From The Peoples Voice

MEDIA RELEASE – Barnhart Encounter (05-22-24) 

Yesterday (May 21st 2024) at 10:30 am, individuals went to Niionenhiasekowá:ne (Barnhart Island) to begin construction for a residence in a grass clearing on Beach Marina Rd. The three Kanien’keha:ka men that were on site were unmolested for three hours until five state troopers, six NYPA security, and one St. Lawrence County Sheriff appeared. The encounter was described as amiable. The troopers asked the purpose of their activities to which one man responded, “We are here to build housing for our community. This is Onkwehonwe land.” The troopers, and Sheriff, then simply notified the men to be careful of specific lines, indicating where they were. The gas, water and electric lines were all far from where the men were scraping the dirt. No warning, notice or injunction was provided and the men continued their work.

Later, six additional Kanien’keha:ka people came to the area, one of them with the press. Within 15 minutes of their arrival at 8:00 pm, approximately 35 personnel (including law enforcement, troopers, US Border Patrol, Homeland Security) armed with automatic rifles surrounded them at the site- issuing a brief warning stating that the individuals were trespassing and to move away from the premises. The individuals refused to move. The troopers proceeded to arrest all who were present, including a minor (who was later released).

One individual was charged with a felony and all were charged with trespassing violations and conspiracy misdemeanors. The court date appearance has been set for June 11th, 2024, 1:30 pm at Massena Town Court. The individuals encourage people to witness the hearing and attend in support. 

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