During the colonial wars of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Six Nations of the Iroquois had come to view themselves as allies of the British government rather than as subjects of the Crown. They were, therefore, considerably distressed by the Canadian government's attempts to change their status to virtual wards of the state at the end of the nineteenth century. After the First World War, the Iroquois launched a campaign to regain their sovereignty, an action led by Chef Deskeheh (Levi General). They petitioned the Supreme Court of Canada and attempted to have the case referred to the Privy Council in London, but their efforts were rebuffed. The new League of Nations, however, provided a forum for the grievances of the Six Nations and at least some Europeans were sympathetic to their appeal for justice and independence. Canada responded by stating that the transfer of power to the Canadian Parliament through the British North America Act and other British legislation did not include mention of any Aboriginal group. Although several smaller nations, including Holland and Persia, expressed support for the Iroquois, Britain would brook no interference in internal matters of the Empire, and the case was dropped.

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