No. 36September 29, 2021
In today’s Renewal Update we inform readers about the significant stand of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) and Clan Mothers to demand the removal of an election polling station from Six Nations Territory. The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada stands wholeheartedly behind their action. When it comes to the Indigenous peoples, what is called enfranchising them, i.e. making them Canadian citizens, constitutes a horrendous example of Canada’s attempt to deny their hereditary rights and commit genocide against them. It goes to the heart of the demands for justice for the lost children and the missing women and girls and reparations for crimes committed against the Indigenous peoples in the past and which continue to be committed in the present.
What the Haudenosaunee are saying relates directly to the experience of kidnapping of children and their imprisonment in residential schools to assimilate Indigenous peoples into the so-called European way of life and the related human rights abuses and attempted genocide we are mourning today. Besides this, the Six Nations of the Grand River were the “proving ground” for the imposition of colonial institutions said to be elected and democratic — so-called band councils — which federal governments create and destroy according to whether they submit to whatever the Crown decides is good for them.
The right to be is at the heart of the matter of what the Haudenosaunee’s fight in defence of hereditary rights is all about. It is at the heart of the fight of the peoples of the entire world at this time against the rule of those who have usurped power by force and use it to advance very narrow private interests.
We are one humanity waging one struggle in defence of the rights of all. All out to uphold the hereditary rights of the Indigenous peoples, Inuit and Métis!
During the recent federal election, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) and Clan Mothers stood firm in defence of their sovereignty and territory by insisting that the government of Canada remove its election polling station from Six Nations Territory. Prior to election day they issued a statement on September 15, advising “those involved to immediately remove the polling stations and elections materials from the Territory,” as it is a violation of the 400-year-old Two Row Wampum Treaty which commits the Haudenosaunee and the Crown to never interfere in one another’s government, laws and ways.
On election day, when the Canadian government attempted to keep the polling stations open, more than 30 people from the community came out to peacefully protest, blocking all entrances to the polling station. Police were called but in the end the polling stations were relocated off Six Nations Territory.
Renewal Update spoke with Skyler Williams, spokesperson for the Land Defenders at 1492 Land Back Lane, about the significance of insisting the polling stations be removed from Six Nations Territory.
Skyler Williams said it is one of many many important issues.
“These things are being forced upon us,” he said “and this was pushing the line too far. When it came to Land Back Lane, or the years since Kanesatake, many of us have had to feel the brunt of political in-action both federally and provincially. So many of our people have been dragged before the courts and stuck behind bars, including myself. I have spent a significant amount of time sitting behind bars in my life, simply for standing up for our rights. So for them to then push onto our community that we get an ‘opportunity’ to participate in a system that does nothing but perpetuate genocide against Indian people, that’s totally outrageous.”
Skyler said “there was no consultation with our community” so the polling stations for the Canadian election were required to leave Six Nation Territory. “We had no say whether we wanted this kind of system to be allowed in our community.”
Turtle Island News reported that about 450 community members voted in the Canadian federal election. Six Nations has a population of 27,000 people.
(Photo: Haudenosaunee Confederacy)
The Haudenosaunee Confederacy — Grand River Country, Ohsweken, Ontario issued the following statement on September 15 calling on the federal government of Canada to remove its election polling stations and election material from Six Nations Territories.
Greetings on behalf of the Chiefs and Clanmothers of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It has been brought to our attention that the Canadian government has placed polling stations on Haudenosaunee Territory.
The Confederacy Council has, and always will continue to discourage Onkwehonwe from participating in the elections of leaders of other governments. This is a violation of Treaties and commitments our Ancestors made amongst the Onkwehonweh and the immigrants that arrived over the past 400 yrs. We have agreed by the Two Row Wampum Treaty to never interfere in one another’s government, laws and ways. We also are bound by the Silver Covenant Chain Treaty, which is a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Mutual Respect. We committed to assist one another when needed. Canada has a Treaty obligation to respect our Nationhood, as we have never relinquished our sovereignty and we view the actions of all involved in Canada’s elections as doing such, in violation of the Treaty Rights and Responsibilities we each are under obligation to fulfill.
