Exploiting high-brow British culture to make a political point is not a particularly easy task. But at a swanky opening at London's National Portrait Gallery Tuesday evening, representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy called on the British Crown to remind the Canadian government about their commitments to indigenous sovereignty.
The exhibit featured historical paintings from the early 1700s portraying four indigenous envoys who were brought to England to meet Queen Anne, signing an agreement respecting the sovereignty of the Iroquois. The British were fighting the French for control of North America at the time, and so such agreements were of great strategic importance.
Keith Jamieson, a curator and historian from the Six Nations of the Grand River community, offered a formal statement from the confederacy calling for the renewal of the agreements recognizing their people as equal partners and affirming their sovereignty:
“We, the chiefs of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council in a full session at the Onondaga Council House, Grand River, would like to take this opportunity to remind our English allies that these portraits are an expression of our sovereignty as nations and that we ask the Crown in Britain to remind their representatives in Canada of the commitments that we have together.”
For detail, see this wire news article.