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Haudenosaunee Grand Council Reiterates Position on Elected Councils

Chief Sidney Hill
5/22/13

Greetings  from the Chiefs, Clanmothers, Faithkeepers, and people of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy, People of the Longhouse.

The Grand Council of Chiefs would  like to take this time to remind its citizens of the Haudenosaunee position on imposed elected Band and Tribal councils and our proposed remedy to standardize governance within the domain of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. 

From the moment elected councils were imposed in our communities, its primary intent was to abolish the strength and national character of our traditional governments and to assist  in the enfranchisement and assimilation of the Haudenosaunee into the national fabric of both Canada and the United States. It has since been the position of the Haudenosaunee that elected councils imposed by either Canada or the United States, exist outside the Circle Wampum. No one person or nation can bring into the Circle another form of governance without the full expressed acceptance of the Grand Council. 

The Circle Wampum makes the line between traditional councils and elected councils clear and distinct; the traditional councils are the original governments of the Haudenosaunee communities/nations handling national affairs, while the elected councils are imposed systems of the Indian Act in Canada and Federal Indian Law in the United States for the administration of colonial policies in each community. Within recent years however, these elected councils have begun commandeering the distinct symbols, philosophies, and national character of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy--thus misrepresenting themselves to external agencies and the limiting the significance of the Haudenosaunee as an original Indigenous system of governance. 

Whether it is reference to the Two Row Wampum, treaties, nation-to-nation relationships, or the subtle implication that these elected councils are somehow synonymous with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy or the Traditional Councils; this ambiguity has now perpetuated a false impression and confusion both externally and internally that elected councils are actually a part of the Haudenosaunee  Confederacy. 

Most recently, these elected councils have endeavoured into the international arena, a domain populated by nations and states, through a formal entity called the Iroquois Caucus, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and The United Southern and Eastern Tribes (USET). Since 1977, the Haudenosaunee have pioneered the indigenous presence at the United Nations and other international venues, leading towards the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; a presence the Iroquois Caucus, NCAI, and USET endeavours to supplant by perpetuating itself as the legitimate voice of our communities internationally and will act in the interest of their colonial masters Canada and the United States. 

The Grand Council of Chiefs feels that it can no longer remain acquiescent on this matter and must insist that the appropriation of the Haudenosaunee national character cease. Furthermore, the Grand Council of Chiefs must relay to its neighbours that the Iroquois Caucus and its tributary elected councils, along with both the NCAI and USET, do not represent the Haudenosaunee or it's member nations. While the Grand Council of Chiefs feels that it must be firm on this matter, our council reminds elected councils  of the Haudenosaunee remedy to standardize governance in our communities under the Kaianere'ko:wa (Great Law of Peace). 

In 1991, the Haudenosaunee Chiefs outlined its prerequisites to begin meaningful dialogue on how we can all live by the principles and laws of the Kaianere'ko:wa, within the Longhouse of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. At that time, Haudenosaunee Chiefs asked the elected councils to respect and recognize its authority over eight political areas it historically claims jurisdiction over. While we understand that at this time Canada and the United  States only recognize the legitimacy of elected councils, we feel this will never change so long as our own people wilfully accept this colonial imposition. The Grand Council of Chiefs remains steadfast to this necessary show of good faith and is prepared to begin the necessary work to help decolonize the political structures in each of our communities. 

This issue is challenging in many ways because of the personal impact this has on individuals who have a heartfelt connection to the Haudenosaunee and wish to express it in ways that they think is helpful. What is not realized is that by representing the Haudenosaunee within colonial constructs it furthers the colonial agenda of Canada and United States. The elective systems are foreign entities that are colonizing the culture by misappropriation. Placing our teachings, laws, and symbols within the colonial construct of the elective band council system is morphing decolonization into a meaningless  apparition of cultural revitalization  and transformation. 

The Kaianere'ko:wa is based upon inclusivity, peaceful coexistence, and strength through unity ­ bound by laws that ensure a democratic and consensual decision-making process. The Grand Council of Chiefs makes no judgments of the moral character or sincerity of those individuals who currently serve as elected councillors, but we do encourage them to bring their gifts, skills, and dedication back into the canoe and take shelter beneath the Great Tree of Peace. Bound together by the good tidings of peace and power, we can be stronger than ever. 

Da•ne'thoh,

Chief Sidney Hill, Tadodaho, Onondaga Indian Nation

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Anonymous's picture
Its a BIA and IRA Tribal Corporate Government, not a standardized govt. What a Joker! He fooling himself and his people! Wanbli 2013
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
well said
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
niawen kowa; Unity, Strength, Peace
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
Before there is ever peace, there must be war! The first war will be with our sacred spirit to call upon the fighting warrior within. The second war will be to gather strength in unity. The third war will to make humility of our aggressors. Today, We will never be at any peace until our human fabric and minds are balanced with this earth! Whom else can fight for our brothers, the animals of the forest, but those whom are in touch with the heartbeat of our mother earth... She is weakened by these greedy demons in white, and how much more silence, we call peace, can be tolerated? Her death will be absolute with our tone of peace...
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture
THIS IS THE TRUTH SO WHY IS THE ELECTED COUNCIL STILL ACTING AS IF THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO SELL OUR RIGHT TO THE HIGHTST BIDER. WHAT SOME MAY NOT KNOW IS THE ELECTED COUNCIL HERE IN AKWESASNE WHERE PUT IN OFFICE BUY ONLY 400 PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO BE REGISTERED WITH THE BAN COUNCIL TO BE ALLOWED TO VOTE AND ANY ONE THAT IS LONG HOUSE AND NOT ON THE BAN ROLES CAN NOT VOTE. THERE ARE 33,000.00 PEOPLE HERE IN THE TERRITORY SO WHERE ARE THE REST OF THE PEOPLE WHEN THIS ELECTIONS ARE GOING ON? ANOTHER THING MOST DONT KNOW IS THAT IT ONLY TAKES TWO SIGNITGERS TO PASS A NEW RULING OUR MAKE A CONTRACT WITH THE OUT SIDE GOVERMEANTS , LIKE THE SELLING OUR ELECTERC RIGHTS TO NATATIOAL GREAD . IT IS NOT JUST PEOPLE NOT WHATING TO PAY THERE BILL ! IT IS PEOPLE STANDING FOR OUR RIGHT TO NOT BE REAP OFF BUY THE SELLING OF OUR RIGHTS AS A FREE NATION
Anonymous