Smoke Signals: May 04 2016

Thanks to last week’s actions, there is certainly no shortage of comments about the Men’s Fire, Lawyer Detlor and the HDI.

Since the “forced” eviction, social media has been filled with snippets of audits, reports, contracts and even a 50-year-old letter of dehorning for a clan mother and her chief. I have read of death threats against a local journalist. There have been comments to the effect that this is just the beginning and the band council is next.

All comments to purposely “stir the pot”.

History speaks of the Warrior’s Association which claimed authority to address what they saw as wrong, using threats, intimidation and scare tactics. Chiefs were too slow to make decisions. They needed to be educated.

Some chiefs assumed responsibility for the old and infirm, taking their property in return. Warriors publicly denounced the Chiefs. They spoke directly to the Superintendent of Indian Affairs demanding open elections to replace hereditary titles. They sought change and eventually got it.

The Men’s Fire has also imposed itself on the community. The current targets being lawyer [Aaron] Detlor and the HDI. The latter having also been imposed. People spoke against it but it was established anyway. The honesty, openness and accountability promised were not delivered.

Since 2006, individuals have profited handsomely at Six Nations’ expense. People have lost trust and that may never be restored. Frustrations build at being talked at or totally ignored.

Current actions signal the need for change.

Do I agree with the recent events? No, I do not. But I can understand them.

The problems have been years in the making. Resolution will not happen overnight. Every step must be taken with Health, Power and Righteousness, our recipe for PEACE.

Our community can turn from chaos and together make this Six Nations’ “finest hour”.

Wilma Green


Shé:kon sewakwé:kon,

I don’t agree with how Aaron Detlor was ousted from his office. My initial post on social media said it all: #PoorlyExecuted. The backlash, negativity, and subsequent divisions associated with such a move just wasn’t worth it in my eyes. I found myself saying, “It could’ve been handled differently.”

Like a lot of people I followed social media for updates. Imagery of Detlor surrounded by a group of men in an obvious struggle soon plastered my news feed. He was being physically moved out of his office without notice by a mob of men. At one point – he was horizontal with a man on each limb. Yet those involved insisted that there was no violence.

An edited video surfaced soon after – Detlor’s arm hooked around a steel column while a man demanded him to leave. Detlor was winded, clothes in disarray; he looked confused and scared. He was bullied by a mob out of his office solely on allegations and accusations with no chance to defend himself. Even on-camera he was trying to make an argument – he was asking questions and trying to provide answers – but it was edited out.

Inncocent people were victimized in this mob-style attack. Staff and students of the G.R.E.A.T. building were evacuated. Those who witnessed the struggle felt helpless. The programs and services sharing the road around G.R.E.A.T. were impacted too. Really, our whole community was shook up that day. People were left scared, angry, filled with questions, but talking.

I’m kind of in disbelief really at the power of negativity. An official letter from the G.R.E.A.T. building asking for peace and a good mind was ignored with a -“I do what I wanna do!” – attitude. Not even an official letter from our title holders held any weight – it was dismissed as illegitimate because not all 50 chiefs signed it.

Yes, I disagree with how the Men’s Fire carried out that day. I believe though – they did it in the best interests of our people. I believe those who have gathered evidence against HDI have worked very hard and deserve to have their questions answered.

Niá:wen to you all.

Thó’k níkon.
Artie K. Martin

There is a loud rumble that has reverberated across Grand River Territory. Would be nice if the rumblings were just the sounds of our grandfathers returning.

To the Rotinonhsion:ni their voices are peaceful and reassuring that they are continuing their responsibilities to the human race. Instead it’s a reaction to the recent objectionable events that took place last week. Could we be living in the days of a manifestation of a prophesy? It was foretold that lack of diligence to maintain social affairs in accordance with a divine message, The Great Law, will lead to the breakdown of societal institutions.

How does the principles of Great Law get translated into the Western style of capitalism? Two very different paradigms of thought and philosophy. That is the real work that needs to be done to bring the HCCC into the lead governance role. HDI gives us a glimpse of what that translation can look like. But is property development what we want and not to keep the land in its natural state? I just thought that was the reason Indigenous people were opposed to development. Do we want to jump into the jet stream of capitalism and wouldn’t that be akin to stepping the ship?

