Over 300 people participated in a militant rally at the University of Toronto on April 28, 2006. The rally was originally organized by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and other First Nations organizations to oppose the visit of Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, Jim Prentice, who was scheduled to debate "Native Self-Government" on campus, hosted by the Churchill Society. Mr. Prentice cancelled his appointment at the last minute, no doubt knowing the kind of reception he was going to receive on campus.
After performing a welcome song, Wanda Whitebird, one of the first speakers at the rally, stated that the cancellation of Mr. Prentice's visit was a victory. Loud cheers greeted this statement.
Jacqueline House, from the Cayuga Nation, who has been involved in the struggle from the beginning, gave on overview of the almost two-month long action of the Six Nations Haudensaunee Confederacy in Caledonia who are defending their treaty rights and lands against real estate developer Henco Industries that has the backing of the Canadian state. Ms. House pointed out that one of the main features of the struggle was that the Canadian state refuses to deal with the Six Nations on a nation-to-nation basis. She stated that the people of the Six Nations would never back down from their demand that their hereditary and treaty rights as sovereign peoples be recognized by the Canadian state. On this point there is no compromise she said.
Ms. House also stated that the Six Nations had "not declared war on the Canadian state" and have conducted themselves peacefully. She demanded that the OPP put down their weapons and stop their intimidation. She condemned the act of state terror that took place on the early morning of April 20 when over 150 heavily armed police attacked the Six Nations blockade in Caledonia under the pretext that the Six Nations defenders posed "a risk to public safety." Ms. House also stated that the support of the people of Canada has been a decisive factor in the struggle. She said that it is clear that the "Canadian people are also fed up with the federal government as we are" and that the fighting unity of the people for the just cause of the Six Nations was vital. She called on everyone to come out to Caledonia and visit the Six Nations camp and continue to stand with the people there until victory is won.
In between speeches songs were sung including the "Strong Women's Song" which came out of the former infamous Prison For Women in Kingston where large numbers of First Nations women were jailed far away from their communities and their families. This song was sung as a song of defiance against the racist Canadian state and to affirm the unity of the woman prisoners.
Other speakers at the rally included Charlie Mercer from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers who stated that the just struggle of the Six Nations is being supported by many members of the CUPW.
Sima Zeheri of No One Is Illegal spoke about her visit to the Six Nations camp in Caledonia and the inspiration she drew from the fighting spirit of the people there. She stated that the Canadian state has historically acted violently against the First Nations and this violence is now taking place not only in Caledonia against the Six Nations but also being targeted against undocumented workers and refugees in Canada. She said that Immigration Canada officials are now going into schools to pull children with no status out of classes and is holding them in detention, giving the example that in the last 48 hours; four children in two Catholic schools had been picked up. She stated that emergency actions are being planned the following day and called on everyone to participate in actions to oppose the criminalization and state-violence directed against these victims.
Towards the end of the rally, news was received that an action was being organized by some people in Caledonia to attack the blockade and everyone was urged to come out immediately to stand with the First Nations people. As soon as the announcement was made, people began organizing car-pools to get themselves to Caledonia.
Late into the night we can hear singing from the nearby OPP camp, "I wanna go, I wanna go home .. to Hamilton, Toronto, Brantford, Oakville, Burlington, Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, London I wanna go to my home on Rotino'shon:ni land". We hope they're starting to see the illegality and futility of their mission to sit like a bunch of ground hogs watching and waiting in the hope that we'll do something that will give them an excuse to attack us. How can the public afford to have 1000 OPP, 250 RCMP and the Canadian army at the ready when Canada is completely at fault? They should just sit down and work out with us how to right the wrongs.
Lenin says that you are in a "police state" when the cops earn more than the teachers. They say in Toronto a beginner cop with a high school education before police college gets $82,000. A teacher gets $38,000. So, folks, wake up and look at what's happening. Tasers are worse than truncheons.
This is day 62 of our protest. Today the OPP has a barricade 30 ft. in front of ours at the site of the illegal Henco Industries housing project at Caledonia. We go over and chat with them and share coffees. They stop all vehicles coming and going, especially emergency ones. The bigger reason is to stop the angry Caledonia residents from rushing our barricade and attacking us, so they tell us. They must be really happy that the locals got out of hand. They seem to have forgotten that there were no problems between us until the cops showed up.
We have had many threats to take us down. The OPP advanced over us in a predawn attack on April 20th. We fought them hand to hand, took our land back and kicked them off. They went away mad and got reinforcements of more heavily armed OPP, RCMP and the Canadian Army. They formed a 50 sq. mile perimeter around us. Helicopters are flying overhead constantly. Parabolic microphones listen to everything we say. Infra-red imaging follows everyone, including the dogs and the gophers. There's high tech everywhere. They treat us like animals in a zoo! Is that what they think we are? Our people need night vision goggles just like the police so we can watch their movements too. The Caledonia rioters have come a few times to try to rush our barricades. We remain unarmed and vigilant. More than ever we continue to need your support and to come and stand with us in solidarity at the site (Highway 6 and 6th Line, 20 minutes south of Hamilton Ontario Canada).
