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Simon Clarence & Linda

Simon Clarence

February 28, 1995.

Commission sur l'avenir du Québec.

MADAM PRESIDENT,
MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION,

My great-grandfathers, my grandfather, my father and myself have occupied the position of Grand Chief of Kanesatake. I wish to speak about what we have always known.

From immemorial time my People have lived in peace with the occupants of the territory: the French Regime, the English Regime and Canada.

My People were occupying the land of the Seigneury of the Lake of Two-Mountains long before the 1717 date on which the King of France asked the Messieurs de Saint-Sulpice to form an Indian Mission in Kanesatake with certains conditions. As early as 1781 many Indian Chiefs presented our land claims to Colonel Campbell.

In 1945 my Community was never consulted when the Federal Government purchased from the Saint-Sulpice Seminary the remaining unsold land of the Seigneury of Two-Mountains.

The Corinthe case of 1911 remains open, according to the final judgement, to be challenged with furthur arguments.

In 1973 by a Supreme Court decision, the Calder Report, the Federal Government is required to negotiate our land claim and must obtain a settlement by agreement or a treaty.

The Penner Report in 1983 concluded in mentioning that the most serious matter that was brought to the Committee was the unsettled land claim of the Mohawks of Kanesatake.

The Mohawks of Kanesatake have title and ownership to all the territory of Kanesatake, and all the surrounding areas are also Mohawk Indian Lands. Not only is this title and ownership acknowledged and affirmed in the 1763 British North American Act passed by His Majesty George the Third, but is specifically confirmed by Article 25 of the Constitution Act of 1982 which recognizes the Royal Proclamation of October 7, 1763.

In September 1989 a Framework Agreement (Desilets Committee) was proposed to the members of the Mohawk Community through an extensive consultation, and was rejected by the People of Kanesatake.

The same Framework Agreement was illegally signed in February 1991 between the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Chairman of the Kanesatake Mohawk Coalition, Mr. Jerry Peltier, without been presented to the population of Kanesatake.

The timetable for negotiations which ought not to exceed two years was abandoned in December 1992, while more than one million dollars was spent in futility.

This is the same Framework Agreement that was signed again between Grand Chief Jerry Peltier and Me Michel Robert recently in December 1994, again with hundreds of thousands of dollars attached to it.

Since the actual negotiations were never approved by the People of Kanesatake we should not take for granted that they are discussing what our People want.

Although I am aware that the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) recommanded to boycott the Referendum Commission I have the moral obligation to my family and to my People to ask if my rights will be fully protected in the New Constitution.

The Mohawk Nation has never surrendered nor ceded its sovereign territories. The juridictional rights of Mohawks within their sovereign territories has been reaffirmed by succeeding Colonial Governments and it continues to be protected within existing Canadian Legislature. How would a Sovereign Quebec continue to recognize these juridictional rights within Mohawk territories?

Aboriginal rights to hunting and fishing, border crossing, taxation, etc. etc. have been protected by Canadian Legislature. How would a Sovereign Quebec consider protecting these same inherent rights which have been recognized by the World Courts?

Since all First Nations of Quebec maintain their territorial soverignity how could Quebec propose to secede without touching the integrity of these vast aboriginal territories?

The Two Row' Wampum is a treaty wampum made between The Confederacy and the French and the Dutch Governments, and later the British. This has served as a legal precedence as to how two Nations can continue to respect each others' way of life without interfering in each others' business. Would a Sovereign Quebec consider a similar agreement between Quebec and the Mohawk Nation in Kanesatake?

The Jay Treaty is a particular agreement protecting inherent rights to cross the borders within North America. Would a Sovereign Quebec continue to respect this inherent aboriginal and treaty right?

 

 
 
 
 
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