TRAFFICKING OF “INDIGENOUS CULTURAL HERITAGE”

MCGILL/MCCCORD & MOHAWK MOTHERS DISCUSSION, JUNE 3. 2024 

TRAFFICKING OF INDIGENOUS CULTURAL HERITAGE “-

Six Nations chiefs explaining wampum belts 1871.

MNN. June 15, 2024. This message was delivered to McGill McCord Museum on behalf of Kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers:

“Wampum belts have been trafficked across international borders not recognized by us. Trafficking of cultural goods is the illicit import, export and transfer of cultural property. In 2011, the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security announced that the illicit sale of cultural property is the third most profitable black market industries in the world, following weapons and narcotics trafficking! Wampums were stolen from indigenous communities on Turtle Island, often by using coercive strategies or middlemen who profitted from the misery and chaos of colonialism.

Band Councils do not represent us. They are an incorporated entity of Parliament and represent Canada, not the original indigenous peoples.   

One dish one spoon Agreement: Natural resources such as animals, fish and medicinal plant should be shared in a respectful manner amongst  onkwehonweh people. 

Wampum cannot be sold by an individual. They are stewarded by specific families to conserve them for the future generations. Individuals cannot sell Kanien’keha:ka cultural heritage, like a piece of merchandise. They are historical agreements that are recorded for the future generations. For a century, McGill’s McCord Museum has possessed Kanien’keha:ka wampum that were acquired when our people were experiencing great duress on financial, social and physical levels, which Canada has recently acknowledged as genocidal. This history was not communicated to the public at the recent display of wampum. Today we are here to renew our relationship on better terms, based on collaboration, justice and truth-telling. We offer the McCord Museum an opportunity to return Kanien’keha:ka belongings to our communities, where they belong.

McGill and McCord squat on unceded Onkwehonkwe land and retain possession of and control over immensely valuable cultural heritage which forms the backbone of our identity, governance structures and nationhood. We traditional Kanien’keha:ka Longhouse people live in accordance with our precolonial constitution which our ancestors helped us to develop from time immemorial, the Kaianerehkowa. Wampum form the very basis of our cultural identity. Our right to live, possess and control our heritage is the basis of our culture, which is acknowledged by Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada 1982, which states: “The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed”, as well as by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which is the Federal repatriation of the UNDRIP protocols outlined by the United Nations.

In the United States, these conversations have led to the creation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which currently requires museums to collaborate on projects with Indigenous peoples to  repatriate all Indigenous heritage to Indigenous communities. The historic, traditional and artistic materials created by a people as an expression of themselves belongs to us, the original people from whom the objects were stolen and separated from the historical settings of these objects.

The UNDRIP Act in Canada states in Article 31 that: “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.” Article 25 says: “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.”

Regarding Indigenous peoples, all states and publicly-funded corporations such as McGill are expected to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights. Every living being on earth has a spirit, including wampum that were handmade by our ancestors which carried forth our knowledge and instructions for future generations of Onkwehonweh. The spirit placed into the wampum was for the future generations of our people, not for the enjoyment and entertainment of tourists and academics. We feel the spirit of these teachings from our ancestors in our whole being. An object having an historical, traditional or cultural importance central to the indigenous people or culture itself, are not property owned by an individual. They cannot be alienated, appropriated or conveyed by any individual, corporation or organization. Such objects are inalienable by all parties at the time the object was created.

According to the Two Row Tehiohate philosophy, our society knows how to govern ourselves from birth. We had no jails, police, weapons or threats of death to manage our relationships. We are a true free self-determining people, with a “constitution” that is a true world heritage that has influenced what came to be called “democracy” all over the planet. For example, the United States’ decentralized semi-autonomous state system was appropriated from our traditional governance structures by Benjamin Franklin and the League of Nations. Wampum is the promise of the Kanien’keha:ka to pass our knowledge and traditions to future generations and to carry out the agreements made between the parties involved. As colonialist Cadwallader Colden described, “Wampum is a system of memory and recall far more advanced than anything they have seen in Europe.” The wampum was taken out regularly from the basket in the general council and the words were repeated to remind the people of the promise. The white people were invited to the wampum recitals, though their memory was faulty and many promises were broken.

Teiohateh Two Row, is the universal relationship of non-domination, balance and harmony between different people.

Wampum belts are promises of peace. To us it is not right to display our cultural heritage in museums as dead objects that no longer matter. We will not accept being put on display any longer. Wampum are living heritage that we are still using as the basis of our agreements, traditions, protocols and relationships. The fact that the McCord Museum of McGill University hold these items and put them on display remind us of how these agreements were violated by Europeans and transformed into entertainment items, stripped of their social, spiritual and political meaning. The essence of our agreements is in our minds. Wampum only work if we entertain a living relationship with them. Our honesty brings back our words and thoughts from these discussions. Our message based on the kaianerekowa, the great peace, has never been diminished. We must regularly review the original meanings.

We indigenous people belong to the land. The women made the belts because they have the duty of peace. The McCord exhibit misinterpreted certain meanings, for example stating that the straight line in the middle of the wampum represents the rule to govern. This improper representation must be corrected by our Elders and Knowledge Keepers. A gross misrepresentation in the exhibit suggested that we used wampum as money. It is Europeans who turned our wampum into a form of money, an idea that did not exist in our way.

The museum overlooked the original cultural meanings of the wampum. We offer to work together to correct this so that such violations, abuses, and misunderstandings can be made right. We will begin by discussing proper arrangements for the return to our communities of our heritage. We pledge to inform everyone of the true power, spirit and meanings of the wampum which is the basis of our relationship with all peoples and all life. We wish to remove the misleading narratives devised by European scholars and other foreigners by putting our wampum back in our hands. The way that these wampums were lost to our communities is very dark and troubling.

For many invading colonists all over the world our wampum were valuable objects of fashion that they stole and used as symbols of status. Some were taken right off the dead bodies of murdered Indigenous people throughout turtle island and then sold. Some wanted souvenirs to hang on their wall to remind them of having murdered us. Colonial institutions, especially museums, and their funders, such as the Bank of Canada, are pervaded by the continuation of a deep historical legacy of racism and genocide which must now stop. The general lack of information stems from the horrific conditions under which wampum were taken away from us. McCord did not provide meaningful and truthful explanations of the wampum and of how they ended up in McCord’s storage rooms. Somewhere the trail of information leading to their origins has been suppressed. We come to state without any ambiguity that it is time to return all our heritage to us for us to determine how our past, present and future will be used and interpreted. 

Wiskniontsakeh signifies the alliance of five different peoples

who pledge to live by the great peace.  

We hereby propose the following agreement: McCord Museum shall:

1. Relinquish all claims of ownership to Indigenous cultural heritage. 

2. Negotiate the transfer of Kanien’keha:ka cultural heritage to the Kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers, who will coordinate their rematriation to Indigenous communities. McCord may hold the material on our behalf until arrangements are made to move them.

3. Understand that Kanien’keha:ka cultural heritage, including but not limited to wampum, is on temporary loan to the McCord Museum from the Kanien’keha:ka, contingent on proper care of the material culture and in good faith to facilitate the rematriation of Kanien’keha:ka belongings held by the McCord Museum.