We want Canada and Ontario to obey the laws and promises that were made that there would never ever be any encroachment on our territory. They were to never steer our canoe and they would always remain in their boat. Today we are squeezed onto 5 % of our land base, while Canada's largest cities and towns are illegally sitting on our land. Besides the outright theft, there are outstanding rents, leases and unfulfilled obligations we have been fighting for in the last 200 years.
The media is still concentrating on the angry Caledonia residents probably hoping for an incident that would justify moving the army closer. The people of Six Nations and our allies behind the lines and the scenes continue to make progress of a more significant nature.
We'd like to assure you that we are not sitting idly. Our Law is alive! We can see it working on many levels. We are using our own process. Clans, chiefs, men and women and the people are working together. We are all carrying out our responsibilities. We continue to support those people who are under a great deal of pressure at this time. With everything that is happening, we are listening to the people. They are speaking and having their voices heard.
As snipers continue to point guns at us, we continue our colonial Canadian style negotiations. It takes a lot of courage to deliberate while heavily armed police practically breathe down our necks. Talks will resume on Monday with the OPP and our delegates will be sitting at the table. It is the beginning. We have won on so many levels. Don't be discouraged, keep the vigils going and continue to support us. What we are doing affects all Onkwehonweh people and our allies as the law is intended for all.
Janie Jamieson is one of our articulate spokespersons. The OPP have stated they will arrest her if she attends the negotiations. Their injunction is illegal and should be set aside.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty appointed former Ontario Premier David Peterson to be the negotiator for Ontario. He's a lawyer and so he will probably try to impose foreign laws on us. Our position is that the clan mothers have to be at the table; our designates from the site need to be at the table; and we want a letter of confirmation from the Crown that the federal and provincial representatives are delegated to speak on Her Majesty's behalf on a nation-to-nation level. Mr. Peterson better have his letter from the Queen. Otherwise we have no business talking to him.
So far the Six Nations blockade has received messages of support from our brothers, sisters, friends, allies and organizations all over the world -- Canada, United States, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, New Zealand, Australia, China, Philippines, Palestine, Iran, Punjab, Germany, France, Britain, Guyana, South Africa and all across Turtle Island.
The Six Nations people and those who are standing in solidarity with us are still on the site of the illegal housing project in Caledonia. There have been blockades, protests and rallies in Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal , St. John's Newfoundland and New York City. We have told our story around the world on regular and internet radio. We have received written support from unions like the Canadian Auto Workers, Canadian Labour Congress and many native and non-native organizations. The alternative media has been updating and keeping the details out there. Listen to "Native America Calling" on 106.5 in Toronto or www.aboriginalradio.com at 6:00 EDT to get an update.
We're trying to get a little rest. Aw, do we have to listen to the OPP moaning and groaning, "Gee, ma, I wanna go home. I'm tired and I wanna go to bed. I got ordered to fight the Injuns about a week ago, and it went right to my head. So now I want another order so I can go home". Our chorus is, "Gee, guys, why don't you just go to your home on native land?"
Nia:wen to all.
Kahehti:io, which means "he makes a beautiful garden," sure had a lot of OPP manure to deal with lately. In February 2006 Kahehti:io went to Hamilton with his cousin, Kanehrati:io. The Six Nations were protesting the "Red Hill" highway development on their land. Artifacts, pottery, longhouse posts and other evidence of our villages at the site had been found. With the help of colonial lawyer, Paul Williams, the people set out to get fair compensation for the disturbance of our ancestors. What they got through this lawyer was 16 cords of wood. That's so they could say they never sold the land. Of course, the lawyer got all his fees.
Then Kahehtiio found out that there was another protest going on at Six Nations over the Henco Industries housing project. The people had peacefully blocked off the road into the site because the land belongs to the Six Nation. When he arrived, everybody was discussing what their true duties were to protect the land. As they talked about it, they gained a better understanding of the situation. It became obvious what they should do, which is to listen to People.
The elders and youth agreed. Kahehti:io stayed for 3 days and then left to get supplies and documentation on the Two Row Wampum and Rotino'shon:ni traditions.
Kahehtiio returned and helped out any way he could. Then at 4:30 am, Thursday, April 20th, he was at the front gate with two others watching out and tending the sacred fire. The OPP rolled up in white paddy wagons and bout 30 jumped out, some with guns in hand. They rushed him. There wasn't much he could do. He was the first guy and they grabbed him. His tactic was non-violent resistance against overwhelming odds. He was thrown into the paddy wagon with three non-native supporters and driven away. He wanted to make a point that he did not resist and he did not comply. He had a gut feeling to follow his instincts. He's very young and has a tall lean muscular build, with a braid.
