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A Letter

Sara General


Dear Ione and Vivian,

I am writing this letter for you, because I think it is important that you understand some of the things that I have learned in my life that have to do with being an Indigenous woman living on Turtle Island and of belonging to the league of nations known as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. 

A lot of what I am going to share with you is reflective of things I have learned and thought about over the last fifteen years. Things I am still thinking about. There are stories about your family members here as well, about your grandfather and your uncle. About your grandmother and your aunties. Your family on your father’s side has many stories to tell as well, but I will let him tell you what those are. 

I want to start by telling you that there is a lot of history in our community and that not all of it will be easy to read or hear about. But I did not know these histories growing up and I had to learn them in a sometimes hard and difficult manner over many, many years. I do not want the same thing for you—not when there is something I could do about it. A way I could empower you with knowledge by informing you sooner, though even by telling you—I cannot promise you will not grapple with similar issues in your lifetime. 

I have lived on Onondaga Road in the community of Six Nations of the Grand River for most of my life. Our family home was just around the corner from where your father grew up. Onondaga Road is situated within the heart of the Carolinian Forest, in a large stretch of green that is still visible from space. This is where I grew up; surrounded by trees and brush and quiet. Many of my memories of growing up here are happy ones, although there are unhappy ones too, as there are in life. 

At the time I am writing this, there are things unfolding in the world where people who believe their race is superior to all others are becoming very loud and aggressive. People who believe this kind of nonsense (and it is nonsense) have always been around and though there have been times in the last several decades where it seemed like people were starting to accept that other races were entitled to equal treatment, this kind of thinking has still been there, lurking beneath the surface. 

I think these kinds of beliefs are narrow-minded and dangerous. And while you can’t change people’s minds with the wave of a wand, you can create opportunities for learning and that is why I work in the area of education—to try and create opportunities for people to learn and to create opportunities for people who love to learn. And there are many wonderful things to learn about in this world, make no mistake. There is knowledge of language, ceremony, land, place, people, art, storytelling, music, dance, science, archaeology, cosmology, astrophysics, theoretical physics and so, so much more. I offer you this because while there are some things in the world that are out of our control, we do have autonomy for ourselves. We can take critical actions and transform our own lives, even when there are systems of oppression around us. And though this makes it harder, it is a worthwhile and valuable struggle. 

Now. Despite there being so many opportunities for learning, I am writing this letter because I am not confident that you will learn this information unless I share it with you myself, in my own way. That is my right as a parent and my responsibility as your mother. To love you. To accept you. To prepare you. To encourage you. To help you learn about difficult things in a safe way. To help you discover the awesomeness that is life and that is being Ogwehoweh. 

And while you will probably read a lot of stories and watch documentaries about the reclamation—stories of why it happened, and the history leading up to it—unless I write this letter none of them will be ours, your father’s and mine. 

Regarding the Reclamation

Ten years ago, my father was the elected Chief of Six Nations. I still remember when he told me he was going to run. After we got off the phone I cried, something I have never really never talked about until now. I cried because I think I knew even then, that it was a difficult and thankless job to undertake. And it was. 

All in all, your grandfather did a very good job with the tools that he had. He’d had practice being a good leader already. He was the head coach of the first ever Indigenous team to win a national championship in Jr. A. Lacrosse, a group of players which included your uncle, and that he had coached for years. Even though I didn’t play, lacrosse taught me a lot. I attended those games for the majority of my childhood and into my teenage years. It was an exhilarating time, a thrilling journey to a championship that had been just within our reach for so many years. As the team progressed, the modest crowd at the start of the season grew bigger and bigger until they wound up having to build new stands at the end of the arena where the zamboni came in, and even then it wasn’t enough to fit everyone. 

