. They ratify their representative and draft a memorandum-of-law signed by competent authorities of the BQMs.

This joint “Six Nations Band Council” then nominates the Chair (the new name for the Chief Councillor) from one of the 13 band council members.

The Chair has the same duties and responsibilities as his or her colleagues to represent their band, but the main responsibility of the Chair is to enact decisions made by the council, and to convene, facilitate, and mediate processes for acting on council decisions. Community engagement in action.

The requirement for transparency is increased not only for the Chair — but all councillors as well. This proposal appropriates a colonizing process, and decolonizes that process for our own good. The band council becomes directly accountable to their own people.

Democratic reform returns to building consensus rather than majority rule that our colonizers learned from us in the first place.

(Thohahoken teaches social sciences and lives in Mohawk territory of the Grand River.)

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