At one time the five nations warred amongst themselves causing much bloodshed, sadness and mourning. Instead of thriving and vibrant villages, anxiety and fear were constant as an attack from another of the five nations could occur at any time.
Seeing how much grief the warring was causing in our villages, the Peacemaker sent Hiawata to the five nations with an idea for peace among the nations. The idea, the Great Law, would bring peace by promoting the creation of democratic institution called the Five Nations Confederacy which used equality and consensus as its foundation.
This consensus and equality begins among clan members who all have an equal voice. The clan chief, who is merely a spokesperson for the clan, can present his clan’s position to the other clan chiefs in the nation.
If all of the clans of a particular nation have achieved consensus on an issue, that it can be said that people of the nation are of one mind.
If all the nations of the confederacy have achieved consensus on an issue then it can be said that the people of the confederacy are of one mind, united.
It is the total agreement, consensus of the people that bring us the Great Peace. After all, what is there to fight about if we are all in agreement?
If we agree that consensus and equality brings peace among our people then we must also agree that lack of equality and consensus does not bring peace but rather strife in our community and threats of physical harm.
Such lack of consensus has other negative effects because without it the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) chiefs are acting without a mandate from the clans they purport to be speaking on behalf of.
How can the HCCC chiefs truly claim to speak for their clan members when they don’t even know who the vast majority of them are?
If the HCCC and Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) spent as much time working towards clan research and restructuring as they have at being unaccountable and inciting division in our community, they would at least be able to say they are working towards getting a degree of a mandate from their clan.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case which raises questions about whether the HCCC is committed to following the Great Law.
What we are left with now is a type of collection of monarchies that are dictatorial in nature. The vast majority of the HCCC’s are behaving as dictators instead of spokesmen for their clan.
This behavior is contrary to the Great Law and is not conducive to promoting peace among our people.
Information is power and when the HCCC and HDI withhold information from the people we are then disempowered to point of being powerless to provide informed consent and obtain accountability.
When, for example, were the 50 HCCC’s going to tell us they are shareholders in a company using our territory?
Why are the details of the HDI applications kept hidden from the people? Not only are we not made aware of the details HDI development proposals, we are not even made aware that a project exists for up to five years. That, in my opinion, is being done by to circumvent any of our people from trying to stop HDI and HCCC approved developments.
Such withholding of information to our people subverts the fundamental values of the Great Law regarding consensus and equality and is threatening the Great Peace. The Peace relies on equal and consensus decision making democracy starting with clan members, not what are, in effect, Kings and Queens acting in a dictatorial manner.
So not only are the Chiefs acting as dictators without mandates from their clans, they have also disallowed community members to have a voice during HCCC meetings.
This type of disempowering behavior is meant to maintain control and avoid scrutiny which raises the question, why. If the HCCC and HDI are acting in the best interests of our people, then why is so much hidden from us? Why is it like pulling teeth to try to force these people to be accountable?
This secrecy and the monetization now of 50 shareholder Chiefs is not behavior that follows the Great Law because it reinforces lack of consensus and inequality and is therefore not conducive to peace among our people.
Then there is the question of how there got to be another Confederacy in the Haldimand Deed area? Also, as the Mohawks have never signed onto the Canandaigua Treaty or the Simcoe Deed, why are they now being lumped into something referred to as the Six Nations?
Why are some people without a clan embraced by the HCCC while others are not? Non-recognition by the HCCC of adoptions into clans is contrary to the White Roots of Peace.
Why is Alan McNaughton allowed to have a voice as a Mohawk chief when the Confederacy Council sent a letter to him signed by the HCCC secretary at the time, Lawrence Nanticoke, that his selection is considered illegitimate and that he will never be condoled by the Council? Why hasn’t this been explained in detail to the people?
Why have the HCCC and HDI continually refuse to attend community forums run by an objective third party?
Also, I have also never heard from the Great Law about the Six Nation Confederacy condoling clan mothers. It is my understanding that the clan themselves determine who is the clan mother and if she falls ill and cannot fulfill her duties then the clan selects another clan mother from among the clan. The new clan mother does not have to be a close blood relative, just a member of the clan. It is my understanding the same is true with chiefs.
And what is more important, protocol and dictatorship or consensus, equality and then the Great Peace among our people?
After having had his wife’s purse searched by the head of security at the DCE reclamation site, Dr. Charles Johnston commented on the so called General Surrenders in the 1840s.
He said that, “In the lack of any bona fides from the people,” of the Six Nations in the signing of the so-called surrenders they are illegitimate and void. What he meant was that in the absence of apparent support from Six Nations people for the surrendering of our territory, the surrenders are themselves invalid.
This to me says that any deals the HCCC and HDI make with anybody will be highly assailable and will be determined, sooner or later, as illegitimate too.
If any of these observations concern you then perhaps what is needed is to take a step back, regroup and form a decision-making system that is inclusionary of all and puts more emphasis on consensus-building and peace among our people instead of protocols, titles and dictatorial control.
Alex Jamieson Jr.