Category Archives: Blog

Clarification Regarding Property Taxation at 110 Gilkison, Land Loss, and Our Aspirations

Published on October 8, 2023 by Secretary General

Dear Mayor and Council in all your capacities,

October 10, 2023 (Thanks Giving, Ohenten Kariwatekwen)

I hope this message finds you well. We appreciate the City of Brantford’s commitment to understanding the aspirations of First Nations, including their desire for redress and reconciliation of known and provable harms. It is in this spirit of cooperation and mutual respect that we wish to address a matter of significant concern while also sharing our aspirations for a prosperous future.

It is essential to emphasize the distinct legal and political status of the Mohawk Nation of Grand River. The Mohawk peoples operate outside the context of the Constitution Act or Indian Act, which is a fundamental aspect of their sovereignty and self-determination, these fundamental aspects are embodied within the Two Row Wampum law and ethic, this embodiment was adopted in 1991 by letters patent and Arms of The Corporation of the City of Brantford. Additionally, for the sake of cultural competency, it’s important to note that the legislative terms “First Nations,” “Indian,” “Aboriginal,” and “Indigenous” are not applicable to the Mohawk Nation as they have their own distinct identity and should be addressed as such. These points underscore the unique political and legal position of the Mohawk Nation within Canada and their adherence to their historical treaties, such as the Haldimand Treaty of 1779 and Haldimand Proclamation of 1784

One of our most cherished aspirations is the realization of the Mohawk Metropolis within the Grand River territory, following our visionaries’ path. This vision emphasizes growth and prosperity for the Mohawk Nation while fostering harmonious coexistence with our neighbors near Brantford, Grand River, and beyond. The concept of a Mohawk Metropolis reflects the Mohawk Nation’s aspirations for self-determination, self-sufficiency, and the preservation of their culture and identity within their traditional territory. It is an expression of their desire to build a prosperous and sustainable community that respects their unique history and treaty rights.

We firmly believe that collaboration towards economic development can lead to mutual benefits for all residents.

With this vision in mind, we are excited to share and update two key initiatives that are central to our community’s well-being:

  1. Driver’s Program: We are currently in the process of developing a specialized driver’s program tailored to the unique needs and aspirations of our community members. This initiative aims to empower our people with essential skills and opportunities for safe and responsible driving, ultimately contributing to enhanced mobility and self-sufficiency.
  2. Housing Initiative: We acknowledge and appreciate the concerns expressed in your First Nations Policy regarding the dispossession of property owners. In line with our commitment to a peaceful and cooperative future, we are actively exploring innovative solutions to address our housing needs without causing undue hardship to existing property owners. Our vision includes the possibility of current homeowners willingly participating in our housing project, demonstrating their willingness to coexist within a Mohawk-led community.

While these initiatives reflect our vision for a prosperous future, we also recognize the importance of respecting property rights and legal processes. We aim to engage in constructive dialogue with the City of Brantford, homeowners, mortgage institutions, and other stakeholders to ensure that our initiatives align with broader community interests.

Our aim is not to create a tax loophole or engage in any form of tax avoidance or mortgage and levy removal schemes. Instead, we are motivated by our commitment to building a harmonious and cooperative future with our neighbors. We believe that by offering current homeowners the option to participate in our housing project, we are demonstrating our willingness to coexist peacefully and share in the lawful exclusive use and enjoyment benefits of our community.

It is important to emphasize that our housing initiative is rooted in our Nationhood, extraterritoriality, and cultural values, which prioritize collaboration and mutual understanding. We are not seeking special treatment based on race, but rather, we are striving to create an inclusive and diverse community where all Grand River Territory residents can prosper together.

We hope that through open dialogue and constructive engagement, we can address any concerns and misconceptions about our initiatives. Our goal is to work collaboratively with the City of Brantford and all our residents to build a brighter future that benefits everyone.

However, we are deeply troubled by a situation related to property taxation and land loss. Specifically, we would like to draw your attention to the case of a property located on 110 Gilkison Street. It was our understanding that this land was held in trust for the Mohawk Nation and should have been exempt from taxes, as it was acquired before the provincial Assessment Act was amended in c.1999 to remove the exemption. This case raises questions regarding the taxation and sale of this land, which subsequently led to a dual occupancy dwelling being erected on it.

During our investigation into this matter, we had the opportunity to speak with the current property owner, who assured us that had he been informed of the prior trust interests, he would have never purchased the tax-sale property. This conversation was video recorded, and we are prepared to provide a transcript of the discussion upon request.

