You have stated that you welcome comments, questions and concerns, yet met with opposition you act very dismissive and change complete direction. You went from talking about tobacco to corn beans squash and strawberries.
I don’t think getting people off course with your corn argument is very productive. Yes, corn is a sacred plant. Yes, it’s traded and is a kind of commerce for our people as well as non-ongwehonweh farmers, but corn is a staple. It is food, food is a necessity of life, needed for survival. You can’t compare commercial tobacco to food.
If all the commercial tobacco died tomorrow we would survive, if all the food died we would starve to death, not quite the same.
I understand some people are using tobacco to make a living, to make money to feed their families, but many other people do the same thing without being in the tobacco trade in any way shape or form.
To my knowledge not one person in my family is involved in the tobacco trade, and I know many other families who aren’t either. This law does not benefit the collective. I see this argument as a cop out. A weak defence to an unnecessary action.
Secondly, I don’t know where this idea of paying for the Chiefs protection came from. Our job as Haudenosaunee people is to protect our Chiefs as much as it is their job is to protect the people. Since when does anyone have to pay for that?
With this draft tobacco law you either pay fees to a collective or your property is seized and you’re expelled from the territory? That’s outrageous! That is total Mafia mentality! I have seen the working draft: a “banishment” clause is there!
When the Feds tried to bring taxes to the reserve – Elected Council said business owners either paid a fee to council or were left on their own. Back then I remember the word extortion being thrown around.
The definition of extortion is, “the practise of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats” I’m quite certain saying “pay our fees or else” falls under that definition.
This law reads exactly the same as Bill C-10 actually, in language introduced and imposed by the canadian federal government, and I don’t mean English, I mean the legal jargon.
You stated you were prepared to go to jail for the rights of the people, then prove it.
Actions speak louder than words. You say you’re willing to go to jail, yet you are asking the Chiefs to impose a bylaw and asking the people to support this endeavour. The Great Law doesn’t employ by-laws, the Great Law isn’t a tool to make money. This is our way of life.
If you stand by the belief that we have an inherent right to grow and harvest tobacco, that is how you fight Bill C-10.
You made a choice to get into the tobacco trade, knowing C-10 was inevitable. You knew this fight was coming, don’t take the easy way out and ask us to “white-wash” and impose bylaws. Stand up and fight!
If jail is a concern for you, might I suggest pulling that crop of tobacco out of Burtch, since you’re for the collective, and the province is using that as the hold up for the land transfer.
To make myself abundantly clear, I’m not against fighting for our rights to grow, harvest and trade tobacco, I’m against creating a ‘Canadian-esque’ law to do it. I’m against imposing fees that could either break small businesses to pay them, or push them out of the trade because they can’t.
If we are going to be for the people than fight this fight for and beside the people. Instead of crushing them with taxation. Fight the Bill as a collective, with the people’s support.
Cayuga Nation Wolf clan