20 YEARS LATER
MNN. Sep. 15, 2009. July 11, 2010, will be twenty years since the Canadian military attacked the Mohawk Nation at Kanehsatake, Kahnawake and Akwesasne. We did not want the nearby town of Oka to extend its golf course over our ceremonial site and burial grounds. The Quebec police opened fire with automatic guns and tear gas on Mohawk men, women and children. For 78 days we faced the combined firepower of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Quebec Police and the RCMP.
We found ourselves fighting for our identity and defending ourselves against oppression by Canada and Quebec. The Mohawk defenders were brought to trial on criminal charges.
The following is a synopsis of the first day of the first year-long trial after the crisis. [MOHAWK WARRIORS THREE – The Trial of Lasagna, Noriega & 20-20]. This was followed by another year long trial of over 50 other Mohawks and our allies. We were all acquitted.
The trial started on Monday, October 21, 1991, in the St. Jerome Court, north of Montreal.
Our 3 Warriors/Rotiskenrakete faced 59 charges: assaults, mischief, mischief and theft, beating and mischief, and mischief against the Canadian Army. Generally, they were mischievous.
The 12 all-white English jury sat silent. The crown’s lies were totally confusing. The Quebec cops refused to speak English and had a squad of translators. Oui! Oui!
The screaming racist Crown prosecutor, Francois [Petticoat] Briere, opened the trial by saying, “I will prove that these three are criminals against everybody [in the world]!”
The first witness for Canada, Evergreen, was a short portly middle-aged Mohawk woman with a pug nose. She wore a brown leather full length coat. Her husband was Chief Jungle Jim of Kanehsatake. She was known as Woodpecker because, as a kid, she jumped other kids and beat them on the back, tah-tah-tah-tah!.
On July 31st she drove through the warrior checkpoint with a pizza and some videos to spend a quiet evening in the “war zone”. As she came through, a Warrior suddenly jumped on top of her car and disappeared!
On August 1, 1990, her husband, Jungle Jim, went to Ottawa with fellow councilor, Buddy Elm. They met with George Erasmus and Ovide Mercredi, of the Assembly of First Nations AFN [collaborators of Canada], and Tom Porter, a snitch from Akwesasne, to get instructions from their colonial masters.
As they were returning home, Evergreen heard on the scanner, “Chief Jungle is coming with Buddy”. A few minutes after they got home, four Rotiskenrakere in full fatigue showed up at her house.
One Rotiskenrakete yelled, “Buddy Elm, get your fat ass out here. We want you!”
The next one repeated, “Buddy Elm, get your fat ass out here. We want you!”
Evergreen declared, “No one is going out there.”
Two warriors broke the front door window. One got in and slapped Buddy Elm while another said, “Why can’t you be reasonable. Why don’t you resign?” Then they left.
Evergreen said that “honestly” she never once discussed this incident since then to this day. She admitted Crown Prosecutor Briere had given her some papers to study before testifying.
She became confused about the many conflicting declarations she had signed, “because the SQ officer did not speak English”.
On August 1, 1990, the Canadian Army had closed in on Kanehsatake. She left the next day. The police wrote out the statements which she signed. They put her, her husband and Buddy Elm in a motel all expenses paid.
When asked how her husband was selected to be Grand Chief, she admitted they were colonial government supporters.
Buddy Elm, a former councilor, was the next witness. He was wearing a brown leather jacket and sunglasses in the windowless court.
During the incident, Chief Jungle was in the bathroom, Evergreen was moving around and Buddy Elm did not see who was at the door.
Someone yelled, “Where’s Buddy? We want to talk to him!” Then the window was smashed and the door was kicked open. A warrior apparently kicked Buddy Elm on his ample left thigh and tapped him on the left side of his head.
The trial continued for almost a year with an army of army, police and snitch witnesses. The 3 Warriors did not put in a defense. All charges were dropped except for minor ones on Lasagna.
The trial shows how the Canadian political and legal systems are stacked against us. The Three did not recognize the jurisdiction of the white man ‘s court and remained silent. After the verdict one of the Three said, “I would do it again” [defend the People, Pines and burial grounds].
Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, firstname.lastname@example.org For more news, books, to donate and to sign up for MNN newsletters, go to www.mohawknationnews.com See Category “Kanehsatake”.