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We are publishing our press release dated July 11, 2022 that provides detailed information about our plans and our media platform, including our Journal. our main focus has always been to restore the Haldimand Tract to its rightful owners. We have already begun this process and we are now ready to announce it. Read Press Release

Forever Lands: Proving Mohawk Posterity in the Haldimand Proclamation

Following the American Revolution, many Loyalists fled north of the American border to avoid persecution from the Rebels and the new American government, including many Mohawk people who had fought on the side of the British Crown. To secure Mohawk support Haldimand signed the ratified Pledge of 1779 assuring that Mohawks would be restored to the state they were in before the war broke out. In order to entice them further north, Lieutenant Governor Frederick Haldimand signed an official proclamation known as the Haldimand Proclamation that was used to acquire the Grand River and valley lands for these Mohawk people and "their posterity to enjoy forever".

In the aftermath of war, loss, and change, many Loyalists found themselves displaced. Between 1763 and 1784, some 10,000 settlers in Nova Scotia (most of them loyalists) were given between 200-300 acres as compensation for their losses. While Mohawk Indians were not eligible to receive these land grants, this is because Joseph Brant bargained for permanent provisions for his volunteers, a provision within the Haldimand Proclamation was made to compensate Loyalist Indians who maintained a connection with the crown before the conflict began, this compensation was in the form of the Grand River Valley.

However, after late loyalists (Simcoe Loyalists) started to encroach into the lands outside of the agreements to teach farming to the Six Nations and the Mohawk people, disputes arose as to how each side defined forever. Some Simcoe Loyalists (Settlers) thought the agreement meant it would last indefinitely until someone broke it, while others thought it meant for all time without end. Disputes about land titles and settlements led to the archaic use of torches and pitchforking the Indians into relocating to legal suits that ended up in court and still continue today, over two hundred years later. One case from 1835 is the Court Case concerning Doe Ex. Dem. Jackson v. Wilkes which details the continuing struggle among present-day Mohawk members over whether or not they are entitled to the rights promised in the Haldimand Proclamation.

It has been argued that there are no living descendants of those original Mohawks at whom the promise was directed; therefore, modern-day claims are invalid because there is no longer an identifiable group with interest in the claim. It is also mentioned in this case that no one in a natural capacity was named to pass down the inheritance to subsequent generations. This being the Mohawk posterity, however, there are a few ways to ascertain who the Mohawk posterity is today, not all Mohawk descendants qualify to inherit this hereditary right but the way to determine this is through the Mohawk kinship system called kinship lines.

There are nine different clans amongst Mohawks and thusly there are nine different types of matrilocal kinship lines which go from mother to son, mother to daughter. This is how you would know which family you belong to by tracing your female line to a known clan family. however, because the Haldimand Proclamation does not use clan affiliation, here the way to ascertain if someone has a hereditary right in the land would be to follow how other loyalists ascertained their hereditary right, not only to secure the use of the hereditary title, but to the 200 acres they could acquire and the hereditary title created by Lord Dorchester to identify those that were adherent to the Crown interest during the American revolution and before the treaty of Paris.

This not only provided a mechanism to ascertain who was seen as a loyalist by the crown but, it also provides a modern way for Loyalist Mohawk Posterity to ascertain their legal interest in the land and hereditary rights by the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784.

If you can trace your lineage back far enough through records of your ancestors then you can find out what village you belong to and what lineage you descend from - it does matter how far back your family tree goes so long as you have documentation proving your lineage to one of the Three villages named in the Haldimand Pledge of 1779.

The problem today is that not all Loyalist Mohawk Posterity have clan affiliation or some may not even claim to be mohawk, but because of their Hereditary right, they still have an underlying interest in the Haldimand Treaty and derivatives.

For example, I have a clan because I trace my mother's female line directly to Esther Springstead, who was the wife of Captain David Hill (Flying Sky), She was the clan mother of the Shatikariwate one of nine clan families. I also am the 6th great-grandson of Joseph Brant.

Yet, someone born in China to Chinese parents, but one of the grandparents from any generation could have come from one of the people from three villages named in the Haldimand Pledge and he too has a hereditary right in this land as per the Haldimand Proclamation as a Mohawk Posterity. But how would he prove his interest, via clan mother? This would be impossible.

