Letter From the Mohawks to Queen Elizabeth II
Her Majesty the Queen
London, SW1A 1AA
January 20, 2020
Re: Our Allied Relationship
I trust that this message finds you and the Royal Family in good health and good spirits.
We, the Sha’tekarihwate family of the Mohawk Nation, Turtle Clan are writing to you out of care and concern for one of our allies, namely, the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia. As we know you are aware, our people have had an allied relationship for 300 plus years, which is called the Orehkwasa or Silver Covenant Chain and the Tenkeni Tyohate or Two Row Wampum. It was our ancestors that made this agreement and we have been vested with the responsibility to follow through with our obligations as outlined in this treaty. It is this treaty that establishes our allied relationship to each other and has allowed your family some ability to exercise limited sovereignty within our shared territory.
It is our understanding that if the Two Row and the Silver Covenant Chain are broken, we are no longer allies. Therefore, your family’s ability to exercise and exert sovereignty within our shared territory comes to an end.
For three hundred years, we have both understood this agreement in the following manner:
Our relationship as represented by the Silver Covenant Chain is represented by three chain links. The first link represents your family, your people, your society and your sovereignty.
The second link or middle link; represents our friendship and allied relationship. This link represents our agreement to respect each other’s autonomy as separate people living as neighbours in shared lands.
The third link represents my people and our allies, our society and our sovereignty.
This relationship was brought forward by your representative Sir William Johnson and it was said that it was to be made of silver so that if ever our relationship was to become tarnished, we would forever have the ability to pull on that chain and have the others’ attention. Once we have each other’s attention, we are to sit together and polish the chain until our relationship would become bright again. This polishing of our relationship would mean that our issues with one another would be resolved.
Furthermore, we remember the provisions of our agreement to outline how disputes or issues are resolved. The provisions of the agreement are represented within the second link of the chain as the second link identifies how we live harmoniously in these shared lands. These provisions state:
1. When individuals of either Nation have caused the relationship to tarnish, the Nation of the individual who has the issue informs the other and requests a polishing of the chain.
2. A meeting is held to discuss the issue(s) and to attempt to find a resolution that satisfies both parties. Historically, this has sometimes taken several meetings. Also, historically, both of our Nations have sent representatives to act as agents on our behalf to address the issues and to negotiate a peaceful resolution.
3. Once a peaceful resolution has been achieved, and both parties are satisfied, gifts are to be exchanged and a public announcement is to be made that the chain has been polished and that the issue is no longer tarnishing our relationship. This public announcement is to be made to both our Nations’ people and yours to ensure both our peoples no longer harbor resentment towards the other.
4. In the event the chain of friendship is not polished, we understand that we cease to be allies [and that the issue that has caused a tarnishing of our relationship, may bring about war.
When you visited Canada in 2010, you recognized our relationship through our custom of exchanging gifts. At that time, you made reference to our relationship by engraving the bells recognizing our 300-year alliance. As such, as a part of our allied relationship, we are required to bring issues to you when they concern your citizens.
Currently, our allies of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are under surveillance and attack from your Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Wet’suwet’en are living within their traditional territories and protecting their lands from invasion by pipeline companies and the man camps that conduct the work. As you are aware, the pipelines that are currently in use are wreaking havoc on the environment worldwide. Along with the companies comes the man camps which are a serious health and safety concern for Indigenous people in Canada since there is a direct correlation between the man camps and the safety of Indigenous women. The Wet’suwet’en do not want the pipelines to cross their lands, nor do they want the man camps on their lands.
To date, the Wet’suwet’en have established their camps within their territories and are maintaining their position. However, the RCMP have started to mobilize and they have checkpoints set up controlling the flow of traffic in and out of Wet’suwet’en territory. It is well known that the RCMP will cut off supply lines, close roads, create no-fly zones and cut all communication lines in order to drive people from the territory. Then, when that doesn’t work, the RCMP will invade the territory using any force necessary. These lands are Wet’suwet’en lands and this is their home and citizens of your commonwealth are performing acts of genocide against them in your name as the Crown. However, you do not have a treaty with the Wet’suwet’en and therefore the lands are solely theirs.
There are ten stages of genocide and in this instance against the Wet’suwet’en, the pipeline companies, the RCMP and the government of Canada are colluding against the Wet’suwet’en and other Indigenous nations. Canada, specifically Prime Minister Trudeau and Governor General Payette like to speak on a national and international scale about the uniqueness of Canada and the relationship with Indigenous people. Furthermore, they like to speak about their Truth and Reconciliation policies, but they continue to complete acts of genocide when the rest of the world isn’t looking. The issue with the Wet’suwet’en is but one example of the lack of truth and the smoke and mirrors related to their truth and reconciliation.
As the only living head of state who served in World War II against the genocidal acts of Hitler and the only living head of state who remembers the fear and chaos of the blitz, you can understand the fear and chaos under which we as Indigenous people must live. We live under this fear and chaos in our daily lives and more so on a global scale when we speak out against the injustices that we face. We would ask that you exert your sovereignty over the citizens of your commonwealth in restoring peace with the Indigenous people in the territory and order them to withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory.
In peace and in friendship,
Members of the Sha’tekarihwate Clan, Six Nations of the Grand River
Cc: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The Right Honourable Julie Payette
The Honourable Marc Miller – Minister of Indigenous Services
Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger – President United UN Human Rights Council
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz – UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People
Sha’tekarihwate Clan – Six Nations of the Grand River