Furthermore, we appreciate Mayor Kevin Davis’s expressed commitment to looking into this matter and providing us with insights. We believe that a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the taxation and subsequent loss of this land is essential for us to move forward in a manner that aligns with our shared goals of reconciliation and understanding.

However, we are concerned that the City of Brantford voted against seeking clarification on this matter, as per the article we shared below. We believe that seeking clarity is crucial to ensure a just resolution.

From the Brantford Expositor, Councillors abandon native tax-exempt petition, February 09, 2014: “The move was seen as a way out of a problem in which land is turned over to natives in trust, taxes go unpaid and eventually the property proceeds to tax sale, creating a political problem for the municipality should it want to move to seize it. Before 1997, under the Assessment Act “property held in trust for a band or body of Indians” was exempt from municipal property taxation. On Jan. 1, 1998, the provincial government amended the Assessment Act, which removed the exemption. The resolution points out that as the Assessment Act stands, the city does not have the ability to provide the exemption.”

Lonny Bomberry, a legal representative of the Six Nations Elected Band Council, provided us with valuable information indicating that the property in question had no connection to the Elected Council and was originally held in trust by individuals who were Mohawks before the Assessment Act amendment. Lonny has also stated that the property should have retained its tax-exempt status due to its acquisition date, and he has no knowledge of how the property was ultimately lost.

The circumstances surrounding the property’s sale, and whether taxes were lawfully applied to it following changes to the Assessment Act, remain unclear. To seek the truth and ensure justice, we kindly request that the City of Brantford conduct an investigation into the disposition of this trust property. This investigation would clarify how the property was sold and whether taxes were applied lawfully after the amendments to the Assessment Act.
Given the implications of this case and the principles articulated in your First Nations Policy, we kindly request a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the taxation and subsequent loss of this land. Clarity on this matter is essential, and it is in the spirit of seeking truth and reconciliation that we make this request. If there have been any wrongful actions in the sale of this property, we believe that transparency and accountability should prevail.

Notwithstanding the above-noted concern, it is crucial to emphasize the paramount importance of the Haldimand Proclamation and the Haldimand Treaty of 1779. These historical agreements hold immense significance and serve as the foundation for understanding the relationship between the Mohawk Nation and the Crown. They outline the rights, land rights, and responsibilities that have been agreed upon between the parties involved.

It is essential to recognize that these historical agreements predate any modern legislation or acts, and they continue to be relevant and operational. The treaty obligations should not be undermined by any legislative measures or municipal presumption. Those who take an oath of allegiance to the Crown, including your offices, are indeed bound by the obligations set forth in the Haldimand Treaty of 1779 and subsequent Proclamation of 1784, and any legislative or regulatory actions should be in alignment with the principles and provisions of the treaty.

The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 and Treaty of 1779 are a testament to the enduring and perpetually binding relationship between the Mohawk Nation and the Crown. As such, they should be upheld and respected as the paramount authority when it comes to matters related to land, property, and sovereignty. It is vital that these historical agreements are not diminished by the application of modern legislation, which should be interpreted in a way that complements and reinforces the treaty rights rather than undermining them.

The commitment to honoring these historic agreements should be at the forefront of any discussion or decision-making process regarding the Mohawk Nation’s rights and aspirations. This recognition is crucial to building a future characterized by understanding, collaboration, and respect for the principles outlined in the Proclamation and Treaty.

We trust in the City of Brantford’s commitment to upholding the principles of fairness, justice, and collaboration. By addressing this matter and working together, we can create a future where our aspirations for prosperity and harmonious coexistence become a reality.

Thank you for your attention to these important matters, and we look forward to your response and cooperation.

CC. MPP Will Bouma
MP Larry Brock

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Leveraging International Forums to Uphold Mohawk Treaty Rights

Published on September 27, 2023 by Secretary General


The Mohawk people, inheritors of a rich cultural heritage and storied history, have faced a series of challenges rooted in colonial history, including treaty violations and economic disparities. Central to their struggle is the international significance of the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. In this essay, we delve into the historical context of Queen Anne’s commissioning of a committee in 1704 to resolve boundary disputes between the sovereign crown and Indian tribal governments, particularly as exemplified in the Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut case. We explore the enduring relevance of this historical precedent and the potential for leveraging international forums, such as the Peace Palace and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, to address contemporary issues facing the Mohawk people.