The confusion starts when attempting to identify who is a "Mohawk", people who are not savvy to the language and customs used in these documents may not see how they were intended, because there is a conflation of "traditional clans" vs a "Mohawk descendant". Who has a legal right to claim to be Mohawk Posterity? Again, we have to use European standards to know what is meant by posterity, and the fact that the case of Jackson v Wilkes brings up that there is no one named in a natural capacity, and the case also identifies the use of the seal as a French custom, we must consider that the process must be similar to how other Loyalists would have been identified then and well as today. Which again was not styled under Mohawk customs or matrilocal society.

Today the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada is the only federally enacted genealogical society it was established well after the first registry was ordered by Lord Dorchester to help name those who had a hereditary right under the law, although today this title does not secure the 200 acres, and gives no special status to those that register, this corrected the issue that no one was named in a natural capacity to pass down the inheritance, so, For Mohawk posterity, this is one of the only ways that we can prove a Real legal connection to the Haldimand Proclamation as Mohawk Posterity.

Not only is this the only way within Canada to prove who is a Legal Mohawk Posterity as per the Haldimand Proclamation, but it is also outside of the Indian Act's jurisdiction. So there is no obligation for anyone who needs to validate this interest to go to the Band Council or the Clan system for guidance. They would only need to consult with the publically available Loyalist society records to verify if a certificate of descendency was issued connecting "him or her" to ancestors of any one of the three villages.

This establishes legal standing in the Grand River Claims, so with this, each individual has this hereditary right, and in some cases because of the way this Hereditary interest and right is proven, it may not necessarily prove a connection to a clan family. So the idea of this being a collective right first is not correct, its at an individual's own fortitude does this become provable. 

But as a collective of Proven Mohawk Posterity, we make a real party in interest. This group has the power to define the real party in interest further and to design their own process for identification. With the loyalist Certificate of Descendency, there is no refuting someone's right or underlying interest in the Grand River Valley as a Mohawk Posterity as per the Haldimand Proclamation.

Because this is a hereditary right, no one can divest this inheritance, and since no one was named in any natural capacity in the Proclamation, there can be no agency or body politic to assign or appoint agency to anyone, or to divest the heirs of any rights. Since no agency exists, no chiefs or clan mothers can be granted authority to divest the heirs. This is what makes any purported surrenders bogus, including the 807 Acres in downtown Brantford.

So, the Hereditary right to claim title to the Haldimand Proclamation and the Grand River and Valley is not predicated on clanology of the Mohawk, or clan affiliation, It comes down to whether or not you can prove you are a descendant from one of the three villages named in the Haldimand Pledge of 1779.

How it Affected the Mohawk Posterity Today

Indigenous to Canada, the Mohawk were displaced from their lands due to development and European encroachment. The people of the Iroquois Confederacy originally inhabited a large swath of territory spanning across southern Quebec, most of Ontario, northern Ohio, and parts of New York. In 1784, Fredrick Haldimand promised that their posterity would be assured land forever. Now at present day it is difficult for those descendants that are not connected to land grants or not on a reserve to assert themselves as Mohawks.

The idea of who is a Mohawk National today might confuse people because that is determined by birth or clan affiliation and someone who is of Mohawk descendant or Mohawk Posterity.

So this affects Grand River Mohawk Posterity today because even though some may not have clan affiliation or connection to the reservation as a member, they do have treaty rights to assert an individual-hereditary interest in the Haldimand treaty and lands that the treaty acquired.

This type of decentralized interest may be hard to understand but if you go back in history there was always independent groups of Iroquois that came together to form a tribe, such as when the Oneida came together with the Seneca and Tuscarora. Even today there are many individuals from different clans who find each other through social media and come together to identify themselves as a whole group.

Because of the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada, we now have a formal process that is completely within Canadian society to understand who is named as having a real hereditary right to the lands and possession of the grand river as part of the treaty Canada consented to on December 24, 1791.

The reason this approach is important is that it is how other loyalists ascertain their own individual interests and because Canada can not deny the process, once someone receives a Certificate of Descendency you can use that as proof to canada’s highest offices that you are alive and well as a proven Mohawk Posterity. 

In a court case in Brantford Justice Arell said that He has not seen our people in over 150 years and that we have not let innocent third-party purchasers know about our interest. I argue that because this is a very hidden path to ascertain these Hereditary rights in the land under very strict conditions that this was always an undue burden to prove, one) that we are Mohawk, and two) that people had the duty to observe our rights forever.

By Benjamin Doolittle UE · September 7, 2022 · Comments: 0 · RSS · Permalink

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