It was also during this time that I was first exposed to overt racism, although I didn’t fully understand it. But even though I didn’t understand it, I knew it was an ugly thing. Despite this ugliness and the skewed refereeing that often occurs in the sport, the team competed well and won. This win felt enormous, like a dam breaking and letting all the water, hope, and happiness gush out with it. Many more championships followed in its wake. I found it—and maybe still find it—ironic that when we returned from British Columbia in 1993, there was a sign that said “Dave General for Chief”, and in less than 15 years, he would actually have this experience and it would be both a positive and negative one, full of ups and down.

There were good moments and there were terrible moments, and all in all, it was a very difficult time and environment to be learning things in. When it comes to matters of community and governance, people need to be able to reflect and critique, and reflecting and critiquing doesn't always happen in a wholly peaceful manner. People were angry with him and the elected council, and they took their anger out in many different ways. I think people who take on these kinds of leadership roles, anticipate this. For their families though, it is somewhat different and suffice it to say, all of these things together made me feel sad and isolated and alone. I did not fully understand the anger people felt towards him, and even now that I understand the history of governance at Six Nations better, I remember this time and want to treat people with understanding, respect, and kindness. My point is, despite all of this hurtful history, I believe in our people. In our capacity for consensus-building, in our need to stand up for ourselves, in our ways of living and our right to self-determination. And I want you to have the tools and know the information that will help you participate in this because I want you to have better tools of understanding (sooner) than I did.

Before I tell you what I learned about the matter of governance, I want to remind you that I love my father very much. I am proud of him and all of his accomplishments. His interest in hunting, lacrosse, snow snake, music and art have influenced me in the best possible ways. I am thankful that he’s someone who is willing to have challenging conversations and for being someone who loves ideas and learning. I am especially thankful to him for valuing his children as equals, including his daughters. Even as I am writing this letter, he is encouraging me to explore and share my story, my learning and my ideas with you. He remains open to the things that I have to say and this too, makes me proud. This also, at a time when he has just lost his mother, your great-grandmother, who I know was one of his greatest supporters and who I know he loved very, very much. 

I tell you this because loving someone who had been the target of so much negativity and support from our own community is difficult. But even though a few people were unkind towards him at times—I still love our community. And so does he. In this way, though we may not always share the same views, your grandfather has been a role model for me, and in many ways his experience with elected leadership has grown my compassion immensely. And I am so grateful for this compassion. It is the thing that helps remind me that issues in our community are not always clear-cut. It has taught me to let go of things. And it has helped me to see that there is complexity and nuance here and there always has been.

Our History 

Because I didn’t learn about the history of our people in school—a problem that I hope will not exist for you—I had to learn about it from other places. Mostly by reading and listening. Or sometimes, I mentioned—when these histories and ideas collided with our everyday life. 

My journey to learn led me to a lot of wonderful, knowledgeable people who have books and writings of their own that I hope you will read. For me, this started in university, where I was fortunate enough that people before me had created a space for something called Indigenous Studies. It was here I was able to gather some foundational understanding of the true history between Indigenous Peoples and Canada that had been completely neglected by the provincial curriculum. But probably the most of my learning happened through the time I spent working with an organization called the Chiefs of Ontario. Because of the work I was doing, I travelled to meetings all over Turtle Island. I consistently heard elders remind us of the importance of language, Creation stories, natural law, and responsibility. And little by little, their words began to sink in. 

Regarding the Indian Act

The situation at Caledonia has a number of layers for me. I went to school in Caledonia (my school was closed because of asbestos contamination when I was 8, which is another story altogether) and worked there for many years at a local coffee shop. As a result of this, I have a respect and fondness for many of the people there. But what I learned while going to school in Caledonia was not the full story of Canada’s relationship with our people. Not even close. And so many of my friends that I grew up with were as unprepared as I was for what was really happening when the events at Kanonhstaton came to be. Especially because these events were compounded by federal and provincial policies and processes that few people knew about, some which stretched back into the previous century.

