MOHAWK WARRIOR FLAG FLIES IN PALESTINE

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE SPIRITS ARE WITH YOU.

“This is the Unity Flag which all warriors of the world are to use when they need peace”. Karonhiatajeh, the creator of this symbol. 

https://bsnorrell.blogspot.com/2024/06/mohawk-flag-flies-in-palestine-refugee.html

 

MIGHT IS NOT RIGHT.

As the martyr, John Lennon, sang, “All we are saying is give peace a chance”.

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. (Ultimate Mix, 2020) - Plastic Ono Band (official music video HD)

kahnistensera@sunrise.net

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kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

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

 

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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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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

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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

kahnistensera@riseup.com

mohawknationnews.com

box 991,  kahnawake quebec canada J0L 1B0

kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

 

MOHAWK KNOWLEDGE KEEPER PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO “PALESTINIAN ENCAMPMENT” @ MCGILL

TODAY, MAY 3, 2024, AT 3.00, KANIENKEKAH WORDS WILL BE. PROVIDED BY TEKARONTAKE, A KEEPER OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE, AT THE MCGILL ENCAMPMENT ON MOHAWK LAND FOR ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.

 

MNN May 3, 2024.The kahnistensera Mohawk Mothers wholly support the encampment that the McGill students and professors set up to demand that McGill divests from the ongoing genocide of indigenous Palestinian people in Gaza. 

In 2015 Palestinian students at McGill came to see us to share their concerns that McGill is conducting military research in its “war labs” that were used against Paleistinians. As a result one of the Mohawk Mothers issued a notice of seizure of McGill Universsity on September 12, 2012, which sits on Mohawk Kanienkehaka land. Since then the Mohawk have experienced McGill’s ongoing colonial enterprise both against the Palestinians and Kanienkehaka. 

McGill is now using its students tuition money to appeal a judgment the Mohawk Mothers obtained at the Montreal Superior Court to make them respect a settlement agreement signed with the Mohawk Mothers to allow expert archaeologists to search for the potential unmarked graves of the Mohawk and other relatives used as guinea pigs in medical experiments at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

“Why does McGill continue to invest its money to fight us and other indigenous people throughout the world? McGill has to divest all the money it is devoting to fight against the indigenous rights, dignity and lives here on Turtle Island and in the Middle East. We stand with the encampment and the students are here on our unceded territory with our permission. 

The Superior Court of Montreal also agree they are doing nothing illegal. We Mohawks kanienkehaka have our own legal system since time immemorial, the Great Peace, which promotes non-violent peaceful and egalitarian resolution between all peoples regaredless of their race and color. 

McGill would be better to abide by our way which is on our territory, to avoid sowing more conflict and violence as it is now doing.  

niawen”

As the the students resist and persist to end the wars,  Karonhiatajegeh’s Unity flag flies in the middle of it and we can hear whispers of the students saying “God Bless Louis Hall”, as we know that Karohiatajegeh hears it in the spirit world and smiles upon us. “You are you. I am me. He is he. She is she. When we put our minds together, we are  the people, all children of mother earth. We are one . Celebrate. The power of one mind, participate. The power is the people. Not the money or the war. Let’s raise our voices so they hear us. Let them roar. No more killing of our own family. Let’s give peace a berth. ‘Cause we’re all in this together. We the people of Mother Earth”.

 MohawkMothers.ca

Kahnistensera@Riseup.com

mohawknationnews.com

box 991 kahnawake quebec canada J0L 1B0 kahentinetha2@protonmail.com

LIVE. “LET’S TALK NATIVE” WITH JOHN KANE 4/27/24

 

EXPOSING ONKWEHONWENET ‘TURTLE ISLAND’ LAND CLAIM THEFT. 

Tactics being used to place indigenous people in positions to steal our land through frauds. The broadcast is self-explanatory by two onkwehonweh, John Kane and tekarontake Paul Delaronde. Send this out immediaqtely. 

LTN #581 Live from Akwesasne with John Kane and Tekarontake: LAND CLAIMS!

