According to an article entitled, National Aboriginal Day Governor General snubs Confederacy (Turtle Island News, 22 June, p.2), the representative of the Crown, by virtue of his actions, made a bold statement of what side he favours in the ongoing battle between the Elected Council and the Hereditary Council. Really? Reading the article one would think that the Governor General (GG) of Canada who is the Queen's representative in Canada, and thus by association the Crown, had made a major gaff and insulted the people of Six Nations. That is patently false, but is typical of what one will see in a newspaper which has a distinct political bias - in this case without reservation pro Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC). There is no to little unbiased reporting, except on mundane topics.
So Governor General David Johnston, who by the way is a descendant of the Port Carling, Parry Sound, Anishinabe - Algonquin people, was invited to Six Nations to spend Aboriginal Day. One might presume that the invitation came from the Elected Council since they are the legal representatives of the Six Nations in their dealings with the "big Crown" (Federal Government) and "little Crown" (Province of Ontario). Of all places he chose to accept the invitation from here and come to Six Nations - a profound honour. How he is treated on this occasion speaks volumes. First the venue. Instead of a setting such as the Mohawk Chapel (Her Majesty's Chapel of the Mohawks, built 1786), he was shunted to the controversial Mohawk Institute (now the Woodland Cultural Center) across the road - the old residential school. Apparently there were some there to see the Governor General pay his respects at Six Nations and considered it a "historic moment". However, instead of welcoming the representative of the Crown, some at Six Nations took the opportunity of "grilling" him (good luck in ever getting him to return - or to be sympathetic to Six Nations causes). He was made out to be the party responsible for the Hereditary Confederacy Chiefs Council (HCCC) not being in attendance. That is patently ridiculous.
The reporter accused the Governor General of, evading questions on the treaty relationship between the HCCC and the Crown. That was a below the belt question, entirely inappropriate, and frankly an embarrassment to Six Nations. So the GG was forced to provide platitudes since anything of substance he said could and would be used against him and the Federal Government. It seems to have been an attempt at entrapment. He also, refused to answer if he recognizes the HCCC as the legitimate governing body of Six Nations. That was a loaded question, and profoundly insulting. Being astute, he noted that he knew this was, a political question and that's one where I don't have the expertise to give you an answer. It must have been tempting (it would have for me) to say, go ........... yourself. The GG is a gentleman and has a political background and so knew that any answer would be potential dynamite at Six Nations. Of course, he had to say something about the residential school situation and gave the politically correct answer. I expect that this part had been scripted - although I doubt that he knew that the situation at Six Nations and the situation in say Alberta was as day is to night. He had to sit though a clip where two Six Nations boys played the parts of a young boy out west who died after running away from school (who hasn't run away from school at some time). However, the reporter fails to note that this scenario had nothing to do with the Mohawk Institute.
Who knows if the GG knows that the HCCC is presently in turmoil and without leadership. The last meeting (and others before) the Mohawk Head Chief stormed out of the Longhouse, or most recently simply did not attend. There was no quorum and the meeting adjourned. The HCCC is in the process of disintegration through factional disputes and inertia and for the editor of one of these newspaper must be wearing blinders to still continue to assert that they are the only legitimate governing body at Six Nations - and would have the Federal Government turn over responsibility of governing Six Nations to this dysfunction group defies logic. Then to blame the Governor General, who does not make the arrangements, and merely accepts the invitation from the legally constituted governing body the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC). If SNEC wanted HCCC to be present they would have invited them. Perhaps they did, but in the past the latter has refused to even be in the same room as the former - that is how petty they have become. So blame the Governor General for internal decay at Six Nations - amazing. Then to fire off a series of politically charged questions, many of which would have required research due to the specific nature of the question, is putting Mr. Johnston on the spot. He, as the Queen's representative cannot answer those types of questions anyway. That is the responsibility of the Aboriginal Affairs people in Ottawa. Very embarrassing all around. Of course I would have loved to hear Mr. Johnston say, when asked about the residential schools, something like, "Why are you equating the situation in the West with children taken a thousand miles from their home and abused by the representatives of the Catholic Church when at Six Nations the school was requested in writing by the Six Nations Chiefs in 1838, and run by the Anglican Church for the benefit of the children, and with the full acceptance and knowledge of the Chiefs and parents at Six Nations". Not going to happen. The truth bites.