The first thing he thought of was that he was not going to attorn to colonial jurisdiction.
He was taken to the police garage. Everything was taken from him except his medicine bag. Later it wasn't easy to get it off him. He held on so tight that it took Monte and an assistant to take it. Then later his second medicine bag was taken from his pocket. Monte knew what it meant. But he seemed so bewitched by the colonizers that he was not willing to respect our tradition.
Initially the white cops did not touch the other medicine bag in his pocket. They got scared of it. Perhaps can we hope they had some respect? Kahehti:io spoke Mohawk throughout his ordeal to remind his attackers that he was being culturally violated.
Kahehtiio refused to give his fingerprints and to be photographed. They continually asked him what his English name was. At one point he was accused of being that notorious 6 ft. 4 warrior, Sean Brant, of Tyendinaga, who's about 35 or 40 years old. What a compliment! Then they hauled him off to the next jail. They kept him overnight in a cell and pumped cold air into it. They took his shoes and would not give them back, they said, until he gave them a colonial name. He was wearing his "talking shoes" where the sole is coming away from the body of the shoe.
He was cold. They wouldn't give him his sweater unless he gave his colonial name. He was being referred to as "John Doe." He always said, "I am Kahehtiio, Bear Clan."
After he was being transported to the Cayuga County Courthouse, Kahehti:io once again wouldn't move. They had to keep carrying him around, which angered them. They threatened to taser him as if that would make it easier for him to stand up and face being pounded into the square colonial hole. The police refused to give their badge numbers. The angry cops grabbed the back of his collar and tightened it. He could not breathe or speak. Five OPP stood around watching as he pointed at his neck with both fingers. He was being asphyxiated. Then he passed out. Then he reports he saw bright lights and felt himself tumbling from the sky. He was having a near death experience. He hit the ground and sprung suddenly to his feet. He asked if they had given him something. They all laughed.
He refused to walk into the court house because he did not want to recognize their jurisdiction. He refused to comply with the foreign law. The judge said, "We'll recognize your name if you'll cooperate." What an enticement! What the judge meant was, "We'll start recognizing your humanity if you do what we tell you and you act like a slave instead of a man." Kahehti:io wanted to consult with someone from his culture who knew the Kaianereh'ko:wa/Great Law well. He continued to refuse in Mohawk to stand before the judge. They hauled him away.
In jail they tricked him and took a blood sample without asking him. They asked him to stand up against the wall. He would not. They tricked him and pointed a camera at him and took his picture.
They had previously taken his fingerprints by taking off with a cup from which he drank water. They ran it and found nothing. This young man is not a criminal so there's no record of him.
He was placed in segregation called the "hole," which actually had a window. He looked out at the side of a building and a piece of the sky. A few clouds passed by and waved at him.
They kept trying to scare him by telling him, "No one knows you're in here. No one cares about you at the site." The cops have been targeting our youth because they want to intimidate and break them. "You're just going to disappear into the system," they told him.
Said Kahehti:io, "Why did I do this? To prove a precedent that Canada has no jurisdiction over me or us." This is the mark that he is not colonized. "I'm a free man," he said. Keep in mind all Kahehti:io was doing was standing on our land when he got attacked with no warning by a mob of armed thugs who had been armed by Canada and Ontario.
Kahehti:io went on a hunger strike until he was released. Then he demanded to make a collect call to the Queen. They said he could not make an overseas call. Then he asked to speak to the Governor General. They gave him a number which he remembered. We won't want to publish it because we don't want to give trouble to innocent people. It turned out to be a tour agency. The cops later said that they had offered him the opportunity to speak to the Governor General Governor and he refused.
In court, he was sitting in the prisoner's dock. He didn't rise for the Justice of the Peace's entrance into court. He did give him the peace sign and smiled. His advisor suggested that he make a statement. He got up on the bench and stared down at the judge, who got very uncomfortable. He spoke briefly in Mohawk, "The colonial name was forced on me. I have been Kahehti:io all my life and am a member of the Bear Clan. Canada has no jurisdiction over me or my people according to the Two Row Wampum which is also known as the Silver Covenant Chain. I never complied with your foreign laws they had to drag me all over." That's when the judge cut him off.
One of the conditions was that he could not return to the Douglas Creek Estates. Given the JP operates in a court room which has to deal with many immigrants who speak foreign languages, it's really surprising he didn't think of bringing in an interpreter. No language rights for Indigenous people in Canada, we see. Kahehti:io ended his court appearance with a loud war whoop, which made some jump out of their skins. As he left he shook the hands of the three cops who showed him respect.
What does this tell us about his experience?
The potential flashpoint at Caledonia Ontario with the Six Nations land blockade is more dangerous than the 1990 Oka crisis.
