Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation
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|Six Nations of the Grand River|
|— Indian Reserve —|
|• Chief||William Montour|
|• Federal riding||Brant|
|• Prov. riding||Brant|
|• Land||183.20 km2 (70.73 sq mi)|
|Population (August 2012)|
|• Density||64.8/km2 (168/sq mi)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|Area code(s)||519 and 226|
Six Nations (or Six Nations of the Grand River) is the largest First Nation in Canada with a total of 23,902 band members. 11,865 are reported living in the territory. It is the only territory in North America that has the six Iroquois nations living together. These nations are the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora. There are also some Delaware living in the territory. The acreage at present covers some 46,000 acres (190 km2) near the city of Brantford, Ontario. This represents approximately 5% of the original 950,000 acres (3,800 km2) of land granted by the 1784 Haldimand Treaty.
After the colonists' victory in the American Revolutionary War, the British government worked to resettle Loyalists in Canada and provide some compensation for properties lost in the new United States. It also hoped to use new settlers to develop more towns and agriculture in areas west of Quebec. By the Haldimand Proclamation of October 25, 1784, the government granted a reserve of land to the Mohawk Nation and Six Nations Indians in appreciation of their support for The Crown during the revolution.
In 1785 a census showed that 1,843 Natives lived there, including 448 Mohawk, 381 Cayuga, 245 Onondaga, 162 Oneida, 129 Tuscarora, and 78 Seneca of the Iroquois Six Nations, the Haudenosaunee. There were also 400 from other tribes, including Delaware, Nanticoke, Tutelo, and some Creek and Cherokee. Joseph Brant invited several Anglo-American white families to live on the grant, particularly former members of Brant's Volunteers and Butler's Rangers from New York. To encourage his loyalist friends to settle there, he gave them larger grants than the government had given other loyalists. Some of the Aboriginals objected to Brant giving land grants to whites in this reserve area.
The Aboriginals received some provisions from the Indian department, including such items as saws, axes, grindstones, and chisels. They received help in establishing schools and churches, and in securing farm equipment and other necessities. Conditions were extremely difficult in the first years on the frontier, as the government never provided enough supplies or assistance to any of the resettled loyalists. In 1785, the government built the first Protestant church in Upper Canada (now Ontario), Her Majesty's Royal Chapel of the Mohawks, on the reserve. It is now one of twelve Chapels Royal supported by the Crown throughout the world.
The main town was at what is now Brantford. It was first called Brant's Town after Joseph Brant, who built his residence there. In 1798, it was described as a large and sprawling settlement. Brant's home was a handsome two-story house, built in a European-American style. In 1797, Brant founded one of the earliest Masonic Lodges in Upper Canada; he was its Worshipful Master.
In the early 1790s, the population started decreasing as Aboriginals left the Grand River for traditional native communities in New York. After Brant's land sales starting in 1795, the population began to increase again, with the promise of annuities to help the Six Nations community survive.
Governor John Simcoe confirmed the Grant with a limited deed on January 14, 1793. This deed did not extend to the source of the Grand River, territory to which the Six Nations maintained they were entitled as described in the earlier Haldimand Proclamation. Also, this deed forbade them to sell the land to anyone but each other and the king. Led by Joseph Brant, the chiefs rejected the deed.
In 1795, the Grand River chiefs empowered Joseph Brant to sell large blocks of land in the northern section, which the Aboriginals were not using. They set terms of no money down because they wanted to take their payment entirely in future years as annual interest.
The original tract of land stretched from the mouth of the Grand River on the shores of Lake Erie to the river's head, and for 10 km (6 mi) from either bank. Between 1795 and 1797, Joseph Brant sold 381,480 acres (1,543.8 km2) to land speculators; the property comprising the northern half of the reserve was sold for £85,332. This was the highest price paid to Aboriginals up to this time for undeveloped land.
[[File:Chiefs of the Six Nations at Brantford, Canada, explaining their wampum belts to Horatio Hale September 14, 1871.jpg|thumb|left|225px|Chiefs of the Six Nations explaining their wampum belts to Horatio Hale, 1871]] Simcoe opposed the sale. The interest on the annuity promised an income to the people of £5,119 per year, far more than any other Iroquois people had received. The land speculators were unable to sell farm-size lots to settlers fast enough. By 1801, however, all the land speculators had fallen behind in their payments. Because of the lack of payments, Brant was determined to sell more land to make up for the missing payments.
In 1796, Lord Dorchester issued another deed for the land. This empowered the Aboriginals to lease or sell their land provided they offered it first for sale to the government. Brant rejected this deed partly because the deed named the Six Nations as owners of the land. He believed the deed should be limited to the current persons living on the land.
In 1800, two-thirds of the Aboriginals had not adapted to separate subsistence agriculture. Brant had hoped that sales of land to European-Americans would help them develop the frontier more than took place.
The Six Nations people were originally given 10 km on either side of the entire length of the Grand River, although much of the land was later sold. The current reserves encompass 184.7 km2 (71 sq mi), all but 0.4 km2 in Six Nations reserve No. 40.
Several named communities exist within the Six Nations reserve:
- Beavers Corner
- Longboat Corners
- Medina Corners
- St. Johns
- Sixty-Nine Corners
- Smith Corners
- Sour Spring
Six Nations of the Grand River is the most populous reserve in Canada. As of December 2010, there were 23,902 band members, of which 11,865 lived on the reserve. The population consists of the following bands:
|Nation||Band Name||Total||On reserve|
|Iroquois||Bay of Quinte Mohawk||696||308|
|Onondaga Clear Sky||741||414|
The reserve has both a traditional Iroquois council of chiefs and an elected band council conforming to Canadian government requirements.
See also 
- Caledonia land dispute
- Grand River
- Haldimand Proclamation
- Six Nations Polytechnic
- List of townships in Ontario
- Graymont, Barbara, The Iroquois in the American Revolution, 1972, ISBN 0-8156-0083-6
- Kelsay, Isabel, Joseph Brant 1743-1780 Man of Two Worlds, 1984, ISBN 0-8156-0182-4
- Taylor, Alan, The Divided Ground, 2006, ISBN 0-679-45471-3
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||County of Brant|
|County of Brant||Haldimand County|
|Norfolk County||Haldimand County, New Credit 40A IR|