Six Nations Solidarity
Six Nations requests meeting with Governor General
28 June, 2006 - For immediate release
Following is the text of a letter send to Mme. Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada.
TO: MME. MICHAELLE JEAN
GOVERNOR GENERAL OF CANADA
1 RIDEAU DRIVE, OTTAWA, CANADA
FROM: The WOMEN TITLE HOLDERS OF THE ROTINO’SHON:NI
Also known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy on Turtle Island.
According to attached instructions from Buckingham Palace regarding the protocol to discuss urgent matters between two allies, the Six Nations and Great Britain, we are requesting a meeting to discuss the following:
- INVASION AND OCCUPATION OF KAIANEREH’KO:WA/GREAT LAW TERRITORY BY THE FOREIGN GOVERNMENTS OF CANADA AND ONTARIO, THEIR CORPORATE AGENTS AND ASSIGNS;
- THE ARREST OF ROTINO’SHON:NI PEOPLE FOR DEFENDING OUR LAND; AND
- THE REFUSAL OF REPRESENTATIVES OF BRITAIN, OF CANADA AS ITS SUCCESSOR STATE, AND OF ONTARIO, AS A PROVINCE OF CANADA, TO ABIDE BY THEIR OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS.
DATE: June 20, 2006
WHEREAS according to the letter from Her Majesty the Queen you have the duty to deal with this issue of the violations of the agreements between Britain and its ally, the Six Nations. We, the Women Title Holders, support the request for a meeting between the Chiefs and Clan Mothers of the Six Nations and yourself to discuss these matters at your earliest convenience;
WHEREAS the Charter of the United Nations requires respect for the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, requiring its members to ensure that armed force is not used to resolve international differences and to resolve disagreements by peaceful means in conformity with justice and international law;
WHEREAS Canada has ascribed to the internationally recognized standards for respecting political rights of the People as set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other international legal instruments;
WHEREAS General Assembly Resolution 1541 (XV) requires the informed consent of a people before they are included in another state;
WHEREAS the International Court of Justice affirmed Resolution 1541 in the Western Saraha case;
WHEREAS the courts of other colonial states like the Supreme Court of Australia in Mabo have formally repudiated past colonial reasoning and practices;
WHEREAS the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination found on March 6, 2006 that the United States was denying the Western Shoshone people “their rights to own, develop, control and use their land and resources”; warning the U.S. to respect the Convention; and to “freeze”, “desist” and “stop” their actions immediately and to abide by the Committee’s “Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedure”;
WHEREAS international law is firmly committed to affirming the equal and inalienable rights of all peoples and rejecting colonial encroachment on other peoples, including Indigenous nations;
WHEREAS both the U.S. and Canada must abide by the international law principle that there can be no development on Indigenous land without consulting the Title Holders; ignoring the true Indigenous people is now universally recognized as being illegal; Indigenous people must be consulted; and our perspectives on the issues can no longer be ignored;
We the WOMEN TITLE HOLDERS and the PEOPLE of the Rotino’shon:ni also known as the SIX NATIONS IROQUOIS CONFEDERACY ask you, our allies, for support and assistance to help us end the serious breach of the peace that we are suffering from. We would like your support and assistance to encourage Canada to live up to its own laws and solemn commitments. We wish to inform you that:
- We, the Rotino’shon:ni people have always been allies, not subjects of Britain, nor citizens of its successor state, Canada. Valid relations between us and the colonial state were founded on the Two Row Wampum and the Covenant Chain which required mutual respect and cooperation in accord with both ancient and modern principles of international law.
- Our nations, the Rotino’shon:ni, formed a Confederacy before colonial contact. Our confederation is founded on relations of equality and mutual respect as affirmed by the Kaianereh’ko:wa, our Great Law of Peace.
- As affirmed by Wampum 44 of the Kaiahereh’ko:wa, we Women have a trust obligation to maintain the land for the future generations of our People.
- Our current problems with Canada are because of our alliance with Britain. Some of us were forced to leave our traditional settlements in what is now New York State during the revolt of British subjects known as the American Revolutionary war.
- On October 25, 1784, General Frederick Haldimand pledged Britain’s protection for the Rotino’shon:ni people on a tract of land within our traditional domain extending six miles deep on either side of the Grand River running from its mouth in Lake Erie to its source, "to them and their posterity forever".
- Britain and its colonial agents failed to respect and protect the agreements that have been made between the Rotino’shon:ni Six Nations and the British Crown. Today we have only 5% of our original tract. The rest is illegally occupied. Canada allowed most of our resources to be taken by squatters, illegal land transfers and fraud. Scores of cities and towns were established on our land without our consent. Indian Affairs dissipated our trust funds to speculative investments over our objections or through gifts to outside institutions, including the Law Society of Upper Canada [the bar association of Ontario].
- The problems experienced by the Rotino’shon:ni with the British Empire and its Canadian colony were first brought to international attention in 1923. At that time the Six Nations Confederacy from Grand River sent Deskaheh to the League of Nations as our representative. He applied for membership of the Six Nations in the League. He was denied a hearing. His mistreatment set a precedent for ignoring the sovereignty of colonized Indigenous nations. Since then we have never been allowed to speak to the other nations of the world as the sovereign nation we are.
- In 1924 Canada imposed a puppet government under its illegal Indian Act. It was passed in violation of the constitution of Canada. It denied our traditional Rotino’shon:ni government access to our national treasury which they held in trust. One of the reasons why our government was deposed was because we were trying to get a court hearing so we could demonstrate that Canada’s Indian Act was ultra vires the British North America Act 1867. We are not and never were British subjects. We are not Canadians. We are independent.
