|This speech was delivered on Nov. 10th, 2002, to the YOU ARE ON NATIVE LAND Conference at McGill University|
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MNN. Feb. 9, 2021.
HOW THE COLONISTS OF CANADA VIOLATED THE BNA ACT TO STEAL NATIVE LAND: THE FORGOTTEN ARGUMENTS OF DESKAHEH LEVI GENERAL
1.OPENING. Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples now admits that the relationship between the indigenous people and the uninvited Europeans began with the teio’hateh, Two Row Wampum agreement. Two entities agree to live separately according to the kaianerekowa, the great peace, or leave. We allowed them to live here temporarily – with us in our canoe and they in their ships. We would share only the river. The indigenous peoples and the newcomers belonged to different families with different languages, culture, laws and ways of life. Europe’s monarchs acknowledged we were not their subjects and they could not interfere with our laws and customs. As turtle island is all indigenous land, we provided to the European “social groups” the use of land the depth of a plow to grow food. They could never own it or form a political party. They needed our permission to do anything on our land.
2.FORGETTING TWO ROW. Then the colonizers began to see things their foreign way. They violated the Two Row and adopted a “geographic” description of themselves, that they were North Americans. The original inhabitants were clan based tied to the land. The colonizers fought with their European cousins over who could come here, which is our right. Then they started to impose their military laws and ways on everyone on turtle island based on the treaties the Europeans made to end their wars with each other in Europe. [Seven Years War and others]. They never consulted the onkwehonweh, the original peoples who had always respected the land since time immemorial. Instead of staying in their own ship they decided to take over the whole river.
3.DOMINION “CLAIMS’. Some of Britain’s North American colonies confederated in 1867 to form the colony of CANADA. The new political organization was a “dominion”, a colony, because the visitors decided they had a right to dominate the land and all the indigenous people on it. Instead of subjects of their king or queen, they began to base their identity on the indigenous land they were squatting on. They changed from accepting our generosity to trying to dominate us.
4.BRITISH SUBJECTS. There was no permission from us for this assertion of power. Canada was a British colony and Britain could not give her subjects here anymore than she had to give, which was nothing. The British subjects ignored the Two Row. Britain could not give their subjects on turtle island the right to make laws for the indigenous people because we were not British subjects. At that point they had to leave as they had become trespassers.
5.GEOGRAPHIC DEFINITION. Our ancestors were not consulted about these moves. They knew we could never change the terms of the Two Row. Our land belongs to the unborn. We are the caretakers of mother earth. She cannot be sold or conveyed to anyone and is governed by the kaianerekowa, the great peace. The land was provided by creation to our past present and future generations. Britain’s colonial subjects had no right to force Indigenous peoples into their European territorial concepts of nationality and property. They could not impose their new geographic definition of themselves on us.
6.INDIGENOUS FREEDOM. The colonists are still subjects of their kings. Indigenous are not, never were. and never will be. The life of being free and having a voice was a revelation to Europeans. We are all sovereign persons and part of our own nations and clans. We were each sovereign persons placed by creation in various areas of turtle island to carry out our duties to our mother earth and all life.
7.OUR VOICE. The colonists didn’t want to be subjects anymore. They changed their view of law and international relations. Today Europeans have formally embraced equality along with the rest of the world. Britain no longer has subject status. The colonists define “nationality” on usurp territorial terms rather than adhering to the kaianerekowa, the great peace. Without our knowledge or consent their citizenship became based on place of birth undermining the kaianerekowa. They still do not grasp the full meaning of equality. Their institutions don’t give their citizens a voice. Their First Nations Governance Act shows that they don’t respect the voice of the indigenous people who have had total jurisdiction of this land since time immemorial. This Act of 2002 was proposed to municipalize native land under private banks and extinguish the sovereign original people. [Today it is the proposed “Framework Agreement”.] They completely ignored their obligations under the Two Row Wampum.
8.REAL INDIGENOUS IDENTITY. The colonizers can change the way they think of themselves as long as they adhere completely to the great peace here. They cannot define our identity nor appropriate our land and resources. Since Confederation Britain’s colonial subjects have been violating Britain’s agreements with the Indigenous peoples.