4. Provide the Kahnistensera and Indigenous communities with a complete inventory of wampum, including all related documents and data that McCord may possess or have access to.

5. Fund Indigenous-led research into the meaning and historical movements and displacements of each wampum, to share correct information with the public. This includes funding a Kahnistensera-led program with Kanien’keha:ka elders, knowledge keepers and youth to correct the record.

6. Fund the safe and secure storage of Kanien’keha:ka cultural heritage until Indigenous communities are able to properly take on the care of these belongings.

[a] The Kanien’keha:ka belongings contained within the inventory will be completely under the ownership and control of Kanien’keha:ka traditional people. [b]  During McCord’s temporary stewardship pending rematriation, McCord shall grant any Indigenous community or persons’ requests to access and use Indigenous cultural heritage, including wampum belts, for their own purposes.

7. Assist with curation expertise and resources, including securing sufficient funding, to ensure, in a timely manner, safe storage of the cultural artifacts in facilities controlled by traditional Indigenous governance systems. McCord shall provide free access to said belongings to all Onkwehonweh of any Indigenous communities to learn, physically handle, and use them for social, educational and ceremonial purposes.

8. Assist in the funding of the Kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers in order to arrange with Kanien’keha:ka communities for the creation, maintenance, and curatorial protocol to build the proper facilities for the transfer of the belts and articles to traditional Indigenous communities.

8. All historical agreements with other parties that allowed our wampum to be taken away and placed in colonial institutions shall be superseded by this agreement, because the original community ownership was never, and could never be, relinquished.

Robbie Robertson sings about the “Ghost Dance” to remind everybody “we shall live again, we shall live again” because of our love for our mother earth and all life.

Crow’s brought the message
To the children of the sun
For the return of the buffalo
And for a better day to come

You can kill my body
You can damn my soul
For not believing in your God
And some world down below

You don’t stand a chance against my prayers
You don’t stand a chance against my love
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
But we shall live again, we shall live again

My sister above
But she has red paint
She died at Wounded Knee
Like a Latter-day Saint

You got the big drum in the distance
The blackbird’s in the sky
That’s a sound that you hear
When the buffalo cry

You don’t stand a chance against my prayers
You don’t stand a chance against my love
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
They outlawed the Ghost Dance
But we shall live again, we shall live again
We shall live again

Crazy Horse was a mystic (yeah)
He knew the secret of the trance
And Sitting Bull, the great apostle
Of the Ghost Dance

Come on Comanche
Come on Blackfoot
Come on Shoshone
Come on Cheyenne

We shall live again (we shall live again)
We shall live again (we shall live again)

Come on Arapaho
Come on Cherokee
Come on Paiute
Come on Sioux

We shall live again (we shall live again)

You used to do the Ghost Dance
Used to do the Ghost Dance
But we don’t sing them kinda songs no more

 

 

MCGILL/SQI & MOHAWK MOTHERS CLASH IN APPEAL COURT

Submission by Kahnistensera Mohawk mothers

Shé:kon Sewakwekon, Justices,

The Kahnisrtensera Mohawk Mothers stood before the three justices of the Quebec Appeals Court in Montreal. All kanienkehaka women are Kahnistensera, “life-givers”, with a privileged relationship to the children and the earth which lies at the heart of this court case. Kahnistensera contains the word Onerits’ta, which is the umbilical cord and the stem of a fruit. As a tree bears fruit, of which they are caretakers. Their precolonial constitution, Kaianerehkowa, comes from time immemorial and is translated as the  path of the “Great Law of Peace.” 

The Women’s Nomination Belt, which was presented to the judges, is a reminder of women’s duties. Section 44 of the first written translation of the Great Law of Peace, published in 1916 states “The lineal descent of the people of the Five Nations shall run in the female line. Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the soil. Men and women shall follow the status of the mother”. They are the stewards and caretakers of the land for the coming faces, “Tahatikonhsontóntie.” Furthermore, they hold the titles of the 49 families that make up the Confederacy and depose those who stray from the great peace.

It is the women’s duty to search for the missing and murdered children following the colonial genocide program inflicted on indigenous people. They must find, protect and return the remains of the relatives to their families and communities, one of the most important exercises of their inherent duties.

They self-represent in these colonial legal proceedings because the Kaianerehkó:wa and their cultural practices, customs and traditions provide that they do so. Their position is based on the clan-based consensual decision-making protocols from time immemorial. They are now carrying out their duty to represent themselves before the Superior Court beginning almost two years ago. Justice Gregory Moore of the Superior Court Montreal recognized their public interest standing and their right to represent themselves in his judgement of September 20th, 2022; that they can legitimately represent themselves and the public interest of their people by  upholding their individual responsibilities as caretakers of the land and children.

This judgement was never appealed. The Attorney General of Quebec now submits that they aren’t worthy of the honour of the Crown because they are individuals and not an incorporated group. First, they are carrying out their obligations towards their children of the past, present, and future. Second, Incorporation is a feature of colonial society, not theirs. Their society has organized councils, fires, traditions and families. They condemn the Attorney General’s attempt to undermine their standing as the original people on onowarekeh, turtle island, their collateral attack on Justice Moore’s decision; and their attempt to relitigate what was already adjudicated, which constitutes sharp dealing and an abuse of process.

The House of Commons ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the UNDRIP Act, 2021; the provinces are encouraged to implement the Act and the Declaration as a basic source in interpreting Canadian law. Articles 3 and 5 protects their right and duty to represent the interests of coming generations; Articles 11 and 12 asserts the rights of cultural manifestation, traditions, ceremonies, and laws; and Article 18 provides that “Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which affect their rights, through representatives chosen by them according to their own procedures”, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.

The rights in this case fall under a larger nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown as sovereign allies for centuries. “Canada” is a Mohawk word. They are bound by shared histories and original agreements, the Tehiohate Two Row Wampum and the Silver Covenant Chain. These processes uphold mutual respect and dialogue on onowarekeh. 

Yet the Attorney General of Quebec claims that the Honour of the Crown is not at stake in this issue. They beg to differ. Kahnistensera brought these claims as mothers, in their traditional and official capacities, as custodians of the soil and of everything it contains, and of the children of the past, present and future. They are born into their lifetime of duties, bound to uphold them forever according to the kasahtsensera kowa sahoiera, the Great Natural Power, which is creation.

No one can represent okwehonweh, the original people placed here by creation. Each has a final say. Quebec Crown agents can only act with Band Councils which are Canada’s corporate bodiies imposed on indigenous people by the colonial Indian Act, not by a traditional indigenous governance system. This contradicts the spirit of reconciliation. The Attorney General of Quebec quotes the Manitoba Metis Federation decision which states that “It must be explicit that the obligee of the obligation is an indigenous group,”so that a group can’t be partially composed of Indigenous people.” The Attorney General cherry-picks which parts of that decision are relevant so as to claim that the kahnistensera cannot invoke the Honor of the Crown. To exclude kahnistensera, especially in a case that involves abused and murdered children who were in their care, contradict the principles of Section 35(1) of the Constitution Act 1982 and the spirit of Reconciliation. These women are definitely not a group of opportunists with a few token Indigenous members. THEY ARE ALL REAL LIVE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE. The honour of the Crown applies FIRST AND FOREMOST to them, rather than to any corporation represented by attorneys who have sworn allegiance to the Crown who are strangers to indigenous ways.

