My paternal grandfather was a Cayuga Chief — Snipe Clan and fluent in all the languages

My paternal grandfather was a Cayuga Chief — Snipe Clan and fluent in all the languages. My great grampa “Dawit” and the late Deskaheh along with many others worked together on keeping our Confederacy strong.

Songwiohdisohs knew the attacks of the canadian federal government was detrimental to the future of our people. So Dawit and many others worked hard to get Deskaheh “across the big water” to Geneva so that he could “fight” on our behalf to the United Nations. Despite numerous obstacles, Deskaheh made it.

That is why today we are still a strong sovereign nation. Because we had ancestors who sacrificed everything to make sure of that. When Dawit, Deskaheh and all the others decided we needed to get our voice to Geneva to speak — they did that for me and you, they did that for my kids, your kids and even the faces that aren’t here yet.

Way back then they didn’t know us, but they knew everything they did was for the future faces that were coming — the next 7 generations.

Here I sit 4 generations later, still strong and rich in my culture. Still a sovereign nation because my great grampa fought for me to have this life.

In many ways, so much has changed.

We’re still fighting that same fight that they worked so hard at all those years ago. Still fighting for our sovereignty and still fighting to keep our ways strong. Only this time around, we’re fighting that fight amongst each other.

We can never lose our sovereignty, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a fight to keep it.

We let something bad and evil into our circle. And because we are a trusting people, we let it into our circle whole heartedly and with open arms! This was 2006.

Little did we know back then that this was the beginning of the end for us, unless we unite and fight like we’ve never fought before.

In just 9 years many changes have occurred within not only our traditional society, but most of all, within our traditional “governance” system.

Money and power have corrupted the minds of our once strong traditional people. Some leaders are not thinking of what’s in the best interests of our “people” as a collective. Money and power has clouded a once good, pure mind. Not for all, but for a few.

Money was never a part of our ways. To our people “wealth” was knowledge. This is why we hold our titleholders so high. Because they are “rich” in our traditional ways. They each hold so much respect from the very people who put them in those positions.

The greatest “honour” amongst our people is to be selected to be a chief, clan mother or faithkeeper. It’s also no doubt, one of the hardest positions to uphold. Because the hardest thing you will ever have to do is practice what you preach.

Is your mind strong enough to say “tahnt” to those temptations that no doubt will be thrown in your path?

Is your mind strong enough to always remember who you are, where you came from and why you’re there? If it is, then you’re where you’re supposed to be. If it’s not and you’ve misused your position and authority for personal gain then only you will have to answer for that.

Nothing goes unseen. There are consequences for every action.

And when you are put into the role of being a titleholder by your people, you’re put there because you possessed either a gift of the knowledge of the languages, ceremonies or laws. Because you held all the qualities needed to be a leader.

So when you take advantage of the faith we put into your abilities —also know that there is consequences to those actions.

Not once, but twice — once to the people, once to Songwiodisohs!

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