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Tyendinaga Mohawk Band Council Puts Lives At Risk

During a time of crisis leaders are supposed to protect the people, not claim that they do no work and force them back regardless of their circumstances. The Council is demanding return to work at the physical building with complete disregard for those without childcare, or are taking care of others. One council member suggested just getting a high school student to babysit, when that is something they wouldn't even allow for their own grandchild; this was during the time when the province of Ontario stated that people shouldn't even be doing that to ensure the spread of the Corona-virus is eliminated.

While living with someone who sits on the health and safety committee for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte trying to get everything ready, the council feels the employees do nothing while I witness them on calls all the time working even outside of business hours. The micromanagement needs to stop as that is what another council member hated when they worked there as an employee, now is consistently guilty of on a daily basis.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Band Council needs to gather themselves together and lead by example. Take into consideration the people actually doing the work in the offices and at home while it does effect home lives. There is a chain and a lock ready to be used on the doors for the safety of the community members because we know operations do not have to be run from there as they are planning a biweekly return schedule. Their role is power and control, that is not the way of our people - There needs to be a letter sent out with all of their justifications to the community, explaining why, in the words of Romeo Saganash when he spoke of Justin Trudeau, they "just don't give a fuck".

At least one of them is still travelling around and had been visiting during the lock down. Another regularly misses meetings, this is what we have "looking out" for Kenhte:ke; along with their combined cultural knowledge which may be barely there as the Chief himself is an avid church-goer and tries to influence that on everything he does which perpetuates trauma and reinforces the colonial police state. It is time for Chief R. Donald Maracle to begin a way of transformation in removing the church from his rhetoric and handing nation business over to the true longhouse people (not the culturally misappropriated Men's Council lead by Shawn Brant) in order for true decolonization, retribution, and sovereignty to be achieved.

The Indian Act is an outdated legislation aimed at the assimilation and complete genocide of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and the Chief and Council system is designed to put people in positions where they think they have power but truly only perpetuate a divide in the communities which makes it easier for colonial states and agents to infiltrate.

"As the Indian Act comes under scrutiny, treaties could serve as a reminder of what we could achieve—or a mark of our collective failure" Ross Holden writes for Maclean's Magazine. "In trying to envision a healthy, just and sustainable future for Indigenous peoples in Canada, it may be worthwhile to look to the past, to imagine how things could have turned out had Section 91(24) of theConstitution Actof 1867—the “head of power” which assigned the federal Crown jurisdiction over “Indians, and lands reserved for Indians” and under which the Indian Act was promulgated—been used, not to assimilate Indigenous peoples into “mainstream” society, but to implement historic treaties in a manner consistent with their spirit and (professed) intent."

Now it is time for the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council to begin the decolonization process by starting to think of their community members rather than their paychecks. Lynda Leween is already on track with this idea enforcing the idea of youth councils structured in the traditional way the Peacemaker laid out in the Kayanere'kowa. Before the pandemic hit there was some email exchange about when and how this could happen, and I look forward to her trying to influence the rest of council to take of their colonial lenses and put on their cultural lenses. As Haudenosaunee all aspects of our lives are cultural and need to be observed, this especially in politics as it is rooted in the benefit and survival of our people for the next Seven Generations.

|| Sha'tekayenton Brant

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