In speaking only for myself and not the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) and with all due respect to the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC), saying one thing and doing another doesn’t cut it.
In the 2013 statement given by Chief Sidney Hill, Tadodato, Onondaga Nation, it states the imposition of elected councils primary intent was “…to assist in the enfranchisement and assimilation of the Haudenosaunee into the national fabric of both Canada and the United States.”
Four years from this statement the HCCC are now shareholders in an incorporated numbered company (#2438543 Ontario Inc.). We all know under incorporation laws all people are deemed to be Canadian citizens. In other words, the HCCC had to disenfranchise themselves to incorporate, meaning give up or relinquish all their rights as Haudenosaunee people.
According to the media release Hazel Hill, Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) director, excuses the disenfranchisement by saying the numbered company is “the vehicle used by the HCCC to buy shares of the Veresen Grand Valley Wind Farm and to purchase land to return to the Haudenosaunee and build on our land base.” Granted, business today is all about incorporation—but we’re talking about a government here, our traditional government jumping into another canoe. We’re not talking about some businessman around the corner.
We also hear the HCCC has established another corporation known as Ogwa whista de dwa snye Inc. This corporation is to oversee HCCC revenues. Like, what is going on here? The HCCC is becoming more Canadian than the elected council system they despise so much.
I’ve been an elected councillor for 12 years now and consider myself schooled in the politics and workings of the Ontario and Federal governments and development projects, but even so, I still have a difficult time coming to grips with and understanding the complicated agreements. Whenever questioned, Hazel Hill and Aaron Detlor always say the HCCC knows because we report to the HCCC on a monthly basis. Yet according to the story, Wilf Davey claims most of the chiefs who were asked if they knew the HCCC was shareholders of #2438543 Ontario Inc. said “no” they didn’t. So what chiefs agreed to incorporate? The HCCC probably doesn’t even know about Ogwa whista de dwa snye Inc., their other incorporated company.
And what about the people, the clans? As a member of the Turtle Clan I heard about the numbered company but this story is the first time I heard about Ogwa whista de dwa snye Inc. Where do the people fit into the HCCC jumping from canoe to canoe? Seems the HDI has taken the place of the clans at the HCCC table and on the HCCC’s agenda. How can this be when it’s the people who make up the confederacy?
The thing is there was another option to incorporating. The HCCC has always maintained that elected councils are only there for the band’s administration purposes hence the HCCC only wanting exclusive jurisdiction over the Eight Points. Instead of setting up an incorporated company the HCCC could have had any funding paid by developers flow thru the band administration. What would have happened is the money would come to the Finance department and the Finance Director would transfer the money to the HCCC/HDI bank account. All the band administration asks for is an audit of the money at the end of the year. The HDI could have easily provided that.
This all concerns me greatly. First of all it doesn’t seem to me that the people working at the HDI or working on these development agreements are doing so with the best interest of the HCCC in mind. Seems the HDI can convince the HCCC to do anything for a buck. How disillusioning.
Councillor Helen Miller