9.CORPORATION CAN’T OWN THE LAND. Confederation and the British North America Act 1867 did not give Britain the right to let its colonists violate the Two Row Wampum. Britain knew that its people could only come onto our land as a separate “social group” that would share the river with us. But Britain’s subjects fell into the illusionary idea that they owned the land. This lie is taught in their indoctrination centres called the education system.
10.DESKAHEH & S.C.C. The iera’kwa, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy knew this back in 1920. In desperation they sent Levi General Deskaheh to ask the Supreme Court of Canada to stop the Department of Indian Affairs from violating the British North America Act 1867. This Act only gave Canada the right to negotiate with us in place of Britain. the colonists cannot impose their Admiralty laws on indigenous people. But Canadian officials would not let Deskaheh have his day in court.
11.TROOPS ATTACK SIX NATIONS. If Deskaheh was allowed to prove that what they were doing was illegal, these bureaucrats would have been out of work. So they sent troops, the RCMP, to invade the part of Six Nations Grand River territory that remained after a century of theft and fraud. The military deposed the traditional government, the oldest governments in the world.l, installed their band council puppets and stole all our land and created the Indian reservation on October 25, 1924. [Indian Lands Act]. *Since then the colonists have refused to deal with the real traditional leaders, speaking only to their faux elected band councils they have imposed under colonial laws.
12.DESKAHEH & LEAGUE OF NATION. Six Nations diplomats had been honoured guests in Britain’s courts. By the 1920’s Britain was refusing to deal with the problems that had befallen their colony. The Iroquois Confederacy sent Deskaheh to the League of Nations to appeal for justice. The sovereign Six Nations, iera’kwah, were qualified to join and wanted membership in this new international organization so our arguments could be presented to protect our legal rights. The Netherlands, Persia, Estonia, Panama and Ireland all agreed that the Six Nations complaints should be examined by the international court. But Deskaheh was ambushed again by Canadian officials lead by D.C. Scott skulking behind the scenes to make sure the case never got a formal public hearing. They lied to the League saying there was no Two Row and no Great Peace.
The Lands Act is part of the Indian Advancement Act 1924 that imposed the blood quantum legislation [apartheid]. It was the 100 year “business plan” to extinguish the native people, due for completion in 2024.
13.INDIGENOUS ARE ALLIES. Today, the colonists know we indigenous will always maintain our right to independence. We were allies, not subjects of Britain. We are not part of the Corporation of CANADA – the colony that became a corporate successor state. The colonists imposed foreign Admiralty laws on us in violation of both the Two Row and modern International law. The imposed their economic sanctions upon that have put us in a state of destitute poverty compared to all the colonists. As Deskaheh put it in his last address before he was assassinated in 1924, it’s as if Mexico tried to apply its laws in the United States.
14.MEANING OF EQUALITY. The problem is European colonists don’t understand the meaning of equality. They have changed how they define themselves. When we made the Two Row Treaty with France and then Britain a month later, we both defined ourselves in terms of ‘personal’ relationships. We are sovereign individuals who are part of our clans. European nations are based on subject status and their allegiance to their monarch. Their shift to a turtle island territorial definition of themselves has no legal basis. They have no right to impose themselves or their laws on us or to take our land and resources without our knowledge or consent. As a successor state, the colonists are still bound by Britain’s treaty obligations. The colonists are guests on our land. Instead they have presumed to take over our whole house. The colonists must work out fair and valid agreements with us, the original inhabitants of turtle island, to our satisfaction if they want to remain here.
15.CANADIANS ARE IMMIGRANTS. The colonizers celebrate “Canada Day” aware that CANADA is a corporation, not an independent nation. Canadian nationality does not exist. Nationality is tied to having clans, shared ancestry, native language not two foreign languages, a traditional culture and land. CANADA has none of these. The settlers and their ancestors have in common fleeing from oppressive regimes and immigrating onto someone else’s land and then oppressing them. We have no obligation to care for them. They never accepted the protection under the great peace, which alienated them.
16.DOMINION FEUDAL CUSTOM. Canada is a “dominion” that was produced by Britian’s will to dominate. “Dominion” is a feudal custom carried to Britain by foreign lords who conquered the land and the people on it. These deeply rooted cultural habits violate the egalitarian respect represented by the Two Row Wampum.