Finally, the Attorney General suggests that the Honor of the Crown cannot be engaged through litigation! They submit that the kahnistensera brought dishonour to the Crown outside of court through their faulty execution of the Settlement Agreement!! The Appellants almost immediately breached the jointly-drafted agreement in several ways. They tried to find a common ground and deal with these issues with the Appellants outside of court, but to no avail.

The ruling now under appeal addresses the urgent breaches of the Agreement because of the Appellants’ failure to abide by the Agreement. These breaches are: First, the refusal to implement recommendations from the expert Panel regarding forensic precautions and the sharing of data. They infer that the term “guided” in section 13 of the agreement does not make the panel’s recommendations binding. But what does “guided” mean if recommendations can simply be unilaterally dismissed without any credible explanation or discussion? The kahnistensera would never have agreed to such a clause. 

Second, the Appellants unilaterally decided to fire the expert third party Panel mandated by all parties to the agreement, essentially electing themselves as sole decision-makers. Kahnistensera did not and would not have agreed to such a short and limited mandate for the Panel.

Third, the Panel insisted that it was their professional and ethical duty to access the data of the Appellant’s service providers and to oversee the implementation of the techniques they recommended. Section 13 of the Agreement binds all parties to the Panel’s recommendations, which techniques were to be used and how. The Appellants’ alternative interpretation is absurd. 

Fourth, Section 17 of the Agreement states that the Panel must be involved in case of any “unexpected discoveries”. In a letter which McGill’s attorney Doug Mitchell addressed to Justice Moore on June 14, 2023, McGill posed that what the Historic Human Remains Detection Dogs first alert was dequalified as an “unexpected discovery” and therefore triggered Section 17 of the Agreement. The Appellant’s agreed with the women’s request for a Case Management Conference following the discovery. Then the SQI later argued that Section 17 is only triggered after an actual burial is discovered. They stressed that if bodies were found the police and coroner would take over, explicitly stating that neither the Kahnistensera nor the Panel would be involved. Thus, Section 17 is either meaningless, or blatantly deceptive.

Fifth, the women submit that Section 17, and the spirit of the Agreement as a whole, necessarily involves the Panel to disentangle conflicting opinions about the techniques and how they are implemented as soon as problems are encountered. McGill and the SQI are not archeologists, and nor are the women. That’s why the Panel was jointly selected to replace the injunction that was not appealed. It was to allow, on one hand, the Appellants’ construction to continue while giving the women the assurance that a thorough and credible archeological investigation would come first.

This is the crux of the matter: The Kahnistensera would never have signed an agreement which would cause irreparable harm to them, to survivors and to their communities. This irreparable harm is in the SQI’s submissions, which state that the settlement agreement provided for the SQI and McGill to investigate unmarked graves by excluding the Kahnistensera from the process that they initiated at great pain and effort.

The Agreement replaced the injunction, which no party contested, and that the investigation should be Indigenous-led, which halted all excavation work on the site. By signing the agreement, the Kahnistensera made a considerable compromise, giving up Indigenous control of the investigation in exchange for the oversight by an independent and jointly-appointed third party Panel of experts to search for unmarked graves. The Agreement bound all parties. Due to this compromise, McGill and SQI were able to proceed with their construction work. By using the way of the kaianerekowa, such as the consensual decision-making protocols and wampum-based diplomacy, an agreement must be based on “being of one mind,” which is a true shared understanding.

There are some parallels between our ancestral ways and Canadian contract law. We have to make sure that we signed the same contract with the same meaning and that both parties understand it the same way. In this case, the Panel was meant to act as an independent third-party capable of resolving disagreements on best practices and techniques throughout the investigation. The Appellants dismissed these. We saw the irreparable harm that occurs when the Appellants are not under the supervision of the independant Panel: For instance, the Appellants excluded the investigation of the portion inside the Hersey building which was part of the 10-metre radius zone. The Panel recommended excavation around the target where search dogs alerted, which was next to the wall. Our cultural monitors then witnessed the Appellants’ contractors doing demolition work on the flooring on the other side of the wall. They never responded when asked what was happening. The Appellants barred access to the inside of the building even though the dog handlers said the dogs can smell through stone walls. •

The Kahnistensera cultural monitor Lloyd Benedict states in his affidavit that he found a century old child’s shoe left on the sidewalk in zone 11, the absence of care in handling potential evidence, and reported that excavation happened there without any archaeological monitoring, though monitoring was mandated by the Panel. Thirdly, the Panel’s recommendation to immediately and manually sift the soil where the dogs alerted were ignored, and the soil was left to the elements for several months before being inappropriately passed through a mechanical sifter made for mining, not archaeology. According to Mohawk archaeologist Benedict’s affidavit, this most likely would destroy the fragile bones of children. The Appellants’ contractors then concluded that the bone fragments were now too small to identify. This is the irreparable harm we have to prevent: the destruction of the very evidence this whole investigation is about!

We now fear that the same will happen with the TWO OTHER targets the dogs identified since then, including one next to the Allan Memorial Institute, where a S4 probe also confirmed compounds in the soil consistent with human decomposition. These will be destroyed if the Appellants proceed without the Panel’s oversight. The purpose of this investigation is to find the truth. Every archeological scholar we talked to was appalled at the details of the archeological investigation which proceeded unilaterally under the Appellants. They fell so drastically short of best practices. In fact, they’ve never seen anything like it.

McGill and the SQI misinterpreted the Agreement in every way to resume construction, while disregarding their responsibilities by depriving the Kahnistensera of the guidance of independent experts. By excluding both the Panel and the Kahnistensera – except for periodic email updates and a few tokenized cultural monitors whose only power, it seems, is to burn sage and tobacco , the Appellants have determined that they will investigate the crimes allegedly committed by their own employees in their own institutions in the past. Sincerely, Justices, this cannot be what Reconciliation looks like. When the women signed it, it was clear that all parties wanted to replace any unilateral endeavour by any party with a jointly-appointed independent body, the Panel.

Justice Moore read the entire Agreement. He decided to homologate it within the Superior Court, giving it the force of a Judgement. The SQI then tried to object. Justice Moore’s Judgement is now under appeal. The Appellants’ interpreted that it  was too narrow and did not make sense. We applied to enforce the homologated agreement as the Appellants found the whole investigation was seriously compromised, which created a situation of utter helplessness for the survivors of the crimes and our communities. Justice Moore simply tried to enforce the implementation of the Agreement as it stands, to prevent further irreparable harm. His ruling was to preserve the status quo and to allow the investigation to continue so it minimizes the harm done to all the parties. Once human remains are destroyed, they cannot be repaired. Once land is excavated, the soil cannot be put back. The Judgment now seems moot given the several months that have passed,. The situation is just as urgent now as it has ever been. The urgency is to restore human dignity after so much dispossession and neglect. Reconciliation, if it means anything, must mean this much.

