Saturday, April 01, 2006

Background on The "Haldimand Grant"

Blue shows Haldimand Grant, Purple shows Six Nations reserve
Red Star shows Douglas Creek occupation

This good short document spells out the historical background to the confrontation at Douglas Creek:


By the late 18th century the Hotinonshon:ni attempted to remain neutral as the British tried to hang on to the American colonies adjacent to their native homelands.

The Anglo-assimilated, self proclaimed Hotinonshon:ni warrior Thayendanagea, Joseph Brant, convinced most Senecas, Mohawks, Cayugas, and Onondagas to align themselves with the British struggle, leaving the Oneidas and Tuscaroras to side with the American revolutionaries.

As the struggles favored the colonials, the Hotinonshon:ni were largely abandoned by their allies on both sides. George Washington ordered a three pronged invasion and destruction of the Iroquoian homeland led by John Sullivan, James Clinton, and Daniel Brodhead.
Nearly 40 Hotinonshon:ni villages across the Finger Lakes region were obliterated. Amidst the killing and desolation many of the people headed north into unclaimed lands in what is now Canada. Sadly, the efforts of the Peacemaker were left to these survivors.

The Six Nations Reserve was granted to the survivors under Brant in 1784. The Haldimand Grant extended six miles either side of the Grand River from its source to its mouth at Lake Erie.
In 1793 British Governor John Simcoe forced the surrender of some of the source lands. Between 1798 and 1834 Brant, as leader, sold more than 140,000 hectares of the grant to raise money for the welfare of the people.

These lands include present day Brantford. Later, between 1834 and 1844, some monies from these sales were invested in the Grand River Navigation Company to open the river to a link with the Welland Canal, and later to the founding funds for McGill, the University of Toronto, and other capital investments.(Note: this was done without the approval of the Nations)

The Six Nations Reserve took its present form of 20,000 hectares in 1847. The longhouse tradition was reinforced by the teachings of the Seneca Chief and spiritual prophet, Handsome Lake [1735-1835]. Early Anglican and other Christian traditions were adopted by most of the people. The Indian Act of 1924 brought compulsory enfranchisement and the establishment of school education to the Reserve.

Indeed, the 1924 Indian Act pretended to “abolish” Haudenosaunee government at the Grand River territory, just as across Canada it was used as a legal weapon against traditional First Nations governments. Confederacy territories were invaded and occupied by Canadian troops in order to establish puppet “electoral governments,” cloaking genocide in democratic clothing. (The vast majority of men initially chose to boycott these elections; women, who collectively wielded great power amongst the Haudenosaunee, were denied the “right” to vote.)

Around 5% of Haldimand Grant remains in the hands of the Iroquois Confederacy (see map here). The rest of the lands were stolen, squatted on or illegally transferred after being leased to non-natives. Haudenosaunee chiefs have proposed talks to deal with outstanding land claims that cover most of Southern Ontario and an estimated value of $400 billion in outstanding leases, illegal sales and loss of money held in trust by Ottawa. To little avail; indeed, Ottawa only recognizes the neo-colonial Band Councils it set up back in 1924.

This is what is behind the land occupation at Douglas Creek which has been going on for a month now…

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1 comment:

  1. although the land was never mentioned, plank road was the only land being sought after. with the signatures of six chiefs on the surrender, this should be surfice for both side, yet six nations does not reconize their chiefs signatures. i also question the boundries of the six nations, being the six mile mark south of the grand river is 1st line, or mississauga rd how was the six nations able to sell New credit indians 6000 acres of land @ the cost of $10,000 on june 15,1903. this land is 2 miles beyond the haldimand grant and there is no mention of land trade for that area.