My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Love it or leave it! Peace.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Natives don't want your homes

Posted 1 hour ago

Ron Richardson asks in his letter July 21 if James Calnan "will be glad to surrender the home he paid for, if and when, they (Six Nations) decide to claim it?" I have addressed this particular nasty rumour via The Expositor in the past. The government, our chiefs, our people and I have stated for the record that existing homes and businesses will not be affected by any land claim process! No established person or corporation will be dispossessed of their property.

Richardson mentioned Judge David Marshall's rulings in the Caledonia affair. We have asked about that ourselves. Why, in that Marshall has considerable real estate holdings in Caledonia, did he not recuse himself from this action under conflict of interest? Why did Ontario's regulatory body overseeing situations like this not remove him when he did not do the honourable thing and remove himself? Marshall's injunction indeed!

Speed up the claims process and get "negotiations back on track?" Perhaps Richardson should put this question to Canada for clarification. Six Nations has provided thousands of documents supporting our many claims while Canada relies on one highly suspect, solitary document in support of its position. The problem; Canada has no idea of what to do next other than to use delaying tactics and make it appear as though it is Six Nations that is doing the stalling.

Richardson claims not to know how many of these land claims are legitimate. That about says it all.

O. Garlow Brantford

It's no crime to break from talks

Posted 2 hours ago
"It's time for Six Nations representatives to head back to the negotiating table."

"Resolution can only happen if everyone is at the table and committed to negotiate."

"There is no better time for Six Nations leaders to send a message that they feel the urgency to settle this dispute."

The above quotes are taken from The Expositor's July 18 editorial, "Head back to the table."

On the surface, anyone not in the position of having followed the land claims negotiations, would surely be of the opinion that Six Nations is at fault and how dare they hold up negotiations. I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the media is once again presenting only one side to the story. It has happened yet again just in the past week.

Federal negotiator Ron Doering has been on his verbal soapbox. We are all very familiar with his overused statement, "I can't negotiate by myself." Of course, notice is also made again and again that a "generous" offer of $26 million for the Welland claim was made over six months ago, yet Six Nations has not responded. How dare they hold up the process. If things are not settled, it's the Indians fault -- as usual.

These types of things were broadcast on the news, over a local Hamilton radio talk show and of course in the newspapers. Six Nations has been put out to dry each time.

Why, I am wondering, have certain facts not made it into these media presentations? Yes, an offer was made and, yes, it has been some six months ago. But, did Doering reveal that the "offer" was one hastily written on the back of an agenda and not formally presented?

Did he mention that the formal offer was "in the mail" and that it was not received for several weeks? Did he mention that Six Nations repeatedly requested the formula that was used to come up with this figure? Much of the time has been spent waiting and without any quick and speedy government response.

It wasn't until Six Nations, using a federal schedule, came up with a figure far greater than the offer made. Then, the negotiator was all bent out of shape because the calculations were so high.

Of course, none of this was related to the outside world -- just the result in no response from Six Nations. Well, if you had taken the time to ask questions and find out the facts, perhaps a more balanced coverage could have been presented.

I am also wondering why, nothing is said of the time wasted when government negotiators have stalled talks, refused to negotiate for whatever reason, and left the table in a manner similar to playground tactics, where one kid gets mad and takes his ball and goes home. Six Nations' response? "When you decide that you want to come back and negotiate, we'll be here." And they have been. Are negotiations only urgent and important when Six Nations chooses to step back briefly?

The faces of Six Nations main negotiators have never changed. The same cannot be said for the government negotiators. Each time one face would change, the replacement had to be brought up to speed. Again, time wasted. Were the negotiations not deemed important and urgent until now when Six Nations had taken some time to formulate a response?

Where is the commitment that you say is so necessary? Where is the need to demonstrate the urgency? Obviously, it is only up to Six Nations to have to show these things. And make no mistake about it, our negotiators are committed and have proven that time and time again.

After over two years at the table, how dare the other side and the media begrudge our negotiators a few weeks of respite from the talks? It is not like any of our people have gone off to Cuba or have taken a holiday in the interim. They continue to work on the situation.

The two-year moratorium on development within the Haldimand Tract has not been the brainchild of provincial negotiator Murray Coolican. That is what Six Nations has requested since the beginning. Stop development until the claims are settled.

The city of Brantford has since been handing out building permits like they were going out of style, knowing full well that third-party interest cannot be displaced. Because development was continuing and at a faster pace, what option did Six Nations have? No one was even bothering to pay attention to the land claims. From this blatant ignoring of our rights, came the situations of stopping development. Yet again, Six Nations were protesters, troublemakers and the cause of unrest and tensions. How practical is an injunction that is so racist, naming and geared to only one group and inclusive of Jane and John Doe. Not only is it targeting just Six Nations people, it is squashing any freedoms to assemble, demonstrate and be heard. One city councillor now questions the correctness of the injunction. It was passed by a unanimous vote, "knowing it would provoke a reaction from Six Nations." Well, duh!!

Six Nations had 29 land claims filed properly with the Federal Office of Native Claims. Only one was settled back in 1985. When have our claims ever been thought of as urgent or important?

People say they own their properties. Even some of your city police have stated that we surrendered our lands 150 years ago and have no claim. Six Nations asks for proof of these assertions. We can prove ownership and title. We have researched which lands were legitimately sold and paid for. We can prove which lands were sold and/or leased, but never paid for.

We can show that our funds, which were to have sustained our people in perpetuity, were taken and used, without Six Nations' knowledge or consent. We can prove theft and wrong-doing. If someone in society is given a power-of-attorney over someone else, they have a duty and responsibility to act in the best interest of that person. If they are found to have stolen or absconded with property or funds, there is punishment and expected restitution. These are criminal acts -- unless put into the context of the government and native people, then it is OK. Society will support our battle for just and fair treatment and recompense, unless it involves their own town, city or backyard, then how things change.

It is way past time for the righting of historical wrongs. As your Christian religion teaches, thou shalt not...steal, bear false witness or covet what is not yours. And even more telling, how the sins of the father are visited upon their sons. Things need to be righted before they will disappear.

Six Nations negotiators have decided to take a break from the negotiations. It is neither a sin nor is it a crime. The best show of good faith would be to use the respite time to come back to the table with clear heads, good minds and a willingness to actually negotiate. Hopefully, the people would also be better informed through balanced and complete media coverage. Now that would certainly be a refreshing change.

Wilma G. Green R2 Ohsweken

Article ID# 1125632

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My Canada includes rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Two Row Wampum Treaty

Two Row Wampum Treaty
"It is said that, each nation shall stay in their own vessels, and travel the river side by side. Further, it is said, that neither nation will try to steer the vessel of the other." This is a treaty among Indigenous Nations, and with Canada. This is the true nature of our relationships with Indigenous Nations of 'Kanata'.