There will be more information on the next broadcasts.

thahoketoteh explains very main principles of the two row wampum applicable to our lives now. “What a magic place this is, the giver of all life and teacher to all. It starts as a trickle in the hills and continues growing wider on its call. Feeding everything on its path and asking nothing but respect from the biggest tree to the smallest insect. It then becomes a highway of fish, men and beast continuing on its journey that will never ever cease. Chorus: 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 and we’ll continue on towards the sea”.

Contact:

CONTESTED SOVEREIGNTIES @ RVH/MCGILL UNIVERSITY

MNN. Jan. 24, 2024. Please Post & Distribute.

A cool young kanienkehaka [Mohawk] McGill student wrote this. Pictures were added by MNN:

TITLE: “A Landscape of Contested Sovereignties: Fissure Points Arising from the Archaeological

Investigation at the Old Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec

 by Dallas Karonhianoron Canady

ID: 260987251

Dr. Peter Johansen

ANTH 450: Archaeology of Landscapes

10 December 2023 Canady 1

TIME FOR INDIGENOUS TRUTH

We shall resist by every means any aggression, any violation of the treaties, any disturbance of our people in the free use and enjoyment of our land, any usurpation of our sovereignty, any encroachment and oppression. We pledge that the noise will be heard from one end of the world to the other.” — Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall (2023:167)

“[The] — David M. Schaepe (2009:244)

Ohèn:ton Tsi Karihwatéhkwen, Matters Before All Else

It is the summer of 2022. I’ve just finished my third year of undergraduate studies in anthropology at McGill University, but any sense of accomplishment I could have experienced was done away with following the death of my father on Easter Sunday. I’ve been bombarded with the responsibilities of handling his estate as his only child, just twenty-one years old. I spend most of my days at home, enraptured in a violent cycle of reminiscing on what used to be and catastrophizing about what my life could possibly become. Somehow, I managed to pick up a job working as a research assistant despite all of this. A professor in my department tasked me with reviewing and annotating some thirty-years worth of archaeological publications as it concerned the discipline’s engagement with Indigeneity, Indigenous peoples, and the concept of reconciliation. I finished my work in August, and it was around this time that I was put in touch with the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera– also known as the Mohawk Mothers. They were preparing to file an injunction in Quebec’s Superior Court to stop a construction project that was going to take place on the northwestern sector of McGill’s downtown campus (Mohawk Nation News 2022).

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Figure 1. A screenshot of a model of the Société québécoise des infrastructures (2023) buildings of the Old Royal Victoria Hospital complex.

Known as the New Vic Project, this endeavor is framed as a collaborative effort between McGill University, the City of Montreal, and the government of Quebec to refurbish the shell of a hospital in the downtown core that has been partially abandoned since 2015. “Classic patient wards and medical facilities will be reimagined and completely reinvented,” notes the university’s website (McGill 2023), as classrooms, dormitories, research labs, restaurants and green spaces. The former Royal Victoria Hospital is considered a cultural heritage property (un immobilier de patrimoine culturel) belonging to the settler state. Further, the land that the hospital was built upon– in fact the entirety of what is now called Mount Royal– is itself considered a heritage site (Culture et Communications Québec 2023). Pursuant to Quebec’s Loi sur le patrimoine culturel (2011), this means that any and all construction taking place was to be subject to, and only to, provincial oversight.

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The Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera raised three potent issues in their application for an injunction: 1) that the land encompassing the Royal Victoria Hospital and Mount Royal fell under Mohawk jurisdiction; 2) as such, in accordance with the Kaianereh’ko:wa (Great Law of Peace) the Kahnisténsera are endowed with the responsibility of protecting the land for the future generations; and 3) also in accordance with the Kaianereh’ko:wa, the Kahnisténsera are entrusted with protecting any and all children of the past, present and future– dead or alive. They came forth with hundreds of articles of evidence detailing horrific crimes that took place at the site of the Royal Victoria Hospital throughout the 20th century, including the now infamous CIA-funded MK-Ultra brainwashing experiments (Burton 2023). Most damning is eyewitness testimony provided by a former patient, Lana Ponting, who alleges that she was institutionalized alongside Indigenous children at the hospital’s psychiatric institute and had reason to believe some of them were buried on the grounds (Annable 2020). In calling for a halt to construction, the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera also demanded that there be an Indigenous-led archaeological investigation to protect any potential unmarked graves on the site.

