Lands Policy

Haudenosaunee Land Use Agreements

Haudenosaunee Land Use Agreements are agreements that define a process for mapping out determinations of native title, future acts or acts associated with development proposals. Haudenosaunee Land Use Agreements (HLUAs) are the manifestation of three primary Haudenosaunee concepts:

  1. The Dish with One Spoon- We are to share equally in the bounty of land, provided that we only take what we truly need and respect the integrity of the ecosystem.

  2. The Trade and Commerce Principles established by the Covenant Chain, treaties and Best Practices of the past require a mutual benefit to any proposed land use.

  3. The Perpetual Care and Maintenance Fund- A community trust fund to subsidize Confederacy operations and long-term well-being programs for the Six Nations people.

Each HLUA is developed to be specific to a particular proposed land use, and is negotiated between at least two parties- the party wishing to use the land, and the Haudenosaunee interests, represented by the Council of Chiefs. The Provincial government may also be involved in the negotiations, or become involved subsequent to the agreement.

Land Use Principles

Any HLUA will be based on the following principles:

  • A spirit of cooperation and partnership

  • All partners contribute and agree to priority setting

  • Improved outcomes for communities, families and individuals at the local and regional levels.

  • Responsibilities and commitments are shared; by business, organizations, governments and Indigenous partners to achieve outcomes.

  • Outcomes are measurable.

  • Accountability requirements are clear.

  • Build capacity and strengthen governance.

Haudenosaunee Land Use Strategy

Haudenosaunee Land Use Agreements will focus on three strategic themes:

  • The promotion of sustainable agriculture and natural resource use to maintain the productivity, profitability and the sustainability of these resource-based industries;

  • The conservation of biodiversity through the protection and restoration of ecosystems; and

  • Individuals, industry and communities equipped with skills, knowledge and information, and supported by institutional frameworks that promote the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture production.

  • Residential programs to develop alcohol and drug-free communities.

Project Planning Assessments

Through more effective planning and service delivery mechanisms we can work together to plan productively for the future. This will require three important studies well in advance of any project implementation:

  1. Environmental Assessment- The Haudenosaunee Development Institute will provide a comprehensive review of the potential impacts of the proposed project upon the cultural landscape- both the physical features and the cultural properties.

  2. Cultural Resource Assesment- The Haudenosaunee Development Institute will provide a comprehensive review of the potential impact of the proposed project on the cultural resources important to the Haudenosaunee

  3. Quality of Life Assesment- The Haudenosaunee Development Institute will provide a comprehensive review of the potential social and economic impacts of the proposed project to assure that any such project will contribute to the long-term well being of the communities along the Grand River watershed.

  • Areas of Concern

    We seek to protect Haudenosaunee heritage sites. Our ability to access sacred sites, culturally-significant sites, traditional places for hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering must not be infringed by any development. We want to work with developers and regional associations to identify such places well in advance of proposals.

We will seek to protect Native threatened species and ecological communities with their status in the landscape affected to the extent that their population viability is at risk. Specifically, we are concerned about national endangered or vulnerable species and ecological communities.

We will seek to protect migratory species and wetlands. Migratory species are recognized with international conventions to which Canada is a signatory. Wetlands, which help to clean the waters, are also important and we seek to protect the entire watershed that feeds into those wetlands. We are less inclined to consider 1 to 1 substitutions to wetlands, and prefer to avoid any disturbance.

The proposal that provide a realistic and measurable “green” agenda associated with the nature of the project will be viewed most favourably. We are willing to work with developers on defining those green standards, strategies and approaches. While these may require additional expenditures on the part of the developer, it will be considered one of the “benefits” of the project to overall well-being.