In 1990 the town of Oka, Quebec, wanted to expand their nine hole golf course to eighteen holes over a known Mohawk gravesite. A police officer died to defend the right of the townspeople to tee off over grandma's grave and 4,000 Canadian soldiers squared off against the Mohawks.
In 1990 most Canadian Indians were in shock that Canada would use the army against our people. In 2006 there is no longer any shock value, thereby allowing Indian people to be better prepared to respond to bloodshed and also Indian youth in Canada have more anger today than they did in 1990. Not only are Indian people better prepared, the strategy is much clearer.
Had then Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney carried out his threat to send in the army to take out the last 25 barricaded Mohawks regardless of the consequences, it was very likely that burning cars would have blocked every railway line in Canada.
The protest at Caledonia has already caused a railway blockade with huge economic impact. Multiply that one railway blockade by 30 and you have economic paralysis in all of Canada.
Canada is America's largest trading partner and of vital economic interest to every American. Canada is America's largest supplier of oil with 97 per cent of all Canadian energy exported to the United States. Canada is also the leading buyer of American exports. Think about the Mayan uprising of 1994, multiply that by 10 and you have some idea of the economic impact of a similar crisis in Canada. American multi-national corporations, financed in the open market, with heavy investment in Canada, may not yet have realized the danger.
The difference in treatment of indigenous people between Canada and United States is shocking. In the United States, American Indians proudly fly the American flag in every Indian reservation. Thirteen thousand American Indians currently serve in the U.S. military, and 2,000 of those are serving on the front lines in Iraq.
Thousands of American Indians are millionaires, hundreds are multi-millionaires. Attend a National Indian Gaming Association summit, and you will see proud American Indians talking and making multi-million dollar deals. You will see trade shows that would be the envy of many countries. Not so in Canada.
You would be hard pressed to find a Canadian flag flying on an Indian reservation. You would be more likely to find a Mohawk warrior society flag in the window of native homes. With well over 50 per cent of the Canadian Indian population under the age of 25, what you have in Caledonia is a potential flashpoint that could cripple Canada.
Canada has had eight straight federal government budget surpluses. It has a 2005 reported net worth of $4.5 trillion, and a GDP well over a trillion dollars.
In 2003 the federal government raised $125 billion in taxes but took in $141.8 billion in its share of resource royalties. This does not include the provincial royalties or corporate resource sales profits. With oil now over $75 a barrel, up from $10 a barrel in 1999, and Canada claiming 1.4 trillion barrels of oil in the Alberta tar sands plus hundreds of other oil and gas producing areas, this makes for a resource driven economy.
As the third largest producer of diamonds, with 10 per cent of the world forests, and over 60 metals and minerals, there is little doubt why Indian land claims are a big issue in Canada. The fact that there are over 6,000 land claims in limbo and that progress is so slow is not surprising given the numbers and the revenue generated for government coffers.
Canada was the United Nations choice as the 'best country in the world to live in' for seven straight years, but while Canada was number one on the index, Canadian First Nations communities mired in extreme poverty were set at the 63rd level on the UN scale.
Amnesty International has written several reports citing Canada for human rights violations. In the case of the Lubicons of northern Alberta, Amnesty has forced the appearance of Canada before the United Nations for a hearing set for May 5th. While Canada can laugh off the United Nations and weather international shame, it cannot ignore or laugh off the economics of a national blockade of rail lines that is potentially the result of the land dispute at Caledonia.
To understand the issue of land claims in Canada, one must see the numbers. Canada is the second largest country in the world, larger than China and larger than the United States. Canada is 3.83 million square miles of vast land mass, but the population is only 33 million, giving Canada the largest per capita land base of any nation in the world. Given the resource base, it is little wonder that net worth is $137,000 per man, woman, and child.
In 1969, Canada issued the appropriately named 'white paper' on Indians, which identified that Indian reservation lands accounted for approximately one quarter of one per cent of the Canadian land mass. To state this more clearly, 99.73 per cent of Canada was not reservation lands. Since then it has been a battle zone of land claims and frustration for indigenous people.
In the United States where Indian land claims are also contentious items, and where the population density is almost ten times higher than Canada, American Indian reservation lands accounted for 2.13 per cent of the United States land mass. Today that percentage has improved due to Casino generated revenue used to buy back land plus Casino revenue generated court cases and political lobbying that settled some long standing problems.
This is not to say that everything is perfect in U.S. and American Indian relations but at least there is hope. It has been widely reported that American Indians spend more money to get Senators and Congress men elected than even Enron in its heyday. The lack of similar hope for change in Canada is what could trigger a crisis.
How Canadian media handles the situation at Caledonia can make or break the confrontation. In the Ipperwash situation where unarmed native activist Dudley George was killed by an Ontario Provincial Police officer and the Premier of Ontario allegedly shouting to "get the fucking Indians out," the issue of land claims couldn't be clearer. Stoney Point First Nation lost land to Canada during WWII for an artillery range, with the promise to return the land after the war.
