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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

Ontario homeowners: be aware of potential risks when buying property on the Haldimand Tract

There has been an increasing number of Ontario homeowners who have bought property on the Haldimand Tract not knowing there are risks involved with doing so. The land, known to the Canadian government as Haldimand Tract, was granted by the British crown to the Mohawk posterity in 1784. Since then, it has been inhabited by both Indians and non-Indians alike who have used the land to fulfill their needs and desires such as farming, logging, and hunting.

As an open advocate for Grand River and Treaty rights, I am often asked by Ontarians whether they should buy property on the Haldimand Tract. The answer is not always simple, as there are a number of potential risks that Ontario homeowners should be aware of before making a purchase. For example, if you buy land on the territory and don't follow customary law for use and occupancy, then you may face expulsion from your home or other punishments. Similarly, if you live in a country other than Canada and have purchased land through an intermediary (e.g., someone who has power of attorney to sign off on your behalf), then this land may become subject to confiscation. It is important to do your research and consult with an experienced lawyer before making any decisions.

In recent years, there has been a major influx of non-Indigenous people moving into the area, spurring housing developments that have created tension between newcomers and Indigenous residents. While the Haldimand tract is not technically part of Ontario, Mohawks assert it is not subject to the same laws and regulations as the rest of the province.

Mohawk Treaty rights, Acquired Territory & private property

If you're an Ontario homeowner considering purchasing property on the Haldimand Tract, there are a few things you should know. First, the land is considered “acquired territory” under the terms of the 1784 Haldimand Proclamation. As such, it's possible that those with rights to traditional use of the land could assert their paramount rights and take up residence in your new home without warning. Secondly, there is no laches or statute of limitations for treaty lands.

The term private property does not apply to treaty lands unless clearly demarcated. If a settler had purchased land from the Crown and never received clear confirmation from the federal government, he or she would still be subject to occupation by anyone asserting treaty title to that same parcel of land.

In 2013 a letter was sent to Jeffery Lem, the Ontario Director for Titles informing his office of the creation of a Mohawk Land Registry, in reply letter from the director acknowledged the land registry.

Currently, any Mohawk who is exercising treaty rights cannot be removed by any police force without a court order because they have peaceable possession of the land. However, in some cases without a treaty between Canada and the Mohawks, enforcing a court order or arresting a mohawk could be a form of arbitrary arrest or treaty-less extradition. There are no known mutual legal assistance agreements between Canada and the Mohawks which establish "the law".

From the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights read (art. 9, para. 1) “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.”

The Haldimand proclamation is a "claim of right" to peaceable possession, which means no one can physically remove them. A claim of right is a lawful excuse to use as much force as necessary to recover the property. Additionally, with a valid claim of right those who assert a claim of right is exempt from criminal liability. Because this land was set apart, and never made part of Ontario, it will always be regarded as treaty land until changed by an explicit agreement between Canada and the Mohawks.

Ontario residents who have already purchased lands within the borders of the Haldimand Tract are advised to keep this in mind when living on these properties. Remember, no matter how long ago the purchase took place, if you've occupied that land knowing it falls within treaty lands (ie Mohawk Territory), then whether or not you've experienced any incidents related to Mohawk ownership yet, be prepared for a future confrontation based on your lack of permission.

Some people who were not aware of the issue may have some kind of innocence as applied under the law, but many people who are elected to represent these residents and the real estate agents are the linchpin between buyers and treaty lands. These agents have some liability if they fail to inform the constituents or clients of these ancient risks. For example, the agent could face charges for inciting mischief if she did not make the client fully aware of these possibilities before entering into negotiations. I also argue that failing to inform someone and causing harm is criminal negligence, especially if observing the Haldimand Proclamation is a duty imposed by law. And because no laches applies to the defense of taking of Treaty Lands, no statute of limitations applies either. Therefore, regardless of how long ago you purchased a property in this area with no problems so far, be prepared for a future confrontation over unresolved issues relating to treaty rights if one ever arises.

The concept of the innocent third-party purchaser is an interesting proposal, those who did not ask or were not told of the risks, amount to some form of legal protection, but In our recent journal post, we cover the misapplication of this concept as applied to treaty lands. Specifically, if you occupy land knowingly as treaty land and have not experienced any problems to date, be mindful of the fact that this is not a shield against future consequences.

The concept is rebuffed by the fact that 1) this land was set apart by formal treaty, it was never made part of the Dominion of Canada or the province of Ontario, and 2) laches as a way to secure adverse possession or squatters' rights based on time are not lawful on treaty lands and cannot be used to set up a defense to take treaty lands, and lastly 3) in 1791 Canada consented to the Haldimand proclamation, making this document part of the democratic social structure of the Canadian society, and in 1982 it became law. No one can claim to be ignorant of these facts, it is enshrined into the fabric of Canadian society as common knowledge, therefore no one can claim to be an innocent bystander of our treaty lands and rights. No one (not even Mohawks) had to tell you not to buy treaty lands!

What does this mean for current real estate owners?

The current status of the land is disputed, This means that if you own property on the Haldimand Tract, you may not have clear title to the land and could be subject to eviction by Mohawks. There is no case law regarding ownership rights in this area. If you're considering purchasing property on the Haldimand tract, ask your lawyer, and politicians about any risk related to treaty rights.

Since no case law has been recorded on this issue so there's no way of knowing what would happen with possession. Be careful when you buy property because an argument can be made that Mohawks had legal rights before settlers took over their territory. And without Canada or Ontario lawfully acquiring these lands you may not even be in Canada, and that not only affects homeowners' rights it could affect your rights as a Canadian citizen.

By Benjamin Doolittle UE · July 19, 2022 · Comments: 2 · RSS · Permalink

Comments: Comments are the heart of our community. They're what make us human. We believe in a place where we all can share ideas, opinions, thoughts, and feelings.

So why do native people have to pay property taxes if they purchased a house along the Haldimand tract ?
by Valerie Porter @ July 24, 2022, 2:19 pm
The reason is that the system uses the ambiguity of who is actually entitled to the treaty rights, As Arrell says mohawks have not said anything for over 150 years, but that is not the case, it is that people are turning a blind eye to the law. They claim there are no more Mohawks, and that there are no ways to identify one. I was asked by Brantfords Mayor Kevin Davis, how do I prove I am a mohawk?

So I wrote the essay, <a href="//"> Legal Posterity</a>
by Benjamin Doolittle UE @ July 25, 2022, 8:04 pm (Edited: July 25, 2022) • • Restore the Haldimand Tract!
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