During the days of Six Nations activism to reclaim our land near Caledonia, we received thousands of e-mails and calls from people all over the world. The support and ideas that we’ve received have been tremendously gratifying and helpful. Without this solidarity from Natives and non-Natives, the Ontario Provincial Police would have had their way. Blood would have been spilled. Never mind the return of our land – though we are still waiting on that one.
This solidarity we are experiencing between Natives and non-Native people is a revival. The British promise to protect the Six Nations on the Haldimand Tract that our people are defending began with this solidarity. The Six Nations were allies of the British. It was this alliance that led to the formation of modern Canada. Because of this alliance, we were pushed out of the Mohawk Valley in what is now New York State, where our people had lived since the beginning of time. The Mohawks were valiant allies of the British during the American Revolution. Mohawks have always been on the front line every time Britain needed defending – in the Battle of Queenston Heights of 1813, in World War I and World War II, and other actions. The Haldimand Tract is on traditional Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois territory. The tract was guaranteed to the Mohawks in 1784. The Six Nations have always been willing to put ourselves on the line for our Canadian allies. It is gratifying to see that the majority of people support this alliance and are willing to stand up for us.
Ontario – and the rest of Canada, for that matter – is intent on diminishing Indigenous land holdings, not only on the Haldimand Tract, but everywhere. It is being diminished through outright theft. The aim of not giving back one inch of land is not for the benefit of the people of Ontario. It’s to support the business interests that are intent on exploiting our resources with no regard to the environment or the present and future generations of the people who must live on it. It is the billionaires who really run the governments. Welcome to the pretend democracy of Canada.
We never lost jurisdiction over our ancestral lands. We’ve had a deep sense of betrayal and anger over our horrific historic experience with the colonizers. Never mind that the government allowed and encouraged its own citizens to encroach upon our land, gaining private and institutional land titles in violation of the laws. They let Americans come up and take our land, too! It’s all part of their hundred-year plan to get rid of the “Indian problem,” as described by that maniac, Duncan Campbell Scott of Indian Affairs.
Maybe what’s needed is a massive “Condolence Ceremony” in which we wipe our eyes with a soft leather, so that we can see clearly and have a good look at the issues. Then we need to take an eagle feather to clean out our ears, so that we can hear one another; and then we need to drink a glass of water, so that we can speak truthfully and as clearly as the purest water. Sometimes the solutions to difficult problems are simple. Sometimes all that’s needed is to show respect.
In the end, there’s no need to give us back the Henco Industries land. It’s ours already. It always was. All Ontario needs to do is to respect that. We need to assert the legal government-to-government relationship. We do have broad support from the public to do this. We must bring out the truth. We must stop Canada from continuing to live in sin. Grow up, Canada! Colonialism is over! We’re never going back!
This article appeared in the July/August 2006 issue of Canadian Dimension (Oil Sucks!).