Inventor knew incinerator was spewing toxins into the air

The controversial Kearns’ disintegrator prototype had no pollution control equipment installed.
The controversial Kearns’ disintegrator prototype had no pollution control equipment installed.

Nova Scotia inventor John Kearns knew his waste disintegrator prototype was spewing cancer-causing toxins into the air while it was operating on Six Nations last year.

“That machine that’s there has no pollution equipment on it whatsoever,” Kearns admitted in a phone interview with the Turtle Island News Wednesday from his home in Cape Breton, N.S.

Six Nations people have expressed outrage on social media after learning about test results that came back last week showing his machine was spewing cancer-causing pollutants into the air at a rate two times higher than Ministry of the Environment regulations allow.

But Kearns defended his actions, claiming the tests “are regarded by our scientists as null and void because they should not have been conducted on that partial machine.”

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Six Nations-Aboriginal Affairs battle over New Credit lands could affect entire Haldimand Tract

A move by Aboriginal and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to grant reserve status to a parcel of Six Nations treaty lands bought by New Credit is sparking a legal fight over consultation.

Six Nations Lands Research department director Lonny Bomberry says the federal government’s failure to consult with Six Nations over the land could affect Six Nations land rights across the Haldimand Tract.

He said he understands New Credit bought the land on Highway 6 in good faith to add to their community and want to apply reserve status to it.

“But things have changed since they applied for that status 14 years ago.”

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Men’s Fire gives back to community with free soup

Men’s Fire leader Bill Monture, left, enjoys soup with friends Andrea Curley and “Gunn” at the free “Souper” at Two Arrows Restaurant last Thursday.
Men’s Fire leader Bill Monture, left, enjoys soup with friends Andrea Curley and “Gunn” at the free “Souper” at Two Arrows Restaurant last Thursday.

Iris Monture’s mouth-watering chicken and dumpling soup was so irresistible, it was gone within an hour.

Over 100 people turned out for the Six Nations Men’s Fire’s second free “souper” at Two Arrows Restaurant Thursday and it was clear from the quickly vanishing chicken and dumpling soup, that hungry tummies couldn’t get enough of the delicious comfort food.

The free soup night is an initiative by Men’s Fire members with leader Bill Monture’s wife whipping up the delicious creations with the help of community volunteers so that local residents can enjoy some time together, he said.

“We just want to give something back to the community,” said Monture. “If you look around, everybody’s talking...talking about what’s going on in the community. It’s great.”

The group held a soup night right before Christmas and that was also a huge success, he said.

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Column: Band councils are not “First Nations”

Doug George-Kanentiio
Doug George-Kanentiio

One of the definitions of the word “myth” is a false collective belief used to justify an institution. It is often employed to obscure historical events, to accommodate political, economic and social interests. In education and entertainment the perpetuation of myths are an essential part of the process to eclipse a people’s history, customs and beliefs, replacing them with simplistic caricatures which dehumanize a perceived opponent prior to suppression.

In Canada the use of the term “first nations” fits precisely in the preceding definition. By using this term the truth of aboriginal governance at the time of European contact is hidden and the complex legal relationships between the colonists and indigenous nations obscured.

On Oct. 11, 1492 there were fully functioning Aboriginal governments within defined boundaries across the western hemisphere and certainly in what is now Canada. These were stand alone nations governed under their own laws and with the capacity, as distinct political entities, to enter into contracts and treaties with other states.

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Santee Smith reclaims female identity

Santee Smith

It’s always an eye-opening experience watching one of Santee Smith’s ethereal shows and her newest performance piece - ReQuickening - is no exception.

The renowned dancer, choreographer, artist and pottery designer captures the essence of femininity in her new show, which opened last week with two exclusive performances at the Woodland Cultural Centre Jan. 23 and 24.

Re-Quickening explores how to reclaim and reawaken femininity and how to recover from violence against indigenous women and Mother Earth through the use of props, music, spoken word and Smith’s signature interpretative kinesthetic movements.

“I would call it a performance work,” she says. “It’s not dancy. It does have a lot of emotion to it. It’s more ritualistic so the pacing is a lot slower. It’s more meditative.”

In Re-Quickening, Smith talks about blood, residential schools, and violence against Mother Earth and is intended for a more mature audience.

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Councillor says ‘yes’ votes won at alcohol referendum

Six Nations Band Councillor Helen Miller says the way questions were presented at the Jan. 17 alcohol referendum could be interpreted as more ‘yes’ votes to alcohol regulations than ‘no’ votes.

“If you really stop and think about it, the yeses won,” Coun. Helen Miller said in a phone interview Monday.

In the Jan. 17 referendum at the Community Hall, 557 ballots were cast, with 116 people saying yes to permissive alcohol regulations; 196 voting for restrictive alcohol regulations; and 235 voting for no regulations whatsoever.

The first two options, if tallied together, would total 312 people voting for some kind of regulation.