The Indian Act is one of the many tools of oppression that the Canadian government has used against our people, to control us and to control our lands. Among the ideas that shaped or enabled the Indian Act, is the Doctrine of Discovery, which emboldened settler nations to feel they could lay exclusive claim to land that was ‘terra nullius’ or unoccupied and that they 'discovered'. Because we were here and could not be 'discovered', this concept was amended to include the idea that non-Christians did not count as real people and in this way, settlers from these nations used the Doctrine of Discovery to justify their efforts to take hold of our lands.  

I will pick this thread back up again in a moment, but before I go any further, I want to pause to introduce another concept. I am introducing it slightly out of order because it is important. Pay attention.  

Our people are a nation. We made treaty with Creation before we came here—a promise to honour this world and to be grateful for the ways it helps us to survive and thrive. We are among the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island. And as Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, we have inherent rights. These are rights that cannot be taken away by anyone. When non-Indigenous peoples came here, we made treaty with them. We agreed that they could share space here, because by all accounts, the place where they had come from was not a good one. There was starvation, disease and overcrowding (Venne, 2007). At the time that non-Indigenous people arrived—the land here was pristine and the water was drinkable. It is in our teachings that we should never take this for granted—that we should always be grateful for land and water. Now of course, a mere five hundred years later, the situation with water is much changed. We are concerned about that and with good reason. Water is more scarce than it was and it has been affected by various forms of pollution and human expansion. There is much work to do just in this one area. For more on this, I would encourage you to read Maude Barlow’s series of books, the most recent of which is called Boiling Point and provides information and perspective on water and the steps we need to take to protect it. I would also encourage you to learn from the people who have been working hard over the years to maintain the relationship that we have with water, and to honour it for the life-sustainer that it is.

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Moving back to the matter of treaties, it is important for you to know that our ancestors also made Treaty with other nations, including the British Crown (Venne, 1997). It is also important that you know that treaty-making was not a new concept that we learned from non-Indigenous people and that we made treaties with other Indigenous nations as well (Venne, 2011). It is my intent that you will come to know those too, and while I do not know them all—your father and I will make every effort to find ways to make sure you know what we didn’t. And finally, it is important that you understand that “To enter into a treaty, a party must be a nation” and that “a colonizer is not a nation” (Venne, 2011). But we are. And we belong to a league of nations that has been dealing with conflict and colonization for a very long time. 

Six Miles Deep

Now back to Six Nations. There is a plaque by the Grand River that describes how it is that we came to be the Six Nations of the Grand River territory. About how we allied with the British during the American Revolution and faced persecution in the years that followed the establishment of the United States government. Many people relocated to the Grand River from our homelands in upper state New York as a result. This process occurred via the support of a proclamation that has come to be referred to as the Haldimand Deed of 1784 and which granted six miles on either side of the Grand River from the mouth to the source to the “Mohawk Nation and such others of the Six Nations Indians”. Over the last 233 years, this area of land has slowly been diminished to the size of our community as is known today and is captured in a well-known and circulated map. Some of our scholars have written about this subject—important books that I hope others will read. I have included some of those in my reading list at the end of this letter.

When the reclamation began, Six Nations had already been taking action for many years to recover the land that had been lost, address the mismanagement of Six Nations funds by the federal government and be compensated for it. A quick look at the map will tell you that much of the six miles on either side of the Grand River are filled with major towns and cities. This area was also the target of the province of Ontario’s, Places to Grow Act. One of the main criticisms of this policy was that it did not take into consideration the land and treaty rights of Indigenous Peoples. Which is true. It didn’t. But a lot of times, people do not like to be concerned with something that they think is ancient history and it can be difficult for people to see things another way when they feel it threatens their life and well-being. The thing about land though, is that our relationship to it is not ancient history. It is alive. It is happening now and it is not something that we should put aside or behind us. Like the language—the land belongs to our children. To the future. 

