What is “ecclesiastical tyranny”?

It is raw colonialism and terrorism, plain and simple! MNN. Nov. 24, 2007. On Friday, November 23, 2007, a hearing was held in Montreal. A Mohawk had been fired the year before by the Sulpician Order because he was a Mohawk. Little did they know, he was a very quiet, reliable and hard working guy. It took the Sulpicians more than a year to cook up a case against him. While they were busy plotting, he quietly sold rosaries and crucifixes to the multi-national clientele that come into the shop at Notre Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. This is where they sent him to get him out of the way. Too bad for them, the bad old days are gone. Quebec employees have some laws to protect them. Once the church cobbled together some charges, they had to deal with a union.

The church witnesses eagerly stated that, “We are afraid of Mohawks. They are violent and associated with organized crime”. Never mind that the Mohawk defendant had no criminal record and no association with any known criminals. The church expects divine intervention even if it has to co-opt people with delusional fantasies to get its way.

This tactic is not new. It harkens right back to Samuel de Champlain’s first encounter with the Kanienkehaka, the people of the flint. Without so much as pausing for a “howdy do”, or “by your leave”, he marched onto our land on Lake Champlain and shot our chiefs the moment he saw them. Then, he embarked on three genocidal campaigns hoping to kill every Mohawk. They made up crazy stories about us to justify their actions. It’s been going on ever since. [This is “organized crime”!] The subconscious of French-Canadian ecclesiastical and military power has a tremendous animosity towards the Mohawks. They have always tried to eliminate us. They pretend they have a right to be here and that we don’t exist.

The defendant brought a female elder from his community to sit in on the hearings. She sat beside him. Even though the hearing was taking place on Mohawk land and involved allegations against the Mohawks, everything took place in French. None of the proper formalities were observed. The “Ahenton kariwatekwen” was not recited. There was no “condolence ceremony” as would have been proper in an intercultural meeting. The elder decided to observe the proceedings and show her joyful enthusiastic good nature by smiling and showing good will to everyone. She never spoke or made any other gestures throughout the day.

Eventually, the church witnesses became so agitated by her smile that the arbitrator tried to claim that her presence was disrupting the somber atmosphere. “Why are you staring at the witnesses?” he asked.

She replied, “Everyone is observing the proceedings”. The arbitrator wanted to put the woman elder in the far corner of the room, like a child, so no one could see her watching what went on. The reason why they did not want an outside observer was obvious. As the day wore on, the witnesses were finding it more and more difficult to think up things that would make their victim look bad.

A young man who worked as a janitor for the church, before moving to Ontario, was flown in for the day. The poor guy was suffering from delusions, “I feared for my life”, he stated as his face twitched and sweat poured down his brow. He described an incident that happened in Verdun, a municipality of Montreal. He said that the defendant had driven by him on his bike on a bike path, heading back into Old Montreal to the church, at around 6:25 pm. He claims to have heard the defendant say, “You’re next, you little fuck!”

The problem with this story is that, one, the defendant is not in the habit of using that kind of language. Two, whoops!! There are many witnesses who can prove the defendant was still at work selling rosaries at 6:05 pm on that very day. Maybe it was a doppleganger! This hearing proved something for sure. Prejudice and dangerous delusional fantasies about the Kanienkehaka [Mohawk] continue to run rampant in Quebec, just as they did on the day of our first meeting with Champlain and his French troops. These people could sure use an exorcist real quick, or what!

A pall of darkness descended into the room. It was like going back to the middle ages in Europe. The Sulpicians, who believe that Louis XIV gave them our land in 1663, have been running what they call a “civilized community” for 350 years. It’s like going into the mausoleum, opening the creaking doors and removing the cobwebs out of these decadent decrepit buildings in Montreal. They are now empty and a relic of a bygone era in Quebec history when the church had absolute control over the minds of the French-Canadians. We thought they had been set free from this oppression. This hearing gives us serious cause for concern. School children in Montreal are still being taught geography as if we do not exist. This makes it difficult for us to receive justice.

We hope this hearing is the last gasp of the church to maintain control over the people who were trying to eliminate us 400 years ago. They will never crush the Mohawks. At some level, the Sulpicians know this.

The presence of a single elderly Mohawk woman made them nervous, especially since she was smiling. She learned her friendly attitude from her ancestors. The Iroquois always presented themselves to people in a cordial peaceful manner. This is why they are considered the masters of diplomacy. This goes against church hierarchy which operates on intimidation and domination. If this doesn’t work, they become flustered.

The Sulpicians are represented by a lawyer from one of the most powerful, influential law firms in Canada, Heenan Blaikie. This firm is dominated by former prime ministers like Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien who are prominently displayed on their letterheads. Heenan Blaikie is always trying to dominate and control the Mohawks who have been constantly disputing Canada’s claim to our lands. They say Louis XIV gave it to them. They can’t explain how it was Louis’ to give. We never give up our land and they know that. The Sulpicians’ history of attempting to oppress the Mohawks at Kanehsatake is long and dirty. Heenan Blaikie not only represent the Sulpicians, but Canada hired Heenan Blaikie to represent the Kahehsatake Mohawks in the land claims negotiations that are currently taking place. They sit on both sides.

The Supreme Court says aboriginal rights are sui generis. We guess Heenan Blaikie think this means we are in a class of our own and normal professional “conflict of interest” rules don’t apply.

Boards of directors, outside accounting and law firms, bankers and brokers, provincial and federal regulatory agencies and legislators are either inert or complicit in this double dealing.

From the farce that took place at the Montreal hearing, the Sulpicians has a lust for power that corrupts absolutely. The catholic church hierarchical system is the model for the colonial “pecking order”. This is where the higher ups gobble those under them.

Bertrand Russell said, “Power is a drug, the desire for which increases with habit”. Those who achieve the top rung of the hierarchy begin to believe that their rapacious oppression is normal in an abnormal world. To do this, they have to control the money, the police, the army, the politics and the economy.

The church could not control all the players in the hearing. They wanted conformity, suppression and obedience. They became uncomfortable because they could not exercise their “ecclesiastical tyranny”. They could not threaten us that we would go to hell. We don’t share their cosmogony.

A spark of light can displace darkness. For Mohawks, the love of freedom and our belief in human equality permeates our love of our people. We all want to be free, to have children, to have a home, to love and be loved.

When lies face the truth, the truth wins. If they can’t see it now, people will look back on this as a very “dark age” indeed.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

See: “Colonialism”

poster: katenies