A MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH
INDEPENDENT NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN STATE
NO. 43 FEBRUARY, 1981
CHIEF GOES ROGUE
In the days when the Kanonsonnionwe (ancient and correct title of the Iroquois Confederacy) was great, the Rotiyaner (Chiefs) were men of hard dedication. They were incorruptible as they pursued their duties according to the Great Law - Gayanerekowa. Nowadays, some of the Chiefs don't even bother learning the Great Law. They violate important provisions unknowingly. Even those provisions which would disqualify them as chiefs and as Six Nations people. A long time ago, anyone violating the citizenship law of the Iroquois Constitution would have been kicked out of the Confederacy. The people in general have that power according to Wampum 59, known as the Black Wampum power of the men of the nation. Nowadays, the people are apathetic or don't know their rights to straighten out erring chiefs.
Take the case of Corbett Sundown, who has to be now a question mark traditional chiefs of the Seneca Nation Word has come down to us that Corbett is also a "tribal council chief", which is a council devised by the United States Government. According to Wampum 58 of the Great Law, it reads in part: "A further meaning of this is that if anytime any one of the Confederate Chiefs choose to submit to the law of a foreign people, he is no longer in but out of the Confederacy, and persons of this class shall be called, "They have alienated themselves." Likewise such persons who submit to laws of foreign nations shall forfeit all birthrights and claims on the Five Nations Confederacy and territory." At the time the law was made, it was a Five Nation Confederacy until the Tuscaroras joined. Mr. Sundown has committed himself to this category of "submitting to the law of a foreign" and is therefore "alienated" and "out of the Confederacy." The same happens to any Confederate person who takes part and votes in the elections of a government devised by foreign nations such as Canada or the United States. The tribal council is such a government.
This is a citizenship law that applies to all nations of the world. One doesn't see a member of the United States Congress also sitting in the parliament of Canada as a member. He is a citizen of the country in whose elections he voted last. In so doing, he renounced citizenship in his own nation. In Sundown's case, in voting in the tribal elections devised by a foreign nation, he renounced automatically his own nation and he became a United States citizen. BUT he also sits in the Grand Council of the Six Nations Confederacy as a Seneca Chief. The Grand Council, because of lack of legal knowledge or apathy, lets him. They don't have a War Chief to unseat any one who has no right to sit there. In these times of latter day chiefs, the Grand Council allows a United States citizen to sit in as a chief.
To be sure it's Seneca business. It is also a Six Nations business as Corbett takes part in the Grand Council. According to the Great Law, the Seneca Nation is saved the trouble of deposing Sundown as his action has already disqualified him as a citizen of the Six Nations. All they need to do is keep him out of their council. Of course, the Six Nation can make it official by deposing him. How can they when his own Clan Mother is also his wife? It is up to the people in general of the Seneca Nation to invoke Wampum 59, which confirms the power of the men of the nation. We do urge at this point in this emergency that interested people should read and study the Great Law, even if it's against their religion to read it. It's an unreasonable religion that does not allow a people to read their own law, especially at a time that could be nearly at the end of their existence as a distinct people. The struggle for survival involves the Great Law and the people should know the law as well as other things they need to survive. Some may say that a Mohawk has no business to stick his nose in this Seneca affair, but this situation puts the entire Six Nations in peril and everyone in the Six Nations has the right to protest. When the Chiefs and people of the Six Nations ignore such an important law as the citizenship law, the Confederacy of the Six Nations is in deep trouble. It's the way to dissolution. It's such a terrible state of affairs that the people have to do something.
At the Grand Council in Onondaga some ten years ago, a young man from Cattaraugus asked for permission to speak. He related how the people of Cattaraugus have been out of the Confederacy since the 1842 and a group of them numbering around 500 wanted to reinstate. His mission was to ask the Grand Council for permission for his group of 500 Seneas of Cattaraugus to be reinstated in the Six Nations Confederacy. The mischievous Corbett Sundown jumped up and shouted: "Oh no! No, no, no!". At the time, the rest of us thought it was Seneca business to be settled among themselves. It was not settled. Now, we consider it as the business of every one in the Six Nations as it would have strengthened the Confederacy by the addition of 500 people. It certainly was a loss to the fighters for survival.
Recently, a meeting was held in Albany between the elective tribal council, devised by the United States Government, and the State officials. Guess who was sitting there and being the most important? And doing all the talking for the tribal councilors? Yep, our white haired boy, Corbett Sundown. The traditional community at Akwesasne were appraised of the coming together in Albany and some of them decided to take in the confab between the State and its so-called puppets. One of the traditionalist ladies of Akwesasne told me about the meeting. They talked about fishing and hunting rights and the most vocal yes-man was Corbett. Agreed to all the sundry State propositions. Just imagine a Chief of the storied Iroquois Confederacy being a yes-man for white man's government. The Six Nations has come down in the world. After the meeting was over and the people were milling around in the hallway, Corbett Sundown came out of the room and saw the Akwesasne traditionalist lady. "Oh, Ann! It's so good to see you!"
The lady was in no fooling around mood. "What were you doing sitting in that meeting with sellouts? You're supposed to be a traditional Seneca Chief of the Six Nations..." Chief puppet Corbett Sundown didn't wait to hear any more. Took off down the hall on the double. "Don't run away, you coward!" our lady was yelling at him.
What makes Indians run for elections in Indian reserve governments of either the United States or Canada? Whatever resolution the Indian council makes have to be approved by either Indian Affairs in Ottawa or the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington. We once took note of the experience one council in Caughnawaga had during their two years in office. In each monthly meeting, the council made a resolution. Everyone of them came back, stamped diagonally across the page in big, bold, black letters, "NOT APPROVED". During their regime, not one of their resolutions was approved. Only resolutions which are consistent with the government's policy of assimilation for Indians are acceptable to the Indian departments and come back "APPROVED." In brief, the purpose and aim of the Indian elective councils are the assimilation and extinction of Indians as a race and nations. The Indians only have the right to exist in the mixing melting pot of Europeans in Canada or the United States. According to the governments' policies, Indians have no right to exist as a race and nations. It's the duty of Indians to see to it that they remain Onkwehonwe and keep out of the melting pot. They were created Onkwehonwe and shall not insult the Creator by turning into something else.
What the governments dangle in front of the prospective Indian councilors is the child councillor's salary of $12,000 a year. At least, it was that at last reckoning in Caughnawaga. All the hopefuls are hoping to get the top spot. If they lose out on that, well, maybe next time. There is also the fringe benefits, not to mention expenses and extra funding. Millions a year, they proudly say. With this kind of financing, is it any wonder the Indian "politician" agrees to anything his big, white father boss proposes? The Indian councils do not represent the Indians. The one who pays is the boss.
It stands to reason that a $12,000 a year government salary, paid to tribal council chiefs or band council chiefs (in Canada), is a government job. The chiefs are working for the government since they are being paid by the government. Their first loyalty is to their employers. They are not working for the people for the people are not paying them. With all the government money floating around, is it any wonder that even a traditional Six Nations chief fell victim to the lure and now works for the forces which are out to finish the Indians as a race? The Indian people who will be fighting this genocide at the critical stage, very likely young people, shall no doubt have a way to handle the sellout situation. It will be a day for the action people. The talkers shall be conspicuous by their absence. Many Indians do not think the critical stage is at hand. According to some sources the reservations are due for termination by congressional action in a little bit over a year. This is the time for heros to come out of the woodwork. It is a fine day to live.
MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH