Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 George Wellington
Ottawa On K1A 0A2
January 9, 2013
The Mohawk Nation at Kahnawà:ke of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Confederacy, proclaim the following position on behalf the People of the Longhouse, our citizens, and most importantly on behalf of our future generations.
We have watched with great concern the efforts of your current government of Canada to initiate and pass legislation that breaches the long standing nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationship between our two governments.
This action by Canada is a continuation of a centuries old policy and strategy to eliminate Indigenous governments as the original governments with whom the Crown has entered into treaty relations. There is an erroneous assumption on the part of Canada that they have been granted the authority to legislate over our nations and peoples – nothing could be further from the truth.
This assault on our sovereignty and inherent rights as the original governments of this continent began with the invasion. As a colonial government Canada entered into agreements to steal the lands and resources; and implemented the racist Indian Act and other policies to assimilate Indigenous peoples. This assault was further compounded by the 1924 revision of the Indian Act that was used to overthrow original Indigenous governments and replace them with band councils.
Be aware that the Band Councils and the AFN do not speak for the Haudenosaunee or any other traditional government situated on this side of Turtle Island.
We view what is now occurring through the actions of Canada to pass the following bills:
Bill C-38 Omnibus Act #1 Environmental Destruction Act
Bill C-45: Omnibus Act #2 Fisheries, Navigable Waters, FN Land Designation
Bill C-27: First Nations Financial Transparency Act
Bill C-428: Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act
Bill S-2: Family Homes on Reserves and Matrimonial Interest or Rights Act
Bill S-6: First Nations Elections Act
Bill S-8: Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
Bill S-212: First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill
as the final steps in their efforts to erase any semblance of Indigenous nationhood and government from this continent.
From the outset of our international relations with colonial governments we have insisted on the principle of non-interference into the internal affairs of either party. This principle is described as a canoe and a ship travelling together on the same river, in the same direction, each holding their own way of government and their citizens. And most importantly, neither party doing anything that would disrupt the ways-of-life contained in those vessels.
After a time our ancestors warned us that we would see a day when the newcomers would try to “throw things into our canoe and try to sink it”. That day came with the passage of the original Indian Act and now we see all of the other “things” they are attempting to throw into our canoe.
We have always resisted these attacks on our sovereignty and inherent rights, and even if Canada passes these bills we will resist these efforts.
It needs to be widely understood, that treaties simply regulate relations between nations and governments. That relationship between our Nation and the Crown has always been an on-going attempt to achieve peace between our governments and peoples.
What Canada is doing today does not further the value of peace.
What is and has always been of utmost importance is the preservation and protection of our inherent rights. The sovereignty of a nation and a people is such an inherent right.
Along with sovereignty, comes our inherent right of authority and jurisdiction. All of which we have never relinquished.
We will continue to urge all efforts of the Indigenous people to make the world aware of the dishonesty and deceit of Canada until there is clear change in government policy towards Indigenous Nations.
Signed by the Clan Mothers at Kahnawake
Kanatishon Glenda Deer
Kawennahente Lynne Norton
Kahtehronni Iris Stacey