THE POWER AND THE PEACE IS IN THE PEOPLEMNN. May 27th 2006. During the past 88 days of Six Nations activism to reclaim our land near Caledonia, we have received thousands of emails and calls from people all over the world. There were days when we just could not answer them. The support and ideas that we’ve received have been tremendously gratifying and helpful. We thank you all. Without this solidarity from natives and non-natives, the Ontario Provincial Police would have had their way. Blood would have been spilt. Never mind the return of our land, though we are still waiting on that one.

This solidarity that we are experiencing between natives and non-native people is a revival. The British promised to protect the Six Nations on the Haldimand Tract that our people are defending began with this solidarity. The Six Nations were allies of the British. It was this alliance that lead to the formation of modern Canada. Because of this alliance we were pushed out of the Mohawk Valley in what is now New York State where our people had lived since the beginning of time. The Mohawks were valiant allies of the British during the American Revolution. Mohawks have always been on the front line every time Britain needed defending – in the Battle of Queenston Heights 1812, in World I and World War II and other actions. The Haldimand Tract is on traditional Rotino’shon:ni/Iroquois territory. The tract was guaranteed to the Mohawks in 1784. The Six Nations have always been willing to put ourselves on the line for our Canadian allies. It is gratifying to see that the majority of people support this alliance and are willing to stand up for us.

Our tradition has been to work together. Unfortunately, the Canadian government, particularly Indian Affairs, was taken over by people who did not want us to work together. They wanted to be boss, kings of the castle. So they betrayed us and the Canadian people. Instead of treating us honorably like allies, they abused us. They stole our land, stole our resources and schemed to kill us off. They pretended that we were children who could not look after ourselves. They depleted our trust funds with illegal investments in flaky financial schemes run by their friends.

Instead of treating us like allies, they pretended that we were British subjects. You may wonder why we did not protest over our lack of rights in Canada. That’s because we aren’t Canadians. We were minding our own business. We organized everything on our territory and paid for it ourselves.

We thought the problem was just the people in Indian Affairs and that our relationship with the Queen remained on an honorable footing. We were wrong.

The original Haldimand promise was that there was to be no encroachment ever. In the end the Canadian government, not the Canadian people, was the source of our beef.

Ontario, and the rest of Canada for that matter, is intent on diminishing Indigenous land holdings not only on the Haldimand Tract but everywhere. It is being diminished through outright theft. The aim of not giving one inch of land back is not for the benefit of the people of Ontario. It’s to support the business interests that are intent on exploiting our resources with no regard to the environment or the present and future generations of the people who must live on it. It is the billionaires who really run the governments. Welcome to the pretend democracy of Canada.

We now assume stewardship over our illegally occupied lands. Until now we have invested a lot of resources into historical and legal research and actions for the last 200 years. Anytime the facts were put on the table Canadian officials were shown to have mismanaged Canada and mistreated Indigenous people. We’ve borne the brunt of it. It is over now! This rot also affects the Canadian people. They do not have a government that looks out for them and the future generations. That’s the heart of the problem.

What is government and what are their functions? Is it a vehicle that allows a few greedy individuals to live parasitic lives off the work and possessions of others? Or should government bring people together so that we can put our minds together, solve problems and make a better life for everyone? The basic rift is between our Indigenous philosophy coming from our constitution, the Kaianereh’ko:wa/Great Law, and the philosophy of the people running the government. We’ve learned in dealing with the Canadian government that the Canadian government does not represent the Canadian people.

We never lost jurisdiction over our ancestral lands. We’ve had a deep sense of betrayal and anger over our horrific historic experience with the colonizers. Would giving us back our illegally occupied land be ”too disruptive” to the parasites lodged in the Canadian government? Never mind that the government allowed and encouraged its own citizens to encroach on our land and gained private and institutional land titles in violation of the laws. They let Americans come up and take our land too! It’s all part of their 100 year plan to get rid of the “Indian problem” as described by that complete maniac, Duncan Campbell Scott of Indian Affairs. A lot of the early settlers on our land were Americans who had taken part in pushing us off our land in the Mohawk Valley. They came up here and liked what they saw here too and began squatting!

It’s also interesting that a large percentage of Canadians consider that we got robbed and that we deserve our territories free of colonial jurisdiction. In the Six Nations issue the public in Canada, the United States and worldwide have given us strong support. We hope, for the sake of Mother Earth, it is because many in Canada realize how important our philosophy of caring for the land is?

Unless, of course, we are in the way of corporate “progress”, that is, exploitation of our lands and resources by a few foreign based interests who operate through corporations. They operate with no obligations to anyone but themselves and no concern for the people, native and non-native. We are all just pawns in their schemes. The way to overcome all this is to assert our title to Turtle Island and to turn it back to its proper role as a “cornucopia” for the people.

Even though there is wide support for us, there is tremendous opposition by the corporate interests which function through the governmental quagmire. They put pressure on any of their institutions that could give us justice. These interests manage to brainwash and manipulate their “flag-waving” super nationalists to make a lot of noise in the media and to attack us. This is what happened at the “Bread and Cheese Fight” in Caledonia on May 22nd 2006 when government instigated rioters came and tried to attack us. But the general public isn’t buying it.

The main anti-Indian argument to stop Indigenous jurisdiction from being asserted is because they don’t want us to grow, expand and become independent. Why do they think that expanded Indigenous jurisdictions would be disruptive? Would it be a problem if Indian affairs would no longer be getting a cut? They’d have to take their feet off their desks and do a day’s work. Are they afraid that it would be environmentally and economically stimulating and rewarding not just for us but for everyone else?

We all need to take a unified approach, native and non-native. We are all being abused. We need to work together. But we need to be wary of those who try to shut us up in the name of unity. We need to respect our laws and adhere to the original arrangements that were made between us. Let us assert our jurisdiction. Don’t keep us mired in legalistic strategies which take up our time and money. We need to be free from the shackles of useless diversions.

Maybe what’s needed is a massive “Condolence Ceremony” in which we wipe our eyes with a soft leather so that we can see clearly and have a good look at the issues; then we need to take an eagle feather to clean out our ears so that we can hear each other; and then we need to drink a glass of water so that we can speak truthfully and as clearly as the purest water. Sometimes the solutions to difficult problems are simple. Sometimes all that’s needed is to show respect.

In the end, there’s no need to give us back the Henco Industries land. It’s ours already. It always was. All Ontario needs to do is to respect that. We need to assert the legal government-to-government relationship. We do have broad support from the public to do this. We must bring out the truth. We must stop Canada from continuing to live in sin? Grow up Canada! Colonialism is over! We’re never going back!

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

poster: Thahoketoteh