June 10, 2020
We would like to offer an update to the community.
First and foremost, we want to acknowledge everyone and their efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our community. All the emergency services, community members doing security at the checkpoints, and everyone that is trying to curb the spread of the virus.
We like to bring to light that there has been threats of violence and also an incident that those threats became real for one of the organizers of the checkpoints. This began with an incident of threats at his house March 14th 2020 concerning stoppage of trucks dumping without an approval or proper paper work. He was attacked at his place of business April 29th 2020 directly because the checkpoints were not allowing in trucks without paperwork.
We want to be clear that the individuals that performed this attack were not from the Six Nations Territory. We are clearly stating that violence against anyone is not acceptable and we are taking measures to ensure that this serious incident does not escalate any further. We are attaching with this statement a decision made at our council in 1992 that there is to be no dumping here at Six Nations. This incident is still under investigation we are hoping that it is resolved.
We have supported the Emergency Control Group when the pandemic began. We believe that the health and well-being during this pandemic should be in the hands of those in the health field.
One of the major issues that did not pass through the Emergency Control group is the issuing of “resident” passes. This is an issue because it has allowed for 12,000+ band members living off the reserve, access to the reserve basically defeating the purpose of the checkpoints and putting more risk to the people on the territory. Further to this, we understand that these passes were not passed at the Emergency Control Group.
The next concern arose during the Bread and Cheese arrangements made by the Band Administration. Originally, it had been decided to cancel this event, jointly by the Band Administration and the Emergency Control Group, for the overall health of the community. There was a community-wide announcement of this cancellation. However, the Band Administration developed a plan for distribution without proposing it first to the Emergency Control Group. The Emergency Control Group was not given the opportunity to review and sanction this new plan. This is of great concern because we cannot confirm the measures taken were enough to ensure the safety of our community.
We want to let the community know that there are documents being circulated that are not correct. We, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council of Chiefs (HCCC) have never worked on or sanctioned any documents concerning “Health and Safety Code of Conduct”. This document has solely been developed by the Band Administration with the intent of being the governing body of businesses at Six Nations. We see this document as political maneuvers with ulterior motives at a time of distress. We recognize that it also states that there would be enforcement of this code, this would succeed in driving deeper divisions in our community that could potentially lead to violence.
Therefore, we are now pulling back our support of the Emergency Control Group. We will not be sending our representatives meetings as they have endured unnecessary stress from the mismanagement of the Emergency Control Group.
This does NOT mean that we do not support our community in the efforts to remain safe, nor does it mean that we endorse any kind of action being taken at this time of crisis. This simply means that we do not feel the Emergency Control Group is able function as it should be. It has to be free from manipulation, political agendas, and remain the unequivocal voice of safety during the pandemic.
We know that there has been a great balancing act between keeping the community closed for safety vs. our community’s reliance on generated economy. We have put much thought and discussion into this issue as well. We support the safe opening of the checkpoints and we support security with the safest process to do so. We ask that everyone support the safe opening as there are many reasons on both sides of this issue. We have to think of all the families that have been affected by the closure and the jobs that are provided. So once again, remember that it is still up to each and every one of us as individuals to use safe practices.
We want to stress to everyone that we are still in the pandemic. There are many good resources available in our community to help you to safely manage during this time. It is still important to put off activities that would endanger the health of others and any non-essential medicines, feasts or gatherings.
We would like to give encouragement to everyone that our minds are very powerful and you need to keep your mind busy. Try to be as physically active as you can for your well-being. A lot of our young people are dealing with mental health issues as they rely on friendships and interaction, you are not alone. We know it is a difficult time and we encourage you to ask for help if you need it. Listen to your parents/guardians as they also try their best to navigate through the effects of the pandemic. Help around the house and with your family as much as possible as that will help to boost positive thoughts and feelings. Plan each day so you have structure, structure is key to a positive outlook and planning. Please look back to our previous statement to see all the advised activities you can do while managing the recommended isolation.
To the families that have been through this sickness or are currently battling it, you are not alone and we are all thinking of you and asking for you to return to good health again.
Chiefs and Clanmothers of the Confederacy Council Six Nations