Feds not responding to meeting requests
By Erin Tully-Musser
The Six Nations Confederacy is ready to get back to the negotiating table but the Feds are nowhere to be found.
Mohawk Chief Allen MacNaughton gave a brief update on the state of negotiations to the Confederacy Council on Saturday.
“Unfortunately there is not much to report since our last negotiation meeting when the Crown walked out,” said MacNaughton.
He said that he had sent letters to the Crown requesting that they meet and discuss finance last week but he has received no response. MacNaughton said that the land rights department is in need of money before Christmas.
“Those people (working for land rights) haven’t gotten paid since August 14,” said MacNaughton. “They are asking that we pay and get reimbursed with funding from negotiations.”
The Chiefs also talked about the need for restructuring the current negotiations process.
“The framework needs to be upgraded,” said Blake Bomberry, Cayuga Chief. “The way we are proceeding is like banging heads against the wall. You can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect a different outcome, it’s not going to happen.”
Ron Thomas shared Chief Bomberry’s position.
“We have been sitting for the government for three years and we’re really not getting anywhere,” said Thomas. “The community is growing impatient and there’s a declining confidence in the Confederacy.”
Thomas also said that he thought there might be a lack of vision and strategy when they sit at the negotiating table and that there had been some missed opportunities. Thomas said that the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI) was asked to offer suggestions to improve the negotiations process and they did offer a 21 page document. He said that the Confederacy was supposed to have met to discuss the HDI recommendations but that has not happened yet. The Confederacy council also talked about accepting the HDI policy submitted to council six months ago. It was decided that because some Chiefs didn’t get a chance to review or didn’t receive the policy the decision would be put over until the next council meeting.
The Chiefs also have to decide if they want to sign a MOE (memorandum of understanding) concerning the proposed project and working agreement with Competitive Power Ventures. The power company has suggested operating a gas line that would run through or close to the Six Nations territory. The MOE would be the first step towards exploring what the relationship between the company and Six Nations would look like.
By agreeing to the MOE the Chiefs would not be saying yes to the project, they would be saying yes to looking at what the project could/would do for the community. Those items were put aside until the next council meeting to allow time for more research.