It’s not so much a Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) or Men’s Fire issue as it is an indicator of how far removed the general society is from traditional thinking and being. We were warned of the affects of assimilation in the Karihwi:io message. Our society was devastated by assimilation policies carried out in the residential school system, outlawing of language, traditional practices of governance and ceremonies and clothing, being confined to the concentration camps know as reservations today, and forced to conduct ourselves like “civilized” Westerners. No damn wonder we’re a mess. We shouldn’t be so hard on each other. We are very fortunate to have families who date back to the onset of The Great Law who have carried the knowledge through hard times. We can recover but its going to mean great effort by so many.

A part of the community feels the ethics of the HCCC lawyer and transparency of the HDI business requires a review. If the leaked documents are legitimate then I would say yes, a review is warranted. It would do no harm to have a third party investigation of the affairs of HDI, HCCC. Whatever would put to rest the questions. To alleviate any future mistrust a team of community members that have a non-monetary interest in HDI could be formed or a watchdog organization be struck ensure ethical business and political practice reserve wide.

The strengthening of the foundation and the rafters of the great long house is going to take time. All sectors of our society must evaluate and address and right weaknesses has to fertilize the Great Tree with the essential elemental forces it needs to withstand the greatest of storms and time. If we wait any longer to become the diplomatic collective that made Rotinonhion:ni society great, then our grandchildren will be visiting museums to get a sense of what their people once were.

Wahsontiio Deneen Hill

Unanswered questions and concerns regarding HDI:

1. Why did Steve Hill, Onondaga, Beaver Clan appointed Representative and Sam General, Cayuga, Wolf Clan Chief, bring the recommendation to the Hereditary Council to dismantle HDI in the first place?

2. Why do we have clanless people administering the affairs and finances of the Confederacy (the People) and signing agreements on our behalf?

3. When the People have concerns about the administration of our land and finances why would there be any hesitation to provide a detailed accounting?

4. Are the Chiefs and Clan Mothers who attend HDI meetings at the GREAT building being paid? If so, who are these people, how much do they get paid and who approves payment? How much remuneration have Aaron Detlor, Hazel Hill and Brian Doolittle received to date?

5. How many land transfers and investments are there? With who and for how much and whose name are they in — HDI or HCCC or Hazel Hill?

6. Who were the Chiefs and Clan Mothers who made the decision to write the letter allowing Canadian lawyer, Aaron Detlor to stay in our community? How many Chiefs and Clan Mothers were contacted to attend this meeting?

7. If HDI is an incorporated body, is it not the Board Members who in fact own this Provincial entity and not the HCCC? Who are these Board members?

8. Does HCCC in fact have control over the administration of our affairs or is it HDI’s Board and their administrators using HCCC as their shield?

9. As per Kayanerekowa proper protocol for decision making evolves from Clan meetings from which the Clan Mother carries the words of her Clan to direct her Chief.

Three Chiefs and Clan Mothers do not make decisions for the People!


Submitted on behalf of our Clan Families: Konwathontatye, Karahkwine, Karonhyanoron, Yehsennakehte

If Haudenosaunee people want to maintain sovereignty then we must do so without lawyers. There is no such thing as a lawyer who has the best interests of the Haudenosaunee people at heart. Lawyers work within the Canadian judicial system, a foreign justice system. Once we step foot in that courtroom, we relinquish our sovereignty. The Confederacy has existed since the time of the Peacemaker: hundreds if not thousands of years before Canada even existed.

Don’t let that political or legal jargon fool you. Lawyers are taught how to play with words to make even the crooked of deals look like sugar and spice.

The only way we are to survive as a completely sovereign nation is by staying off of any federal or provincial list of corporations. We have the Confederacy which is made up of the people, the Clan Mothers and the Chiefs. We all have a responsibility as part of this democracy to educate ourselves; know the white man’s game but don’t be a player; know his rules and his laws but stay out of his courts; and do our own research on issues that are going on within our traditional territories.

Did our ancestors need lawyers when the Two Row Wampum was drawn up? No, we had knowledgeable Chiefs and Clan Mothers. Did Peacemaker and Hiawatha need lawyers when they went from nation to nation? No.

Let’s not forget how hard our ancestors fought for the survival of the next generations and to ensure we remained a sovereign people. Those generations are us. Let’s keep that circle going and start thinking about all those generations yet to come. Let’s ensure they are born into a world of sovereignty.

We need to stop thinking like the colonizers and start thinking like our ancestors did. With that Two Row Treaty, we have every right to assert our rights outside of Canadian courts. And we need to learn how to do that without lawyers or the HDI.

Name withheld by request.