|WE HOLD THE ROCK [ALCATRAZ], SAID RICHARD OAKES OF AKWESASNE IN 1969|
|MNN. July 5, 2009. No Canadian or US government officials are talking to us. The guards and workers in the two checkpoints in Akwesasne have abandoned their posts since June 1, 2009. We can come and go off the island to the north. We can go off to the south but can’t come back. Our ancestors invoked some basic principles for us to use in such times.The federally run prison on Alcatraz Island in San Franciso Bay had been abandoned in 1963. In 1964 a small group of Lakota attempted to take the Island to invoke a principle in the 1868 Treaty of Laramie. All surplus abandoned federal land automatically reverts to the Indigenous nations.
On November 20, 1969 Richard Oakes of Akwesasne lead Indigenous People onto Alcatraz Island and held it until 1971. It was to prove a basic point. This event changed the relationship between Indigenous and the US government. Up to then it was negotiation, compromise and legal remedies forced down our throats by the government.
The Alcatraz Proclamation was signed, “In the name of all Indians … we reclaim this island for our Indian Nations”. Other abandoned federal facilities were reclaimed afterwards.
The US government knowing this principle was furious that the Indigenous would have the audacity to invoke it. This act focused the entire world upon this basic law. The US government was put on the spot. It could no longer be hidden in the dusty archives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs basement. In 1971 Richard Oakes was assassinated.
The Mohawks of Akwesasne have always asserted our rights for the world to know. The current Cornwall Island event reveals the nature of the relationship between the Mohawks and the US and Canadian governments. The Canadian government knows we can assert our rights over the abandoned buildings in the community, the highway and bridges that go through our sovereign land.
We can invoke the Great Law of Peace which all Indigenous people adhere to. We are one people by covenant.
The checkpoints have been abandoned because we won’t let their guards carry guns. We have not been violent in any way.
According to the principle, the abandoned US border checkpoint at Akwesasne irrevocably reverts to the Mohawk Nation.
The Canadian Twilight Zone check point in the middle of Kawehnoke on Cornwall Island was abandoned and irrevocably reverts to the Mohawk Nation.
The two bridges and highways onto the island are closed/abandoned by the US and Canada. They irrevocably revert to the Mohawk Nation.
The RCMP and other foreign police who patrol the foot of the bridge in the city of Cornwall are trespassers. This is disputed Mohawk land. They must leave.
None of these structures cannot be torn down because they now irrevocably belong to the Mohawk Nation. You build anything on our land, it’s ours.
The US checkpoint and bridge are patrolled by US Border Security Field Operations and a Mohawk Policeman. US Border Security is trespassing and must leave.
We can traverse the whole community of Akwesasne as one entity without borders. It was illegally divided by the US, Canadian and British governments into five jurisdictions – Ontario, Quebec, New York State, US and Canada. They legislated two separate councils, tribal and band, to divide us with their imaginary boundary line.
The outsiders cannot establish the perimeter of our territory to limit us to small areas of our vast Haudenosaunee territory. It is our right to decide who will cross the two bridges and enter our community and our territories.
The Mohawk elders and people made the initial demand for no guns in the hands of foreigners in our midst. Both US and Canadian band and tribal councils stood together and made demands on behalf of the sovereign Mohawk people.
The Akwesasne people took the initiative. This is an Iroquois Confederacy issue. It affects all Ongwehonwe, our friends and allies at the Canada- US and US-Mexico borders which were never meant for us. The visitors cannot apply their line to us.
Rumors has it that US and Canada might build a new bridge several miles west of Akwesasne. This is part of Haudenosaunee Territory. They have to consult us and get our permission. They think they stole this land outright. Not so! Most people in the world know that Great Turtle Island is ours. They cannot show any evidence that they’ve legally acquired any of our land. International law was violated by the US and Canada when they made laws to claim our land and resources.
Arrangements to speak with us must be made through the Governor General and US President. Mike Mitchell, the tribal and band councils do not speak for us. Under the Great Law, they have don’t speak for the Iroquois Confederacy or Mohawk Nation. Anything they decide is not valid because they represent the foreign US and Canadian jurisdictions. Our people sit under the tent at the crossroads at Kawehnoke and patiently wait for them to come and make valid and legal arrangements with us.
Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, www.mohawknationnews.com email@example.com