Queen Anne’s Historical Influence

Queen Anne, reigning from 1702 to 1714, played an unexpected yet pivotal role in the quest for justice and sovereignty of indigenous communities in the British North American colonies. Her recognition of the need to impartially resolve boundary disputes and uphold indigenous rights culminated in the formation of the Standing Trial Level Sub-Committee of the Appellate Level Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC). This committee was tasked with establishing independent and impartial third-party court jurisdiction over such disputes, setting a profound precedent for international arbitration and justice.

The Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut Case

A landmark example of Queen Anne’s commitment to justice can be found in the Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut case. The Mohegan Indians, like the Mohawk people, faced encroachments on their ancestral lands and sovereignty. Queen Anne recognized that existing British courts demonstrated an intrinsic bias against indigenous land claims. Consequently, the committee established in 1704 found that a special constitutional court was required to address these claims, given the pre-existing jurisdiction of indigenous tribunals and the derivative jurisdiction of the Imperial Crown.

Czar Nicholas II’s Vision and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

In a parallel historical narrative, Czar Nicholas II of Russia played a significant role in initiating the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) during the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899. This conference, like Queen Anne’s initiative, aimed to promote peaceful resolutions to international conflicts. Inspired by the historical legacy of leaders like Queen Anne, Czar Nicholas II advocated for the establishment of the PCA as an international institution dedicated to peaceful dispute resolution. His vision sought to prevent future conflicts and promote justice among nations.

The International Character of the Haldimand Proclamation

The Haldimand Proclamation, issued in 1784, holds international significance due to its origin as a commitment from a foreign power, the British Crown, to the Mohawk people. This international character challenges the classification of the Mohawk people under the Indian Act, limiting their access to international courts for addressing treaty violations and economic challenges.

Leveraging International Forums

Drawing upon the historical precedent set by Queen Anne and the international nature of the Haldimand Proclamation, the Mohawk people have an opportunity to seek justice and uphold their sovereignty through international forums.

The Peace Palace: Established to facilitate peaceful dispute resolution between nations, the Peace Palace’s evolving mandate now includes issues related to indigenous rights and territorial claims. The Mohawk people, with their historical connection to Queen Anne’s legacy and the international vision of Czar Nicholas II, could consider pursuing arbitration or mediation at the Peace Palace to address treaty violations.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration: This institution offers a platform for resolving disputes between states and other parties. Given its broad mandate, the PCA represents another avenue for the Mohawk people to seek redress for treaty violations. The international status of the Haldimand Proclamation and the historical context surrounding it could be presented as grounds for initiating arbitration proceedings at the PCA.


Queen Anne’s legacy, as exemplified by the 1704 committee and the Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut case, alongside Czar Nicholas II’s vision for the PCA, provides a powerful historical precedent for addressing indigenous land claims and sovereignty. The Haldimand Proclamation’s international character adds weight to the Mohawk people’s quest for justice and recognition of their rights. By leveraging international forums such as the Peace Palace and the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the Mohawk people can reclaim their rights on the global stage and reaffirm the enduring relevance of historical agreements in the contemporary world. This path aligns with principles of justice, reconciliation, and the pursuit of a more equitable future.

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Navigating the Path of Exploration and Enjoyment: Honoring Our Ancestors’ Legacy

Published on September 26, 2023 by Secretary General

In the annals of history, the spirit of exploration and the pursuit of enjoyment have always been vital to human progress. For the Haudenosaunee people, this spirit remains deeply ingrained in our heritage, and it’s a legacy that propels us forward in our quest to reclaim, understand, and protect the lands promised to us.

In a time when our council met and talked for many days, we, the people, discerned a way forward. Inspired by the teachings of the Peacemaker, the council decided to send forth scouts, chosen from each of our clans and nations, to explore the vast territory along the Grand River. These were our instructions:

“Go up and down the river called O:se Kenhionhata:tie, which in Mohawk means ‘willow river.’ See what the land is like, whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, whether the land is good or bad, whether the towns that they live in are unwalled or fortified, whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be bold, and bring back some of the fruit of the land.”

From the clans of land: bear, wolf, and deer; from the clans of water: turtle, eel, and beaver; from the clans of air: snipe, hawk, and heron. From the nations: Mohawk, Seneca, and Onondaga, Cayuga, Oneida, and Tuscarora.

These scouts were not mere adventurers; they were emissaries of our collective will and authority. They embarked on a mission to experience the land—to see if it was rich or poor, fruitful or barren—and to revel in its natural beauty. Theirs was a journey that symbolized the enduring bond between our people and our territories, a bond that no passage of time or unjust actions could sever.

