It’s hunting season on Six Nations. Time for us good Onkwehon:we men to get out our spotlights, 4x4s, quads and blood hounds! Creep around the neighbourhoods in the middle of the night, surround the blocks in our 4x4s, send in the dogs and call ourselves hunters.
“There’s a deer! Call the boys! Get the dogs! Who cares whose property it is? Let’s chase them all clear off the territory! It’s all about me! BOOM! I’m a good hunter!”
You think this sounds a little bit foolish? This is actually the way it is on Six Nations. There is not very much respect on the territory for wildlife or each other.
Last week, a family member told me he heard shots at night near his home. Upon further investigation, he found two small deer shot from the road and just left there. They were shot with a very high caliber rifle. Whoever killed them was very good marksman, but not very respectful. These “hunters” left the guts of a bigger deer and the two babies. Not a great example for our youth.
But that seems to be the case around here. That’s why there are no deer. Soon enough, you’ll see all the big men riding around with their bloodhound boxes on the back of their 4x4s, thinking they’re good, chasing all the deer clear off the territory.
I wonder if they’re really proud when they get one. It makes you wonder how these “men” were raised – and where they were raised.
Is it legal on Six Nations for all this to go on? Maybe it is. I don’t know. I guess the mindset is, “If I can’t have it, no one can.” It’s disrespectful, dishonorable and cowardly.
If you travel to other territories, they only need to go behind their homes to take a deer. They don’t spot or run bloodhounds. A couple of the other territories are making new laws where you have to sign in to their nation offices before you enter their woods. And guess why? “Men” from Six Nations are going there spotting and shooting ten to twenty deer a night.
Really? Who do we think we are? Going to someone else’s homeland and doing things like this. I pretty much sank in my chair, I was so embarrassed and ashamed to hear such a thing. “‘Men’ from Six Nations” is what they said. It passed through their tribal councils.
It’s 2014. What is wrong with us? Go to Subway or McDonalds if you’re that hungry. If you have money for all that, why can’t you get groceries? Instead, you go and get 48 deer.
I guess the question is: what’s it all about? The need to kill, or the need to make yourself feel better by killing animals? Maybe there are some deeper issues we are not addressing getting taken out on the deer. Maybe if we all worked together as a community and a nation, there would be no need to do all these disrespectful things to nature and the wildlife on our territory. Maybe the deer would come back if we respected the woods and our territory and each other a lot more. Our children’s children would have a lot more than we do.
But if we keep on this path, no one’s going to have anything. We as Onkwehon:we people are supposed to be the protectors of the land. Even the little piece of the earth we have left. Whether it is laziness or greed, there’s definitely something wrong in our community.
Last year my son and I planted a small food plot in hopes of harvesting a deer. We put out cameras and, to our surprise, they showed up to eat. Until one day a man came in his 4×4 asking if he can go behind our home to get his dogs. I told him no.
“It’s hunting season,” he said to me in a testosterone-charged voice, “and my dogs can’t cross the water.” The man was so lost in his own arrogance he must have thought he was the only hunter on the territory.
I took a ride down the road and saw some hunters loading up a little doe. When we checked our cameras, sure enough: a little doe followed by three bloodhounds on our property.
I love Six Nations. It’s been my home all my life, and I’m very proud to be a part of the community. But this is what happens every fall. I’m certain there is a better way. If we respected the deer and each other, we could change our attitudes and methods. There would be a lot more for everyone.