We urge those involved to immediately remove the polling stations and election materials from the territory. This is a violation of not only treaty rights, but our human rights to exist as a distinct people. “We want to remind our citizens of our teachings within the Circle Wampum and remember to remain in our circle where all our laws, rights, ceremonies, language and identity still lie.”
In Peace and Friendship,
(Photo: Haudenosaunee Confederacy)
At the time of the conquest and into the 19th century, what is called “Indian policy” was diplomatic and military in orientation. Both the English and the French conquerors recognized the Indigenous peoples’ nations. Besides other proof, it is known that they sought and formed alliances with various nations on a sovereign and independent basis. They also entered into the Two Row Wampum which established nation-to-nation relations. Their military and diplomatic policy towards these nations means they were forced to form alliances with them for purposes of defence and for purposes of making advances in the fur trade, in exploration, etc. In 1763, at which time the problem of settlement began to be posed, the Crown gave an assurance by Royal Proclamation that “the Indians” would not be disturbed in their territories beyond the settled colonies. “Indian land” could be surrendered only to the Crown and only by a “General Assembly of Indians.”
This laid the basis for the treaty system which was the expansionist arm of the “Indian policy” and many controversial treaties were signed. The Crown, in right of Canada, interprets these treaties in a most self-serving way which condones theft, criminalizes all opposition, justifies the use of force against land defenders and makes a mockery of the meaning of consultation and the conception of nation-to-nation relations Canada is duty-bound to uphold. To this day there are also many areas of Canada where treaties were not made including Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, the High Arctic, most of the North West Territories, the Yukon, most of British Columbia and parts of the Maritime provinces.
By the time of Confederation in 1867, Canada’s Constitution assigned legislative jurisdiction over “Indians and lands reserved for Indians” to Parliament. One distinct department dealt with “civil rights and status Indians” and another with “reserve lands.” The first federal Act was passed in 1868 based largely on earlier legislation of the Province of Canada. In 1869, further legislation was passed which entrenched the policy of assimilation and laid the basis for the genocidal treatment of Indigenous peoples for the next century and more. The Act of 1869 considered “Indian status” as merely a transitional one, until such time “Indians” were assimilated into the “European way of life.” Towards this end, measures were taken to have them adopt European agricultural methods and to kidnap and imprison children in missionary schools away from their families and tribes so that they would lose their language, culture, spirituality and traditions. The Act provided for “enfranchisement” whereby any Indigenous person who applied for Canadian citizenship lost their “Indian status.” The policy of enfranchisement led to over 20, 000 people of Indigenous origin in legal terms “losing” their Indian identity between 1876 and 1974. The first so-called Indian Act was adopted in 1876. On its basis the military authority over “Indians” was replaced with a “civilian Indian Department.” The racist legal definition of “Indian status” conferred on individuals according to European jurisprudence replaced the policy of dealing with Indigenous nations.
Up to the time the Indian Act of 1876 was revised in 1951, all “Indian policy” was made by the federal government without consulting “Indians.” By the mid-twentieth century, due to the complete failure of its policy of assimilation to eliminate the Indigenous peoples who have without fail upheld their hereditary rights, and due to the state of misery to which they had been reduced, in 1968-69 the government was forced to hold a series of consultation meetings.
This led to the so-called Third Phase of Indian Policy when, in June 1969, the government issued a White Paper which completely ignored all the priorities stated by the Indigenous peoples. Instead, the government merely proposed getting rid of the problem by putting an end to “Indian status” and repealing the Indian Act. The opposition of the Indigenous peoples and general public opinion against this attempt of the government to wash its hands of all its fiduciary responsibilities as a result of the theft of Indigenous territories and social responsibility for the crimes committed against the Indigenous peoples was so fierce that the government was forced to retreat. Nonetheless, it did not amend the Act and everything it has subsequently done and continues to do constitutes attempts to preserve the racist colonial relationship so as to accomplish the same thing through other means.
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