PRESS RELEASE For Immediate publication
“Mohawk Mothers Win Superior Court Judgment.
McGill and SQI Ordered to Comply With
Settlement Agreement and to Reinstate Expert Panel”
Tio’tia:ke [Montreal]. After obtaining, one year to the day, a precedent-setting injunction halting excavation at the former Royal Victoria Hospital site to search for the unmarked graves of the victims of medical experiments, the Mohawk Mothers, also known as the Kahnistenaera, have won their bid for a safeguard order they presented at the Superior Court of Quebec on October 27, 2023.
On November 20, 2023, Justice Gregory Moore issued a judgment ordering McGill University and the Societe quebecoise des infrastructure [SQI] to abide by the Settlement Agreement they had signed with the self-represented Indigenous plaintiffs on April 6, 2023, and to respect the recommendations of the Expert Panel of archaeologists they had jointly selected.
Justice Moore’s statement that the SQI’s and McGill’s position ending the Expert Panel’s mandate “does not set a term for the Panel’s mandate on July 17th is “too restrictive,” as the settlement agreement “does not set a term for the panel’s involvement in the on-going search for unmarked graves” [para. 34]. According to the Judge, “The delay and costs of the overall project cannot justify the SQI’s and McGill’s unilateral reduction of their obligations under the settlement agreement, especially when doing so will cause irreparable harm to the plaintiffs” [para. 39].
For Mohawk Mother kahentinetha, the Judgment is a relief. “We’ve fought so hard for two years to search for these missing children. Our community was targeted for genocide and our children were used as guinea pigs in these horrific experiments by the CIA to see how to kill the Indian in them. But since McGill and the SQI fired the Expert Panel we had no way to keep track and trust the results of the investigation, which was now being controlled by the perpetrators of crimes against our children. The point in signing of the Settlement Agreement was to allow the Experts to do their job, and we were betrayed. We had to do it all alone without lawyers, facing such powerful institutions. It wasn’t easy but we made it. The Judge understood that the only way this can go is in a professional way, with independent experts to oversee everything and make sure our community is informed”.
The Mohawk Mothers submitted that McGill and the SQI had failed to implement numerous recommendations of the Expert Panel, notably refusing to share data from the Ground Penetrating Radar surveys, refusing to adopt forensic precaution to protect the chain of custody of evidence, and depriving the Mohawk Mothers of access to crucial information such as contracts with specialists.
Justice Gregory Moore found in favor of the Mohawk Mothers’ argument that the purpose of the Settlement Agreement was to rely on an independent and impartial Expert Panel to provide ongoing recommendations, in order to ensure that the New Vic Project would not result in the desecration of human remains, which survivors and search dogs indicated were on the site.
In August 2023, McGill and the SQI fired the Expert Panel, one of whom had recently resigned, after they asked to implement forensic measures and peer review data from Ground Penetrating Radar.
Although Historic Human Remains Detection Dogs had detected the scent of human remains in the area in front of the Hersey Pavilion, McGill and SQI declared that there was no evidence of burials there, suggested it was a false positive, and started large-sale non-archaeological excavation in the zone. The Mohawk Mothers were concerned that development work in the area could start before the source of human remains in the zone was established, especially inside the Hersey Pavilion, because the dogs signalled remains next to the building’s wall and because unexplained demolition work took place there.
Judge Moore’s court ruling will allow for the independent Expert Panel to provide updated irecommendations regarding the zone and the larger site, after being cut off from the investigation since August.
On November 5, 2023, search dogs detected the scent of human remains in yet another zone, close to the Allan Memorial institute, where the CIA’s MK-Ultra experiments on brainwashing took place in the early 1950’s and 1960’s.
The parties will be back in court on December 1st 2023. to address a motion ordering the release of records withheld by the defendants.
The Kanien’kehaka:ka Kahnistensera [Mohawk Mothers] is a Kahnawake based group that helps Indigenous women accomplish their traditional cultural duty as caretakers of the land, to protect all life, including their children and ancestors. They have been engaged in a legal challenge with promoters of the New Vic project to stall future excavation of the former Royal Victoria Hospital until a proper archaeological investigation is conducted, using the traditional protocols of the Kaianere’ko:wa. [Great Peace].
https:// www.mohawkmothers.csa/Contact for press: firstname.lastname@example.org 463-8835 Kahnawake, P.O. Box 991, Que. J0L 1B0.
In 1990, not so long ago, the kanienkehaka Mohawks defended the land and people which speaks who hears their own way. This is our people. This is our song. It’s about peace:
box 991. kahnawake. que. canada J0L 1B0