Saturday, October 28, 2006

$$ Haldimand County's Debt to Six Nations $$

Six Nations today retains only 5% of its original Haldimand Tract land grant. The legality of the disposition of those lands is the subject of ongoing negotiations. Regardless of the outcome of those negotiations, it remains true that lands surrendered to the 'Crown' were surrendered in trust for the Six Nations people. Thus, any money arising from leases or sales of those surrendered properties was to accrue to the Six Nations account held in trust by the Federal government. However, some monies were not deposited as required, and other monies deposited were subsequently used to fund other initiatives, without repayment of the principle to Six Nations' account, let alone any interest.

Windspeaker magazine traces the use of some of the Six Nations money. One item of note is $1,000 from Six Nations account given to Haldimand County in 1851 without repayment.

Now, I am not a financial expert, but my spreadsheet tells me that since
Haldimand County owed Six Nations $1,000 from 1851 to the present:

At an annual interest rate of 5% Haldimand County now owes Six Nations $1.5m.
At 10% interest, Haldimand County's present debt would amount to $1.5b.

I don't know how such things are calculated really, so I provide these simple examples just to make a point: Either of these is a lot of money, enough to make local politicians take notice. Perhaps enough to make residents realize that Haldimand County is not an innocent victim of the reclamation, but one of the agencies that defrauded Six Nations, and a contributing cause of the reclamation.

It would be an act of good faith, and a great contribution to community peace and harmony if Haldimand County would step forward and pay its historical and still outstanding debt to Six Nations account.

It would be an act of great leadership and respect and understanding which would go a long way to healing the divisions of the past few months, and setting the stage for a new partnership.
I am sure many residents hope that the current municipal elections will bring forward some leaders with real vision of the future, and the courage to begin healing the divisions created between these two closely entwined communities.


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