MNN. Mohawk Nation News. 1 June 1998. Today Kahn-Tineta Horn of the Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in North America joined Richard Hill of Six Nations in questioning Canada's application of their laws regarding the setting up of the band council system under the Indian Act, as well replacing it with a mysterious custom council that has nothing to do with Iroquois traditions.
This follows on the heels of Brian Maracle's successful challenge in the Federal Court of Canada. He ousted the custom council because it violated the procedures set out in the Indian Act. Kahn-Tineta Horn found out that the same things seems to be happening on her home territory of Kahnawake.
Horn wrote a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien, asking about the attempt to put in a "custom council" in Kahanwake by the band council. This band council was set up by and Order in Council in the late 1900's. Only 14 persons agreed to this and the rest did not support this imposition. "We never voted in any Canadian election and we never agreed to be governed by Canada", said Horn.
Horn continued, "So far this creation of a new custom council is being done without following proper procedures such as consultation, duly called meetings and a referendum of all the eligible voters. Most of us know nothing about this". This sounds like what happened at the Six Nations Territory when the new custom council took over from the Indian Act band council without the permission of the people on the territory.
Horn wants to know, "Was the order in council that set up the Indian Act Band council in Kahnawake revoked? Was the band council taken out of section 74 of the Indian Act? Why does the Canadian government allow a few people to secretly impose a new form of government on Mohawk people when it doesn't truly represent us?"
According to her understanding of the Canadian laws, the Order in Council must be revoked to remove the Kahnawake band council from section 74 of the Indian Act. To bring in a new custom council they must go to the Governor in Council with a mandate that is based on the fully informed and freely expressed wish of the majority of all of the eligible electors of the people of Kahnawake. Then a new Order in council is issued. Horn stated, "In the first place, the Mohawk people as a whole never agreed to have the Indian Act band council system imposed on us. In the second place, the majority of the Mohawk people do not agree to having a new custom council imposed on us".
Horn wants to know what is the procedure according to Canadian laws for ensuring the government is legitimate.
Horn queried, "Whose custom is it? It sure isn't ours!"