- We have been allies of Great Britain. Should both parties wish to maintain this alliance, we strongly recommend that the Crown honor its side of the agreement. Should you disregard this recommendation and continue to deliberately breach this agreement, then you will force us to take the necessary measures to correct the injustices that have been committed against us.
- In 1982 Britain enacted Canada’s Constitution Act which includes formal recognition and affirmation of “Existing Aboriginal and treaty rights” in Section 35. However, Canada continues to violate our sovereignty and our right to self-determination, insisting on dealing with us only through its puppet Indian Act government. Canada continues to block all our attempts to rectify these injustices, to obtain the return of all our land and compensation for the assets that were taken fraudulently.
- Canada and the province of Ontario have continued to issue permits for the use of our land even though they know they do not have legal title. As a result, a private company called Henco Industries began building a subdivision on the "Haldimand Tract" for sale to non-Indigenous people who may not have been aware that there was no legal root to the title they were given.
- On February 28th, 2006, the Rotino’shon:ni decided to stop this new encroachment on our land by blocking the entrance to the housing project known as the "Douglas Creek Estates". Most Canadians do not know anything about our history. We have never surrendered our sovereignty or given Canada jurisdiction over us or our land.
- On March 17, 2006, Henco Industries obtained an ex parte order from an Ontario court to evict us from our land. Our people have been protesting these thefts of our land for over 200 years. Our complaints were well-known. Yet, Henco was never required to prove the legality of its title. Ontario was never required to prove its capacity to issue title. No attempt had been made to speak with us.
- On April 20th 2006, the people protecting our land, including grandmothers and small children, were attacked by a heavily armed force of the Ontario Provincial Police. None of our people were armed. Many were severely beaten up and assaulted with batons, pepper spray and taser guns. 16 were arrested. However, many reinforcements arrived and the police retreated. We are still occupying our land.
- We have reason to believe Canada was planning a much more serious assault. Neighboring jails and hospital wards were cleared before the attack. A convoy of ambulances and paddy wagons appeared. An unknown number of police and military forces were marshaled in support. The procedures being used were a blatant violation of the international covenants and agreements that Canada has signed and are contrary to the principles and purposes of the United Nations.
- After the attack the Indian Act band council voted to turn land issues over to the people and the Confederacy chiefs of our traditional government.
- Canada has appointed "negotiators" but our land is not negotiable. At least one of the appointees, Jane Stewart, is in a conflict of interest because she and her husband are involved in another housing project on our land. There has been no indication that any of Canada’s representatives are interested in respecting our rights or the laws.
At the current talks we’ve been told point blank by a “negotiator” from Ontario that we must leave our land and take down our barricades. Meanwhile a build-up of armed forces around us continues. Our delegates carry our voice to the table following the protocol set out in the Two Row Wampum Agreement/Covenant Chain to which we are both bound. Canada’s representative have met our delegates with ultimatums and threats of war while we send them in Peace.
FOR THE ABOVE REASONS, WE FEAR THAT WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROTECT OUR PHYSICAL INTEGRITY OR OUR LEGAL RIGHTS WITHOUT YOUR ASSISTANCE. We call on all peaceful and law abiding nations to come to our support.
We, the Women Title Holders and the People of the Rotino’shon:ni, accordingly request the following;
- that Canada withdraw its police and military forces and stop its armed siege at the Six Nations Grand River territory.
- that Canada must carry out its pledge to uphold freedom, justice and peace in the world, including the inherent right of all people to self-determination.
- that Canada must deal with us on a nation-to-nation basis and uphold its commitment to ensure that all unresolved issues are determined either by consensus or by a neutral third party.
- that the Rotino’shon:ni Six Nations people have never surrendered our sovereignty and Canada must deal with us through our freely chosen representatives and not through the Indian Act machine that it imposed on us in 1924.
- that its courts or representatives are not in a position to act as a neutral arbiter in any disputes with the Rotiino’shon:ni Six Nations.
- that Rotino’shon:ni Six Nations land is inalienable.
- that we want to resolve a situation that Canada created when they broke both their law and international law and our agreements with the Crown. Canada unlawfully forced their laws on us without the fully informed consent or consensus of our people.
- that Canada has no right whatsoever to charge or criminalize anyone of our people under Canadian laws because we are not Canadian. Our people should not be criminalized for upholding our obligations according to our constitution, the Kaianereh’ko:wa, to preserve our land for our coming generations. Our acts have been totally defensive. The aggression has always been against us by agents of the state.
- that everyone should put their documents on the table so that everyone can see who owns what; that the Governor General request the appointment of an independent international mediator who is agreeable to both sides and has no conflict of interest to bring this to a legal resolution. We do not want to wait another 200 years.
Madame Governor General, we, the Women Title Holders, and the People of the Rotino’shon:ni Six Nations insist on an immediate end to Canada’s on-going aggression and institute an open and public process of dialogue between our nations so that we can reach solutions by consensus. The Rotino’shon:ni will no longer tolerate the violation of our constitution, ancient customs, traditions and agreements. We will not tolerate Canada’s representatives threatening us with guns and violence to squash our inherent rights and steal our possessions. Their attempt to pacify us through time-wasting and meaningless ”negotiations” is an insult to our historic relationship with Canada and Great Britain.
For over 200 years Canada has tried to impose its institutions on us. Canada, it is never too late to polish the Covenant Chain. We would like to invite Canada to take part in renewing the spirit of the Two Row Wampum, which has since been affirmed in international law. We would like the settler population to experience the power of our Great Law, the solemn relations that were established and to enter the kind of talks that will make consensus possible, the kind that were used in the beginning the settlers first arrived.
Rotino’shon:ni Women Title Holders
Kahentinetha /s/ __________________
Katenies /s/ __________________
% P.O. Box 49, Kanatakon Akwesasne H0M 1A0