“So the two yeses would have beat that one ‘no,’” said Miller.

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Lynda Powless, Editor

The dollar is the control AANAC has over bands

Six Nations Band council in pursuit of fending off a growing deficit came up with the idea to present a profit making brewery to the community.

In order to get the dollars the brewery would spin, it needed regulations.

That didn’t happen.

But the deficit is still growing.

Band council tells us each budget year that they are facing cutbacks in every department and annually the threat of potential layoffs spreads through the 700 plus band staff.

But the band council can’t blame the staff for the entire deficit.

At least not $611,000 worth of it last year.

That’s how much the band council cost the community last year with its own ballooning costs to travel around the country, in honorariums but also now in health and life insurance costs.

And there appears to be no plan in place to curb the council’s own costs.

That’s $600,000 a year for a part time council.

The only full time political member is the elected chief.

In addition to their honorariums hovering around $700 a week, plus travel costs the community is paying for band councillors to have health and life insurance. That cost for insurance pushed last years band council costs to $611,000 for the 12 councillors and elected chief.

We don’t know what the argument for the life and health insurance was all about since it, like so many things again these days, was held in a closed council session.

And it was never ratified in an open session until they passed the full budget.

Several years ago under former elected chief the late Wellington Staats, the council of the day decided costs then were getting too high and hired an outside firm to look at the entire band administration system to find the best possible way to streamline what has become a burgeoning expense.

The answer they found...move to automatic banking cutting out costs for cheques and time associated with it and the biggest concern of the day, cut the finance department. The study said all band departments had their own bookkeepers and having a central administration finance department was duplicating what was already happening.

It’s time to look at it again. To find ways to be more cost efficient and to streamline.

And hopefully without having to cost any band employees their jobs. Let’s remember the band is the biggest single employer in the community and without those positions, people will be looking for jobs.

The band council needs to take its deficit seriously and look at its expenses and use staff to tell them how to handle the deficit more efficiently.

If the councillors can’t then the community needs to be asking why not.

Letters to the Editor:

Councillor Helen Miller says garbage is a crisis

Well I got myself in trouble again over a story written in The Brantford Expositor last Fri. Jan 23rd. Seems the past 11 years I’ve landed in somebody’s doghouse for one reason or another.

For those who read the story “Concerned over Incinerator” in The Expositor I want to make it clear that Six Nations Council has not “ordered” a new Landfill machine as reported. “A new machine is on order” the story says. Then the reporter claims I said “We’re going to be getting a new one. We have the order in for it” (the machine). I would not say that because I know Council hasn’t ordered a new machine. In fact, full Council hasn’t even discussed what the next steps will be except to have a community meeting to present the machine testing report.

You know it’s pretty scary when I think about the decisions I have to make as a councillor. For example the current issue of our waste management. What do I know about waste management!

My experience with waste management is when I was growing up my Dad took our garbage and dumped it in our bush. That bush is behind my house today. I cleaned up one dump site but others remain. When I married and raised my own family we burnt our garbage on the ground or in barrels in the backyard. Then we took all the contaminated ashes to the community dump on 3rd Line which was nothing more than a hole in the ground. When the 4th Line dump opened I started taking my garbage there.

The community dump on 4th Line like 3rd Line is a hole in the ground where we all throw our garbage. When one hole was filled we simply just dug another hole. Now that we’ve run out of land to dig more holes we’re piling all our garbage on top of the ground - garbage that contaminates the air, the ground, the water and the environment. The plethora of disease-causing toxins and the stench waft through the air on a daily basis but more so on windy days.

No doubt Six Nations is in a garbage crisis. In recognizing my inexperience with waste management I suggested to the previous Council as well as to the current Council that we need to hire a Waste Management Consultant to help us figure out what to do with our garbage and to help us develop a Waste Management Plan. But my suggestion just bounced off the brick wall.

You’ll notice the Confederacy Council hasn’t stepped up to the plate to help us figure out what to do with the garbage. The Confederacy Chiefs use the dump too. I guess the chiefs don’t see the garbage crisis as important because it’s not one of the Eight Points of Jurisdiction.

Of course we all know recycling is one of the answers. But at present we have a low number of people recycling. Much more than the 1 per cent we used to have but still not enough to make a major impact on our garbage crisis. I mean we can all see what people are putting in the dump. Most of the garbage should be recycled.

You know I’m just a 71 year-old mother and proud grandmother who became a councillor because I wanted to do something good for my community. I wanted to try and help my people and try to ensure some kind of future for my great-grandchildren I hope to have one day. That’s all I am. I make mistakes just like everyone else. I make the wrong decision sometimes. I make too hasty a decision sometimes. I say the wrong things. I sometimes speak without thinking. And despite what people think and sometimes accuse, I would never intentionally do anything to hurt my community or my people.

Councillor Helen Miller

Weekly Cartoon

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