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/mcgill-quebec-clash-with-mohawks-over-possible-buried-bodies

Tommy Tucker’s song “Hi Heel Sneakers” could be about some of the ‘clashes’ that go on in the courts of law that indigenous people are forced into: 
  
Put on your red dress, babyLord, we goin’ out tonightPut on your red dress, babyLord, we goin’ out tonightAnd then wear some boxin’ glovesIn case some fool might wanna fight
Put on your hi-heel sneakersWear your wig hat on your headPut on your hi-heel sneakersWear your wig hat on your headAnd I’m pretty sure now, babyDon’t you know, you know you gonna knock ’em dead?

Court Reporter Thahoketoteh@ntk.com

MohawkMothers.ca

Kahnistensera@sunrise.org

mohawknationnews.com

box 991, kahnawake que. canada J0L 1B0

kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

REMATRIATION OF TURTLE ISLAND – McGill Grads Statement

MNN. JUNE 6, 2024.

 

CONCORDIA & KAHNISTENSERA MOHAWK MOTHERS

“Good Medicine Talks Series” 

Indigenous Knowledge Chair

Lead by Dr. Catherine Richardson Kineweskwen

The McGill graduation remarks at the Bell Centre in Montreal reflects how our young people see things. The kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers wish you love, freedom and peace.

 Bob Dylan sees it your way.

 MohawkMothers.ca

mohawknationnews.com

Box 911 – kahnawakw – quebec – cabada – J0L 1B0

kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

KANIENKEHA:KA REASSERT LAND RIGHT TO BARNHART ISLAND

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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QUEBEC STATE OF CHILD ABUSE

 

REMARKS

MNN. May 15, 2024. This is about accountability. That is what reconciliation is about. We were given by creation the ability to protect ourselves, our people, the kanien’keha:ka, and all peoples and to love and care for our mother earth. Presently we are trying to find our missing and murdered children. We find that no public institution in Quebec has the mandate to be accountable for state abuse and genocide of children and people.

Our kaianerekpwa teaches us to hold ourselves accountable to our past traditions, our ways that foster dialogue and harmony to create balance and equality: the two row wampum, the dish with one spoon, the kaianerekowa (great peace). We first met the SAQ [Quebec Liquor Board] after writing them a letter in January 2024 about our concerns that the former cemetery on the property of the St. Jean de Dieu Hospital contained our ancestors who were patients there. We always seek to find all our children. Before the beginning of our relationship with the Europeans we held onto the spirit of loving and caring for our children. We find no one accountable for torturing and murdering them. They have benefitted from the genocide. This is a crime against humanity. 

The Duplessis orphans were mistreated and eliminated because of money. Only the corporation’s rights have been upheld, not that of the people. Our way is to hold ourselves to the truth. The Quebec government and its institutions like the SAQ [Quebec Liquor Board] have to be held accountable for their part in criminal actions to our people and to the orphans of all origins. What are we supposed to do when no corporate or religious institution seems to have the mandate to hold groups like the Sisters of Misericorde, the Quebec government and the SAQ accountable for the atrocities that were committed here and from which they are benefitting – the lobotomies, the pigsty cemetery, over which the first SAQ warehouse was built in 1975, transporting bodies in black plastic bags [we have seen the photos] of those bodies found by accident. The SAQ now inexplicably refuses to allow search dogs to survey the area to ensure that no burials or human remains will be destroyed or hidden. Refusing this recommendation from the leading national body of experts in searches for unmarked graves is immoral, unethical and inhuman., and pure evil.

The Quebec government made money changing the status of these children, most of whom were stolen from their families and designated as “mentally retarded”. What happened to us and to them is arguably one of the worst crimes against humanity that occurred in the Western world after the Second World War. The surviving Duplessis Orphans here are primarily witnesses to the horrors and atrocities they experienced which they tried to make public. They have been denied and betrayed every single time. I went to a funeral of three orphans. Hervé’s group doesn’t have enough money to put names on their gravestones. The orphans became family together and we are family with them. Many of them were Indigenous and had been hidden away as orphans, simply taken away, or sold for adoption if they were lucky, used for psychiatric experiments if they were not.

People’s power was taken away so they could not fight back or protect themselves. Our children and families were taken away to disempower us. The SAQ built its warehouse over the cemetery where more than 2000 people were buried. By refusing to let in search dogs who are capable of detecting the zones containing human remains, the SAQ is inferring that it will not account for the wrongs, even if it means infringing on human rights, breaking Federal and international law, and  breaching the ethical framework of a just society. Our ways are different, we respect everyone, we trust true dialogue and strive for understanding.

Yesterday, I asked to stop our meeting with the SAQ after they announced that the search dogs could not be used. The  voice of the orphans was ignored, as was their demand for search dogs to be used as recommended by the top experts in this country to make sure no grave will be desecrated or destroyed. It was very hurtful, insulting and abusive. In our ways we cannot speak with such dissonance. We must have a consensual discussion which is based on truth, peace and complete respect so we can arrive at a complete understanding. When sharp words and dealings happen, we must close the meeting and the parties must come back to the table when our minds agree to understand each other. If that mindset cannot be reached by state institutions like the SAQ, Quebec will have to reckon with the way their dead are being treated. This is very alarming.

SAQ obviously have never had a dog and they show their hatred by disallowing our blood hounds to go onto the land and be good dogs. As Red Foley sings about dogs:

When I was a ladAnd old Shep was a pupOver hills and meadows we’d strayJust a boy and his dogWe were both full of funWe grew up together that way
I remember the time at the old swimmin’ holeWhen I would have drowned beyond doubtBut old Shep was right thereTo the rescue he cameHe jumped in and then pulled me out
As the years fast did rollOld Shep, he grew oldHis eyes were fast growing dimAnd one day the doctor looked at me and said“I can do no more for him, Jim”
With hands that were tremblingI picked up my gunAnd aimed it at Shep’s faithful headI just couldn’t do it, I wanted to runI wish they would shoot me instead
He came to my side and looked up at meAnd laid his old head on my kneeI had struck the best friend a man ever hadI cried so I scarcely could see
Old Shep, he has gone where the good doggies goAnd no more with old Shep will I roamBut if dogs have a heaven there’s one thing I knowOld Shep has a wonderful home

 

mohawknationnews.com

MohawkMothers.ca

kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

AIN’T NOTHING BUT A HOUND DOG!

MNN. May 16, 2024. Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers: Details on stopping SAQ [Quebec Liquor Board] from starting their construction work on the former site of the former cemetary of St-Jean-de-Dieu “asylum” Tiohtià:ke /Montreal.

 Stab-in-the-back handshake.

SAYUMKI’YA’ASEH

On May 16, 2024, faced with the SAQ’s refusal to let the HHRDDs enter the site to ensure that no graves will be disturbed or destroyed, the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers may have no choice but to seek to file the appropriate emergency legal applications, while being prepared to use mediation or negotiation before going to court if work is halted. On May 14, 2024, the Comité des Orphelins et Orphelines Institutionnalisé.es de Duplessis and the Kanien’keha:ka Kahnistensera (Mohawk Mothers) sent a formal notice to the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), demanding an immediate halt to all excavation work on the site of the former pauper’s cemetery of the St-Jean-de-Dieu psychiatric “asylum” in Montreal’s east end. This move follows the SAQ’s categorical refusal to employ historic human remains detection dogs (HHRDD) and other non-invasive techniques recommended by the Canadian Archaeological Association’s Working Group on Unmarked Graves (CAAWGUG), the country’s leading authority on the proper techniques for investigating these contexts.