The following specific objectives, consistent with the Haudenosaunee Green Plan, were developed to guide investment strategies:

  • To promote sustainable resource use, particularly sustainable agriculture

  • To protect and improve condition of land, water (including groundwater) and vegetation resources that provide the ecosystem services that support sustainable resource use industries

  • To improve the water quality and environmental condition in surface and ground water systems, including wetlands and estuaries, while maintaining the economic and social values derived from water use

  • To protect our ecosystems and the Carolian environment

  • To reverse the decline in the extent and quality of native vegetation and maintain and restore habitat for flora and fauna

  • To protect and manage places and values of national environmental significance, including threatened species and communities, listed migratory species, heritage areas and heritage places

  • To promote Haudenosaunee community participation in the planning and delivery of outcomes

Criteria for Reviewing Proposals

The Haudenosaunee review process will follow the “Building a Strong Foundation” approach used in the City of Hamilton’s Planning and Economic Development Department, which includes the following “Nine Directions” to guide development:

Direction #1- Encourage a compatible mix of uses in neighbourhoods that provide opportunities to live, work and play.

Direction #2- Concentrate new development within existing built-up areas and within a firm urban boundary.

Direction #3- Protect rural areas for a viable rural economy, agricultural resources, environmentally sensitive recreation and enjoyment of the rural landscape.

Direction #4- Design neighbourhoods to improve access to community life.

Direction #5- Retain and attract jobs in regional strength areas and in targeted new sectors.

Direction#6- Expand transportation options that encourage travel by foot, bike and transit and enhance efficient inter-regional transportation connections.

Direction #7- Maximize the use of existing buildings, infrastructure and vacant or abandoned land.

Direction #8- Protect ecological systems and improve air, land and water quality.

Direction #9- Maintain and create attractive public and private spaces and respect the unique character of existing buildings, neighbourhoods and settlements.

  • Community Participation

The applicant must submit a plan for community/public consultation to assure that local stakeholders are aware of, and supportive of, the project plans.

Land Title Statement

Land Title- Two Row/Silver Covenant Chain

The ability to use, occupy, possess land and to right to legislate with respect to land, subject to Haudenosaunee obligations to the land, treaty obligations, and the general commitment to impair as minimally as possible, the property rights of ‘others’.

NOT fee simple

NOT personal usufructury

NOT lease

NOT rent

NOT easement

NOT doctrine of discovery ‘terra nullius’

NOT Royal Proclamation 1763- if not already Crown, that only surrender to Crown-Delga

“occupy” – physical ability to situate ‘yourself’ in a certain space

“possess” – exclude others from using

“legislate” – internal regulation- economy, environment, social planning

“treaty obligation” – 1768 Fort Stanwix etc.

“land” – water, air, surface, sub-surface, other

“unsufructury” – land held in common, ploughs depth, use it but can’t damage

Land Bank

(Butterfly Concept)

Haudenosaunee Title Office (HTO) (CNP) – Charity – Canadian Non Profit

-Registry -Canadian Title

-Run with Haud. Title -Band Council

-Fence watchers -Held in trust for Haudenosaunee


Land Issues Principles

In any land issues, we want it understood that the following principles will govern any actions taken by the Haudenosaunee Council of Chiefs of the Grand River Territory:

  1. The land is sacred to us. It defines our identities, belief system, languages and way of life.

  2. We hold the aboriginal and treaty title to our lands collectively.

  3. Our treaty relationship with the Crown is still alive and in force and directs our conduct in our relationship to Canada. Within this relationship, the terms of the treaties continue to bind both our government and the Crown

  4. We require a careful accounting for the Crown’s dealing with our lands, and the return of any lands that were improperly or illegally taken from our ancestors.

  5. We require an accounting for the Crown’s dealing with our lands, and the return of any lands that were improperly or illegally taken from our ancestors.

  6. It is not only within the context of our treaty relationship with the Crown that we see justification for such accounting and restitution. Canadian and international law is clear on the right of the Haudenosaunee to see justice on these matters.

  7. In any agreements with the Crown concerning land our goal is to promote and protect a viable economy for our people on our land- an economy that will be culturally appropriate, environmentally sustainable, and not injurious to our people and our neighbours.

  8. Our fundamental approach is that Six Nations lands will come under the jurisdiction, management and control of Six Nations people. The federal and provincial governments must not impose jurisdictional, policing, taxation, and/or economic activities as part of the land rights settlement.

Our people, our laws, and our government have survived by being thoughtful, respectful, diligent and practical. In our relations with the Crown, and in any negotiations concerning land and the resolution of land-related issues, we will continue to apply those principles.