Upon their return, after 40 days of traversing the land from its headwaters to its mouth, the scouts brought back not only the fruits of the land but also documents that revealed how the land was unlawfully taken from us, and the lease money unjustly claimed. They witnessed the transformation of our once-pristine territories into cultivated fields, industrial zones, and urban sprawl. They saw the land’s rivers tamed and its resources exploited. They reported further that “They are giants on the land with giant machines to tend their crops in straight rows, giant trails to travel quickly in straight lines, giant buildings to reach straight up in the sky.”

Today, as we reflect on their journey, we acknowledge the significance of their mission. They were not just scouts; they were pioneers of their time, paving the way for us to understand the lands promised to our people. Their explorations laid the foundation for our connection to the land and the wealth of resources it offers.

In the face of these challenges, some of our ancestors were eager to reclaim the land, for they recognized the strength within our communities. Others were hesitant, fearing that the giants who now occupied the land, absorbed in their screens and cords, would not see or hear us.

Today, we find ourselves at a similar crossroads. We stand as heirs to both the bravery of those scouts and the wisdom of those who hesitated. We carry their legacy forward, determined to rejuvenate the land that was promised to us. We have seen the impact of environmental degradation, the blockage of rivers, and the pollution of waters, just as they did.

In the spirit of exploration and enjoyment, we are called to seek sustainable land management, cultural preservation, and the revitalization of our heritage. We tread the path with an unwavering commitment to justice, sovereignty, and the legacy of those who explored before us.

But we must remember that hesitation is not a path forward. A woman from the bear clan spoke: “Let us go at once and rejuvenate this land, for we are strong enough. Do we not have proof that the land was set for our use and how it was unlawfully taken from us? Did not some of the people already know that this land was promised to us?”

Her words remind us that underpreparedness should never be an excuse for inaction. We are strong, and we have the duty to continue what our ancestors started. We have seen the impact of environmental degradation, the blockage of rivers, and the pollution of waters, just as they did.

In doing so, we pay tribute to the scouts of the past, whose footprints in the soil remind us that the land holds both our history and our future. We walk this path with gratitude for their courage, knowing that our exploration and enjoyment of the land are not only our right but our responsibility—to the land, to each other, and to the generations yet to come.

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Why Write to the King?, Clarifying Our Goals for Mohawk University

Published on September 21, 2023 by Secretary General

Greetings, readers of Mohawk University’s blog! Today, we want to address a question that has arisen within our community and beyond: Why are we considering writing to the King? We understand that some may find this puzzling or even controversial, so we want to clarify our goals and intentions.

First and foremost, it’s essential to recognize that our decision to communicate with the King is rooted in the historical and sacred alliance that dates back centuries. As Mohawks, we’ve maintained a unique relationship with the British Crown, forged through mutual respect and cooperation. This relationship is symbolized by the Unity of the Empire (UE) title, which we and the King both hold.

This alliance is the foundation upon which Canadian rights to our lands are based. It’s a continuous thread that runs through history, connecting our origins as a source of authority with the Crown’s role in recognizing and upholding our rights.

The King, like us, has a responsibility for the continuity of law and sovereignty. This shared commitment to upholding our traditions, culture, and rights forms the foundation of our communication. It’s not about seeking approval but rather reaffirming our partnership’s significance in protecting our ancestral lands, cultural heritage, and exclusive use and enjoyment rights.

We acknowledge that there may be skepticism surrounding the King’s role, given the application of Canadian laws on our lands. However, our goal is to engage in a dialogue that reminds the Crown of its responsibilities and to explore avenues where the partnership can be instrumental in safeguarding our rights.

By reaching out to the King, we seek to foster a renewed understanding and respect for the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784, a cornerstone of our sovereignty. It’s not about compromising our stance or surrendering our rights but strengthening our position through dialogue, collaboration, and the honoring of past commitments.

In the end, it is a demonstration of our determination to protect what is rightfully ours and to ensure that the laws and policies that affect us respect our unique position within the Canadian nation. Writing to the King is a call to honor the promises of the past and to forge a path forward that preserves our heritage for generations to come.

Thank you for your continued support and interest in the initiatives of Mohawk University. Together, we can work towards a future where our rights and heritage are preserved and respected.

Stay tuned for more updates and insights on our journey towards cultural preservation and community empowerment.

Yours in unity and solidarity,

Mohawk University,
Media Council

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