Sidney Hill: Elected councils are not traditional government

Chief Sidney Hill of the Onondaga Nation on traditional versus elected leadership:
From the moment elected councils were imposed in our communities, its primary intent was to abolish the strength and national character of our traditional governments and to assist in the enfranchisement and assimilation of the Haudenosaunee into the national fabric of both Canada and the United States. It has since been the position of the Haudenosaunee that elected councils imposed by either Canada or the United States, exist outside the Circle Wampum. No one person or nation can bring into the Circle another form of governance without the full expressed acceptance of the Grand Council.

The Circle Wampum makes the line between traditional councils and elected councils clear and distinct; the traditional councils are the original governments of the Haudenosaunee communities/nations handling national affairs, while the elected councils are imposed systems of the Indian Act in Canada and Federal Indian Law in the United States for the administration of colonial policies in each community. Within recent years however, these elected councils have begun commandeering the distinct symbols, philosophies, and national character of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy--thus misrepresenting themselves to external agencies and the limiting the significance of the Haudenosaunee as an original Indigenous system of governance.

Get the Story:
Chief Sidney Hill: Haudenosaunee Grand Council Reiterates Position on Elected Councils (Indian Country Today 5/22)

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