“The SAQ has ignored our repeated calls to thoroughly investigate this tragic site where Duplessis orphans and Indigenous children suffered abuse and inhumane medical experimentation,” said Kahentinetha, speaking on behalf of the Mohawk Mothers. “Their remains could be buried in unmarked graves that the SAQ is preparing to disturb with no respect for their dignity.” Rejecting the use of HHRDDs, the provincial Crown corporation chose to go ahead with its proposed development project immediately, disregarding the expert’s recommendations and the demands of the impacted communities and survivors, the Duplessis Orphans and the Mohawk Mothers. “This is an insult to the memory of our lost brothers and sisters,” added Hervé Bertrand, representing the Duplessis Orphans. “The SAQ must be held accountable and demonstrate transparency by immediately suspending work until a proper investigation is carried out.”

This formal notice is a response to the SAQ’s neglect of basic human rights and its refusal to promote reconciliation and healing. The groups involved are urging the media to amplify their voices and hold the SAQ accountable on this critically important issue. GBM partner Frédéric Bérard will be representing the Duplessis Orphans. Faced with the SAQ’s refusal to let the HHRDDs enter the site to ensure that no graves will be disturbed and destroyed, the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers may have no choice but to seek to file the appropriate emergency legal applications, while being prepared to use mediation or negotiation before going to court if work is halted.

For interviews, further information or access to supporting documents, please contact Philippe Blouin at 514-463-8835 or philippe.enver.blouin@gmail.com.

____________

BACKGROUND & TIMELINE: On January 9, 2024, the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers wrote a letter to the SAQ stating that work planned for a new automated distribution center risked disturbing and destroying human remains from the former cemetery known as the “pigsty cemetery”, where more than 2,000 patients from the St-Jean-de-Dieu psychiatric asylum whose bodies were unclaimed had been buried between the years 1870 and 1958. The Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers requested the use of non-invasive technologies, and of qualified, independent experts and cultural monitors during any archaeological investigations, and that a discussion be opened with the goal of discussing an independent inquiry into the history of the people buried in the cemetery, and the potential atrocities that led to these deaths.

The letter of January 9, 2024 reminded the SAQ that, after the Sisters of Providence had exhumed more than 2,000 bodies from this cemetery for unclaimed patient’s bodies in 1967, additional remains had been accidentally found in 1975, during the construction of the SAQ’s first warehouse, showing that the first exhumation had been incomplete. In 1975, these bodies were exhumed by a construction company and moved in plastic bags to a mass grave at Repos St-François d’Assise, without the presence of an archaeologist or forensic expert. In testimony to the Superior Court, Sister Marie-Paule Lévaque admitted that she did not know the exact extent of the cemetery. Then, in 1999, the Journal de Montréal reported another accidental discovery of human remains in a zone quite far from the “pigstry cemetery,” during a new SAQ warehouse expansion project led by SAQ president Gaétan Frigon and then Parti Québécois minister François Legault. The SAQ has been unable to locate or provide a report or any information whatsoever about the bones found in 1999.

Between February and May 2024, a total of eight (8) meetings took place between the SAQ, the Mohawk Mothers and the Duplessis Orphans. The latter two groups learned in April that on the very day of their first meeting, February 23, 2024, the SAQ had privately hired Arkéos Inc. to submit an archaeological permit application to the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications (MCC), without consulting the Duplessis Orphans or the Mohawk Mothers. The inventory application submitted by the SAQ and its contractor avoided the requests of the Orphans and Mohawk Mothers for the use of non-invasive technologies specifically designed to detect human remains, such as georadar and Historic Human Remains Detection Dogs (HHRDD) – trained to detect historic human bones at depths of several metres – which are most appropriate when there is a potential for the discovery, disturbance and destruction of human remains.

The Arkéos inventory was not specifically designed to identify and preserve unmarked graves or burials, but rather to identify the remains of material heritage such as buildings, roads and artifacts. Its sampling approach, which suggested that the failure to find complete remains in four (4) trenches dug in certain areas of the site eliminated any possibility of human remains elsewhere, was insufficient to reassure survivors whose loved ones were buried in this cemetery as a result of mistreatment, which included lobotomies.

The Orphans have been calling since 2002 for the exhumation of the bodies buried in the “pigsty cemetery”, the heart of which lies beneath the current SAQ warehouse, to find the evidence of medical experiments and atrocities committed against children. Following the SAQ’s unilateral decision, the Duplessis Mothers and Orphans wrote to the MCC to make additional submissions to ensure that the archaeological permit would take into account the need to use non-invasive techniques to exclude or confirm the presence of human remains on the entire site, but their message was ignored by the Ministry.

Anxious to accommodate the work schedule, the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers made a compromise at a meeting held on April 2, 2024, agreeing to work with the contractor selected by the SAQ for an archaeological inventory on the condition that SAQ request and respect the recommendations of independent experts specifically experienced in the use of non-invasive methods and in the search for unmarked graves. At this meeting, all parties agreed to involve Canada’s leading authority on the search for unmarked graves at residential school and on hospital grounds, the Canadian Archaeological Association’s Working Group on Unmarked Graves (CAAWGUG). In an e-mail dated April 4, 2024, the SAQ altered the verbal agreement to request and respect the CAAWGUG recommendations instead to a commitment to hold an information session with the CAAWGUG. As a result of this change of heart, the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers had to cancel a traditional condolence ceremony to authorize and inaugurate Arkéos’ research according to Indigenous spiritual protocol.

On April 10, the SAQ finally agreed in writing to suspend work until the CAAWGUG had made its recommendations, and the condolence ceremony was held on April 16, 2024, followed by Arkéos’ inventory. Holding this ceremony was conditional on the involvement of CAAWGUG and a commitment that an independent investigation would be carried out in line with best practices determined by the experts specializing in archaeological investigations at sites potentially containing anonymous burials.

Representatives of CAAWGUG attended a meeting with all parties on May 8, 2024. At this meeting, the SAQ’s contractor, Arkéos, presented a preliminary report “liberating the site” from archaeological restrictions and not recommending any additional measures on site, not including the presence of archaeologists and cultural monitors during the construction work to identify human remains which might be discovered accidentally. It is important to note that the SAQ and Arkéos made this decision despite the fact that only just over half of the bones excavated at the site could be visually identified as being of animal origin, and that no laboratory tests were planned for bone fragments that could not be visually identified.

At the May 8, 2024 meeting, CAAWGUG representatives were finally able to obtain from the SAQ some of the documentation needed to make recommendations appropriate for the site’s context, and indicated that they would be able to provide their recommendations in less than seven (7) days to accommodate the SAQ’s concerns about their project timeline.

On May 9, 2024, reneging on its commitment to wait for the CAAWGUG report, the SAQ announced in a press release that the archaeological investigation was complete, that no human remains had been positively identified on the site, and that work would resume during the week of May 13, 2024. The CAAWGUG shared its official recommendations around the same time as the SAQ’s May 9 press release. In these recommendations, the CAAWGUG called for the use of HHRDD throughout the site and on the excavated bones to detect any human remains, as well as the presence of monitors during all excavation work.

