UTA #3 The Political Significance of the Reclamation: An Interview with Brian Skye
Can you tell us who you are and what your connection to Six Nations and the reclamation is?
My name is Degunohdohgae. I am of the Cayuga Nation, Wolf Clan, Six Nations. My colonial name is Brian Skye. My original name, Degunohdohgae, translates into English as “between villages” and that’s who I am as recognized by the Confederacy. I’m at the reclamation site because of the history that is there. As a writer of historical plays, the reasons why we are at the reclamation site as a Confederacy aren’t lost on me.
Our symbol in relation to the colonial countries was the Two Row Wampum, the two rows symbolizing the respective paths of our Confederacy and the non-native country or peoples that we were making the agreements with. The idea behind the symbolism was that we would continue on our path without interrupting their government and religion, assuming that they would show us the same respect and wouldn’t try to force their laws, religion and governments on our people. So that history is something that I’m well aware of. That is part of the history of how we came to be in this part of the country along the Grand River and it’s that history that we are affirming by exercising our rights with the reclamation on the outskirts of Caledonia.
How would you situate the reclamation in terms of the last 50-100 years of resistance to Canadian colonialism in this area? Do you have any thoughts as to why it came about when it did or why people decided to carry it out at this time?