Six Nations of the Grand River is Ours

The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 proclaims that the Mohawk Nation and others of the Six Nation Indians have been granted, by His Majesty King George — the River Ouse, now called the Grand River,  and all the land on both sides of the river extending out for a distance of six miles from the mouth of the River to its source — forever.

It goes on to state that the river and the land shall be ours and and our posterity to Enjoy Forever. The Canadian Government appears to be unable to grasp the concept of forever.

The Haldimand Proclamation has never been repealed by Canada or the British Crown and as such, remains in effect to this day. The wording of the document states that the land in question here shall continue to be ours tomorrow and forever as long as there are Iroquois people living along the River.

As this article is being composed, in the village of Ohsweken there is a small and hardly noticeable protest under way in and around the Six Nations Elected Council’s Central Administration Office on Chiefswood Road. These protests flare up from time to time due to the fact that many Six Nations Residents and others do not understand exactly to whom the Haldimand Tract was Granted to by the British Monarchy in 1784.

The Haldimand Proclamation states that the land in question was Granted to the Mohawk people and others who would accompany Captain Joseph Brant to this area from their old home along the Mohawk River in what had become, the State of New York, in 1784 the area was one of Thirteen States of the new country called the United States of America.

The land stretching out for six miles on either side of the River Ouse, as the waterway was called then, and the River bed itself now belonged to those Mohawks and others who were under the command and control of Captain Brant. The land and the water in the Haldimand Tract was not granted to each and everyone of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy.

The land and water in the tract was not granted to the Six Nations Confederacy Chiefs Council.

There are many people here in the Haldimand Tract and elsewhere who claim that the Six Nations Hereditary Chiefs Council was the first government established here at some point just after Joseph Brant and people arrived here from New York State. That statement is also not true. Captain Joseph Brant of the British Continental Army of North America established himself and his British Army Lieutenants as the First and Original Military Governors of the first settlement at what was then called, Brant’s Ford where the Lorne Bridge now stands over the Grand River in the City of Brantford. In 1784 when Brant and those soldiers and citizens under his command arrived along the Grand River as Christian Indians; they did not bring the Longhouse Religion with them as when Brant and his people arrived; they were part of the Anglican Church or the Church of England.  The truth of this statement can be seen by the naked eye of anyone who will just travel to the site of Brant’s original village next to the old Indian Residential School, the Mush Hole, and the beholder will see the Mohawk Chapel. This is a Royal Chapel which had been originally built for Captain Joseph Brant and his followers both Indian and white alike. The Chapel was built for them by the British Government of North America as a Symbol of Respect for the continued Allegiance of the Mohawk’s and others to the British Monarchy.

There is another a segment to this story which must be added. In the year 1701, the original Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy entered into a Treaty with the British Government — the Nan Fan Treaty of 1701. This Treaty by which the British Government was granted use of the land laid out in the Treaty, gave the Five Nations of Iroquois the Legal Right to Hunt; Fish and Harvest Wild Life and Natural Medicines on the land and in the water from: a point in Lake Ontario Westward through the Niagara River to Lake Erie following a line south of the North Shore of Lake Erie to the St. Claire River near Detroit. The line then travels Northward to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay up to the North Shore of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. From that point the Boundary of the Treaty travels Eastward to a point somewhere East of Sudbury and due South from that point to the starting point in Lake Ontario. up to the Southern Shore of the Severn River. That was the Boundary of the original 1701 Nan Fan Treaty.

Today the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) fixes the Eastern Boundary in Lake Ontario where the Canadian and U S Boundaries meet and Westward and Northward along the lines mentioned above. However; the Western Boundary of today continues North from the St. Claire River north to a point in Georgian Bay which coincides with the Southern Shore of the Severn River. The MNR Boundary does not give Six Nations people access to the water of the River. Likewise, as the Eastern Boundary travels South to the Western shore of Lake Simcoe, the MNR does not allow Six Nations access to the waters of the Lake. Where the Boundary of the original Treaty gave Six Nations access to land well east of Toronto; the MNR draws the eastern Boundary from the Western Shore of Lake Simcoe south to Yonge Street in Toronto and on down to the Canadian/American Border in Lake Ontario.

In 1701, the Five Nations of Iroquois controlled all the land and water inside the boundaries of the Treaty. Also at that time in 1701 the areas laid out in the Nan Fan Treaty were considered by the British Monarchy to be owned  and controlled by the Five Nations of Iroquois and not the Mississaugas of the Credit as they now claim the area of land and water described above.

By: Doug Whitlow

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