On May 14, 2024, the SAQ held a meeting with the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers to announce that they had decided that the CAAWGUG recommendations would not be followed, that HHRDD would not be used on the site, and that construction would resume immediately without further action. In a press release dated May 15, 2024, the SAQ demonstrated an appalling lack of understanding of the work of the CAAWGUG, which it confused with the broader organization that is the Canadian Association of Archaeologists (CAA), stating that “the CAA is not a professional order, but an association that brings together archaeologists, amateur archaeologists and members of the general public.” This misinformation is extremely worrying coming from a provincial Crown-corporation that acknowledges it has “neither the expertise nor the authority to determine the process of archaeological investigation or analysis of recovered artifacts.” Unlike the CAA, the CAAWGUG brings together fifteen (15) professional archaeologists and scholars selected specifically for their expertise in the search for unmarked graves and burials in humanitarian contexts, such as residential schools. Far from a group of “amateur archaeologists”, the CAAWGUG was recently awarded the 2024 Governor General’s Award for Innovation, which noted that the group “continues to lead the nation with guidance, training, support and assistance for communities conducting searches for children who disappeared from residential schools.”

In its May 15, 2024 press release, the SAQ states, without further explanation, that “regarding the use of HHRDDs, we have referred the matter to the relevant authorities for evaluation. Their conclusions stipulate that this type of method is not appropriate for our site.” Without naming said “competent authorities”, this unjustified rejection of the use of HHRDDs is incomprehensible to the Orphans, the Mohawk Mothers and the survivors of the atrocities that took place at St-Jean-de-Dieu.

While the Arkéos inventory concluded that no human remains were found on the entire site based on samples limited to four (4) trenches, a report published by the U.S. Department of Defense established that HHRDD dogs can effectively differentiate human remains from animal bones (p. 94), even at a depth of 2 metres (p. 44). According to a recent study (Grebenkemper et al 2021, p. 235), HHRDDs have only a 0.06% probability of false positives when two dogs identify a target in the same location. The CAAWGUG, Canada’s leading authority on the subject, considers the use of HHRDD to be appropriate, if not essential, on the entire site and on the excavated bones, with a thorough understanding of the soil composition, as evidenced by the fact that the CAAWGUG does not recommend the use of georadar in its report given its potential ineffectiveness on the site’s clayey soils.

The Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers are taken aback by the SAQ’s refusal to allow HHRDDs to visit the site to ensure that burials and human remains are identified and protected before work begins. Above all, they are shocked that the SAQ would publicly disseminate misinformation. Once construction work resumes without any supervision – which may already be the case, as the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers have not been informed of the work schedule – nothing will be in place to protect the graves, which risk being disturbed, damaged and destroyed forever. Their request to implement, as initially promised, the recommendations that the CAAWGUG specifically identified as critical to identifying any unmarked graves or burials prior to the work is a very basic demand.

Faced with the SAQ’s refusal to let the HHRDDs enter the site to ensure that no graves will be disturbed and destroyed, the Duplessis Orphans and Mohawk Mothers may have no choice but to seek to file the appropriate emergency legal applications, while being prepared to use mediation or negotiation before going to court if work is halted.

*Comité des orphelins et orphelines institutionalisées de Duplessis, 135 rue Therrien Ste-Anne-des-Plaines (Québec) J5N 3B7 *h1bertrand@videotron.ca *Kanien’keha:ka Kahnistensera B.P. 991 Kahnawake (Mohawk Territory) J0L 1B0 kahnistensera@riseup.net

MEDIA CONTACT Philippe Blouin 514-463-8835 philippe.enver.blouin@gmail.com

Vintage Canadian legend and hippie chick, Joanie Mitchell, has the perfect lyrics in “Dog Eat Dog”:

It’s dog eat dog, I’m just waking upThe dove is in the dungeonAnd the white washed hawks pedal hate and call it loveDog Eat DogHoly hope in the hands ofSnakebite evangelists and racketeersAnd big wig financiers
Dog eat dogOn prime time crime the victim begsMoney is the road to justiceAnd power walks it on crooked legsPrimetime, CrimeHoly hope in the hands ofSnakebite evangelists and racketeersAnd big wig financiers
Where the wealth’s displayedThieves and sycophants paradeAnd where it’s madeThe slaves will be takenSome are treated wellIn these games of buy and sellAnd some like poor beastAre burdened down to breaking
Dog eat dogIt’s dog eat dog, ain’t it Flim Flam manDog eat dog, you can lie, cheat, skim, scamBeat’em any way you canDog eat DogYou’ll do well in this land ofSnakebite evangelists and racketeersYou could get to beA big wig financier
Land of snap decisionsLand of short attention spansNothing is savoredLong enough to really understandIn every culture in declineThe watchful ones among the slavesKnow all that is genuine will beScorned and conned and cast away
Dog eat dogPeople looking, seeing nothingDog eat dogPeople listening, hearing nothingDog eat dogPeople lusting, loving nothingDog eat dogPeople stroking, touching nothingDog eat dogKnowing nothingDog eat dog
Dog Eat Dog

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kahnistensera@sunrise.net

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GREAT PEACE IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALEST’INDIANS


These words were shared by participants of the 50th Anniversary of the Geniengeh Land Back Celebration that happened last weekend.

MNN. May. 13, 2024. The attempt by McGill University, which is on indigenous land, to move the Palestinian student encampment from McGill through colonial court action cannot happen as they come under the protecto o0g the tree of peace. Should Canadian colonial authorities try to invade them, they will be trespassing on Mohawk land. They pretend to have a legal and moral right to be here. But they do not. According to the great peace, which encircles turtle island, any who follow the great white roots of peace to their source are welcome to sit under the shade of the tree of peace with us. The kahnistensera/council of women is the basis of peace on earth. All life on earth has a right to seek survival and refuge under the great peace, which supercedes any foreign laws brought to turtle island. If their minds are clean and follow the kaianerekowa, they are welcome. Kasastensera kowa sa oiera is the great natural power of creation which gives them the right to seek refuge under the great tree of peace. It is all about kanonkwatsera, which is about love, the most powerful medicine on earth. Every child knows to love a stranger like a friend. Love a friend like family.  All those protecting their people and all life are following the great law of peace. The fire in our minds to survive and be free comes from creation which applies to all life.  
 