The mechanisms for resolving land matters between Indigenous Peoples and the state of Canada are inefficient. They are inefficient because they are colonial constructs. Two of these constructs that were in operation at the time the reclamation began were the Specific Claims Policy and the Comprehensive Claims Policy. I am not a lawyer, but here is something that I have learned that is important. Canada’s land claims policies are extinguishment policies, meaning that Indigenous Peoples must extinguish their interest in lands in exchange for a new agreement over a specific portion of our territory. These policies have been reviewed and revised over the years, even as recently as the last five years and they are still not very good, operating as they do, from this principle. 

Recall what I have told you about our responsibility to land and natural law. We cannot and should not extinguish our responsibilities to land. 

Learning and More Learning

Many of the people I listened to and learned from across Turtle Island felt it was critical that Indigenous Peoples continue to position themselves as nations who had made treaties with other nations whose people then settled and formed colonies on Turtle Island. And that because there is no true will to honour the treaties, there is a need for an international mechanism to oversee their implementation. I tend to agree with this also. I have always felt it is important that we have people everywhere, at every level, doing many different kinds of work. This is an example of a kind of work that I think is much needed. It is my understanding that this work has been underway at the United Nations for several years, although I do not know where it currently sits, and after writing this, I am making a note to find out.

And this is where we come to the difference between the Confederacy Council and the Elected Council. The Confederacy Council is the governance system that was given to us by the Creator. It came to us from the Peacemaker, who went among the Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca, Cayuga and Mohawk nations with other like-minded thinkers and determined a way that our nations could work together. It is our system. Our way. It is made up of both men and women, it is meant to be inclusive and it is my opinion that this form of governance could be even more robust and responsive to modern day concerns if it were not consistently in survival mode and perhaps, if we were able to be more compassionate and forgiving. Indeed, with the number of intelligent, well-informed, and thoughtful people engaged in a process of decolonization and healing, we stand in a very good position to mend some of our governance issues and move forward; although, I recognize that this would take a lot of work and discussion. 

By contrast, the Elected Council was put in place in 1924 by the federal government. In short—it is a colonial construct. And while I so appreciate all of the people who have served our community in this capacity—including your grandfather—I do not see any way of getting around that. Further, as someone who continues to grapple with my own efforts to decolonize, I offer this information with no judgement. I am grateful for all of the people who labour on behalf of our community in these various capacities, and I have seen first hand the success that the elected council has had in organizing with other communities and organizations to prevent further incursions on our rights, as has almost happened many times over on issues like HST and education. But the history of this construct remains what it is.

I have also seen the success the Confederacy Council has had in advocating on issues and keeping our traditions healthy and in tact. One example, is the Great Law readings that have been organized these past few years. Another, is the work of Cayuga Chief Deskaheh Levi General. Throughout the early 1920s, Duncan Campbell Scott, the Superintendent of the Department of Indian Affairs, was angry that Deskaheh had journeyed to Geneva, Switzerland to present to the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) about incursions on Indigenous sovereignty and mobility. By many accounts, Duncan Campbell Scott was extremely committed to the project of colonization and assimilation and open about the fact that he viewed Indigenous Peoples as inferior. He was also one of the proponents of the residential school system. I have little doubt that you will have learned about residential schools throughout your education. It is an atrocious and inexcusable policy initiative that believe it or not, some people still try to defend.

When I look back at the events unfolding around 1923-1924, it is hard to not feel that the whole situation was being played like a game of chess. That as the Chiefs tried to advance the issue of our right to self-determination and unresolved land matters through Deskaheh’s campaigns to Geneva and by being aware of the continual legislative changes that might impact our people; Duncan Campbell Scott was putting measures in place to further discredit the Confederacy and attempting to secure the conversion and assimilation of our people. As if he was constantly on the lookout for any kind of conflict that could be used to support his position. At least two of these kinds of incidents involved the Soldier’s Settlement Act and a local agricultural club (Catapano, 2007). And unfortunately, one of his attempts to undermine us—the Thompson Commission—was successful. It was this report that was the catalyst for the order-in-council that ended the Confederacy Council's rule. 