In over 50 years of Liberal and Conservative federal governments, none delivered on that commitment. Hence, there was direct action by Ojibway Indians to occupy the land, with the resulting killing of Dudley George. The same court injunctions issued by white courts and the public outcry to march the police and army into battle are now occurring in Caledonia.
As an elected Chief, I stand behind Mohawk people at Six Nations in the use of direct action regardless of the consequences. My community spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to settle a land claim from 103 years ago; we hold the record of the longest file in the Indian Claims Commission process. We understand the need for direct action.
Elected native leadership risk their creditability in Caledonia. It is the people who suffer the housing crisis, the 80 per cent average unemployment, the health problems, the lack of educational opportunities, and every other form of extreme poverty while we as chiefs are paid for our work from government of Canada dollars.
To issue a call to our people not to attend the blockade and to question their right to protest is nonsense. To blame our unarmed people for the increase in tension is absolutely ridiculous.
It has always been the whites who first bring guns and the threat of violence into any confrontation. To declare that Dudley George got himself killed because he grew tired of ineffectual politicians is historically incorrect.
Hope is the only medicine for angry youth who see no other way but to take action. If it takes a national blockade to bring the world's attention to the issues in Canada, we should be prepared to take that responsibility.
We must end the 80 per cent average unemployment in our communities. It is no longer enough to make empty promises, or to take the word of a government that will only delay settlement of long standing issues.
Now is the time we must stand together and take whatever consequences are necessary to ensure a chance for our future generations, in this, one of the wealthiest nations in the world. It is time to force Canada to the table and negotiate some real settlements of land claims instead of holding out for more false hope promises while we collect our pay from the government.
* Chief Terrance Nelson is elected chief of Roseau River Anishinabe First Nation, spokesman for Anishinabe Warrior Society and Board of Director for the American Indian Movement.
Six Nation Sun. May 14/o6 Update from Hazel at the front line
Sunday a.m. May 14 2006 Update.
We apologize for not writing in the last few days. It has been a very busy week for us at the land reclamation site. Many meetings. Many things to discuss. First, everyone, know that we are still here. We are not going anywhere. There have been many media releases suggesting that the barricades are coming down and leading the outside world into the false belief that we are somehow going away. Not so. There have been many discussions about the barricades. The discussions are very long and deep regarding our position. We have no intention of leaving our reclaimed lands. We will not abandon our position, or walk away. We know how deeply the situation at Grand River affects all of our brothers and sisters in all Onkwhonweh Territories. We will not jeopardize the position of all of us. All Onkwehonweh Nations who stand in solidarity with us have as much at stake as we do. We keep you in our prayers and thoughts as we counsel over the situation. We constantly state this to Canada and the rest of the world who are watching. Should any harm come to us and if Canada chooses to use "war like" measures to keep taking whatever they want from us, than we Onkwehonweh People have a right to defend ourselves by any means necessary. They know that our brothers, sisters, friends and allies are on watch and will come to our assistance if necessary. We have stood peacefully. We intend to continue the talks in peace. We hope that Canada, and its representatives will do the same. We will not go into detail at this point. It would not serve the highest good for all. Just know that whenever we decide to make a statement on our position, we must inform our People first. [in our law it is the people who have the power]. We will also inform the world of the conditions that go along with those positions. The whole world will know and understand if Canada/Crown violates them. For example, if we choose to fully or partially open a road, should anyone - police, army, citizens or anything - interfere with the Peace we are trying to maintain, those roads will be immediately closed again. Other territories, nations and supporters would also do so to support us. Canada must be made to understand that they cannot continue with their unlawful white paper policies on the Onkwehonweh. Canada must stop their genocidal plans. They have misinformed the media to portray us as violent. We assure you that everything they agree to, be it on paper or otherwise, they must be made to fulfill their agreements and be held accountable. We will not accept their entering into agreements and treaties with us as their ancestors did - while planning to get out of them, to avoid being honest and forthright in their dealings with the True People of the Land.
Today was a good day. We had visitors from the Saa'mi Nation of Finland. They arrived at the camp on Thursday night [May 11]. They have been working on a documentary to share with their People when they return home to Finland. We received a few more flags from other friends and allies. One from Scotland. I think I already told you about the one from Denmark. We've had contacts from a young native man who works for a paper in Dublin Ireland. He is doing his best to get our story out over there. It has been very exciting and an honor to know each and every one of you who has been supporting and sending our message further and further. This is why when we counsel over any decision, we keep in mind everyone concerned. We understand that this situation affects all of the Onkwehonweh of the World. We would like to say a big Nya Weh Kowah! for that. Nya Weh for standing with us under that Great Tree and sending out that message of Peace to the four directions of the world. Good Job everybody!!! The map pins are growing. Yes, we will try to remember to get that picture out there. We also have to apologize to all for not getting a copy of the United Nations statement that was delivered on our behalf by Doreen Silversmith last week. If you haven't seen it or received a copy of it, please e-mail me so we can forward it to you. MNN and Kenneth [Deer] have too. If you didn't get it, call me [519-445-0719]. Sorry. We have been busy and did not mean to overlook. Doreen was back at the site today. In fact she is staying at the fire tonight with others. She is helping keep watch on the sacred fire and just being there to support everyone. She did a good job at the UN in Geneva. We are proud of her. Tomorrow we will present her and her friend who accompanied her with a gift for her effort.
