Indigenous Sovereignty is still the issue!

Challenging colonialism in the Canadian court system


(27 February 2005) Mohawk Nation News -- WE HAVE started actions in the courts of both the United States and Canada. Why are we doing this? People ask. We are not using the colonizers' law.

We're doing it because we believe in the "Rule of Law". We're doing it because we don't want our people to be the victims of genocide. We don't want our environment to suffer ecocide.

If we win our cases in the highest colonial courts, it will prove the humanity of the colonizers. It will prove that even the "mightiest powers on earth" have enough intelligence to decide to live according to law. It will be the end of "might makes right".

The Rule of Law is supposed to protect the weak against the strong. By taking on the governments of the United States of America and of Canada, we are taking on as strong as the strong can get. We can't beat them with arms. They have more men and munitions than anyone can ever wish for. We can only beat them with our minds and with our hearts. This is why we are appealing to the Rule of Law. It is the only way we can defend ourselves.

The United States and Canada both claim to live according to the Rule of Law.

In these countries, the powerful pay lip service. Everyone else obeys - THEM!!! Not the Law!!! Because of their might, the ultra rich can violate the law with impunity. Hardly anyone feels strong enough to do anything about it. And they know it.

Right now, North American society is trying to write the final chapter in the genocide of the Indigenous people. Their habit of ignoring our sovereignty is entrenched. Those who don't convert to their religion of money, profit and environmental rape are dead meat.

But they don't know what they're up against. The only way for an Indigenous person to die is to stop being culturally Indigenous.

North America has become addicted to domination. It is exporting this vicious syndrome to the rest of the world. This is their new Indian Country. They are applying the same genocidal techniques to others that they used to ethnically cleanse North America of the Indigenous people and our legal systems. They are trying to kill their cultures like they tried to kill ours.

The Rule of Law is being tested all over the world. The modern form of genocide was perfected in North America working on us Onkwehonwe - "the Indians". We know about their games better than any one else. So the Rule of Law has to be defended right here on home ground, where the battle started.

We've been fighting for generations and the invaders know it.

In 1798, John Elmsley, Chief Justice of Upper Canada, reported to the Executive Council of Upper Canada that "the Indians" were starting to find out how much their land was worth.

"It is no secret to any person at all acquainted with the present state of the aborigines of this Part of His Majesty's American Dominions are beginning to appreciate their lands not so much by their use which they themselves, as by the value at which they are estimated by those who purchase them".

Elmsley went on to advise his colonial bosses to acquire the land while the price is right. He warned that there are always "traitorous" Europeans who were willing to inform "the Indians" of what was really happening. It was getting harder to trick the Onkwehonwe and steal our lands.

Today, we are still caught in the same nightmare. White society is ready, willing and able to kill us off. They have been working every day for two centuries, trying to finish off the job. Now they have reached what they would like to think is the 'mop up' phase.

Two hundred years ago, the colonial judges were talking among themselves and their Executive Council. They ignored the colonial law that said they couldn't do what they were doing. They ignored the Rule of Law. They made treaties with people who were not qualified to sign. And they used this as an excuse to claim they owned our land.

The same game is being played by colonial administrators today. Whenever an Indian group complains about violations of the Rule of Law, their answer is, "We can't hear you because you have no legal standing." The only ones they want to listen to are the ones running puppet administrations that they have organized and set up themselves. They don't want to look at how these bogus "governments" were set up. They don't believe in the Rule of Law enough to do that.

These little band governments that they set up are all on the colonial payroll. They get no pay if they raise embarrassing questions. So they ignore the Kaienerekowa and the constitutions of the Onkwehonwe governments. They're trying to have their cake and eat it too. Either the Indigenous government has legal standing or the band council has legal standing. It cannot be both.

The tribal and band councils are fighting for their political existence. They have become the prison trustees of their own people. Like their Jewish counterparts who acted as trustees in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

They have helped turn Turtle Island into a prison for the Indigenous sovereign people. The constitutions of both Canada and the United States guarantee us our liberty. Not one will hear us trying to raise the words of our own constitution. They can't even hear them.

Modern day judges claim to think of the colonial constitutions as living trees. But they have been bewitched by a butcher mentality. They have taken to hacking off limbs and branches for political reasons. They seem to think they can trim the constitution as they please. Never mind what the law says. They ignored the Royal Proclamation of 1763. They ignore whatever doesn't fit their fancy.

That's why recognizing Indigenous ownership of the land is not on the judicial agenda, no matter how clearly their law requires it. Their excuse for politicizing and terminating the Rule of Law is "reasonableness". Judges claim they are being "reasonable" when they prune the constitution to get a result that "feels" right - to them. Did you ever hear any of them asking how we feel?

Today they insist that the only way to amend the colonial constitutions is to follow a specific amending formula. It doesn't include trimming living trees. Amendments have to go to the people and they must have substantial popular support.

But they ignore this formula when they are appropriating Indigenous sovereignty. They even ignore it when they are steam rolling their own people's rights. This is treason under both the Canadian Constitution and the Constitution of the United States of America. This is misprision of treason and fraud.

The significance of the word "misprision", as it is defined in THEIR law, is that we don't have to prove mens rea, which is a guilty mind or intent. Certain laws are so basic you can't be a judge without being aware of them. The Constitution is one of them, particularly in regard to the Indians. Local government in North America could not usurp Indigenous sovereignty without committing misprision of treason and fraud. Having a guilty mind doesn't have to be proven. When the crime is misprision, "ignorance is no defence". Their knowledge of what they were doing or their lack of it is not relevant. The only thing that matters is the obligation to carry out the law.

We are filing a petition addressed to the Governor General showing that there has been judicial treason. The judges know what they are doing and that they are guilty.

What we are doing affects the whole world. In the international arena, Canada claims to be a leading defender of the Rule of Law. This means is that Canadian judges and lawyers are exporting their ethics and their thought processes to the community of nations through institutions like the new International Criminal Court. They are using the same fraudulent techniques that they learned and practiced in Canada. They deny the legal standing of anybody who is in competition with them for jurisdiction over the same territory.

This is why we must continue our struggle for the Rule of Law. We were the first targets of the modern genocide techniques. Our land was the proving ground, the stomping ground, the place where it all began. And this is where it has to end. Right here, at the Eastern Door.

Our Eastern Door has become the door the Rule of Law for the whole world. This is modern civilization's Thermopolae. A handful of Greeks once defended western civilization against the Persian hordes. They maintained the Rule of Law.

Now we must defend the Rule of Law for the whole world. It is up to us to prevent the ecological despoliation of the world. We are just like those people long ago. It is an almost impossible task. But humans are funny. They take on impossible tasks and every once in awhile they win them. That is what we have to do.

You may reprint or send around this article. Please credit as follows: Kahentinetha Horn, MNN Mohawk Nation News, Feb. 20, 2005,

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