Crystal Monture, a candidate for Six Nations’ administrative council, is seen on video footage aiding in the violent beating of a woman outside of a community meeting in February. She is seen actively preventing others from helping the victim, as her sister Melissa Monture repeatedly punches Hayley Doxtator while slamming her head against a cinder-block wall.
Doxtator has publicly criticized the Monture family for a pattern of bullying and intimidation that has silenced the community in fear — often intended to influence the trajectory of public policy decisions and the community’s politics.
Several videos of the attack were shared to Facebook earlier this year, but the two sisters threatened each social media user who had the footage posted until they removed the content. It has not been publicly available since — until now.
Doxtator has pressed charges in the matter, but the Monture sisters have intimidated several would-be witnesses, such that Melissa Monture is likely to skirt jail time. Crystal Monture wasn’t charged in the incident, which still shocks many in the Reserve community of some 13,000 on-territory residents.
The beating took place outside of the Six Nations Community Hall, in Ohsweken, where a meeting of the Six Nations Economic Development Corporation was taking place to discuss tensions regarding the reconstruction of the Niagara Reinforcement Line, a hydroelectric transmission line that runs between Niagara Falls and the Greater Toronto Area.
Bill Monture leads a faction of the political organization known as the Men’s Fire and is the father of the two sisters. That organization has made a number of deals with federal Indian agents working for the administrative council that were designed to quell discontent at moments of tense politics — as was the case recently with the Niagara Reinforcement Line.
The details of Monture’s financial relationship with that agency, or possible payments made in exchange for using violence to silence the federal agency’s political critics, have never been clear.
In April of 2016, the Montures forcibly removed Aaron Detlor, an attorney who works on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Council, from the offices of the Haudenosaunee Development Institute (HDI), the Confederacy government’s administrative arm. Detlor pressed charges against Bill Monture in that incident.
Bill Monture’s son, Chucky, is also known to threaten community members who post content that is critical of the Monture family, its business interests, or the administrative council.
Many in the community have asked the Reserve’s administration to evict the family from the Grand River Territory, in accordance with the agency’s residency bylaws.
Under the Indian Act, a ‘band council’, as the federal works agencies are known, can easily evict individuals for violent behavior, non-membership, lack of blood quantum, or a slew of other issues. It’s created an environment ripe for intimidation — which, as a tactic, is effective in silencing critics — who fear that the Montures will turn to the Reserve’s administration to initiate eviction proceedings against them.
Two years ago, the administrative council was fighting with Haudenosaunee activists over who would control the Burtch Lands, an undeveloped tract of land along the Grand River that has never been surrendered by treaty. That land has been repossessed by Haudenosaunee activists in recent years, and there was much disagreement over who would be allowed to farm the site and to which council they would remit lease payments: the sovereign Confederacy government, which asserts sovereign title to the land, or the federal works agency that administers Reserve programs.
At the height of those political tensions, which would often manifest in the form of roadblocks of major roadways that traverse the territory, Melissa Monture threatened Hazel Hill, the former executive director of the HDI, attempting to provoke a fight and gesturing with her fists. Hazel quickly jumped in her vehicle and departed the Burtch Lands property.
Within days, Bill Monture and Wilf Davey went to Hill’s house and demanded she come outside. They screamed at her daughter, Ricki. Chuck Monture removed his shirt and began shouting obscenities, believing Ricki to be Hazel.
At the time, Kristine Hill, who is the individual who had been farming the Burtch Lands, divorced her husband, who is close to Bill Monture. The Haudenosaunee Chiefs decided to renew her lease in Hill’s name alone, in accordance with Haudensaunee law that stipulates matrilineal ownership of the home and domestic property. Hazel, acting as the Executive Director of the administrative arm of the Confederacy, supported the action.
Angry, Monture rounded up his faction of the Men’s Fire to mob Hill’s home with the aim of intimidating Kris into not farming the Burtch Lands that year, effectively shutting down her business and damaging her livelihood.
During the summer of 2017, when Haudenosaunee activists shutdown Argyle Street at Highway 6, a major intersection on Haudenosaunee lands near the hamlet of Caledonia, Monture repeatedly threatened protesters at the site with violence if they did not remove a ‘tent city’ that was constructed to reclaim the undeveloped site, over which the Confederacy asserts sovereign title.
At first, Monture offered to bribe the demonstrators, first with food and supplies and later with cash, if they removed the Argyle Street barricade.
“I was down there at the time, at first he tried to bribe the protestors, but we refused,” one source explains to The Chronicle. “Then he started threatening to come in with bulldozers. They even had a few big trucks all parked up ready to go at the Sit n’ Bull gas station on 6th Line Road by Oneida Road.”
That gas station is owned by the billionaire Ken Hill, of Grand River Enterprises, the prolifically successful manufacturer of Seneca brand cigarettes.
The protests at the intersection badly hurt several of Hill’s tobacco and gasoline retail outlets located along 6th Line Road, on a part of the Reserve nearest to vehicles entering from Caledonia.
During the summer of 2011, a youth group took over an old, decrepit police station before it was to be demolished. They wanted to repurpose it into a youth center. The administrative council tasked Monture and his faction of the Men’s Fire to remove the kids from the property.
“They went in and violently started throwing those kids around and tossing them on the floor, and they threw over old Wes Elliott, the only adult there at the time minding those youth,” another source explains. “All I know is the band council asked the Men’s Fire to step in because the youth protest was making the community look bad.”
Also pictured in the video of the February beating is Iris Monture, Bill’s wife, who goes by Kanatine Monture on Facebook. She is known to verbally attack critics in the community and on social media.
The Men’s Fire emerged in 2006, after the Caledonia Reclamation, in which a months-long standoff stopped the encroachment of a massive housing development on sovereign Grand River territory. The once-powerful group has split into distinct political factions, at least twice, leaving the political organization with a decentralized leadership structure — largely as a result of Monture’s abusive and bullying behavior.
In the most recent political schism of the Men’s Fire, two main factions partnered to barricade and occupy the site of the Reserve’s administration building, effectively shutting down the federal works agency for more than two months this past summer.
Those demonstrators received several threats from Monture and his associates, insisting that the administrative council would eventually call the Men’s Fire in and that they would go and remove those protestors forcibly — even implying that they would enjoy it.
“Bill Monture gets hired to do what the police can’t do. The Ontario Provincial Police don’t want to come on the Reserve to beat praying women and children off of our own land. The optics don’t look good for them, so band council hires Bill to do it instead,” he suspects.
Monture owned Mowhak Flooring for decades, and the family operates a burrito restaurant out of a building located at the front of their property, adjacent to the Two Arrows Restaurant.
To this day, the Montures continue to intimidate critics. Now that Crystal Monture is seeking a position on the administrative council — already rife with corruption — the community is worried that it will enable and perhaps even embolden the family’s violent and intimidating tactics.
“People are terrified of that family because if they speak up or do anything, they’ll get terrorized, beat up, their homes will mysteriously get burned down, their cars are stolen,” a source familiar with the situation explains. “They’ve been harassing Hayley.”
“If you speak out, they send people to watch your house, and they will sit in your driveway,” he adds.
Bill’s brother John Monture and his wife, Viera Monture, nominated Mark Hill to run for Chief of the administrative council. Mark is the nephew of Ken Hill. They are all members of the Six Nations Agricultural Association, a group of Christian families who vehemently opposed Kris Hill’s license from the Confederacy Chiefs to farm the Burtch Lands.