The City of Brantford and the County of Brant are nearing completion of talks to transfer County lands to the City. Part of the public consultation process involves discussions with the nearby Six Nations reserve. The City and the County recently held discussions with the Iroquois Confederacy (the traditional form of government as opposed to the Band Council which is the elected government). This meeting was the subject of this article in the Brantford Expositor.
Some of the comments made by members of the Iroquois Confederacy are mind boggling. Here are a few gems:
"All the people moving in here, all the companies moving in, I feel like I'm getting choked."
Here is an aerial photo of the Six Nations reserve. The reserve is located in the middle of the air photo . See all those dark green clumps of forest? That's the reserve. Brantford is the northwest, Caledonia is to the west and Hamilton to the north. There sure is a lot of agricultural uses around the reserve. I'm not sure how people on the reserve are getting "choked"?
Besides, this is an opportunity for residents of the Six Nations reserve to find jobs locally. Some could even open their own businesses and provide products and services to all these "companies moving in". Since I keep reading about the lack of opportunities on reserves, how is job growth a bad thing?
"People who want a house on the reserve can't get one. What about what we need."
Exactly what does this boundary agreement have to do with the lack of housing on the reserve? There is plenty of land on the reserve to build new houses. Oshweken, the centre of the reserve, has a few small subdivisions that could be expanded to provide new housing. If there is a need for housing, then perhaps some enterprising native could build new houses, employ natives to build those houses and keep some of the wealth inside the reserve. Oh, I forgot, you want someone else to pay for that housing.
"What is it with you white people? . . . You always want to take something and improve it. You never seem to be satisfied with what you have."
But the previous quote seems to indicate that there is a shortage of housing on the reserve. To build new housing would require taking something (vacant land) and improving it (building a house). Why are you non-white people never satisfied with what you have? When will you non-white people take responsibility for your future? When will you stop relying on the government to fix every problem you have?
Look, I'm all for having these land claims settled once and for all. But these settlements must go hand in hand with self-government, elimination of all tax exemptions and the transfer of infrastructure and service provision and taxing powers to an elected council. It's time to address the issues and move forward.