We are tired but our overall spirit is good. The government has played their hand the way we expected them to. Are we going to "play that game" or follow our own rules? We want a path that allows for change and growth. Ultimately we want a peaceful resolution that they claim to want. We know that a peaceful resolution is not written in their little black "war book" that they follow to a "t". "Get them to fight amongst themselves, destroy the unity that they have built and divide and conquer them. This has been successful in the past". They want to say that we broke off talks, or we could not agree with each other etc., etc., etc. We refuse to let this happen. Those who intend to fan the flames of disunity will be forced to face the People and answer to their actions.
We hope our Manitoba brothers and sister's got home safely. Jo, can you e-mail and let us know what happened. We heard that your people were surrounded by OPP [Ontario Provincial Police]. We did not hear why or what was said. We need to make sure the rest of the world knows about these kinds of actions. People who are coming to support us are being turned away at the borders. Our supporters are being followed and monitored by the OPP. We are on our own land. This is not a criminal act. We mind Canada that they are the criminals in this situation. They stole our land and sold it several times over. We also need to put pressure on the Governor General to do her job of maintaining the honor of the Crown. She must take part in the talks. She is Her Majesty's representative. The Six Nations and Britain are allies. We have heard nothing from her on this situation. She has traveled to many other countries to promote human rights. She and Canada should clean up their own backyard. Canada and the crown are guilty of violations of human rights against our people here. We all need to insist that she come here and explain the actions of the crown! If Jane Stewart and Barbara McDougal have been delegated to speak on behalf of the crown, we need to see it in writing from Buckingham Palace. So far we have not received a notice. David Petersons' agenda is still the same, "Bring down the barricades and we'll talk". They will not talk with us while the barricades are up. It isn't easy to talk while they surround us with their guns? They continue to play out their violent past history with the Indigenous people. Please know that our spirits are strong because we know we are not alone. We shake your hand in solidarity as you stand with us in spirit. We thank each and every one of you. We thank you for the guidance you are sharing and the knowledge and support that you are giving us. We share you ideas with everyone here, as well as our delegates at the table. We need to keep the talks going and your ideas coming. We will try to update more often. If it's not me, we will delegate others within the site to do so. We are getting more organized everyday. We have learned from our mistakes as well as from our accomplishments.
We close tonight with thanks to all of you. We do not take our task lightly. Please know that our solidarity is based on truth and justice for Creation. Will talk again soon.
EVIL ANNIVERSARY MAY 14TH: REMEMBRANCE DAY FOR ONE OF CANADA'S FOUNDING GENOCIDES
WEAR a rainbow ribbon to remember the 99% of our People whose lives were snuffed out by colonialism
MNN (14 May 2006) -- CANADIANS do not like to think that their country is founded on genocide, or that there was ever a genocidal incident in Canadian history. They "white wash" everything! In recent years they have persistently denied the genocidal character of the residential school scheme. Today is the 250th anniversary of one of Canada's founding genocides.
The following proclamation predates the modern formation of Canada. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were originally called "Gespegawaidh", by the Mi'kmaq people who have lived in the area through at least two ice ages. It means, "the end of the land". This is the source of the name "Gaspe".
The first colonizers were the French. Then Gespegawaidh was claimed by the British during their colonial wars with France. The Anglo Canadian regime began with proclamations in the early stages that made it legal to kill any Indian, even a baby. Worse, they even offered rewards. That's how the big families became rich. The full horror does not seem to sink in with the majority population of Turtle Island, mostly because knowledge of this appalling behavior is suppressed. It's not part of the history that Canadian school children learn. It's treated as a side note. Only specialists know about it. Even they refuse to pause and think about the horror.
As part of their strategy to claim Gespegawaidh, on May 14th, 1756, the Governor of Nova Scotia put out a proclamation that anyone could kill an Indian without impunity. Read it for yourself in the first R v Marshall 1999 case, 3 SCR. 456, available at http://www.canlii.org/ca/cas/scc/1999: "Only 6 years prior to the signing of the treaties, the British Governor of Nova Scotia had issued a Proclamation [May 14, 1756] offering rewards for the killing and capturing of Mi'kmaq throughout Nova Scotia, which then included New Brunswick".