Among other things, the Thompson report claimed that the situation of governance at Six Nations was primitive, effeminate, ineffective and that there was no written constitution, although he did acknowledge that the form of governance stemmed from a long established custom—referring ostensibly, to the Great Law (Catapano, 2007). 

Thompson’s investigation of “conditions at Grand River” began on September 18, 1923. Not everyone participated in the hearings of this investigation. Some spoke in favour of the Confederacy, including a clan mother who was also Christian (which I mention to explain how nuanced our beliefs sometimes were). Some did not speak in favour of the Confederacy, though Catapano (2007) notes in reviewing the minutes, that the examiner was deliberate in choosing to listen to those who were eager for political and social change. Catapano (2007) further reflects that this is a common strategy—“that a minority of a population in an Indigenous community is used to legitimize government decrees, policy, or land cessions and then, count the absence of voices raised in dissent as virtual support for neo-colonial policy" (p. 232). I would only add that this is not really neo-colonial policy at all, but a progression of colonial policy that we continue to see today (recall for instance, the extinguishment policies of the Specific Claims process).  

Thompson’s report was submitted to the Superintendent General of Indian Affairs on November 22, 1923. The Order-in-Council was passed on September 17, 1924. (Catapano, 2007). The proclamation dissolving the Confederacy Council was read on October 7, 1924.

Moving Forward

Now. I do not tell you any of these things to tell you a sad story. There are many wrong things that happened in this history of ours. But despite these many wrong things—so much good remains. The ceremonies have continued. The Confederacy has continued to meet. Efforts at the international level are ongoing. The Elected Council has done valuable and important work. Our people have continued to learn, understand and fight against these injustices in many different arenas; by learning language, by developing curriculum, by creating space in universities for the truth to be known, by presenting to standing committees, by speaking truth in policy discussions, by rejecting legislation, by leading organizations, by creating reports for the international forums, by writing and performing. By living and healing. By sharing our story with our neighbours. By being willing to hear theirs. By organizing and taking direct action. By having difficult discussions. 

If the Thompson report or something similar were to happen now, I do not doubt that criticisms about the governance here might emerge. Nobody is perfect. Mistakes have been made and will probably continue to be made. But this is what I also know. We are a sovereign, self-determining people. We have inherent rights. We have treaty rights. We have rights enshrined in legislation. We have constitutional rights. We have international support for our rights. And we have work to do to be good ancestors and impactful stewards of the land for future generations. All of this work is made difficult because the wheels of colonization are still in motion and we often work with external governments who don’t always have the benefit of this history and understanding. After all—because of the curriculum I was learning from—this had been me for the first half of my life. And so to me, our strategy needs to be comprehensive and include some of these layers. And then we need to make individual choices about where we fit and how we are going to spend our time learning and helping and giving back. Choices about where and how we will use the gifts we were given. And when there are so many valuable places to spend it, this is not always an easy task. 

Regarding My Own Choices 

There was a time in my late twenties, when I became very ill and my vision became exceptionally blurry. I went to my doctor, my eye doctor, my eye specialist and then back to my doctor once more. I knew something was wrong with me but no tests revealed anything out of the ordinary.

During this time, I felt worse than I had ever felt in my entire life. I felt lonely and disconnected. I worked very long hours and I had very little time for leisure. I was working in an area that was extremely important to me (First Nations education), but everything I was working on felt like a battle that would never end. I tried things I thought could help me restore balance to my life. Taking time off. Answering less emails. Running. Yoga. Green tea. Journaling. None of these activities seemed able to make a substantial difference. The longer it went on, the more indifferent and distant I became to my friends and family. 

Finally, one night, I confessed to a friend what I had been feeling. I was nervous to tell her, nervous to say the words out loud. I thought she would think that I was weak or lying or incapable of making myself happy. I told her anyways. When I was finished, I felt this huge weight falling away from me. It was like I had been wearing a heavy coat of fear and now it was gone. It was a step, a first of many.