The role of archaeology in this situation is a complex one. The investigation itself sits on a fragile border between historic and forensic, raising the question of how far in the past must a crime be committed in order to be considered archaeological and not punishable under state law. It is also unique in that it is the first search for unmarked graves of Indigenous children within the province of Quebec, in addition to the fact that this search is taking place at a hospital and not a former residential school site, as is the case elsewhere in Canada (Cooper 2023). But what I will focus on for the remainder of this paper is the way in which the Royal Victoria Hospital– as an archaeological site– has acted as a medium through which contested sovereignties are articulated, imagined and reified. I argue that in mobilizing the concept of, as well as legislation

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relating to cultural heritage, the settler-colonial state of Quebec is in fact making a claim to territoriality and political legitimacy. This is consistent with the historic weaponization of archaeology against the Mohawk nation, which has and continues to be used as a means to usurp our authority and belonging to Land.

A History of Archaeology in Quebec

There are very few scholarly publications concerning themselves with the history of archaeology of Quebec, as compared to the plethora of literature available on the history of archaeology within Canada as a whole. This is despite the fact that the oldest archaeological collection in Canada consists of slate arrowheads found by early 18th-century laborers near Trois-Rivières, Quebec in the town of Bécancour (Clermont 2001:1079). What research does exist primarily concerns itself with the recent development of commercial archaeology in the province (Arpin and Bergeron 2006; Zorzin 2010; Zorzin and Gates St-Pierre 2017; Gates St-Pierre 2018). These academics have largely endorsed the view that there was simply no formal discipline in the province prior to the secularization that took place during the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s (Gates St-Pierre 2018:3; Clermont 1999:8-9). Prior to this, it is argued that archaeology was an intellectual domain restricted to the interest of Catholic clergymen (Gates St-Pierre 2018:3-4), anglophone elites and foreigners (Martijn 1998:165-168).

A pillar in the history of archaeology in Quebec and Canada generally, is the re/discovery of the historic Indigenous settlement of Hochelaga in downtown Montreal circa 1860. Named the Dawson site after John William Dawson, a trained geologist and then-president of McGill University, archaeology was mobilized in this instance to “search for traces of […] Jacques Cartier’s voyage up the St. Lawrence River in 1535-1536” (Waselkov 2009:617). The existence of Hochelaga, and whether or not Cartier encountered Hochelaga or another site, have been

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debated at-length since the 19th century. Adding another degree of complexity to the Dawson site is the fact that Samuel de Champlain allegedly found, upon his return to the island of Montreal in 1603, that the village Cartier identified as Hochelaga “had disappeared entirely, leaving no trace of [its] existence” (Hale 1894:2). Dozens of archaeologists, over more than a century, have devoted exorbitant amounts of time and energy in an attempt to identify the ethnic identity of Hochelaga’s inhabitants. Unable to agree on any singular interpretation, this resulted in the creation of the mythic “St. Lawrence Iroquoians” (Trigger 1968). This ethno-historical label describes a group of Indigenous peoples who share traits with contemporary Indigenous nations, but indeterminately so. As described by James F. Pendergast (1975:50):

“[…] There was a large group of Iroquoians in the St. Lawrence River Valley above Hochelaga, present-day Montreal, who were not Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, Huron, or any of the other historic Iroquoian tribes to which they have been attributed. It is postulated that this distinct group of Iroquoians, the St. Lawrence Iroquoians, are the result of an in-situ development in the upper St. Lawrence River Valley during the period A.D. 1250-1575 [emphasis added].”

