History showcases the real criminals

 A backgrounder to the history behind #1492landbacklane.

A mural at the site of 1492landback lane.

While Onkwehon:we people are smeared as criminals and terrorists for standing up for protecting our lands and upholding our responsibilities, many Canadians are confused about what is going on, perhaps because they weren’t taught the true history of these lands in school or in their media. 

To understand the present we must know the past, so let’s begin with a bit of history that can put the recent upheaval along the Grand River in perspective. 

Onkwehon:we people have lived since time immemorial on our traditional territories – which include the watershed of lake Ontario and the lands on the Haldimand Tract. One of the main reasons for the 1776 American revolution against the British Crown was to expand westward and north into Onkwehon:we land – to do so, they needed to advance through the Mohawk valley. 

George Washington became known to us as Conotocarious or “town destroyer” after he directed General Sullivan to create “total destruction and devastation” by destroying more than 40 Onkwehon:we villages. These genocidal war crimes forced Onkwehon:we people to flee northwards, especially the Mohawks who were most closely allied to the British. 

The Haldimand Tract was deeded to the Mohawks and others of the Six Nations by Royal Proclamation in 1784 in compensation for the loss of the Mohawk valley; includes the lands within six nautical miles on either side of the Grand River from its mouth to its source. 

This area encompasses over 950,000 acres and includes entire cities and towns such as Dunnville, Hagersville, Brantford, Paris, Kitchener, Elora, Fergus, and Dundalk. In comparison, the Six Nations Reserve is a mere 46,500 acres. That’s a total of 903,500 acres of land that has been settled by Canadians on land which was promised to forever belong to the Mohawks and such others of the Six Nations.

Let’s look at this from Canada’s own legal standpoint. In 1867 when Canada was formed, the British North America Act was written. Section 139 of the BNA Act states, “Any proclamation under the Great Seal of the Province of Canada issued before the Union to take effect at a time which is subsequent to the Union whether relating to that province or to Upper Canada or to Lower Canada and the several matters and things therein proclaimed shall be and continue of like force and effect as if the Union has not been made.” The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 is a Royal Proclamation that fits into this description. This means that the Haldimand Proclamation continues to be in full force and effect. 

The Queen signs the Canada Act in 1982.

In 1982, Canada repatriated its Constitution with the Canada Act. However section 139 remained exactly as written above  and there were no changes whatsoever. Therefore, the Haldimand Proclamation is still in effect. Accompanying the Canada Act is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms containing two sections that address Indigenous rights. These are laid out in Sections 25 and 35. Section 25 states:

The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed so as to abrogate or derogate from any aboriginal, treaty or other rights or freedoms that pertain to the aboriginal peoples of Canada including

• (a) any rights or freedoms that have been recognized by the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763; and

• (b) any rights or freedoms that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.

The inclusion of this within the Charter of Rights and Freedom protects Indigenous rights and freedoms that were recognized in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and any that were in existence up to the adoption of the Canada Act in 1982. This includes the Haldimand Proclamation.

Similarly, Section 35 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states:

(1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed.

 (2) In this Act, “aboriginal peoples of Canada” includes the Indian, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.

(3) For greater certainty, in subsection (1) “treaty rights” includes rights that now exist by way of land claims agreements or may be so acquired.

 (4) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the aboriginal and treaty rights referred to in subsection (1) are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.

Again, this section within the Charter affirms our rights as Indigenous people and even addresses the existing Indigenous rights on or before the adoption of this document. The lands within the Haldimand Proclamation undoubtedly belong to the Mohawks and such others of the Six Nations.

There are two issues that need to be addressed. First and foremost Canada and the provinces are not being forthcoming with their citizens. They are not providing the citizens of Canada with accurate information. Instead, they are making you accessories to the crimes that they continue to commit against Indigenous people by not teaching you accurately about your own history and laws. 

Furthermore, their actions are a violation of their own constitution as they have not upheld Royal Proclamations. They have written a Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ignored it to continue with their lies, hatred and thievery. What’s worse, is they have made the Canadians who speak out, write comments and act out against Indigenous people; the fall guys while they sit comfortably in their Ottawa offices. 

Racist sign erected in Caledonia

When they see you act out, they speak up and use you all as their shields claiming that the people have spoken. They have made Indigenous people the targets while they continue to commit crimes against the very foundations upon which they pride themselves. Canada prides itself on being fair and equitable, but they cannot follow their own laws and it is at the expense of Canadians and the Indigenous people.

So, tell us again why Mohawks and others were arrested on their own lands for stopping development when the ownership of said lands predates Canada and Canada’s Laws? It certainly wasn’t because of lawful justice. 

Could it have something to do with the continuation of John A. MacDonald’s policies of apartheid, racism and colonialism?

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1 Response

  1. Linda says:

    This is an excellent article

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