MNN. June 8, 2011. Kahnawake is a Mohawk community on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River across from Montreal. This tract is part of the greater Rotino’shonni:onwe/Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy territory, which is the unsurrendered eastern half of Onowaregeh, Great Turtle Island.
In 1680 French King Louis XIV illegally gave 45 thousand acres of our land to the Jesuits to turn us into Catholics. They named Kahnawake, our home, the Seigneury of Sault St. Louis.
The account, not the title to our land, needs settling. Canada and Quebec’s demand to settle is an admission of our position that the land is ours and always will be.
Kahnawake Is a Kanienkehaka and Ongwehonwe issue. None of Great Turtle Island is for sale.
After the French and Indian disputes, the French sued for peace and a return of their prisoners that we held. The Peace of Montreal in 1701 brought peace between the French and the Iroquois and 39 of our Indian allies who signed onto the treaty. This treaty remains active.
Then the Jesuits illegally gave away two-thirds of Kahnawake to their settlers. Only 13,000 acres was left for us.
We always lodged complaints against the Jesuits, Governors and the French King. In 1754 Governor Duquesne came to Kahnawake to confirm that the Jesuits had no right to give away our land. In 1762 after the French and British stopped fighting with each other, British General Gage also affirmed that the Mohawks own Kahnawake. He appointed a receiver to collect the rent. Some rent was paid.
In 1854 Quebec illegally passed a law abolishing the seigneury land system and our interest to Kahnawake. In 1935 another illegal law abolished the rents payable to us.
Today Kahnawake includes eight immigrant communities: LaPrairie, Candiac, Delson, Saint Catherine, Saint-Constant and Chateauguay; parts of Lachine and Lasalle on the island of Montreal. Also included is the St. Lawrence River bed.
There’s nothing to negotiate. Canada and Quebec have no jurisdiction. Canada wants to offer us a few dollars. They know that Rotino’shonni:onwe can’t be tricked into giving up our birthright.
The band councils have no right to settle anything, especially land issues. They speak for the Canadian government, which says: “if we don’t settle, this land will remain in dispute”.
Title to our territories did not begin when the Europeans arrived. The land was and must be governed by the applicable law, the Kaianerekowa, our constitution.
Our land cannot remain under colonial fraud. The women inherently hold it on behalf of the future generations. Canada is always trying to legitimize their occupation of our land, which we never relinquished since the beginning of time.
Those settlers who do not want to live under Kaianerehkowa can chose to leave. We certainly will not force death and violence on them they did to us.
Canada should honourably sit with us and take responsibility for their people’s actions. Indigenous people should be compensated fairly.
Recently Prime Minister Harper apologized to some of those native people who were put into residential schools to be abused and killed. In our culture, an apology means taking responsibility. Words cannot fix the wrongs. You must make it right. All settlers have to make things right. They came here to benefit from our land and resources, while the owners suffer.
This is a Kaianerehowa/Great Law issue, which involves all Indigenous people.
MNN Mohawk Nation News Kahentinetha2@yahoo.com For more news, books, to donate to help pay legal fees and to sign up for MNN newsletters go towww.mohawknationnews.com More stories at MNN Category “Kahnawake”. Address: Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0
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