Part 1
Kanien'keha:ka at McGill Encampment for Palestine (Part 1)

Part 2

Kanien'keha:ka at McGill Encampment for Palestine (Part 2)

Part 3

Kanien'keha:ka at McGill Encampment for Palestine (Part 3)

Robbie Robertson tells the story: t

The general rode for sixteen daysThe horses were thirsty and tiredOn the trail of a renegade chiefOne he’d come to admireThe soldiers hid behind the hillsThat surrounded the villageAnd he rode down to warn the chiefThey’d come to conquer and pillage
Lay down your armsLay down your spearThe chief’s eyes were sadBut showed no sign of fear
It is a good day to die (It is a good day to die)Oh my children dry your eyesIt is a good day to die
And he spoke of the days before the white man cameWith his guns and whiskyHe told of a time long agoBefore what you call historyThe general couldn’t believe his wordsNor the look on his faceBut he knew these people would rather dieThen have to live in this disgrace
What law have I brokenWhat wrong have I doneThat makes you want to bury meUpon this trail of blood
It is a good day to die (It is a good day to die)Oh my children don’t you cryIt is a good day to die
We cared for the land and the land cared for usAnd that’s the way it’s always beenNever asked for more never asked too muchAnd now you tell me this is the end
I laid down my weaponI laid down my bowNow you want to drive me outWith no place left to go
It is a good day to die (It is a good day to die)Oh my children don’t you cryIt is a good day to die (It is a good day to die)
And he turned to his people and said dry your eyesWe’ve been blessed and we are thankfulRaise your voices to the skyIt is a good day to die
Oh my children don’t you cry (don’t you cry)Dry your eyesRaise your voice up to the skyIt is a good day to die
ROBBIE ROBERTSON - It is a good day to die

 Kahnistensera@Uprising.net

kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

MohawkMothers.ca

DOGS TO SEARCH FOR UNMARKED GRAVES

HHRDD HISTORIC HUMAN REMAINS DETECTION DOGS

TO SEARCH FOR UNMARKED GRAVES AT SAQ QUEBEC GOVT.  LIQUOR WAREHOUSE

***PRESS RELEASE** __FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION___

MNN. MAY. 10, 2024.

May 10, 2024. 

On May 9, 2024, the Société des Alcools du Québec (SAQ) issued a press release announcing that construction work for a new warehouse in Montreal’s east end will soon resume after the completion of an archaeological inventory performed by the firm it hired, Arkéos. In January 2024, the Kanien’keha:ka Kahnistensera (Mohawk Mothers), in tandem with the Comité des Orphelins et Orphelines Institutionalisé des Duplessis, had reached out to the SAQ to ask for measures to protect human remains on a site where the SAQ wants to build a new automated warehouse for wine, beer and spirits.

The grounds upon which this development project is situated have a tragic history. It was used as a mass grave where the unclaimed bodies of thousands of patients of the St-Jean-de-Dieu psychiatric hospital were fed to the pigs called “the cemetery of the ill” or “the pigsty cemetery”. Indigenous patients were present in addition to Duplessis Orphans, who are largely Quebecois children born out of wedlock or from low-income families that were sent to asylums and orphanages. They were abused after being incorrectly re-categorized as intellectually disabled by Prime Minister Maurice Duplessis. They were kept in forced labour, denied education rights, sexually abused and experimented upon. The Sisters of Providence, who ran St-Jean-de-Dieu, said they exhumed the entire cemetery in 1967. But many additional bodies were found after the SAQ bought the land and started to build a warehouse, in 1975. After further construction in 1999, bones were reportedly found that were never confirmed to be non-human.

Since last January, the Kanien’keha:ka Kahnistensera [Mohawk Mothers] and the Duplessis Orphans have met with SAQ representatives to discuss a respectful and thorough search for human remains before any construction work begins. On April 10, 2024, all parties agreed that an archeological inventory would be gathered using the SAQ’s contractor Arkéos provided that the Canadian Archaeological Association’s Working Group on Unmarked Graves (CAAWGUG) would peer-review the reports and provide additional recommendations before the construction begins. A traditional Mohawk condolence ceremony was conducted and then Arkéos’ inventory began.

The SAQ received the CAAWGUG recommendations on May 9, 2024, just after the SAQ announced they would be continuing construction beginning next week, following the completion of Arkéos’ preliminary archaeological report. As the leading national body of experts formed to address the need for research into the mass genocide of Indigenous people at sites like residential schools, the CAAWGUG recommended the use of Historic Human Remains Detection Dogs (HHRDD), and to identify any human bones found by Arkéos on the site. So far nearly half have not yet been determined as human or animal. The CAAWGUG recommended further investigation using archaeological techniques based on their expertise in finding and identifying unmarked graves and burials to be conducted before any development commences. 

In light of the CAAWGUG’s recommendations and according to our agreement with the SAQ, that there will be further discussions before development continues as announced in its press release. We all want to rely on expertise and best practices. We expect to continue the cooperative and respectful spirit of previous discussions. As the CAAWGUG stated, continuing the development without further investigation would risk disturbing and potentially destroying the graves of the most vulnerable of our society. They died of maltreatment while survivors were retraumatized in one of the darkest chapters of our history. Such a decision would be unprecedented in our discussions with the SAQ thus far regarding a respectful and thorough investigation. We would not meet with anyone intent on disturbing the graves of the dead for the sake of commercial development. We are committed to a respectful dialogue and to implementing the advice of the best experts to respect and honor the survivors and the memory of the victims of these atrocities. 

Judy Garland searched for answers to life and finally threw in the towel and sang that “life is just a bowl of cherries”: 

People are queer, they’re always crowing, scrambling and rushing about

Why don’t they stop someday, address themselves this way?
Why are we here? Where are we going? It’s time that we found out
We’re not here to stay; we’re on a short holiday
Life is just a bowl of cherries
Don’t take it serious; it’s too mysterious
You work, you save, you worry so
But you can’t take your dough when you go, go, go
So keep repeating it’s the berries
The strongest oak must fall
The sweet things in life, to you were just loaned
So how can you lose what you’ve never owned?
Life is just a bowl of cherries
So live and laugh at it allLife is just a bowl of cherries
Don’t take it serious; it’s too mysterious
At eight each morning I have got a date
To take my plunge ’round the Empire State
You’ll admit it’s not the berries
In a building that’s so tall
There’s a guy in the show, the girls love to kiss
Get thousands a week just for crooning like this
Life is just a bowl of, aw, nuts!
So live and laugh at it all!
Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries
box 991, kahnawake, quebec, canada J0L 1B0

PALESTINIAN-MOHAWK SOLITARITY


MNN. May 8, 2024. Karohianoron passes his words to our indigenous relatives of Palestine:

Protesters walking the street, holding signs and Hiawatha Belt wampum.

“Tekaianewà:konke’: Mohawk-Palestinian Solidarity at the McGill University Encampment Shé:kon sewakwé:kon. Karonhia’nó:ron ióntiats. Kanehsatà:ke nitewaké:non tánon wakeniáhton. I introduce myself to you in my language, Kanien’kéha, the language of this land, my mother, which so many of you call home today. My name is Karonhia’nó:ron, my family is from Kanehsatà:ke and I belong to the Turtle Clan.

I’ve just returned from Saskatchewan, where I attended a meeting for Indigenous archaeologists who are working to protect unmarked graves of Indigenous children across Turtle Island. What I bring back with me is a reminder of the importance of nurturing community and political alliances across Indigenous nations. That is why I wanted to be here with you today. I want to make it clear that what I share with you today is shared on my own initiative. I feel very strongly that it is my duty to use the voice I was given to speak the truth, to bring people together, and to call out any injustice that I see happening before me. I echo the support that has been voiced by my cousin Ellen Gabriel, as well as by the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera.

