Sunday, November 05, 2006

Statement: Six Nations firm,
it did not surrender lands

Chief Allen MacNaughton
News Release
NOVEMBER 3, 2006

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER TERRITORY- Six Nations is standing firm in its position that its lands, six miles on either side of the Grand River, including the disputed Douglas Creek lands, and Plank Road lands were not surrendered by the Six Nations Confederacy Council Hodiyenehsoh.

The federal government, in negotiations Friday, maintained its position that Six Nations surrendered its lands, despite the lack of any legal surrender documents or proof that Six Nations intended to surrender any land .

The federal government is instead relying on questionable minutes made by an Indian Agent of the day. The federal government has also failed to explain,what happened to Six Nations lands and its trust funds.

Six Nations Confederacy Council Hodiyenehsoh (Chiefs) maintain its position that the lands have not been surrendered and will continue to work towards a peaceful resolution of the Reclamation of the Douglas Creek lands at Caledonia.

Allen MacNaughton/ Mohawk Chief
For further information or to set up interviews please contact:
Lynda Powless/ Confederacy negotiating team media advisor/ (519) 445-0898


The Plank Road Claim

Like highway 6, the Plank Road claim crosses the Haldimand tract (12mi), half a mile deep on either side of the old road. Caledonia itself sits on this claim, as does the reclamation site Kanonhstaton, formerly Douglas Creek Estates. Settling the claim to the site means settling the Plank Road claim.

The negotiators are right in the middle of that now: The federal government has said it stands by the 1841/1844 surrenders, though these apparently lack some basic requirements (Order-in-council, survey, ratification by the people of the confederacy). Six Nations says they agreed only to lease the lands, and they have not received proper payment. Next meeting November 14.

This map, apparently a government map from 1900, shows the Plank Road claim as a white strip across the Haldimand Tract, indicating that it was unceded as of that date.

Samuel Jarvis, the former government agent who engineered the surrenders of 1841 and 1844, was removed from his position for fraud shortly after. Thus, the federal government's position is not crystal clear.

The government of Ontario, it appears, has given a guarantee of property titles to current owners, indicating that if Six Nations claim to the Plank Road is successful, Ontario will make every attempt to compensate Six Nations for all privately held properties, so that no property owner is inconvenienced.

The federal government is now saying that they may not have a role to play in the land claim at all, which may leave Ontario clear to transfer the title to Six Nations, if that is the result of the presentation of evidence. There are complications in terms of what type of title this would be.

The process in claims involving potentially unceded territory that may be (illegallly) in private hands is a bit disconcerting: If the government cannot produce evidence of a valid surrender for sale accompanied by appropriate payment, the government simply concludes that that is the case and closes its file. This leaves the 'successful' Indigenous group to its own devices in reclaiming the land.

The Walpole band and the Mississaugas Nations are both currently in that situation. Toronto Islands is unceded Mississaugas territory. They have recently begun protesting expansion of the Island Airport, but otherwise indicate that they don't intend to unduly disturb residents.

It could be that Jim Prentice's statement last week will be the last word: if the federal government cannot defend its right to have sold the property then there simply may be no further federal involvement at that point. It would, then, be up to Ontario to negotiate the disposition and compensation for lands in the Haldimand Tract.

It seems a resolution for the reclamatuion site may be near ... but one hardly dares hope!

Of course ... it goes without saying, I guess, that if the Plank Road claim is already deemed valid for the current negotiations, then the Haldimand Tract claim, of which it is but a part, is also valid for negotiation on a parcel by parcel basis.
That will take some time.


Anonymous Don Adams said...

Interesting how the Six Nations base part of their claim on the fact that the Government cannot produce documents that show the transfers occurred. Well then, care to show us proof that you have title - a deed will do - to six miles on either side of the Grand River?

4:05 PM  

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