Iroquois Decry Paleface Rule (1938) | Surnames: Delisle, Garlow,
Pow-wow at Caughnawaga Advised Against Citizenship
Chief Garlow of N.B. Stresses Great Debts and Counsels Native Ways
Iroquois of the Caughnawaga Reservation and delegates representing other Indian communities in Eastern Canada, meeting in the “grand national pow-wow” now being held on the South Shore reservation, were advised yesterday to refuse Canadian citizenship if it were offered to them.
According to Chief Chency Garlow, spokesman for the Indians of Restigouche, N.B. the pale faces had “made a mess of this country, and their ways led only to trouble.”
“If you become Canadian citizens you must shoulder the white man’s debt,” the New Brunswick chieftain declared. “Before the white man came to ts country there was not a dollar of debt. The white man’s civilization has ruined Canda, burying it deep under a mound of public debts. If you become citizens you will have to pay those debts; you will have to bear, for instance, the burden of the the Government railway. Let us stay together, let us govern ouservles in our own way – the way of our fathers – which we know is the right way.”
The words of Chief Garlow and of the other braves who exhorted the meeting, were greeted with vociferous applause by the several hundred Indians who filled the Caughnawaga town hall to capacity. Addresses were given mainly in the staccato, guttural Iroquois language, interspersed with phrases and explanations in English. Many persons, unable to gain admittance, listened to the proceeds as best they could from the doors of the hall and the open space in front of the Caughnawaga Roman Catholic Church.
Mayor J.K. DeLisle of Caughnawaga acting as chairman at the meeting, declared the poor accommodation was due to the Government’s refusal to grant permission to hold the pow-wow in the senior schoolhouse. Seated with Chief DeLisle on the platform were the elders and chieftains of the various tribes, with the tribal banner of the Six Nations and canadian and American flags on the wall behind them. Little of the usual atmosphere of an Indian celebration was apparent; the shawled squaxa dnt he bright-eye boys and girls alike were dressed in quiet, dark clothes.
One by one the speakers outlined the treaties and concessions which the Indians claim are being ignored by the white man’s government at the present time. The red men, they maintained, were being victimized by non-Indians living on reservations contrary to law and were not receiving their fair share of assistance.
The Indian Act of 1886 was strongly opposed by the delegates, who demanded the right to self-government according to their ancient tribal laws and customs. Stressing the opinion that the meeting was not a council of war but a pow-wow of peace, they urged the setting up of a Royal Commission to study Indian Affairs and decided to address a personal appeal “on behalf of His Majesty’s Red Indian subjects” to the King.
Plans were also formulated for the inauguration of an all-Canadian Indian Parliament, to meet annually; it was hoped that in the future this might be enlarged to include all the red men of North America.
A request to all”fair-minded persons” in Canada and the United States to support Indian protective associations was also made.It is expected that a delegation will travel to Ottawa today or tomorrow to present the demands of the meeting to the Government.
Of Possible Interest
Source: The Montreal Gazette, Feb. 28th, 1938
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