It was a few days after this confession that I decided to make an appointment to see one of the traditional readers on the reserve. The appointment was made for late in the summer, a month or more away at the time. I made it knowing that I could change my mind if I wanted to. Full of scepticism, I kept my appointment. By the time the reading was finished, however, I had been given answers and guidance for why I was feeling the way I had been feeling and all of it resonated. The reader explained that I needed a certain ceremony, which in our community, are called feasts. 

Within a few weeks after I went to get my reading done, the feasts were put through and immediately, I felt better. I still had a lot of work to do, to help myself maintain the peace and balance in my life, but my spirit was uplifted and the feast had cleared the path for me to do that work. In those days that followed, I felt like a new person. 

I also felt incredibly grateful. This experience made such an important and positive impact on my life. It was an experience made possible by the continuation of Haudenosaunee culture, knowledge and language and the realization of how important our ceremonies were was very humbling to me. I realized that while I had a bachelor’s degree and critical thinking skills, there were other things that I was missing, things that were very important. I wondered if there were other people, in my family perhaps, or my community, who might be missing it as well and needing a similar kind of help.

Now before I go any further, I need to say that I have a great appreciation for science and technology, as well as the advances that have been made in so many areas concerning individual health and well-being. A part of the reason why I went to the eye doctor when I became sick was because both of my retinas had detached when I was twenty-five. If it had not been for physics and technology, I would be blind today. So I am grateful for science and grateful for physics. I also have enormous appreciation for education and have continued on with my own studies because I've learned so much from other people’s reading and thinking about language, language revitalization, rights and responsibilities, treaties, collaboration, and education itself.

But in this particular case, it was my spirit that needed help. And as long as I neglected to take care of my spirit, it was going to impact other parts of me—my mind, my heart and my body. I realized that if other people were to find themselves in a similar situation as I had been, I wanted to be able to help them. I wanted to help because I was so grateful to the people who helped me and I knew how busy those people are in our community. But to help them beyond what I was able to do now—I realized that one of the things I could do was make a greater commitment to language. 

This is the reason that I'm as devoted to language as much as I am. I realize that we have need of so many kinds of people. Doctors. Lawyers. Artists. Writers. Builders. But language and ceremony brought me back from the brink of self-destruction and in every policy issue I ever encountered, whether it was water, land rights, education and so many others—language was always near (if not at) the core of it. Language and ceremony have also helped many of our family members. And I will always be grateful for that. I will always want to be able to help someone else if they have need of the same things and I want to do my part to make sure that this knowledge thrives, however I can; whether that is writing proposals, doing administrative tasks, writing books, making movies, or learning myself. Whatever it is that I can do to contribute. And I hope to always be helpful and work in service to the people of our community.  


Other communities across Turtle Island face similar challenges as we do and so I think we should always offer our encouragement to them as they move forward and figure things out, and offer them strength in their times of need. Those communities have the same strengths as we do—they too have inherent rights, treaty rights, and all the others that I outlined. So they will continue to create their pathways forward in all kinds of different ways. We can learn from them, as well as support them. 

As for us, and some of our current challenges regarding governance, there are many potential solutions and mechanisms. Many sites of interconnected struggle. Right now, we are hearing calls for a willingness to support, to listen, for goodmindedness, and for participation. This is good. Listening and sharing has always struck me as a good starting point. And while I am committed right now to the things I have chosen to do, there are definitely other things I think we could do that I could help with, like creating a curriculum that tells the story of some of what I have outlined here (although someone may indeed have already done this), to learn more about a potential international mechanism for treaty implementation, to have more informal and formal governance discussions within our community, to create a plan for advocacy at the nation-to-nation, regional, national, and international levels. To pinpoint specific actions and enact policy processes that are proper Treaty roundtables (and whose purpose is not to pass new “modern” extinguishment treaties), to have another layer of policy discussion about urgent day-to-day issues and needs (water, climate change, food security, child welfare, etc), some of which is already happening. Whatever we choose, I can see that certain of these core matters that have been outstanding for over a hundred years need to be addressed. Issues of self-determination. Issues of governance. Matters of land. Matters of treaty. All of these things are up to the nation, of which we are a part and of which we must take part. We can heal and forgive and show compassion and understand that it is possible to work together, to appreciate all of the contributions that we have made, even when our personal opinions and experiences of governance differ. We have done it already, after all and a visit around our community during Community Awareness Week will show you the depth of the wonderful work that is happening here, a great deal of which happens through and with the support of the elected council administration.  

