Mohawk Oka Crisis film exploitation.


MNN. April 28, 2005. A guy named Claudio Luca of Group Cine Tele Film in Montreal is embarking on a project funded by Canada and Quebec. He is recreating the Mohawk Oka Crisis of 1990! That’s when Quebec sent in the paramilitary troop of the Quebec Police (SQ) who opened fire on Mohawk men, women and children in
Kanehsatake on July 11th. 1990. This attack in the Pines, escalated to the point that Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney sent thousands of Canadian Army soldiers to surround three of our Mohawk Territories ? Kanehsatake, Kahnawake and Akwesasne. The Mohawks were resisting the building of a golf course by Oka over our burial and ceremonial grounds.

Now they want to exploit our misfortune. They have made no attempt to
determine our feelings about their project. The funders, producer,
writers and researchers are non-native. Let?s hope the Mohawks will
not be portrayed by non-native actors! Canada and Quebec, the
financiers, are colonial powers. They have continually suppressed
indigenous points of view. This kind of bias violates international
human rights law.

The way we responded to the attack on our cultural integrity at Oka
was entirely our collective invention. These non-native entities have
no right to our creation. The constant one-sided way of looking at
our issues proves that they do not understand what we were doing.
They continue to violate the respect that is due to all human beings.

As one of the people who was involved and remained to the last at the
Kanentoken Treatment Center, they do not have my permission to
replicate my actions.

International audience. Since this is being created for French
television it is a transparent attempt to present us in a biased way
and to prejudice international opinion. We are appalled at their
insensitivity towards everything that we Kanienkehaka have suffered.
Since both Canada and Quebec live on our territory, they are obligated
to ensure that our interpretations are presented. The United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic,
Religious and Linguistic Minorities, adopted on December 18, 1992 is
supposed to safeguard us. We never gave them permission to depict us
through a story written exclusively by non-native writers, filmed by
non-native filmmakers for a non-native audience. This is cultural
exploitation at its worst.

The Euro-Canadian and European public will be mislead. This film
should not be made because the entire Mohawk population own this story
and they need our permission to use it.

They forget that we are people. This is our story. It is not just a
commodity to be packaged and sold to the highest bidder. They cannot
change facts or add fictitious characters to suit their needs as has
become the established custom in previous dealings between our

Misappropriation of our image. It is obscene the way people try to profit from
the one-sided depiction of our lives, our tragedies and our struggles. If they
respected our humanity and took the trouble to get to know us, they would
understand the harm they are doing by appropriating our image, our actions and our
events. If the story is ever to be filmed, it will be by the Mohawk people being
totally in charge of everything.

Their theft of our culture by filming this event brushes aside the
central issue. They think we have no intelligence. This is why they
feel free to exploit us.

What is it that makes them think that the Mohawk people are of no
consequence to their production? What makes them think that it is
cool to ignore what we have to say? Why do they think it is open
season to use our struggles for their commercial and political
purposes to entertain and shock their audience?

We do not want to be used. They would not want to be used this way
either. If they had suffered a personal tragedy as significant and of
the same consequence as ours, they would not want to have it exploited
either. Would they not feel violated?

They should read up on colonialism. They are participating in the
abuse of our people that has been going on for 500 years. When will
this stop?

If they really wanted to help our people, they would do what needs to
be done to give us a voice. Instead, they are telling the story they
want to hear. The story that they wish was there, instead of what
really happened. This is called ?twistory?. The Europeans took our
land and our resources. Now they are taking advantage of us again.

Our issues need to be addressed. We must stand together as Mohawk
people. This is one of the most basic rules of our culture. It is
one of the rules that the non-native culture, with its totalitarian
habits, seems to have the most difficulty understanding.

We believe in respect and honesty.

Stop production. It would be in the best interests of the Mohawk
people and the Canadian public to stop this production completely.

All we ask for is to be treated in a respectful way.

Since they can?t seem to understand our rights according to our
cultural values, we are asserting them on terms that they can
understand. We have copyrighted our story. So now the rights belong
to us under Canadian law. A copy of the Copyright Certificate of
Registration, No. 1024217, dated October 20, 2004 has been sent to
them. It is duly registered under Canadian law and internationally
recognized in over 130 countries.

The right to this story belongs to us. We lived it!

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

poster: Thahoketoteh