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Journey to Prove and Certify Ancestral lineage and legal Posterity

In a world where it's easy to lose your identity, Benjamin Doolittle UE was able to find evidence that he was the legal heir of the lands acquired by a special treaty known as the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784. In honorable style and gracefulness, he talks about the importance of knowing his history and how it shapes him as an individual.

The Haldimand Proclamation (1784) establishes the legal legitimacy of Mohawk people and those living on the grand river lands; these lands were set apart prior to the creation of the province of Ontario, Canada. This proclamation was created following a ratified pledge with the British government signed in 1779. The treaty granted "status quo ante bellum" control of large sections of land to “some of the mohawk” in exchange for connection to the King's cause. With no defined borders, Mohawks were forced to fight for every inch they came to own and this is where the Haldimand Proclamation comes into play. On December 24, 1791, Canada confirmed the Haldimand Proclamation to uphold the honor of the Crown, where the faith of the Government was pledged to the Mohawk Nation, and for greater certainty the Mohawk Posterity.

Benjamin Doolittle U.E. has been on a long journey to provide a solid history of his lineage, having tracked down a great deal of information and finally reaching the point that his found process is recognized by the Government of Canada as having a strong legal posterity. Benjamin shares with us about finding proof of legal posterity and his work to support others who may be in a similar situation.

To prove legal posterity, you need to establish a direct line of descent from the original Mohawk people who were promised the lands in the Haldimand Pledge of 1779. This can be done through genealogical documentation, such as birth, marriage, and death records, as well as other primary sources, such as land deeds, muster rolls, and other legal documents. Additionally, the United Empire Loyalists Association of Canada can be used as a source to verify your ancestry and connection to the original Mohawk people.

The challenge is proving a legal connection from me to the document itself, since no natural person was named in the Haldimand proclamation, this oversight was seen as a fatal flaw, however, the Governor General at the time lord Dorchester or commonly referred to as Guy Carlton issued a proclamation that a heritage registry would be created to discriminate in favor of the proper posterity, this registry was instituted by a proclamation issued by John Simcoe Graves, where a mark of honor would be used to distinguish between those who possessed this legal posterity and those who do not. This was created to prevent false beneficiaries or what was referred to as “Simcoe Loyalists” from having a claim of right to the acquired lands.

Once you have collected all the necessary documents, you will need to present them to a genealogist to verify the evidence and prove that your ancestor is descended from three villages named in the pledge, to wit Canojarharie, Ticonderago, and Aughugo. Also known as the Canajoharie, Fort Hunter, and Oquaga. The genealogist will then be able to create a family tree that shows how your ancestor is related to the people in the pledge. If the genealogist finds that it is indeed descended from the people in the pledge, you will have proven legal posterity.

In Canada, the Dominion entity (United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada) was created by Legislation by the Government of Canada on May 27, 1914. enacted as Canada's only federally recognized genealogical association, which is the only way to officially recognize a person's descendency from the United Empire Loyalists. This numbered certificate can also be used to register a coat of arms with the Governor General of Canada under the Canadian Heraldic Authority, and in the coat of arms, you may use a loyalist coronet to distinguish your coat of arms as having a connection to this special heritage. This coronet symbolizes your ancestor’s loyalty to the British Crown during the American Revolution. Having the coronet on your coat of arms is a powerful way to show that you come from a long line of loyalists, and for greater certainty that you descend from “Some of the Mohawk” of the three villages as named in the Haldimand Pledge of 1779.

The Canadian Heraldic Authority requires a numbered certificate in order to register a coat of arms with the use of the coronet. Without the certificate, it is not possible to obtain a coat of arms with the use of the loyalist coronet. The certificate also serves as a way to recognize the loyalty of United Empire Loyalists and to honor their “Connection to the Crown”. This certificate shows total certainty of your legal posterity.

The Loyalist certificate is similar to the Indian status certificate in that it does show evidence of a connection, however using the loyalist certificate to prove that you are connected to, for example, "Joseph Brant" which proves legal posterity, ironically the process is completely outside of the Indian act and no further proof of ancestry is necessary.

But the question is what to do with this proof. The answer lies in the fact that the individual descendant must take on the responsibility of understanding, upholding, and honoring the legacy of their ancestor. The work to ascertain the proof of their ancestor's loyalty must be done by the individual and the knowledge of their ancestor must be actively shared and celebrated. This task could be delegated to some kind of entity or agency, however, currently, there is no known mechanism to represent these people.

How does anyone who thinks they are a descendant of the three villages prove legal posterity? This is done by finding a level of unmatched certainty of your connection to these very important legal instruments, achieving this degree of certainty can have the effect of ending other lesser claims to these rights by the fact no other claims can show the same level of certainty. The individual descendant must also use this proof to advocate for their ancestor and the values they stood for. They can do this by participating in government forums, speaking out against injustices, or joining in historical or genealogical organizations, such as the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada (UELAC). By educating the public, they can help to ensure that the legacy of our ancestors is remembered, respected, and honored. Additionally, descendants can use the certificate to gain access to services and benefits, loyalist coronet on a coat of arms, post-nominal distinctions, and to participate in many UELAC activities.

What does this mean for others who can not prove legal posterity to the above-named three villages? Do they have a legal claim in the Haldimand Proclamation and the lands acquired by this instrument?

In Benjamins' research others or the term "such others" is used to denote a third party or stranger to a transaction, they do not have a legal claim in the Haldimand Proclamation and by this instrument. This was discussed in the case Wilkes vs Jackson, in that no one is named in a natural capacity, which was seen as a fatal flaw in the instrument to inherit the interest, and a proclamation was issued to institute a heritage registry to ascertain who was and is a legal posterity. The Haldimand Proclamation was created to provide land to those who were loyal to the British Crown during the American Revolution. As such, only those individuals who can prove legal posterity to the three villages named in the pledge of 1779 may have legal rights over these lands; individuals who cannot prove legal posterity to these villages are not eligible to benefit from the proclamation.

Individuals who cannot prove legal posterity to the three villages named in the Haldimand Pledge may have rights in other areas of law. For example, Indigenous people may have rights under the Indian Act and the Canadian Constitution. Additionally, Indigenous people may have Aboriginal title to land or traditional hunting, fishing rights, and other culturally integral elements. These rights may be based on historic occupancy and use of the land.

What if someone claims to have legal posterity without any proof? If someone claims to have legal posterity to the three villages named in the Haldimand Pledge without any proof, then they cannot be eligible for the benefits of the proclamation. The Haldimand Proclamation grants benefits to individuals who can prove legal posterity to the three villages named in the proclamation, and without any proof, the claim cannot be verified. To reiterate, In such cases, the individual in question may have other rights that are not related to the Haldimand Proclamation, such as those granted to Indigenous people under the Indian Act and the Canadian Constitution, or Aboriginal title to land or traditional hunting, fishing rights, and other culturally integral elements.

However an attempt to ascertain proof connecting Benjamin to the Haldimand Proclamation and the pledge of 1779 as a descendant from one of the three named villages, this approach is wholly outside of the jurisdiction of the Indian Act. The reason for this approach was to show that the Haldimand Proclamation is operational and that the posterity and the land acquired by this document are extraterritorial or outside of the Province of Ontario, as status quo ante bellum.

In conclusion, the Haldimand Proclamation is an important legal document that grants certain rights to individuals of proven legal posterity, proving a connection by heritage to one of the three villages named in the pledge of 1779, these rights are non-transferable.

By Benjamin Doolittle UE · April 5, 2023 · Comments: 0 · RSS · Permalink

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