The second reference is in the same case in paragraph 15: "In 1749, following one of the continuing wars between Britain and France, the British Governor at Halifax had issued what was apparently the first of the Proclamations "authorizing the military and all British subjects to kill or capture any Mi'kmaq found, and offering a reward"".
The Supreme Court of Canada has acknowledged that this is part of Canada's historical heritage that founded the Canadian state. In the Supreme Court's version of history, the policy died out and was forgotten after a series of treaties was signed with Mi'kmaq people between 1760 and 1761.
Three years later Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the commander-in-chief of the British forces, embarked on his famous killing spree. He was knee deep in state sanctioned genocide. "One hundred thousand Ohio Natives, including a high percentage of Ongwehoweh, died as a direct result of Amherst's pox upon their Longhouses"[Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, 153, 154].
"In each case, the object was to bring about a massive fatality rate, not just among native combatants but within the target population as a whole. Without exception, the desire was if not to obtain the complete liquidation of given populations during the conduct of "wars" per se, then to take a longer view: extinction might be reasonably expected to claim any survivors, converted as they were into an atomized cloud of refugees, unable to feed, clothe, or house themselves through a combination of starvation, exposure, and consequent lowered resistance to all manner of diseases". [Churchill, A Little Matter of Genocide, 150].
No full study has been done of Canada's complicity in the North American Indian holocaust, the biggest in all humanity [over 120 million]. It did happen. There has also been no proper public recognition that genocide was part of British policy in the European "peopling" of Turtle Island. The idea that Turtle Island was made "unpeopled" by killing the original people is horrific, to say the least!
There must have been something terribly wrong in the way people were living in Europe so their own land could not support them. They were probably out of balance with the land. Now the whole of Turtle Island is becoming unbalanced. The environment has been damaged and polluted. Many areas have become a "no man's land" where neither humans nor animals can survive. At Akwesasne some animals have been found with so many toxins they qualify as toxic waste.
They came here. They refuse to let us survivors have anything! We have been pushed to a point that is absolutely unacceptable. Canada must stop their atrocious unlawful behavior. Can't they see that their own survival depends on it? Let this day be in memory of the 99% of our people who were killed off.
MNN Mohawk Nation News
A TRIP OF 3,500 MILES BEGINS WITH THE FIRST STEP & A GOOD MAP. ONTARIO PREPARING TO RETURN SOME LAND TO SIX NATIONS --- ???
Dear Friends: Following are two important pieces: the URL for the International Tribunal on Afghanistan to remind mainly Canadian readers who've been subjected to the ballyhoo around the "parliamentary vote" on extending the Canadian mission until 2009, the objective facts about the invasion of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, the colossal damage done, and the politics behind these war crimes: http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/2004/Afghanistan-Criminal-Tribunal10mar04.htm
MNN. May 20th 2006. Something has happened! Is this the first step on a path away from colonialism? A very slender document has emerged because of the Six Nations Indigenous people's reclamation of our land [near Caledonia Ontario]. The first page is very plain. It only says "Compendium of Commitments, Ontario and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Six Nations Council, May 10, 2006". Inside there are only 4 pages, but they say a lot. It might be one of the most 'weighty' documents ever produced in the history of Ontario, Canada - or even the United Nations.
It contains only three short letters. The first is from David Ramsey, the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. He confirmed Ontario's intention to return the "Burtch lands" near Brantford to the Six Nations. The second is also from David Ramsey. It confirmed Ontario's commitment to provide funding for an assessment of the Douglas Creek lands by a licensed archaeologist chosen by the Six Nations. The third is from Ben Levin, the Deputy Minister of Education. It confirmed Ontario's willingness to address Six Nations' concerns about the school curriculum.
What does this all mean? It's too early to tell for sure. The cops are still surrounding the reclamation site with their guns pointed at peaceful unarmed Six Nations defenders, our friends and allies. They act as if we don't have a right to stand on our land. The corporate media are still into muck-raking, demonizing and rabble rousing. They want a fight. They want blood. They want the KKK. It's obvious that the old colonial paradigm has not been exorcised.
Even some of the most reasonable people remain under the spell of old demons - still afraid to take the high "Red Road". What are they afraid they might find if they went our way? Screaming tomahawk-wielding vampires? The charred remains of a cigar store Indian? The ghost of machine-gunned babies swaddled in guilt? Better wear armor! Bring the pepper spray! Are some worried that what was done to us will come to haunt them? Are some adverse to novelty and change?
The foundation for the guilt is real. They have nothing to fear but themselves. Anyway, they have no choice. Changes are acomin'! We will never go back to being lied to, abused, disdained, marginalized and robbed. We demand decent treatment as equal human beings! Ontario's commitments show just how easy it is to find a solution to the "Caledonia crisis". Return the stolen property! Tell the truth. Pay your debts. Pawn your guns. Don't even bother sending your itchy trigger fingers to Afghanistan. They don't want them over there either. There must be a loony bin somewhere for them.
