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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

The Haldimand Proclamation and the Simcoe Patent: Two very different things

In 1784, Sir Frederick Haldimand of the British Army gave approximately one million acres of land to the Mohawk people in recognition of their support during the American Revolutionary War. However, since then, many of these lands have been taken away from the Mohawk community through legal loopholes and shady government practices. The goal of this article is to discuss how the Mohawk people are working to get back those lands that were given away under the Simcoe Patent of 1793.

The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784

The Haldimand Proclamation is an international document that was created in response to the ratified pledge of 1779. The pledge promised to restore the named three villages to the state that they were in before the wars broke out, or status quo ante Bellum. This imperial instrument was used to give back lands to the mohawk people, who had been forced to flee their homes during the American Revolution.  

It protected them from being removed from their land once again as well as gave them a right to the free use and enjoyment of the land granted to them. Mohawk still need this today because some are not aware that this exists for them, and some Canadians want Canada's government to repeal it. 

However in 1791 Canadian government confirmed the Haldimand proclamation to uphold the honor of the crown, pledging the faith of the Canadian government to the mohawk. By Canada creating the Simcoe patent it attempted to remove the faith pledged to the mohawk and remove the legal liability when they confirmed the international imperial instrument. 

(Rhetorical question) Why does Canada see the Simcoe patent as more important than an imperial instrument?

The Simcoe Patent of 1793

Issued in 1793, the Simcoe Patent confirmed the new boundaries; it limited the Haldimand Tract to 111,000 ha for the exclusive use of the Six Nations. This left the rest of the land available to be leased, surrendered or sold by the Six Nations to the Crown.  The Simcoe patent was rejected by the Mohawk of Grand River because it was an attempt to constrain their claim under the proclamation of 1784. 

John Graves Simcoe's idea of international document is based on a ratified pledge that is a rejection of giving up any rights outlined in the proclamation. The Simcoe Ptenet was also designed as a numbered treaty, The creation of domestic numbered treaties allows Canada to place the Simcoe patent into its own domestic jurisdiction of the Canadian domain. 

The Ottawa Treaties (1840s) were the first steps toward numbered treaties, with nations agreeing to relinquish all previous Aboriginal titles and rights within Canada. These principles are not accepted by the mohawks of grand river.

Let's Talk History - What is the difference between these two documents?

The Haldimand Proclamation was a land grant made by the British Crown to the Mohawk people in 1784, based on the ratified pledge of 1779. This proclamation was accepted by the Mohawks. 

The Simcoe Patent was a land grant made by John Graves Simcoe in 1793, which gave Canada an unfriendly edge against the Mohawk people. It also reduced the original land grant from one million acres to 640,000 acres. The Mohawk People rejected this offer because they felt it did not address their needs. 

For them, the Haldimand Proclamation did what they wanted while the Simcoe Patent only offered them less than half of what they were asking for. While making them subjects of the  British crown (based on the ratified pledge of 1779), it guaranteed that any lands granted to them would never be seized. 

This treaty recognized their right to self-government and their right to retain possession of all other territory occupied or claimed by the tribe (1784 treaty). The document specified that no future agreement could change these terms without consent from both parties.

The major difference is that the Haldimand Proclamation guarantees the rights of the Mohawk people to self-governance as allies of the crown and makes sure that they are able to keep all territory they occupy. In contrast, the Simcoe Patent cuts back on the amount of land given to them but offers mohawks as subjects of the crown.

Why Does it Matter?

The Haldimand Proclamation is important because it was a ratified pledge by the British Crown to give land to the Mohawk people in exchange for their help during the American Revolution. The Simcoe Patent, on the other hand, was a unilateral decision by the Canadian government to give land to settlers in Upper Canada, without consulting or even informing the Mohawk people.  

It's easy to see why this matters: the Haldimand Proclamation had been based on the treaty of 1779 which was not just given with promises but also given with provisions and protections that were meant to ensure that both parties would uphold the agreement, whereas when Governor Simcoe gave away lands in 1793 he did so unilaterally and failed to provide any protections for Native peoples.

How Have they Shaped Canadian Society Today? 

These two documents have shaped Canadian society in very different ways. The Haldimand Proclamation has been used to restore the land to the mohawk people, while the Simcoe Patent has been used to further oppress them. Based on the ratified pledge of 1779, Mohawk territory was granted in 1784 under the Haldimand Proclamation. Mohawk territory had shrunk significantly due to settlers occupying their land without any sort of legal ownership as per Britain's Royal Proclamation of 1763.  

They resisted this because they believed that these areas were rightfully theirs under treaties made between themselves and the British government. Mohawk of Grand River is currently restoring the Haldimand proclamation of 1784 and working to encourage Canadians to give back lands to the mohawk under this document.

Are We Missing something here? Is the Simcoe Patent valid?

The Haldimand Proclamation was a land grant made by the British Crown to the Mohawk people in 1784. The proclamation was made in recognition of their loyalty to the British Crown during the American Revolutionary War. The Simcoe Patent, on the other hand, was a land grant made by the British Crown to Six Nations in 1793 but reduced the grant of land, places the Mohawks into subject status, and places the Patent into the domestic jurisdiction of the Candian domain.

This was outright rejected by Brant and the Mohawks. They felt that if they were named in the original grant then they should be given back the lands based on the ratified pledge that they had done with Britain back in 1779. With this treaty as well as being loyal to the Crown for many years, Canada does not have any ground for taking away any more land from them or challenging their claim to it.

Can we Amend this?

Today the Simcoe Patent is used by many institutions to justify taking Mohawks' lands, Can we amend this? In order to make amends for what has been done in the past, we need to start acting now.  We have made mistakes based on our ignorance or misconceptions but that doesn't mean we should continue making those mistakes.

When taking action you must have a clear understanding of what needs to be done so that you can fix it and move forward; there is no point in trying to make up for something if you don't know what is wrong in the first place. It would take more than simply knowing about the Haldimand Proclamation and Simcoe Patent to actually act correctly. 

As long as these two documents are combined into one entity, there will always be uncertainty about which document applies when addressing lands that were given under the original promise of 1779. 

One way to deal with this would be through establishing a protocol between all parties who want to provide good faith negotiations before ever getting down to business. Another option is that they establish boundaries where they delineate how much space they'll occupy within the territory and how much space they're willing to share jointly. And yet another option would be for each party to keep separate records where they keep track of any transactions within their jurisdiction. 

Based on the history of colonization, Mohawks might not trust Canada's word enough to do anything else. These options all depend on trust from either side and just like in every relationship that takes time to build, respect goes a long way towards fostering goodwill. 

You cannot rush your way into building relationships.

The only thing worse than being suspicious is being careless. Being careful with words and actions means giving yourself time to get to know the person at the heart of it all instead of jumping straight into conclusions based off initial impressions. Once you understand what's going on inside someone, then you can find out how best to support them without having preconceived notions about them beforehand.

By Benjamin Doolittle UE · July 5, 2022, 7:05 am · Comments: 0 · RSS · Permalink


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