In light of the recent death of Mohawk activist, Bill Squire representing the Mohawk Workers, we thought it would be fitting to offer this posthumous republishing of a letter in which Squire explains his stance and his beliefs about the Mohawks of the Grand River Territory.
As the Haldimand suggests, the Mohawk of Grand River are under a different footing than others of the Six Nations. Maybe I can explain why, but first, I need to comment about the negotiations between the federal government, the province of Ontario, elected band council and the Six Nations Confederacy.
I find it very ironic that the parties at the negotiating table have no treaties and yet believe that they have rights to dispose of Haldimand lands. I suggest with research, anyone can find that the Six Nations do in fact have treaties of their very own, the treaty of Canandaigua in 1794 and the Buffalo Creek Treaty of May 20, 1842. These treaties are with the United States and signed by the Chiefs and Warriors of the Six Nations with no Mohawk signatories or Mohawk participation.
On the 7th day of April 1779, a registered document was delivered to the Mohawk called the Haldimand Pledge promising Mohawks for our steady attachment to the King’s service and for loss of our lands during the war Haldimand wrote “the same should be restored at the expense of the government to the state they were in before these war’s broke out.” Then in 1784 the Haldimand Proclamation was manifested which bears the Crown Seal of England.
We would like people to know Mohawks are in possession of the original Haldimand document and do not support or condone the present day negotiations under Canada’s land claim policies.
I’ll explain why.
Mohawks walked out of the negotiations at a time when the Six Nations Confederacy accepted a band council resolution to take the lead roll and accept funding, putting the Confederacy under Indian Act status and to this very day have not projected any sort of sovereign stand as a government.
Mohawks are currently pursuing a land claim based on an application to the international court (The Hague) filed May 26, 1967, The Mohawk Nation against Canada, as successor of Great Britain. This claim was filed by an international lawyer, Omar Z. Ghobashy, J.D., Ph. D., who said, “the act to provide for this disposition of Indian land claims, registered June 21, 1965, in the House of Commons of Canada Bill C-123.” By Canada setting its own appointed commission, the Canadian government is taking the dual position of defendant and judge and he advised the Mohawks that the Haldimand should never be subject to judicatory under this Act.
Currently the courts of Canada only recognize the band council as the legal representatives of Six Nations lands allowing the county and the city of Brantford to negotiate land issues with the elected band council under the terms of the Indian Act or the Six Nations Confederacy under the terms of the Simcoe Deed of 1793 whom the signatories are the Chiefs of the Six Nations.
A map of Brantford surveyed by Lewis Burwell on January 26, 1833 clearly shows Brantford in possession of 807 acres and was completely surrounded by Mohawk farms and lands under lease.
This then raises unanswered questions such as; “Was this land ever sold? Was it ever purchased? Were Mohawk land owners ever compensated? Were the leases ever paid?” leaving Mohawk lands disappearing and land questions unresolved. This is a direct violation of Mohawk land rights and of our human rights therefore we as Mohawk people are appealing for support from decent people to whom justice and peace is important. We are open to advice and advocacy in our struggle to have our voices heard.