Bury your guns and think of something nice to bring to the People's picnic. Spend the money on education. Practice respect for the ancestors. Cooperate with your neighbors. It's no big deal. That's what the May 10th initiative shows. If Ontario doesn't succumb to an attack of vertigo and fall off the path towards freedom, it should declare a national holiday - maybe an international holiday, "International Indigenous Reparation Day!" How does that sound?
Simplicity is what makes the path ahead so potentially brilliant.
Canada has to start respecting the true nation-to-nation relationship. It would mean educating the future generations about the Guswentha, the Two Row Wampum, the treaty that originally governed international relations here on Turtle Island. The Two Row is the most brilliant piece of foreign policy ever developed. It would mean chipping the rust off the old Covenant Chain, linking arms to revive old agreements and polishing a bright new future.
There's a lot of work to do. Polluted land and waters to clean, rotten relationships to repair and dung to throw into the compost heap. Most of it is pretty straightforward.
For example, what should be done for the Henning brothers, the developers who bought stolen land and were given title by Ontario? They want Ontario to buy the land from them and then give it back to us. Answer: Ontario can't buy the land. It's ours already! The Hennings don't have anything to sell! How do they like getting ripped off? They can sue Ontario for misrepresentation and fraud. Ontario has to stop handing out bogus titles.
Question: What about the "deposition" of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy by a Canadian Order in Council in 1924?
Answer: Nothing needs to be done. The "order in council" throwing out our government was illegal. It's a nullity. So is their Indian Act band council. Ontario is already dealing with the Confederacy Council instead of with the Indian Act band council. This is a huge step forward on the road to legality.
Question: What about the rest of the stolen property?
Answer: Give it all back to the rightful owners. Ontario is already preparing to give back little bits and pieces. Keep it coming. Six Nations has to put a moratorium on all construction and development on the entire Haldimand Tract any and on all of our lands. Nothing can be done without our permission.
Question: Will the people of Caledonia have a voice on the Haudenosaunee Council?
Answer: No. They don't have clan mothers. They are not members of the Haudenosaunee. They have their own system and can speak through their own representatives. If they think their government misrepresents them, they should work for reform. If they want to know how to make everyone equal and valued, they might want to try out our constitution as a model, the Kaianereh'ko:wa, the Great Law of Peace. This may help them to deconstruct colonial cultural practices so they can build something new. The Kaianereh'ko:wa is the most brilliant social contract ever developed. Everyone in the world knows that. It is the basis of 'true' democracy. Wampum 2 provides that if their minds are clean and they agree to follow the wishes of the people of the Confederacy, they may sit with us under the shade of the tree and follow the 'Great Peace'.
Question: Is this a reaffirmation of the Two Row Wampum? There are heavy layers of rust to chip off the Covenant Chain and a lot of work needs to be done before the polishing is complete.
Answer: It's a different kind of doing for those who are used to colonial power politics. Using heavily armed police to disturb the peace of a quiet rural area shows that the "might makes right' mentality is still a going concern. Still, Ontario has finally begun to deal with the 'People'. This is the legal way under the Kaianereh'ko:wa. This is a chance for Ontario to set an example for Canada, and for Canada to set an example for other governments of the world in their relationships with Indigenous peoples. This will turn around how Canada helped to enslave Indigenous people worldwide after Deskaheh went to the League of Nations to apply for Six Nation membership.
Canada has a great human rights reputation that is not deserved. It got this reputation by lying, cheating, stealing and stepping on people's moccasined feet. It passed laws declaring we weren't "persons" to carry out their massive theft of Turtle Island. It usurped our constitutional jurisdiction over ourselves and our lands violating their own constitution. It was illegal for us to get help to stop the 'genocide'. It extinguished 99% of our people, crushed our governments and tore our few surviving families apart. We hope a turning point is being reached. How can we trust them when the guns are still on us?
Ontario and Canada don't have any choice. The international community is watching them. We've taken it to the United Nations. Our people have vowed not to back down. Now that the truth has started to come out, many Canadians and people in other countries are standing with us. People do not want to live with colonial guns pointed at us. We do not want to be corporate slaves. We want to live in freedom and equality as guaranteed by the Charter of the United Nations.
We are at a crossroads. Most people want to go in a new direction. Nobody is happy with the way corporate interests have corrupted governments which have spread the disease of putting "I" before "we". It's not necessary to ruin the environment to fuel the insane greed of a few megalomaniacs. The time has come to put our feet back on the ground and work together.
Are we being over anxious? Are we being too na?ve? Is it too much to think that people can behave like responsible adults? Ontario's May 10 initiative says, "maybe not!" The reclamation action we took at Six Nations is only the beginning and there's no turning back.
MNN Mohawk Nation News
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