This narrative profoundly usurps any kind of modern-day claims to political authority and belonging to land made by Indigenous peoples, particularly as it concerns the Mohawks who have insisted that much of the St. Lawrence Valley was known and inhabited by our ancestors (Hall 2023; Gabriel-Doxtater and Van den Hende 1995; Delaronde and Engel 2015). By establishing the St. Lawrence Iroquoians as an entity separate and distinct from contemporary First Nations, and therefore non-existent in the present, archaeologists have created an imagined landscape. This landscape can be understood as res derelictae– that is, abandoned by its original inhabitants. Unoccupied territories fall under the domain of the Doctrine of Discovery: “the legal means by which Europeans claimed rights of sovereignty, property, and trade in regions they allegedly discovered” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada 2015:192). This blatant, yet unchallenged denialism has formed the roots of archaeological theory and practice in the

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province of Quebec, and beyond. In the next section, I will outline the ways in which archaeology has affirmed the authority of the settler-colonial state following its absorption into the Quebec government post-Quiet Revolution.

Archaeology, Colonialism, and the Codification of Heritage

Due to time and page constraints, I’m unable to discuss the particularities of the Quiet Revolution. However, there are two primary outcomes of the Revolution that are relevant to my endeavor here. The first of which concerns secularization and the centralization of public services under the provincial government, and secondly, the rise of Quebecois ethnonationalism. Both of these factors were influenced, in part, by growing anxieties about Quebec’s ability to determine its own place within Canada and an increasingly globalized world. It is within this socio-political milieu that archaeology came to be seen as an exploitable resource, one that politicians in particular needed to draw upon were they to advance their claims of a culturally distinct and/or sovereign Quebec (Zorzin and Gates St-Pierre 2017:415-16). Additionally, the government’s investment into archaeology as an institution manifested as a form of ‘speaking back’ to the minority of anglophone elite that dominated in the realms of politics and the economy since Quebec came under the jurisdiction of the British Crown in 1763. In many ways, the Quiet Revolution signaled the commitment of a majority of Quebecois to securing the right to self-determination.

1961 saw the establishment of a provincial archaeological regime in the creation of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and its Service d’archéologie et d’ethnologie (Martijn 1998:150). L’Université de Montréal and McGill University founded their departments of anthropology soon thereafter, in 1961 and 1968, respectively (Gates St-Pierre 2018:3). The first piece of legislation to be passed concerning archaeology and cultural heritage in Quebec was the Loi sur les Biens

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culturels (“Cultural Property Act”) in 1972. This, alongside the concurrent Loi sur la qualité de l’environnement (“Environmental Protection Act”) mandated developers in the private and public sectors to investigate the archaeological potential of sites prior to construction or demolition, and report their findings back to the Minister of Cultural Affairs (Zorzin and Gates St-Pierre 2017:414). This included the newly incorporated infrastructure conglomerate, HydroQuébec. In fact, commercial archaeology largely developed in response to the overwhelming number of hydroelectricity projects taking place in Northern Quebec throughout the 1960s and 70s– projects that the provincial Service d’archéologie et d’ethnologie was ill-equipped to finance (Martijn 1998:171). Ultimately, archaeologists working in the province throughout the late 20th century were tasked with identifying and protecting aspects of cultural heritage while navigating the intense infrastructural demands associated with nation-building and modernization.

How exactly is cultural heritage defined under the provincial legislation? Under the Loi sur les Biens culturels, there was no definition of cultural heritage per se. Rather, a bien culturel (literally, “cultural good”) was defined as “a work of art, a historic property, a historic monument or site, an archaeological property or site, or a cinematographic, audiovisual, photographic, radio or television work” (1985 [1972]:3). In contrast, the act that succeeded the original 1972 legislation, the Loi sur le patrimoine culturel (2011) elaborated on several heritage-related terms. An objet patrimonial is classified as “a movable property […] that has archaeological, artistic, emblematic, ethnological, historical, scientific, social or technological value, in particular a work of art, an instrument, furniture or an artifact” (2011:5). Further, paysages culturels patrimonials (“cultural heritage landscapes”) are defined as lands “recognized by a community for [their] remarkable landscape features […] and are worth conserving and, if applicable, enhancing because of their historical or emblematic interest, or their value as a source of identity” (2011:5).

