Article by SmokeSignals.Media
The results are in. The people of Six Nations want no political interference – from inside or outside of their community – when it comes to the regulation of the cannabis industry on their territory.
The survey, undertaken by the on reserve dispensary Green Health for Six, was mailed to 2,300 households in Six Nations and New Credit. It asked 20 questions about people’s use of medicinal and recreational cannabis, and gauged their attitudes towards its use in their territory.
“A total of 731 people completed the survey, with 626 respondents providing their Indian Status numbers,” said Hawk, beaming with pride as he held a hefty stack of of completed surveys in his hands. The survey was carried out from December 4th to 31st, 2017. Surveys were filled out in hard printed copy and digitally online.
Status numbers were requested in order to prove the identities of respondents, in case someone chose to dispute the legitimacy of the participants or question the relevance of the results. These numbers appear to demonstrate an unprecedented level of community engagement in a matter that spans questions of sovereignty in health and healing, economic opportunity, as well as the restoration of Indigenous self determination in medicine.
The Green Health survey was part of an ongoing attempt by traditional medicine people and indigenous dispensary owners to figure out how to best regulate cannabis on their territory. “More importantly,” says Hawk’s business partner, Aaron Sault, it was an exercise in “community outreach and grassroots consultation, and our refusal to be silenced by band council and its arbitrary, antagonistic stance towards medicinal cannabis.”
“It’s my understanding that band council is not really a voice for the people, but they were put here [by the Canadian government] as administration,” said Hawk. “I felt that they were doing nothing at all to get the people’s voice heard. So we put the survey to the community to get answers to what we felt was valuable information.”
Full-page ads with the survey were taken out in both of the community’s weekly newspapers, the Two Row Times and the Turtle Island News. Surveys could be returned by being dropped off in person, mailed in, texted in as a photograph, or filled out in an online form.