MNN. Mohawk Nation News. 16 June 98. In a letter to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Richard Hill, a Mohawk resident of the Six Nations at Grand River (via Ontario Canada) asks a lot of questions about the doings of the Indian Act band council In 1924 the Canadian government brutally forced their band council system on Six Nations territory. Hill is now asking the Queen to find out what is happening to their funds and affairs which Britain placed in Canada's hands without Six Nations' consent. So far Hill has not been answered.
ILLEGAL BAND COUNCIL. This band council is not legal under Iroquois laws and has inadvertently become illegal under Canadian laws. Three years ago the Indian Act Band Council replaced themselves as a new "customary council". To do this the Order in Council putting the band council under Section 74 of the Indian Act was revoked. There was no consultation with the people. When two members of Six Nations protested, the new "custom" council backed off and stepped down from power. But they returned to the Council House as the old Indian Act Band council without an Order in Council to put themselves back in. In effect there is no legal band council at Six Nations.
HISTORICAL RELATIONSHIP WITH BRITAIN. When the Iroquois moved north, they initially wanted to lease their land. According to Iroquois law, the land title is held by the women on behalf of their future descendants and cannot be sold. But Britain would only help the Iroquois survive if their lands were sold and the Crown took the proceeds and held them in trust. Unfortunately the Crown squandered the trust money after selling the lands. The Iroquois have been asking about the mismanagement of their financial affairs for over a century. Now again they have turned to Her Majesty hoping that the Crown is finally willing to resolve some of the wrongs of the past. They are asking for a forensic audit and proper compensation. The Iroquois want to know how Her Majesty intends to fulfill her trust obligations.
HER MAJESTY'S IROQUOIS ALLIES. The Iroquois are allies and not subjects of Britain. Iroquois sovereignty supercedes that of Canada. At first Britain recognized Iroquois sovereignty. The Iroquois never let Britain down. But at the time of the League of Nations Britain collaborated with Canada to prevent international recognition. Which part of its history does Britain want to uphold? The part where it defended its allies honourably or the part where it let them down? Is Britain ready to renew the Silver Covenant Chain?
NO ORDER IN COUNCIL. Does Canada support the rule of law? It is not valid in Canadian law to put in a band council without an Order in Council. So why is Canada doing business with this illegal band council? Actually the Iroquois Confederacy can now return to its seat of power at the Six Nations Territory from which it was ousted in 1924. The procedures used at that time would not pass muster under international law today. But will the Crown and Canada honour the traditional government of the Iroquois? Does Canada believe in supporting international law? The Iroquois will just have to wait and see.
ROYAL PROCLAMATION 1763. The Royal Proclamation affirms Aboriginal nationhood, sovereignty and ownership of North America. The Six Nations people never consented to Canada imposing the Indian Act and other legislation that meddles in their affairs. They do not consider themselves to be part of Canada. In the beginning Britain did not intend to let the settlers dominate the Indigenous people. The British North America 1867 Act put "Indians and lands reserved for the Indians" as a federal relationship because Britain recognized the Iroquois as independent and not part of the settler colony.
At that time Canada's colonial government was subordinate to Britain without powers of its own. No one considered interfering with the Aboriginal nations' pre-existing power to govern themselves. Unfortunately there was a period in which corrupt and ignorant bureaucrats mismanaged and misinterpreted the law. The Aboriginal right to self-government has now been clarified and reconfirmed by Section 35 of Canada's Constitution Act of 1982. However, Canada seems reluctant to break from its corrupt bureaucratic tradition and uphold its laws. According to natural, international and constitutional law, Canada's band council system has no jurisdiction on unceded land. This status of the Six Nations Territory was guaranteed when the Iroquois came to Britain's defense in the American War of Independence.
FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY. The Royal Proclamation set up a fiduciary responsibility to Indigenous people in general so the settlers could live on Aboriginal lands. It was the in effect rental payment. The Canadian settlers later declared that Indigenous people had no legal capacity. So they set up trust accounts to hang onto Indian monies to meet their fiduciary obligations. Canada then declared that the fiduciary obligation is in conflict with the original jurisdiction of the Indigenous people. To get their funds, the Indigenous people have been told they have to give up their rights. This is a fallacy. The Royal Proclamation is in fact an international trust concept under which Indigenous nations cannot give up Aboriginal rights and title. In other words, the fiduciary obligation is not in conflict with Aboriginal rights. They co-exist together and cannot be repealed. They represent a sacred trust to future generations as yet unborn. This is a nation to nation obligation which the Crown is being asked to live up to.
Canada realizes this trust concept. However, it will only negotiate with their illegitimate band councils, not with the true sovereign governments of the Indigenous nations. The Iroquois Confederacy has always maintained its own constitution known as the Great Law of Peace, the Kaienerekowa, by which their traditional government functions. They are now asking the Queen to help restore the peace that was disrupted by the past negligence of the Crown's servants.
INDEPENDENT THIRD PARTY MEDIATION. The Iroquois are asking that the law be upheld and that an independent neutral third party be assigned to fairly settle issues between Canada and the Iroquois concerning their trust funds, finances and other matters. This third party adjudication procedure has a precedent. It was established by the Mohengan in 1704 concerning a land dispute between them and the settlers in Connecticut. The Mohegan applied to the Court of Queen Anne and were granted an impartial third party adjudication. It was found that the colonial governments of British North America could not legally adjudicate this dispute as they were one of the parties. When the Six Nations tried to get neutral arbitration in 1924, Canadian bureaucrats stopped it. The Six Nations are asking Her Majesty to give them the due process they were denied in the past and to help bring their concerns to the international level with the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations.
Canadian Alliance In Solidarity with the Native Peoples (CASNP)
P.O. Box 574
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1X7
WWW: http://www.pathcom.com/~casnp Hill sent copies of the letter to Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations; Ambassador J.H.W. Fietelaars, Embassy of the Netherlands; Cuban President Fidel Castro; Deputy Registrar of the International Court of Justice; French President Jacques Chirac; South African President Nelson Mandela; Governor General of Canada Romeo LeBlanc; and to leaders of the Opposition parties in Parliament.
Supporters world wide are being asked to give their assistance, such as sending letters of support for independent neutral mediation between Canada and the Six Nations Confederacy: Queen Elizabeth; Kofi Annan of the United Nations; Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien; Minister of Indian Affairs Jane Stewart; and to Canadian embassies in their countries.
Mohawk Nation News (MNN)
P.O. Box 991, Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (Quebec, Canada) J0L 1B0