The Art of Reconciliation

Challenge and Triumph is an artwork created to represent Six Nations of the Grand River at the 2015 Pan and Para Pan American Games in Toronto, Ont., and surrounding areas.

The artwork bears four major themes: Achievements of Six Nations long distance runner Tom Longboat, Icon and symbol representing Haudenosaunee history and culture; Accomplishments of Physically Challenged Para Pan American Ahletes and The relationships of Indigenous Peoples of North and South America represented by the Prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor.

The artwork was sited in Canada Square at Harbourfront for the duration of the games with plans to have it permanently installed at Six Nations upon conclusion of the games — mid August 2015. A lengthy delay in site preparation resulted in Challenge and Triumph being stored throughout the winter and installed at the entrance to the new Dajoh Youth and Elders Centre on June 3, 2016.

The project budget, work plan and deliverables show the project completed on time and on budget. Though the artwork was transported, delivered and installed, Six Nations Administration deems the project incomplete. A position they maintain since I did not construct the foundation on which the artwork would be set.

It is difficult to complete such an important aspect of this project when Six Nations Administration’s gave the foundation construction to another contractor — at a significant increase in price. My work plan identifies HGH Granite, Dundas, Ontario as the contractor to whom I assigned this task. Correspondence attached, verify Six Nations Administration’s knowledge and acknowledgement of services HGH Granite was to provide.

I considered our differences purely administrative but Six Nations Administration chose to bring the matter before Six Nations Elected Council for discussion and a decision. My request for final payment was denied. Six Nations Administration and I continue to differ on the matter but I’m certain they appreciate my persistence in pursuing a more favourable resolve.

A spelling error may also be viewed as a reason to consider the artwork incomplete. Persistance is a one letter misspell on the artwork for which I’ve made a public commitment to correct and bear costs. Though I made a mistake in spelling PERSISTENCE – I know what it means and what it should provide. A final payment of $12,800 remains outstanding.

A word that may provide assistance in moving this matter in a more positive direction is reconciliation. I will not pretend I know or understand how the process or processes work but I see it far more appealing then pursuing an adversarial route. I see reconciliation as having greater possibilities to create mutually beneficial outcomes. We have an opportunity to determine and create a process that gives reconciliation real meaning and meaningful results. The meaningful result I wish to propose is a donation to a worthy and meaningful cause.

Many citizens of Six Nations of the Grand River are and will always be enthusiastic fans of The Tragically Hip. We will be forever thankful to their lyricist and lead singer Gord Downie for championing issues of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. The AFN tribute, December 6, 2016 is a fitting expression of our respect, admiration, appreciation and love for his generosity. I sincerely hope Six Nations Elected Council will consider a donation in the amount of $12,800 to the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research.

So many families on Six Nations have experience loss of loved ones to cancer. My stepfather passed due to complications of brain cancer It would be uplifting to see Chief Ava Hill present such a donation on behalf of Six Nations of the Grand River.

In the eight months since Challenge and Triumph was installed, a great deal of time, energy and resources have been expended to substantiate the projects completion. I provided all information requested with no response to information I requested. The lack of reciprocity is my main reason for sharing my side of the issue with those copied.

The solution, resolve, resolution and reconciliation to our differences may well rest in our willingness to make a difference. Let’s make a difference — let’s advance a meaningful cause.


David M. General

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