It is my understanding that Onkwehonweh have stood in solidarity with the people of Palestine for some time now. We have been learning from each other about how to survive, resist, rebuild, and reharmonize for ages. This is because our struggles are one and the same. As my elder and mentor Kahentinétha Horn wrote nearly a decade ago, “the Zionist butchers massacring Palestinians in Gaza are the same interests that carried out the genocide of 150 million Indigenous people in the Western hemisphere” (Mohawk Nation News 2014).

Know that you are allowed to be here, and we are with you. That McGill University refuses to acknowledge its complicity in, let alone divest from, the genocidal project that maintains the existence of the Israeli state at the expense of the lives of thousands upon thousands of Palestinians unfortunately comes as no surprise to me. As some of you may know, I have been involved in the search for unmarked graves at the site of the Old Royal Victoria Hospital and the Allan Memorial Institute since the summer of 2022. I have seen nothing except the very same violent, denialist narratives being deployed against my people. I have seen the authority of the Kahnisténsera as the caretakers of this land disrespected, repeatedly; I have seen empirical evidence of human remains dismissed, repeatedly; I have seen the lives of my Ancestors and their belonging to this land erased, repeatedly. University administrators have made it very clear that their goal is to ensure that no evidence of unmarked graves are ever found so that they can plow forward with the expansion of their campus.

All the while, they continue to make enunciated commitments to “listen” to Indigenous peoples and pursue reconciliation. This university has spent millions of dollars fighting the Kahnisténsera in court. This battle has been going on for years, and continues to this day. I’m sure all of you here are aware that your tuition moneys are being used to fund the massacre of Palestinians. But did you know that this last December, Provost Christopher Manfredi stated in a university-wide notice that your tuition fees are also being used to support McGill’s efforts to deny the sovereignty of the Mohawk people and the right of the Kahnisténsera to protect the earth and all of her children, past, present and future? (see “Update on the New Vic Project and clarification of salient facts”).

I want to make something very clear: McGill has been illegally occupying Mohawk territory for over 250 years. This institution exists thanks to the theft of moneys meant to be held in trust by the Crown Corporation of Canada on behalf of the Rotinonshón:ni. As such, President Deep Saini’s repeated insistence on McGill’s supreme authority over what can and cannot occur on so-called “campus property” is not only repugnant, but based in a complete lack of understanding– perhaps even a willful ignorance– of the brutal history of this institution. The way of this land is the Kaianereh’kó:wa, and all foreigners are subject to the stipulations of the Teiohate or Two Row wampum. As an invader, McGill University is in violation of both of these. Worst of all, by committing themselves to actively participating in the genocide of Indigenous peoples here and in Palestine, McGill administrators are desecrating the kasahsténsera’kó:wa saoié:ra– that is, the great natural power of creation, and of life on earth. As such, this university and its beloved investors must account for the Indigenous children whose lives they have destroyed by immediately divesting from any and all interests implicated in the genocide of the Palestinian peoples and Kanien’kehà:ka.

Remember that while you are fighting against powers with an affinity for violence and death, you are also fighting for the continuation of natural life. Remember that you are not alone, that you are carrying on the legacy of all of those who came before you, and that you are taking up this struggle in hopes that the children who come after you will know only peace, freedom, and happiness.

To my loved ones who call Palestine their home, know that it is creation that placed you there; that your life is precious, and your bond with Mother Earth is sacred. I wish to leave with you a gift which has framed my understanding of solidarity for quite some time. The closest equivalent to “partnership” or “collaboration” in Kanien’kéha is the word tekaianewà:konke’. It describes the concept of two people walking upon the same path together, and who hold each other accountable to stay on that path. It is my understanding that so many different peoples have come to support the encampment. I’m sure you all have different ideas for how things should be conducted, or how your goals should be pursued. At the end of the day, we each have our own hearts and minds. But you must stay together on this path.

For me, it is the children who keep me in line, who remind me of the horizon we are walking towards together. Do not let anyone corrupt your soul with anxiety, fear, or a lust for power. To reiterate the words of my cousin Ellen: WE ARE ALL PALESTINIAN. Nià:wen’kó:wa, thank you. I lay my medicines down for you and send the strength and resilience of my ancestors your way. Karonhia’nó:ron Rati’niáhton 

Edwin Star asks about “War, what is it good for?” and answers, “Nothing!”:

Edwin Starr - War (Original Video - 1969)
War, huh, yeahWhat is it good for?Absolutely nothing, uhhWar, huh, yeahWhat is it good for?Absolutely nothingSay it again, y’allWar, huh (good God)What is it good for?Absolutely nothing, listen to me, oh
War, I despise‘Cause it means destruction of innocent livesWar means tears to thousands of mother’s eyesWhen their sons go off to fightAnd lose their lives
I said, war, huh (good God, y’all)What is it good for?Absolutely nothing, just say it againWar (whoa), huh (oh Lord)What is it good for?Absolutely nothing, listen to me
It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker(War) Friend only to The UndertakerOh, war it’s an enemy to all mankindThe thought of war blows my mindWar has caused unrestWithin the younger generationInduction then destructionWho wants to die? Oh
War, huh (good God y’all)What is it good for?Absolutely nothingSay it, say it, say itWar (uh-huh), huh (yeah, huh)What is it good for?Absolutely nothing, listen to me
It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker(War) It’s got one friend that’s The UndertakerOh, war, has shattered many a young man’s dreamsMade him disabled, bitter and meanLife is much too short and preciousTo spend fighting wars each dayWar can’t give lifeIt can only take it away, oh
War, huh (good God y’all)What is it good for?Absolutely nothing, say it again
War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)What is it good for?Absolutely nothing, listen to me
It ain’t nothing but a heart breaker(War) Friend only to The Undertaker, wooPeace, love and understanding, tell meIs there no place for them today?They say we must fight to keep our freedomBut Lord knows there’s got to be a better way, oh
War, huh (God y’all)What is it good for? You tell me (nothing)Say it, say it, say it, say it
War (good God), huh (now, huh)What is it good for?Stand up and shout it (nothing)
MohawkMothers,ca

GREAT MEETING, GRAND ENTRANCE @ MCGILL ENCAMPMENT


PREVIEW OF FORTHCOMING GREAT PEACE MEETING 

WATCH FORTHCOMING VIDEO OF THE FIRST GREAT MEETING BETWEEN MOHAWKS AND MONTREAL  STUDENTS.  WE ALL HAVE THE SAME ORIGINAL INSTRUCTIONS FROM CREATION: TO CARRY OUT THE GREAT PEACE!

MNN. MAY 3, 2024.

May 5, 2024

thahoketoteh reminds the world that the original instructions of creation are for all the people of the world, our house is for all living earthlings our Mother Earth and the kanonronkwatsera/pure love that she exudes, the best medicine on the planet. and all its natural ways. Hear the “House of Healing”:

How many more times do you need to fall down, pick yourself up, shake it off, and put your feet back on the ground. Hear the wind blow, feel the breeze in your face. Come to our house of healing and awake. There’s so much trouble on our Mother Earth. She gives us everything we need with. so little in return. And with the rains, there comes a cleansing. Come to our house of healing. Everything. is in this place… We are all one with our creator. Ooh heal me. Ooh heal me …

 MohawkMothers.ca

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