Kahentinetha Horn, a lissum Indian, forecast an Indian in the future of every University of Toronto student who jammed Hart House art gallery yesterday to hear her talk on the arts and culture of contemporary Indians. Miss Horn prophesied that in 35 years, Canada’s Indian population would be 1,800,000 – or roughly one out of every 25 persons. would be an Indian, she said. “You are the privileged of the privileged”, she told the students. “You are the 82 per cent of the future leaders of Canada” – I represent the despairing 1 per cent who are multiplying rapidly in Canada. Now is the time you must learn about Indians to help us achieve our main goal.” The first goal of Indians is to be able to support themselves, she said. On each Wall of Hart House gallery hung paintings by Norval Morrisseau, Ojibway Indian from Beardmore, Ont. “They conveyed a message of the past”, Miss Horn said. “Such art flows through the blood of my brothers and sisters – but most of the benefits reaches the white man’s salons?” While Indian culture certainly encompasses significant art form, the arts of Indians have leaned more to warfare and politics, Miss Horn said. “For 20,000 years, the Indians have had a struggle to survive the forces of nature. The cultural arts come only with leisure – after survival.” The greats of her ancestors, the Iroquois, were related to politics and warfare. The United Nations concepts are modelled on the Iroquois Confederacy, for example. Their arts of warfare are the reasons the students speak English today instead of French, she said. That’s why you have Prime Minister Pearson as leader instead of President de Gaulle”. Most Indians, Miss Horn said, are unemployable. “I’m afraid technical sciences will keep Indians unemployable. We haven’t time to think about our arts. We have to keep our people alive. How to keep our women alive, for example, past the age of 45. Why does one out of 10 of our babies die before the age of 4? Don’t ask me why; nobody has ever researched the reason. It’s just a statistic. We need housing, medical care, community planning, training and education. We need an interest in welfare – there’ll be one of us in thec future for every one of you.
Note to readers: The population of indigenous people in Canada today is 1.800,000.
Update on next steps – Mohawk Mothers vs SQI et al.
Please post & distribute.
On Thursday October 27, 2022 at the Quebec Superior Court, Montreal District, the Kanien’kehá:ka Kahnistensera (Mohawk Mothers) made history as Justice Gregory Moore granted an interlocutory injunction to immediately halt “any excavation in furtherance of the redevelopment of the Allan Memorial Institute or the Royal Victoria Hospital” until the parties have completed discussions regarding the best archaeological practices to be used.
This landmark decision was the first time in Canada that self-represented Indigenous people won an injunction without using attorneys and based on their own governance system, the Kaianerehkowa (Great Peace). In court, the Mohawk Mothers were facing numerous adversaries including top lawyers from McGill University, the Société Québécoise des Infrastructures (SQI), the McGill University Health Center (MUHC), the Royal Victoria Hospital, the City of Montreal, the Attorney General of Canada and the Attorney General of Quebec.
Kimberly Murray, the Independent Special Interlocutor appointed by the Federal government to determine a new legal framework to address the unmarked graves of Indigenous children that are currently found throughout Canada, also joined the case as a “friend of the court”, represented by lawyers Julian N. Falconer and Daniel Worme.
Justice Moore’s court order was issued on the basis of the plaintiffs’ (Mohawk Mothers) concerns that Indigenous children were used as test subjects in medical experiments at the Royal Victoria Hospital and were buried on the site scheduled to be redeveloped. These concerns were based on both archival evidence and witness accounts, including the first-hand account from Lana Ponting, an 81 year old survivor of the CIA-funded MK-Ultra mind control experiments that took place at the Allan Memorial Institute, the Royal Victoria Hospital and McGill University’s department of psychiatry. In addition, the Mohawk Mothers pleaded that the land is the exact location of the precolonial Iroquoian village of Tekanontak (Mount Royal), and was used as a burial site before the arrival of Europeans, which warrants the necessity of using appropriate archaeological means to preserve the history of Iroquoian peoples.
Throughout the hearing on October 26th and 27th, the defendants and promoters of the redevelopment project used an array of technical and legal arguments that attempted to convey the idea that the plaintiffs were
(i) in the wrong forum to lay their claims as other administrative processes exist for such questions in the province of Québec;
(ii) that the promoters have not broken any laws and are respecting the Quebec Heritage Act, which the plaintiffs ask to be declared unconstitutional at the future merits stage of the court proceedings, because it considers Indigenous heritage as the property of Quebec and does not include any mandatory consultation of Indigenous people regarding their heritage;
(iii) that most of the evidence submitted by the plaintiffs and the Special Interlocutor Murray, including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, was not eligible for technical reasons; and
(iv) that the six plaintiffs did not represent the Mohawk people – which the plaintiffs esteem as there is no “power of attorney” in Indigenous culture, where every individual is free and self-represented.
