Letter to the Editor: Ken Hill re: “Precedent feared in cigarette tycoon Ken Hill child support battle.”

Dear Editor, As a lifelong community member of Six Nations and as a local business owner I was disappointed and dismayed by the content, tone and implications of an article that was published in the Turtle Island News last week entitled “Precedent feared in cigarette tycoon Ken Hill child support battle.”

This article states that a “dangerous precedent” would be set if I, Mr. Ken Hill am able to use the Haudenosaunee mediation process instead of using the Ontario Court process.

This article implies that if my constitutional question is successful, and confirms aboriginal autonomy over family law issues, this would have a negative impact on the Province’s jurisdiction including CAS and social services.

With respect, I take significant issue with this. Firstly, it has always been my position, and it is our national position, that the Province does not have jurisdiction on Six Nations and this includes jurisdiction over family law issues.

It is my position that the Provincial Government’s control of CAS and social services on Six Nations has not improved the community and, at times, has had a detrimental effect. Frankly, I was surprised by the Turtle Island News’ assertion in this article that provincial jurisdiction would be preferable to aboriginal jurisdiction.

This seems to run counter to the opinion often expressed by our leaders and media outlets regarding indigenous jurisdiction and, in particular, the negative impact caused by Provincial jurisdiction.

Last week’s article also seems to imply that I am seeking a determination regarding aboriginal jurisdiction of family law issues, including support payments, as a way to avoid making said support payments. (In fact, that article goes further to suggest that if the Six Nations could self-govern family law issues, rather than the Province, Six Nations’ women would be “unable to obtain child support payments”.) Again, I take significant issue with us. With respect to my family obligations, I have and continue to make support payments.

As indicated above, I feel strongly that the Six Nations peoples should have jurisdiction and not the province. My motivation is solely to promote aboriginal autonomy. In the future, I expect that all of our media outlets provide a balanced approach to reporting and ensure that the facts are as accurate as possible.

Ken Hill
Mohawk Nation
Bear Clan

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