About the Six Nations of Grand River

The Six Nations are the Mohawk, Seneca, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga and Tuscarora nations.

After the American War of Independence, some of the families who were allies of the British moved from their homeland in the Finger Lakes region of New York State to the Grand River.

They settled on a tract of land granted by the Haldimand Proclamation of 1784 and confirmed by the Simcoe Patent of 1793.

The Six Nations claims

The Six Nations of Grand River are seeking compensation as well as an accounting of what happened to their property, money and other assets in southwestern Ontario, within the Haldimand Tract.

The Haldimand Tract is a parcel of land 6 miles on either side of the Grand River from its mouth to its source. The Simcoe Patent outlined a smaller area of land that did not extend to the source of the Grand River.

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Between 1980 and 1995, Six Nations of the Grand River submitted 29 claims to Canada under Canada’s Specific Claims Policy. So far, one of these claims has been resolved.

Status of unresolved claims

In 1995, the Six Nations commenced litigation against Canada and Ontario for an accounting of what happened to its land, money and other assets and the manner in which the Crown managed and disposed of these assets.

In 2009, the Six Nations formally reactivated the 1995 litigation against Canada and Ontario. Their claims are now being pursued in the courts.

Who’s involved

These parties are involved in the matter:

  • the Government of Canada
  • the Government of Ontario
  • the Six Nations of Grand River

Ontario’s involvement

Ontario became involved because of a protest at the Douglas Creek Estates, a housing development under construction in Caledonia. The development sits on part of the lands being claimed by the Six Nations.

Ontario is working with the Six Nations, surrounding municipalities and other interested parties to strengthen relationships and promote reconciliation. Some of the steps taken so far include:

  • buying the land at Douglas Creek on the condition the Six Nations remove the barricades that were erected in Caledonia
  • agreeing to transfer the former Burtch correctional facility lands to the Six Nations
  • providing financial aid to municipalities affected by the dispute

Where discussions stand now

Status of the land at Douglas Creek

No decisions have been made. The ministry continues to encourage discussions about its future between the Six Nations, Haldimand County and the province.

Status of the Burtch facility transfer

The environmental assessment of the Burtch property is complete and remediation is ongoing. The province is discussing the transfer of ownership of the Burtch land to the Six Nations people.

Moving Forward

Ontario is working with Six Nations and local residents to help broker a resolution that serves all interests. Ontario supports a negotiated settlement and we are working to achieve one.