So what I most want to share here with you, my daughters, is that there is hope. I want to thank you for choosing us and this world. I want you to be patient with yourselves and your own learning—even if other people are not patient with you and want you to see things their way, at the exact moment when they want you to. I want you to learn to listen and share your ideas. I want you to know that it is okay to take a hard stance on certain issues—even as many of your peers and future friends will have a difficult time understanding why you continue talking about things that are ‘ancient history’, why you are trying to find alternative solutions and ways forward, why you have chosen the work that you have, why you care about treaties or why you do not define yourself as Canadian. Because ultimately, you are not. You live on Turtle Island. You belong to the Turtle Clan and the Mohawk Nation. You are Ogwehoweh. And I hope you will always be proud of that. 



Reading List: 

I have done the best I could with this letter, given the other responsibilities I have at this time. As a result, I feel I have only skimmed the surface of so many issues and have really not done them justice. Further, what I have presented here, is only a part of my evolving understanding. It may be that other people know more or better. It may be that in the days, months and years to come that my understanding will evolve and shift further. And even if it does, I will still strive to practice goodmindedness and appreciation for the people in our community who are striving to do their very best for themselves, their families, their communities and our nation. 

Nonetheless, here is a list of the many things that I have read or watched that have helped me build an understanding of what I have mentioned here. Some of these books are about Six Nations, some are about international law, and some are about water and physics. For me, these subjects intersect. 

I leave it here for you and will probably add to it over the years or when I get more time. I hope one day you will be able to read these books as well. Also, these citations are not in alphabetical order :).  

The List:


Venne, S. H. (1997). Our Elders Understand Our Rights: Evolving International Law Regarding (Doctoral dissertation, University of Alberta). 


Martinez, M. (1997) Study on Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements Between States and Indigenous (Final Report to the the UN for the "Working Group on Indigenous Peoples”)

McIvor, B. “Canada's Misguided Land Claims Policy”. First Peoples Law.

Venne, S. H. (2011). Treaties made in good faith. Canadian Review of Comparative Literature/Revue Canadienne de Littérature Comparée34(1).


Hill, S. M. (2017). The Clay We are Made of: Haudenosaunee Land Tenure on the Grand River (Vol. 20). Univ. of Manitoba Press.


Monture, R. (2014). We share our matters: Two centuries of writing and resistance at six nations of the Grand River. Univ. of Manitoba Press.


Simpson, L. (2011). Dancing on our turtle's back: Stories of Nishnaabeg re-creation, resurgence and a new emergence. Arbeiter Ring Publishing.


Turner, D. A. (2006). This is not a peace pipe: Towards a critical indigenous philosophy. University of Toronto Press.


Barlow, M. (2016)Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada's Water Crisis. ECW Press. 


Turok, N. (2012). The Universe Within: From Quantum to Cosmos. House of Anansi.


Catapano, A. L. (2007). The Rising of the Ongwehonwe: Sovereignty, identity, and representation on the Six Nations Reserve. State University of New York at Stony Brook.


Chiefs of Ontario: Alternative Report to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: 


Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry:


Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada:


Which you can also listen to on Youtube:




Sharon Venne: 


Takaiya Blainey:


Russ Diabo:


Steve Newcomb: