Fate of the Surplus Federal Building

Newly designated Federal Surplus land is a beneficial prospect for the Six Nations Community, and for the community members who have made Brantford their home. The property is currently occupied by the Crown, however with its new status of surplus property Six Nations peoples may want to pay close attention to this change of events.

One recent property sale has left us wondering who is driving this so called Indian trust ship. Why are the lands that are held in trust by the crown being sold, and by the micro trusts that are created to manage the lands on behalf of the crown? Case in point the recent sale of Victoria School ($600, 000) by the Grand Erie District School Board to the Henan Provincial Government of China (Victoria School Academy). The sale had to meet conditions prescribed by the lieutenant governor of Ontario; however our office has not received any meaningful response from the School Boards Trustees to our requests to review the conditions.

The School Board Trust is ultimately overseen by the City council, And sales of lands outside of the original lease agreement is a completely unilateral decision, without consent of our collective community. All while Brantford sits on its 1994 commission by former Mayor Bob Taylor of the fact that Brantford is 80-90% still under lease with a then value of over $250 billion dollars.

These sales are a very complex legal matter however at its root is the removal of Six Nations Community interests in the lands and the treaty relationships by selling the lands out of lease arrangements and away from our sight.

The Director of the Victoria School Academy was quoted as saying Brantford was chosen for its “pure Canadian environment”. This is a very catastrophic statement it has undermined our place here in these lands, and the Environment. This is an attack on the Orenda; our ability to be a part of shaping our environment. We are a part of the environment whether it’s cheaper to buy land believing in that or not.

With timing and the right edge every situation can be used to make our world a better place, the timing may be perfect to start any number of nation building projects to help guide our own people though any number of situations; education, travel, legal and language services, nationalized courts, credit union, fraternal insurance, transportation and safety programs, etc.

For example, developing a postal system with our own national postage stamps, with Canada Post looking in the future to phase out door to door we could provide a basic local solution using pre-existing infrastructure. In general, it isn’t well considered but the faith, trust and importance of carrying someone’s message would be something our community is very familiar with.

This is just one of many ways the building could be used if it was to be reverted back to the Six Nations once and for all.

With the federal government seeking buyers they will approach all levels of government to see who may be interested, will this include the Elected Band Council or the traditional governments? Will the sale be in line with the constitution? Since legally the provincial laws do not apply on the reserve who is representing these interests? How is the land being sold? Are there conditions that will have to be met? Is there a preexisting reversion clause that would see all surplus lands reverted back to the Six Nations?

Benjamin II

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