The Mohawk Mothers emphasized that it is their cultural duty to caretake their traditional territory and the children of past, present and future generations. They also argued that allowing excavation work on the site would cause irreparable harm to their identity, history, and trust as Indigenous people. They also stressed that the situation was urgent because all the other existing means to make their concerns heard were exhausted to no avail. As a matter of fact, the shovels had already broken the ground two days before the hearing with archaeological excavation starting in front of the hospital’s Hersey pavilion – an act which became illegal when the court ruling was issued.
Justice Moore’s ruling, available online, acknowledged that the balance of convenience favored the plaintiffs, who would “suffer irreparable harm if the excavation work is not suspended for the time it takes to develop an appropriate archaeological plan to identify any unmarked graves”, following the best practices determined by the Canadian Archaeological Association. The ruling thus invited the parties to “speak out of court to settle their differences on an amicable basis”. The promoters were reminded of the Royal Victoria Hospital re-qualification project that the Call to Action 76 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission encourages “public and para-public institutions like McGill University and the SQI” to respect the following guidelines:
“i. the Aboriginal community most affected shall lead the development” of the investigation;
ii. Input must be sought from Survivors and Knowledge Keepers in developing those strategies;
“iii. Aboriginal protocols shall be respected before any invasive technical inspection and investigation of a cemetery site”. The ruling also ordered the defendants to fund the investigation.
Throughout the next months, the Mohawk Mothers will thus be working on developing an archaeological plan which they will submit to the other parties for review one month before the next case management conference with Justice Moore, in January or February 2023. The plan will follow the best practices determined by the Canadian Archaeological Association for searching unmarked graves, drawing on non-damaging remote-sensing technologies to assess what is under the soil without disturbing the remains, and basing the investigation on archival research and interviews with survivors. Kanien’keha:ka longhouse protocols will be followed throughout the process, which will also involve traditional knowledge keepers from other Indigenous peoples, whose own protocols regarding burial sites must also be respected. The Kahnistensera are looking forward to developing a comprehensive archaeological plan which will do justice to their families, ancestors and to all survivors of colonial violence.
The humming of Sam Cooke’s “It’s been a long time coming/ But I know a change is gonna come” resonates across Tekanontak, as the Kahnistensera’s legal endeavor makes changes for the children yet to come never to be denied anymore. Fear will be overcome, and the path will be cleared for Onkwehonwe to live in peace on their our land, as creation intended.
[Chorus] Don’t take your guns to town son Leave your guns at home Bill Don’t take your guns to town
[Verse 2] He laughed and kissed his mom And said your Billy Joe’s a man I can shoot as quick and straight as anybody can But I wouldn’t shoot without a cause I’d gun nobody down But she cried again as he rode away[chorus]
[Verse 3] He sang a song as on he rode His guns hung at his hips He rode into a cattle town A smile upon his lips He stopped and walked into a bar And laid his money down But his mother’s words echoed again[chorus]
[Verse 5] Filled with rage then Billy Joe reached for his gun to draw But the stranger drew his gun and fired Before he even saw As Billy Joe fell to the floor The crowd all gathered around And wondered at his final words
[Chorus] Don’t take your guns to town son Leave your guns at home Bill Don’t take your guns to town
KATERI HOSPITAL. WE CAN’ LET YOU IN BECAUSE OF COVID….
WE HEARD THIS SURGEON IS NOW WORKING AT ANNA LABERGE IN CHATEAUGUAY.
The Beatles explain “a day in the life” of a Kahnawake kanienkehaka Mohawk: “I read the news today, old boy, about a lucky man who make the grade. All thought the news was rather sad, while i just had to laugh. I saw the photograph. He blew his mind out in a car. He didn’t notice that the lights had changed. A crowd of people stood and stared. They’d seen his face before. Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords.Ii saw a film today, old boy. The English army had just won the war. A crowd of people turned away. But I just had to look, having read the book. I’d love to turn you you on. Woke up, got out of bed, dragged a comb across my head. Found my way dowmstairs and drank a cup and looking at my notice I was late. Found my cap, grabbed my hat, made the bus in seconds flat. Found my way upstairs and had a smoke, and somebody spoke and I went into a dream. .. ah.. ah.. ah…ah