17.CANADA NON EXISTENT. Consequently, the whole existence of Canada as a legal country is is the biggest ruse played on the world. The colonist’s self-definition cannot appropriate our political identity, our resources and our land. This violates the initial treaties made by Britain with the Indigenous peoples.
18.CANADA VIOLATES NATIVE AND INTERNATIONAL LAW. The colonists violate both the European version of international law and our Indigenous law. The colonists violate the principle of human equality, which they now recognized in a formal way in the mid-twentieth century – after the atrocities of World War II – when they signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of the United Nations and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Canada hesitates to ratify UNDRIP UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as it recognizes that Canada is not a country. The immigrants would have to vacate, CANADA would dissolve and the great peace would be the only law that would prevail.
19.MIGHT DOES NOT MAKE RIGHT. Deskaheh tried to present this argument in the 1920’s but the colonists didn’t want to hear us explain once again our demands for them to respect our jurisdiction over our land and our political and economic rights. We are sovereign and they are not! When Americans had their revolution they threw off their subject status. Then they went crazy, grabbing land, killing people and destroying resources. They called us the natural people, “Indians” and treated us as vermin. Canadians accepted the American policy that “might makes right” and that Europeans had a god-given right to grab lands, possessions, resources and lives. Canada bought into the sleazy American dream. This premise applies to all of the Americas, north and south.
20.INDIGENOUS HAVE EVERYTHING. What happened was sordid. In the subsequent treaties on the prairies there was no meeting of the minds with the native people there. Anglo-Canadians pretend those people agreed to give up everything they had! The indigenous are aware of the agreement to co-exist with them as social groups. In our case the Two Row created a real meeting of minds. The British recognized that we are nations that give permission for anybody to live here according to the great peace. It’s still in effect.
21.TERRITORIAL DEFINITION. The Anglo-Canadian one-sided decision to shift to a territorial definition of themselves gave them no right to take over our land and resources. They have no agreements with us the real indigenous. Their corporate Canadian band councils are on the enemies team. They need our consent to our full satisfaction to do anything on our land. We won’t succumb to their lust for our resources or to ransack our land. It’s all ours and they all know it.
22.WHERE’S RECEIPT FOR TURTLE ISLAND. The colonists purport that all people are equal, at the same time illegally imposes laws and beliefs on us. As a successor state Canada is still bound by the limitations of Britain’s treaty obligations which they must fulfill. They would have to leave, or leave us alone or abide by the great peace. Since whites don’t have clans, they are disqualified from living here. They can only live here as a separate social group under the authority of the clans established by the great peace. This is international law which Canada agreed to. The colonizers have no legal right to claim dominion over the inherent original people, or to take our lands and possessions. They have not worked out fair and valid agreements with us that consider the rights of our people now and into the future. We are the “people of the forever” placed by creation on mother earth. Canada’s current attempts to force us original people to prove in their foreign private courts that we have a claim to our own lands is ridiculous and unlawful by international law. They must show us their permits to be on our land, to ransack our resources and to leave a trail of blood and pollution behind. The colonists have no receipt for our land.
What part of the “depth of a plow share” don’t these alien invaders understand? All these points apply equally to the United States. Only the foundation of the great peace and two row of equality, having a voice through concensus, justice and truth can eliminate the current pandemic of hatred, injustice and racism that is tearing up the world.
The author is awaiting an invitation from McGill to deliver this speech again.
As Thahoketoteh explains in his song, “The river of life has many falls, twists and turns and steep walls. We travel down it in our own way, The same has been from the very first day. I’ll stay in my canoe. You stay in your boat. I only hope you stay afloat. I’ll smile at you. You wave at me. We’ll continue on toward the sea.”
MNN Mohawk Nation News thahoketoteh & firstname.lastname@example.org For more news and to sign up for MNN www.mohawknationnews.com More stories at MNN archives. Address: Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0
The Indian Lands ACT. 1924. file:///Users/kahentinetha/Downloads/IndLanAct1924.pdf
Six Nations Appeal to League of Nations 1922-31 http://historybeyondborders.ca/?p=189
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