From: Gary Hunt at the Outpost of Freedom on the Golden Hill Paugeesukq Reservation
Date: October 18, 1993 Phone: (203) xxx-xxxx
ONONDAGA NATION UPDATE
In looking at the circumstances surrounding the events at the Onondaga Nation Territory one thing becomes clear, that the tax revenue collected in the past by the business owners and given over to the Council of Chiefs, has not gone to the betterment of the people of the Nation. This amount is, incontestably, over three million dollars.
This leaves a question as to whether the revenue is for the benefit of the people or of the Chiefs. It appears that on the Territory both opinions are existent, so what is the correct answer? Where can we go to see if there is a traditional means of utilization of funds collected by the Council? If we could find an answer based upon the traditions of the Nation, then we most surely would be on a path to resolution of the matter. If we could see how similar circumstances were dealt with prior to the coming of the white man, then we would have tradition. If we cannot go back that far, we would want to go back as far as possible to be as close as possible to the truth.
Iíve come across a book titled THE AMERICAN HERITAGE BOOK OF INDIANS, Simon and Schuster, 1961. On pages 193-194 we find discussion of a "tribute" collected by the Iroquois. The paragraph reads as follows:
Iroquois power and glory during the 18th century reached the highest point attained by any Indian Nation north of Mexico. An English chronicler writing in 1727 draws a picture of an Iroquois tribute collector at an Algonquin village on the New England coast ("An old Mohawk sachem, in a poor blanket and dirty shirt, . . issuing his orders with as arbitrary an authority as a Roman dictatorí) that calls up Aztec memories. Although the impressive old Iroquois councilors, sincerely respected by the generations of Europeans who dealt with them, had no magnificence to display other than their simple presence: "The chiefs are generally the poorest among them " wrote a Dutch pastor at Albany in the 1640s "for instead of their receiving from common people . . . they are obliged to give." [Emphasis mine. OPF]
Clearly, then, we have found observations from the 1640s that indicate that the tributes (taxes) collect were meant for the betterment of the people rather than the Chiefs. This would imply the wisdom that we have understood to be the heart of the Six Nations was, in fact, applied in the distribution of benefits 350 years ago. It appears, also, that the practices of the business owners, though they are not chiefs, are more consistent with the traditional ways than that of the Council. The Council has set itself as a dictator in a totalitarian state. They have taken advantage of the business owners (to collect the taxes) and the people (by not putting the benefits where tradition dictates) by not providing the means to upgrade living on the Reservation.
This is consistent with the 38th and 39th Wampum of the Great Law, which provides the only benefit granted to any chief by the Law, " It is provided thus: Ye, the women shall select and install two women for each Lord, as his cooks, to do cooking when people congregate at the Lordís residence when on some business with the Lord; for it is not good or honorable for the Lord to send his people away hungry."
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