In 1951 the Indian act was revised so that Aboriginals were now allowed to possess and drink alcohol

Dear editors,
In 1951 the Indian act was revised so that Aboriginals were now allowed to possess and drink alcohol for the first time, but only on their own reserves. The provinces gained an increased role in determining Indian status. However, ultimate control over the Aboriginal peoples still resided (and still resides) with the federal government.

If the Federal government has the ultimate control over the Ogwehoweh and their land, how is it that the elected council and Six Nations Police can impose any Provincially based laws/Highway Traffic Act/Liquor License or otherwise on this territory?

Who has the given right to tell another person what they can/cannot do on their own territory? The Indian Act? You must understand that the Indian Act was only created to control and destroy the traditional ways of our peoples.

The Indian Act is the only one of the few history making documents in Canada that surfaces such anger, resentment, and sadness. It almost destroyed our ceremonies, it restricted us from having certain rights, it divided our peoples, and it took our children away. It has succeeded in only one thing. It made those that follow it into one of them. A white person. Or are you an apple? Red outside and white inside.

Now having said all that, on December 12-13 at Yogi’s Social Club, I was charged under the Provincial law with ‘illegally selling liquor” by the Six Nations police. I was to appear in court on January 14th, but as luck would have it I didn’t have to. I am innocent till proven guilty. I am also prepared to fight this issue. Why? Because who the hell gave the police the right to pass on provincial rulings on Federal land. Our land! I didn’t. Did you? I am disturbed by this whole ordeal and feel that I have been stereotyped by some people in this community. Charged with selling liquor, ‘whatever’!

I’ve been told by the Six Nations police that there were also some complaints made by the Six Nations Chief and its councillors and a few close neighbors of Yogis barn that beer was being sold there. Why complain about Yogi’s social club when there’s a whole heck of lot more going on this territory to complain about other than Yogis social club (the Barn or whatever you want to call it). Why aren’t these same people complaining about the 438 known drug houses, the bootleggers, and all the unlicensed events that are held here on this territory?

It has been said in our papers that Yogi’s barn serves to minors. That is so untrue and yet to be seen. But lets’ talk about what is true. Yearly Lacrosse rookie parties for the 19U parties (youngest is 15 and the son of a newly elected councillor), and some parents (some of whom are police officers) sit alongside their sons and have beers. Is that appropriate? Is it ok that we allow our youth to drink alcohol all because they made the team? (Yet they rush in to disturb a Grade 12 graduation party). Yogis Social Club is on personal property, yet the police came in there with their provincial law making papers and start handing out these yellow papers to appear in court. The white man’s government has always sent us their diseases. From residential schools, CAS, immunizations, the Indian Act, to jails and taxes (soon to come our way if this council has their way) and the list goes on. If the people who sit in these councils want to follow the white man laws and bow to a queen then go live with the white man.

This is a case where long-time members of a certain establishment gathered to socialize and entertain and have a few sociable drinks. The atmosphere of the building was welcoming and safety measures were always taken. It wasn’t a bar or a business. It was a place where members voluntarily contributed to local charities. The members replenished their own stock. It was not to serve as profit. It was built to help those in need.

Taking all this into consideration, does it matter that alcohol was/wasn’t served. What matters is this is Ogwehoweh territory. This is federal land. This is where assimilation, decolonization, decultration and decimating stops. We must not allow provincial rulings to supersede the federal laws of this land. In doing so it will only destroy the Ogwehoweh and our inherent rights to live with what they have left.

The charges that were laid upon us is not about selling liquor. It’s about not following the elected council’s way of doing things. I am not a constituent of any elected council. I am above that. I do not vote because that it not what I believe in. I am Ogwehoweh.

If there is to be any rulings given then let it fair and equal, without prejudice and above all proven.

Rhonda Martin,

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  1. Are you aware that the Elected Council and Police are both employed by the government? They did not create themselves. Also are you stating that alcohol does not control and destroy our people’s traditional ways, only the Indian Act does?

    Are you also aware that when the CAS apprehends a child there is always a cause and it is usually either exposure to inappropriate behavior (drug and alcohol use or domestic violence, etc) or forms or physical, sexual, verbal, mental and spiritual abuse that are being imposed on innocent children.
    Who are the most likely perpetrators? People who are under the influence.
    Perhaps if more parents focus was on their children (and there are many parents in our community who do) and not attending these “Social Clubs” there wouldn’t be a need for the Children’s AID Society.

    I can clearly see you are concerned about your culture and the passion is great but why not host gatherings open to the community where you can spread your knowledge of your culture and traditions? I think that would be a much more positive form of contributing to your community instead of giving people a place to drink alcohol.
    We are lucky to have such a beautiful culture and we should not be abusing our rights and use them as an excuse to run wild. That is why correction facilities where established in the first place, people use and abuse. We made the mistake of letting our freedom bring negativity to our people.

    Regardless of the allegations of alcohol being sold to minors, I don’t think it compares to the sadness of seeing someone so upset about not being able to have alcohol.

  2. So what your saying that you are a native and you can do whatever you like, that you don’t follow the provincal or federal government? I am getting sick of hearing this because we are the system. Do we not go to school and send our kids to school? Thats a provincal and federal system. Our reservation is run by the canadian government. We go to work pay taxes, collect welfare, old age and disability. We pay our bills, shop and support the system. We have I.D that says we are canadian like status,health,birth,sin and license card. Do you see what Iam saying? You cant have both feet on two sides or either are or your not. There are people who live completly off the grid and do not support the system at all. I believe with your ‘social club’ you was looking for attention why else would you have open a ‘social club’. Now that you been caught its just best to own up to your mistake and not cover it up by ‘it doesnt apply to me’ native crutch. Do you pay hydro for your ‘social club’? because thats a provincal system and you have to follow the rules. Do you buy your beer from canadian beer suppliers? That a federal system. Do you see what I mean? Open your eyes we are the system. I do not want to fight with you, this is just one person opinion after reading your letter. As far as throwing others under the bus with no names given, what does that matter? All that shows is if they didnt knock down your door you would of kept that to yourself, so it doesnt really matter. We live in a world with rules to have order, we cannot control people but we try with rules. When they are broken there is always a price to pay by the provincal or federal government, why did you choose to jump into there system? I bet i can answer for you…MONEY. What is money??? Slave dollars supported by the system you hate so much.

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