MNN. June 7 2008. Can we get rid of the “tribal” council or “band council” that was illegally forced on us? Yes! It’s as easy as one, two three:

1. Put out the question to the community, eg. “Do you agree to be governed by the foreign imposed tribal or band council system?”

2. Vote “No”!

3. Inform the federal governments of the U.S. and Canada. For good measure, let the United Nations know.

Under international law everyone has the right to self-determination. As stated by the International Court of Justice in the Western Sahara case, “No people can be absorbed by a foreign state unless it is “the result of the freely expressed wishes of the territory’s people acting with full knowledge of the change in their status, their wishes having been expressed through informed and democratic processes, impartially conducted and based on universal adult suffrage… “.

It’s already been done! The ‘Mohawk’ community of Akwesasne voted out the imposed 3 Chiefs tribal system. The United States government has no choice but to conduct government-to-government relations with the people. On May 31, 2008, the people from the north and south portions of Akwesasne duly selected 5 Community Spokespersons to represent them on an interim basis. The reason this community is divided is because Canada and the U.S. put their border through the middle of this community.

The illegal 3 Chiefs System that was imposed in 1802 by New York State is fighting for its life. Its head, Lorraine White, is swamping the community with lies to mislead and confuse the people. They want the community to take part in an illegal vote on Saturday June 7th 2008. The will of the people has already been determined. The 3 Chiefs no longer exist.

On June 6th the Community Spokespersons stated, “We are not a “disaffected group”, as Lorraine White, James Ransom and Barbara Lazore, claim.

Lorraine White falsely asserts that her group is recognized by the community, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Department of the Interior and the Office of the President of the United States. This is a misrepresentation. She says that a tricky referendum vote on August 18, 2007 recognized her group by default. The community had voted “no” to both the “3 Chiefs System” and the other proposed constitutional government. There is no way that the people gave their informed consent to the 3 Chiefs System.

On October 31, 2007, Franklin Keel, the Eastern Area Director of the BIA took it upon himself to recognize the 3 Chiefs System. He did not have the right to do this. This question must be decided by the people.

On March 16, 2002, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Killar-Kotelly in Ransom v. Babbitt, [No. 98-1422] confirmed international law. It said that: “the rights claimed by the now defunct 3 chiefs system belong directly to the people”. The 3 Chiefs, who wanted to retain power, launched an appeal. A decision is forthcoming.

On April 5, 2008 another tricky question was posed, “Do you approve of changing the current 3 chiefs system to a 6 chiefs system?” The people voted “no”. Lorraine White and company again deceitfully decided to make this mean that the people chose to be governed by her 3 chiefs system!! She is wrong. This was not a clear question asking ‘for’ the 3 Chiefs System.

Jim Ransom of the 3 Chiefs System falsely states that they have always had an open door policy for all members of the community. However, in the June 7th elections only “community members residing in the United States portion of Akwesasne may vote”. He’s dividing us. The people are objecting to this vote and asking community members to boycott it. Information booths will be set up across from the Tribal Council Building on Highway 37 where the vote is taking place.

The interim representatives of the people have called for a referendum in the near future to put questions concerning the legitimacy of the 3 Chiefs System to rest. It will be open to all members wherever they may reside. “We were never asked whether we agreed to be governed by this imposed system which is a product of colonialism”.

We have a right under international law to take control of our lives and govern ourselves. The people know this and are doing something about it.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News
Posted June 7, 10:40am EDT