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It is never explicitly stated whose heritage or culture is being referred to in the act. Legally speaking, objects and sites of cultural heritage themselves are stated to “belong to the owner (whether private or public) of the land where they are found” (Gates St-Pierre 2018:5). This is a reflection of the Quebec government’s disengagement with the management and implementation of archaeological practice since the 1990s, wherein it has relegated more and more power to municipalities and private corporations. This does not, however, reflect a diffusal of Quebecois ethnonationalism or a disinterest in cultural heritage. Rather, I would argue that Quebec’s release of much of the control it originally allotted itself in the Loi sur les Biens culturels signifies two things– one being a certain comfortability/air of stability with narratives surrounding Quebec’s history and Quebecois identity, and the other being the implication of private entities in the protection/enforcement of the province’s authority and claims to territoriality. In other words, neither colonialism nor archaeology have disengaged from their reliance on each other– their relationship has merely transformed to fit the demands of capitalist settler-colonial realities.

Kahentinétha et al. vs. Société Québécoise des Infrastructures et al. (2023)

My historical overture of archaeology and heritage law in Quebec serves as a framework that one can use to understand in greater depth the situation that has arisen at the site of the Old Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, which I described briefly in the introductory section of this essay. Here, I aim to dig into the specificities that make this archaeological site a landscape of contested sovereignties. Given that the parties involved remain in court and fieldwork is on-going, my analysis should be taken with a grain of salt, insofar that the situation could develop significantly from now (December 2023) onwards. The case brought forth by the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera is precedent-setting in the context of Quebec, and even more so

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for First Nations across Canada who are engaged in on-going searches for missing and murdered Indigenous women, children and two-spirit folks. As the New Vic Project is taking place within a site registered as a heritage property (the Old Royal Victoria Hospital), which itself sits within the context of a greater heritage landscape (Mount Royal), it is subject to the oversight of the government of Quebec. This includes the Ministry of Culture and Communications, which is responsible for approving archaeology and construction permits, as well as the Société québécoise des infrastructures (SQI), an intergovernmental entity that acts as a property manager for the province. Under the Loi sur le patrimoine culturel, public and private institutions alike have no requirement to notify or consult Indigenous peoples about infrastructure work, archaeological investigations, or changes to heritage legislation/status. Rather, the Minister of Culture and Communications is merely entrusted with the power to “enter into agreements […] with a Native community represented by its band council” should such an agreement lead to the development of “knowledge of cultural heritage and protect, transmit or enhance that heritage” (2011:26). This framework is problematic for several reasons: 1) it establishes the acknowledgement of Indigenous presence and authority as optional; 2) the only Indigenous political body that could possibly be acknowledged or collaborated with is the federally-imposed band council system, and; 3) such agreements should only be drawn up if they are perceived as being beneficial to the settler state.

McGill University (2023), as a party leasing land from the SQI for its portion of the New Vic Project, alleges that it “engaged Indigenous communities” as early as 2019, in an effort towards “making the New Vic welcoming and culturally safe for the entire Montreal community.” This included, among other things, notices sent to the three Mohawk band councils surrounding the island of Montreal– but no notice was sent to the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera,

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whom I will reiterate are the traditional title holders under the Kaianereh’kó:wa (Hall 2023; Hill 2017). In my personal experience working with the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera, I’ve come to conclude that Indigenous involvement in the New Vic Project was either an afterthought, or a thought given very little critical attention. For example, McGill University, the SQI and its contracted archaeological firm Arkéos, proceeded with archaeological fieldwork during the two days that the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera’s motion for an injunction was being heard in Quebec’s Superior Court in October 2022 (CBC News 2022).

Only after the judge mandated collaboration did McGill and SQI enter into negotiations to do so. This resulted in the creation of a settlement agreement between the parties in April 2023. A legally enforceable contract, the agreement outlines the nature of the parties’ collaboration as well as the parameters that the archaeological investigation must follow. Crucially, this included the following: 1) the investigation must be Indigenous-led; 2) must conform to Indigenous laws and protocols; 3) must be in accordance with archaeological best practices, as outlined by the Canadian Archaeological Association; and, 4) must be undertaken in the spirit of reconciliation (Falconers LLP 2023a). Additional safeguard measures were put in place by the settlement agreement to ensure these articles were followed, including the establishment of a third-party expert panel of archaeologists and a body of Indigenous cultural monitors to survey fieldwork as it progressed.

