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Local News - Wednesday, June 21, 2006 @ 01:00
[SISIS note: The following mainstream news article is provided for reference only, as an example of how mainstream media treats indigenous resistance to genocide. Mainstream media often presents biased and distorted information, lacking pertinent facts and/or context. Inclusion of this article on our site should not be considered an endorsement by SISIS.]
Six Nations Chief Coun. David General is speaking out in the face of moves to impeach and muzzle him.
Since the Douglas Creek Estates protest began 113 days ago, General has deliberately put himself in the background, granting few interviews.
He has publicly stated that he doesn’t support the protest in Caledonia, although he has acknowledged the occupation has raised public awareness and moved ahead the land issue. He has urged peace, discussion and education. And he has applauded the willingness of senior governments to negotiate with the Confederacy.
But General has avoided saying much more on the issue.
Now, he’s ready to talk about people who are trying to convince him that he’s not allowed to speak his mind and are pushing him to resign.
"Enough is enough,” General said Tuesday.
He said he received a visit Monday night from a Six Nations resident who offered him a chance to “depart with honour” by resigning as chief councillor.
General said Wes Elliott -- the same man who has filed an OMB appeal against a $40-million commercial plaza in Brantford -- told him he has sufficient names on a petition to start an impeachment process against the chief councillor.
Impeachment is a process allowed under the Six Nations election code but the rules aren’t clear about how many people must demand a politician’s removal from office before it becomes law.
Similar petitions to oust former chief councillors Roberta Jamieson and Wellington Staats failed.
General said he won't be resigning at Elliott's request. Instead, he's enboldened to stand up and speak out.
The impeachment was placed on the agenda for Tuesday night’s band council meeting but Coun. Helen Miller, who asked for it to be made public, also asked that it be deferred.
“Wes Elliott is one of my constituents,” said Miller, “and asked me to put it on the agenda. I have nothing to do with it.”
Miller said she wrote a briefing note to the chief so he would know the issue was coming.
Elliott could not be reached Tuesday for comment. General, who won 30 per cent of the votes for chief councillor in 2004, has a three-year mandate until the end of 2007.
Miller made it clear she isn’t a fan of General.
Since this extremely divided council took office during in December 2004, Miller has been one of the councillors challenging General’s decisions and behaviour.
She said General develops his own ideas and has been all but silent on the Caledonia protest.
"He’s the elected chief,” Miller said. “He should be supporting whatever decision council makes. If the majority of council makes a decision, the elected chief should agree with it.”
Some people felt General wasn’t helping matters at the discussion table where the lands issues have been aired by three levels of government and Six Nations’ Confederacy and elected councils, so the chief stepped back. Coun. George Montour is now the principal representative of the group.
When General developed a six-page document with his thoughts about native governance, land claims and development, he made it clear it was for discussion purposes only.
Coun. Miller warned him in an e-mail that she hoped he hadn’t passed those thoughts on to either the federal or provincial governments since they didn’t have council approval.
“I wrote back to say, 'No, I haven’t, but I’ll share my ideas with whoever I choose',” said General Tuesday.
Miller again insisted that if General shares his ideas with the federal or provincial governments or puts them on band council letterhead, they must have band council approval.
“I cannot and will not accept any attempt to stop me from thinking of solutions to the problems facing our community or any attempt to impose a gag order on me,” General told The Expositor.
He said the same issue caused the band to lose its media spokesperson who was told he couldn’t release information to the media without band council approval.
General also spoke of his concerns with the Caledonia protest, including worries of too many voices and agendas at the site, rumours in the community of drug and alcohol use at the site and a rape that General says was reported confidentially to the council.
“I don’t support this method of protest. People are going to use it for their own agenda.
“I’ve acknowledged the protest for the attention it has added to Six Nations’ claims. Now, let’s get back to the issue of land and move the land claims forward.”
General added that the negotiations can’t be held in order to satisfy the protesters on the site, but must satisfy the interest and benefit of all Six Nations members.
“The community must have the last word.”
While he and his council have stood back and let Confederacy spokesmen lead in the land claims discussions, General wants to make it clear that it doesn’t mean the Confederacy is the new government.
“The Confederacy has been given the mandate of getting the protesters off that site. They said they could do it overnight. But don’t extend that to thinking they are the governing body of this territory.”
General said he wants to explore a new governance model and favours a hybrid model that is part traditional and part elected.
“We need to talk about these things and examine them. Nobody’s voice should be ignored.”