Letter to the Hon. Marc Miller PC, MP Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
December 7, 2021
The Hon. Marc Miller, PC, MP
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
Dear Minister Miller,
Sge:no! Sago! I would like to acknowledge that your hard work and commitment have been recognized in your new appointment as Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations. I’m glad to be able to continue working with you going forward and once again congratulate you on your new role.
The Prime Minister has just written to me in response to Six Nations priorities we had recently brought to his attention. As you know, and as was reiterated in my last letter of October 12th, Six Nations of the Grand River is pursuing progress on a variety of challenges simultaneously. This is a manifestation of sovereignty and an exercise of our self-governance. Nonetheless, your support for our efforts will be invaluable given the Crown’s continued relationship with our people. The PM has indicated you will be taking the lead in the Government’s response to our community’s needs in these priority areas.
We were encouraged to note your statement after the cabinet shuffle that “It’s time to give land back.” Indeed, it is well past time for the Crown to provide restitution to Six Nations for the lands wrongfully transferred and the proceeds in trust misappropriated. While our major land claims case has been in the courts since 1995 and awaits a hearing, there are still steps the federal government could take to begin preparing for a general reparation of the situation. The Crown has already acknowledged that this case “will result in a significant damage award” and there is no point in delaying the inevitable.
As you know, and as mentioned in our previous correspondence, one of our most important priorities is ending the continued remittance to the federal government of the excise tax that is wrongfully applied to our members when engaging in a common enterprise as Six Nations members on Six Nations territory. Those funds belong to the Six Nations community, and it is wrong for the federal government to tax our businesses only to trickle those revenues back to us for our urgent needs like hooking up water lines for clean drinking water access. The Crown must end this unjust situation so that these funds may remain in Six Nations for the benefit of our community. With these funds being directly administered by Six Nations, we will be much more equipped to meet our people’s needs.
We also seek your support for our request of Health Canada to recognize and respect the Six Nations Cannabis Commission and the Six Nations of the Grand River Cannabis Control Law as an assertion of jurisdiction. Brought about by our Elected Council over the past couple of years, the Commission and the Cannabis Control Law were put in place to protect the health, safety, and wellbeing of our people, and they were explicitly designed to harmonize with the best practices and high regulatory standards of neighbouring authorities such as Health Canada.
Finally, your acquaintance with and appreciation of our Haudenosaunee languages is well known, as is in particular your facility with Mohawk. Your government was also recently re-elected on a platform of preserving, promoting, and revitalizing Indigenous languages “with long-term, predictable, and sufficient funding.” One of the primary ways our community seeks to revitalize our own languages is through the work of dedicated community institutions like Kawenni:io / Gaweni:yo Elementary and Secondary School, which provides immersion language education to our children in Mohawk and Cayuga. Kawennio School provides a high quality education but is in desperate need of adequate funding to build a suitable school building. To meet our people’s needs, to promote continued high educational standards, and to reverse the loss of our own languages, an investment in our future is needed in the form of full funding support. This would go a long way towards fulfilling this part of your electoral commitments.
We would like to request a conversation with you in the near future to discuss all these matters. With your full support in your new capacity as Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations, we can make the most of the present moment for the benefit of all the people of Six Nations of the Grand River.
Chief Mark Hill
Six Nations of the Grand River
cc: The Six Nations of the Grand River community
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