A degree of collaboration took place in the summer of 2023, especially after the allegations of unmarked graves were verified by historic human remains detection dogs in June (Fournier 2023a) and ground-penetrating radar in July (Grewal 2023). However, any trust that existed between the parties was shattered after the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera and Indigenous cultural monitors were assaulted on-site by an SQI-hired security guard in July (Fournier 2023b).

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Tensions were further exacerbated that same month when McGill University and the SQI signaled their intent to dismiss the expert panel and most, if not all, of their recommendations for best practices (Falconers LLP 2023b). Additionally, throughout my time working as a cultural monitor at the New Vic site, I either experienced firsthand or witnessed service providers’ (archaeologists, GPR technicians, among others) open hostility to any questions or concerns raised about their methods and/or analyses. Then in October 2023, the SQI stated that they were no longer going to allow the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera to be present on the site, regardless of whether or not archaeological digs were taking place. With the safeguards they had fought so hard for made void by McGill University and the Société québécoise des infrastructures, they turned once more to the court for help. On November 20th, 2023, a judge once again ruled in their favor, finding McGill and SQI in breach of the settlement agreement (Falconers LLP 2023b). But no degree of punishment or enforcement of the law has been seen since, even as archaeological work has increasingly given way to full-on construction and demolition efforts.

Conclusion

What the case put forth by the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera does in this instance is disrupt the normative assumptions that Quebecois political authority and territoriality are inherent, unquestionable and absolute; and further, that a landscape or aspects of a landscape are ‘things’ that can be owned. In demanding to not only be consulted but to lead the archaeological investigation, the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera are asserting Mohawk sovereignty and their unrelinquished title to land. The inability of colonial institutions such as universities and governments to recognize Indigenous political authority outside of the band council system, and therefore, the inability to recognize Indigenous authority as existing beyond the confines of the reserve system, reflects an inability to accept Indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination

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and sovereignty. These profound disconnections, notes David Schaepe (2009:244), “remain as points of contention and conflict” so long as the same relational dynamic exists between colonial and Indigenous bodies, and/or as long as one continues to assert an existence that negates the life of the other. At the site of the Royal Victoria Hospital, divergent understandings of landscapes and sovereignty has resulted in an almost complete divergence from the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnisténsera’s mandate: to find and protect the unmarked graves of children.

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References Annable, Kristin 2020                                                                                                                                                    Winnipeg Woman Brainwashed in Montreal Psychiatric Hospital Hopes New Year Brings New Compensation. CBC Investigates, January 2nd, 2020. Accessed December 7th, 2023. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/mkultra-allan-winnipeg-cameron-1.5410817.

Arpin, Roland and Yves Bergeron 2006                                                                                                                                        Developing a Policy on Cultural Heritage for Quebec. Museum International 58(4): pp. 70-76. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0033.2006.00585.x.

Burton, Orisanmi 2023                                                                                                                                                                                  New Docs Link CIA to Medical Torture of Indigenous Children and Black Prisoners. Truthout, June 22nd, 2023. Accessed December 7th, 2023. https://truthout.org/articles/new-docs-link-cia-to-medical-torture-of-indigenous-childrenand-black-prisoners/.

CBC News 2022                                                                                                                                                                          Kanien’kehá:ka Elders Win Fight for Injunction to Stop Work at Montreal’s Old Royal Victoria Hospital, October 28th, 2022. https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.6632734.

Clermont, Norman 

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Zorzin, Nicolas 2010                                                                                                                                                                      Archéologie au Québec: portrait d’une profession. Archéologiques 23(1): pp. 1-15. https://proxy.library.mcgill.ca/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=t rue&db=ahl&AN=56518674&scope=site.

Zorzin, Nicolas and Christian Gates St-Pierre 2017                                                                                                                                The Sociopolitics of Archaeology in Quebec: Regional Developments within Global Trends. Archaeologies 13(1): pp. 412-434. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11759-017-9328-4.”

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