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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

Why Mohawks Aren't Canadian Citizens (and What That Means for the Rest of Us)

Mohawks aren’t considered Canadian citizens. This means that they don’t have the right to vote in Canadian, Provincial or Municipal elections, nor do they have the right to run for office. The reason Mohawks aren’t Canadian citizens isn’t because of some secret policy to deny them citizenship, but rather because of a technicality in the treaty and common law that doesn’t consider them to be part of Canada at all. So what does this mean, exactly? Do Mohawks even live in Canada? Did the Haldimand proclamation set apart the lands placing the people and territory outside of the Canadian domain? How does this affect their ability to buy property, travel within Canada, and file taxes? 

Mohawk isn't an Indigenous Status

In Canada, there is no such thing as a Mohawk status. The term Mohawk is actually an ethnic group, not an indigenous one. This means that they are not recognized by the Canadian government as First Nations people. As a result, they are not eligible for many of the benefits and programs that are available to First Nations people. For example, Mohawks cannot receive social assistance from any level of government in Canada.

These restrictions also have implications for voting rights in federal elections-a qualification for running in these elections is that you must be a Canadian citizen; however, Mohawks are not citizens. They can vote if they reside on reserve land and have status with their local band council.

However, that is also seen as a surrender of sovereignty to the crown. There is much debate about this issue, but it will require changes at both provincial and federal levels in order to make progress. Until then municipalities should work together with Mohawk communities to ensure their needs are met so that we can live up to our shared promise. 

Citizen Defined in the Election Act, 1.4(1)(a)

The term citizen is not defined in the Election Act. However, section 1.4(1)(a) of the Act sets out certain requirements that must be met in order to vote or run for office in a Canadian election. In order to vote or run for office, a person must be a Canadian citizen and 18 years of age or older on election day. Furthermore, they cannot have been found guilty of treason or an offense under any law relating to an act of war; and they cannot be mentally incompetent. Finally, they cannot have served more than five years as the Governor General's deputy under sections 4 and 5 of the Canada Corporations Act. The laws pertaining to being eligible to vote or run for office can be confusing at times, especially if you are interested in running but are not qualified because you are not a Canadian citizen. For those interested in voting, it may seem unfair that only Canadians can choose who runs this country and will make decisions about our future.

Section 3, Oath of Allegiance, 31(2), Canada Elections Act

In order to vote or run in a Canadian election, you must take an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen. The Oath of Allegiance is a solemn promise to be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors.

For many Mohawks, this is a difficult oath to take because it goes against their belief that all sovereigns are equal. As a result, they are not Canadian citizens and are not qualified to vote or run in Canadian elections. It is understandable why some Mohawks would feel disenfranchised by this law. It does seem like we have one set of rules for Mohawk people and another set of rules for everybody else.

However, there may be room for change if we look at other countries with similar issues as Canada's Indigenous population - these countries have found ways to incorporate indigenous people into the voting process without compromising their sovereignty beliefs. 

A simple solution might be allowing Mohawks to declare themselves as non-citizens in the same way that people who are born outside of Canada can declare themselves as non-residents, giving them the right to vote while still respecting their cultural identity. Another option might be changing the Oath of Allegiance so that instead of pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II, pledge allegiance to a specific sovereign.

If a Mohawk were allowed to sign the Oath of Allegiance and then attach an addendum stating I pledge allegiance to the Mohawk Nation then there would be no issue with taking the oath. I'm sure that most Canadians wouldn't mind also swearing allegiance to the Mohawk Nation if it meant including more voices in our democracy. I think this idea could be adopted to help preserve other nations' cultures and treaty entitlements.

A Summary Of Section 5 And 6 Of The Constitution Act 1867

In order to be a qualified voter in a Canadian election, you must be a Canadian citizen. However, Mohawks are not considered Canadian citizens because they have not taken the oath of allegiance to the Queen. This means that they are not eligible to vote or run for office in Canada. The Constitution Act 1867 is clear on who is and isn't a Canadian citizen, and this has implications for all of us. For example, a person cannot become Prime Minister without being a Canadian citizen.

A mohawk could instead become a citizen by taking the oath of allegiance to the Queen which includes renouncing any other citizenship. After renouncing their Mohawk citizenship, they could then take the Oath of Citizenship which would make them a Canadian citizen and then eligible to vote or run for office. 

Again compromising mohawks sovereignty, but also other Canadians' sovereignty as well. As Canadians, we are all afforded certain rights that many Mohawks don't have access to due to their exclusion from voting and running for office.

Why do Mohawks prefer not to enter Canadian politics?

There are a number of reasons why Mohawk people may not want to become involved in Canadian politics. First and foremost, they are not Canadian citizens and thus do not have the right to vote or run for office. Additionally, the elections act states that you must be a Canadian citizen in order to vote or run for office.

This means that Mohawk people would be at a disadvantage if they did choose to enter politics. To get into the race, one has to first pledge allegiance to Canada and become a citizen. Not only does this mean having to give up other rights such as their native language, but it also means potentially having to give up their own culture as well in order to better fit into mainstream society. For these reasons, many Mohawk people prefer to keep themselves separate from mainstream Canadian life while maintaining an awareness of what is happening within the country's borders. 

Some Mohawk people see this stance as a way to protect themselves and their cultural traditions, which is especially important considering how much Canada struggles with upholding its multicultural ideals. For these folks, being outside of mainstream society can actually feel like freedom rather than oppression.

Do Mohawks even live in Canada? Did the Haldimand proclamation set apart the lands placing the people and territory outside of the Canadian domain? How does this affect their ability to buy property, travel within Canada, and file taxes?

Though many people believe that all Indigenous peoples in Canada are Canadian citizens, this is not the case for the Mohawk Nation. The Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 set apart lands for the Mohawk people in present-day Ontario, creating a territory that exists outside of Canada's legal domain. This means that Mohawks are not subject to Canadian laws, cannot vote or run for office in Canadian elections, and do not have to pay taxes to the Canadian government. Overlooking these facts can result in missed opportunities to better understand our past, improve social policy today, and develop positive relationships with all Aboriginal peoples in our future.

So what does that mean for the rest of us?

Well, first of all, it means that we can't just assume that everyone who lives in Canada is a Canadian citizen. Secondly, it means that if you're not a Canadian citizen, you may not be able to vote or run for office. And finally, it means that if you want to vote or run for office, you need to make sure you meet all the legal requirements.

By Benjamin Doolittle UE · July 5, 2022, 3:35 am · Comments: 0 · RSS · Permalink


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