This is in response to Garry Horsnell who asked about Six Nations' vantage point on the 1844 so-called surrender of the Eagle's Nest Tract and other lands in and around Brantford, "Six Nations chiefs surrendered land in 1844 document," Sept. 26.
There is a short and a long answer to this valid and pivotal question. The short answer I will give here. The long answer will be covered at the Oct. 29 meeting of TRUE (Two Row Understanding through Education) with Six Nations researchers and archivists Phil Monture and others.
The 1844 document cannot stand in isolation from other contemporary and relevant documents dating immediately before and after it, which helps to put into context the understanding of the day, not necessarily today's interpretation of it.
This 1844 document was not a legitimate surrender, as it has been referred to. It is the minutes of a meeting in which it was agreed by the chiefs who signed it, (actually put X's to) that further discussion on the matter should take place. As was the proper rule of law regarding land surrender as set out by the Crown at the time and even today, for a legitimate surrender of land to be deemed as legal, there would have to be a surveyor's map of the area described in the document, which there wasn't; there should also have been an official Order in Council, which there wasn't. Other contemporary documents on either side of the date of the 1844 document show that Six Nations' understanding of it was much different from what has been assumed by the Crown, then and now.
Besides that, Samuel Jarvis, the architect of this so-called surrender, was removed from his office as Superintendent of Indian Affairs less than a year later for fraud and misrepresentation, among other serious charges of character. This came after the third internal government inquiry into Jarvis' dealings with the natives.
There are many other reasons why this 1844 document has never been accepted as legitimate by the people of Six Nations who have challenged its validity since shortly after it was signed. Because of its importance as a precedent and its complexity, this is an issue that must be dealt with through litigation, in my humble opinion. Right now, the federal government is using these minutes of a meeting as a legal and binding surrender, when it clearly is not according to British Common Law of 1844 or Canadian law of today.
This and other very important issues will be talked about on Oct. 29, at 7 p. m,. at the Wilfrid Laurier University Lecture Theatre at the old Odeon theatre on Market Street. Come and bring your questions.
BrantfordOne further note ... It matters not so much what documents the government has or can produce. What matters is what the government did with the money. If Six Nations did not receive funds from sales/leases of their land as per whatever agreements, then all transactions are null and void. Thus, the financial accounting that Six Nations has been demanding for many decades would tell the tale of what transactions were valid. Could that be why the government refuses to produce an accounting of Six Nations funds? Another note ... For casual observers who are still victim of the government's propaganda ... The starting point of Six Nations land 'claims' does not rely on just the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, but on their historical occupancy of Southern Ontario: Local: Hamilton History - Native Indians & Early Explorers The first humans, the Clovis people, arrived in Niagara Region almost 12,000 years ago, around the time of the birth of the Falls, when the land was tundra with spruce forests. These nomadic hunters camped along the old Lake Erie shoreline, in small dwellings, and left little behind except chipped stones, likely used to hunt caribou, mastodons, moose and elk. By 9,500 years ago deciduous forest covered southernmost Ontario, supporting wildlife like deer, moose, fish and plants, enabling small groups to hunt in the winter, coming together into larger groups during the summer, to fish at shorelines and at the mouths of rivers. About 2,000 years ago, the Woodland Period brought Iroquois culture in southern Ontario. These peoples began agriculture based on crops of corn, bean and squash, which supported a boom in population and a rich culture with small palisaded villages in which extended families occupied individual longhouses. They developed ceramics technology and forged strong inter-village alliances. By the time the European explorers and missionaries arrived in the early 1600s, the Iroquoian villages had elected chiefs and were allied within powerful tribal confederacies. The Neutral Indians were the leaders of a group of ten tribes of the Iroquois Nation. Other tribes included the Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Huron, Petun, Erie and the Susquehannock. The French explorers , gave this Indian tribe the name "Neutrals", because of their position and status as peace keepers between the warring Hurons and Iroquois. (Five Nations) The 'claim' of Six Nations to territory in Southern Ontario is ancestral. http://grannyrantson.blogspot.com/2008/09/media-release-six-nations-rotianehson.html