Friday, June 08, 2007

IT ISN'T ABOUT THE MONEY, WHITE MAN


About ten days ago, Ottawa offered 125 million dollars to the Mohawk Nation with the condition that aboriginal protesters end their 15-month occupation of the Caledonia site. In return, Ottawa asked for a release from the Six Nations on four Ontario claims. The money was offered for the lands known as Block 5 (Moulton Township), the Welland Canal and the Burtch Lands on the Haldimand Tract.

The Moulton Township parcel is over 30,000 acres and is an acknowledged Crown debt going back to the 1830’s when the lease expired! Ottawa’s offer is about $3,200.00 an acre. The Henning brothers who were given a phony deed by Ontario got about $160,000 an acre. [The standard was set]. It’s not about the money! It’s about the land. The people said, “put em back in their boat and tell them to take their $125 million with them”!

Protesters said the offer by federal land-claim negotiators is not enough to address a number of outstanding claims, and warned that if Ottawa continues to offer financial compensation rather than land, talks could go south. Negotiator Janie Jamieson said that in offering the money, Ottawa was ignoring aboriginal demands. She said if that continues, First Nations protesters will have no choice but to pull out of peaceful talks.

Nathan Isaacs said no amount of money could ever convince him to leave the land he maintains belongs to his people. "I want my kids to scrape their knees on dirt, not pavement," he said. "I want them to seek shade under a tree, not next to a building."

(For earlier articles and background put "Caledonia" in the search box at the top of this page and click on "search this blog" and you'll find a plethora of OD articles.)


The following is taken from Mohawk Nation News.

“Indian time” has begun

It’s not the amount of the offer. It’s the principle that counts. Canada tries for a quick cash fix with “conditions” otherwise known as “veiled threats.” $125 million cash for 38,000 acres amounts to $3,289.47 per acre for prime land. If it was saleable, it is worth anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 an acre.

by Kahentinetha Horn
June 8, 2007


Murray Coolican and Ron Doering presented the offer on behalf of Ottawa for the land but nothing for the environmental damage. It’s to settle claims involving the former Moulton Township, flooding of lands in Dunnville, Ont. to build the Welland Feeder Canal in 1829 and the unauthorized investment of our money in the Grand River Navigation Co. (GRNC), in the 1830s. The value of the loss on the GRNC scheme alone would be in the billions in modern terms.

Canada took our lease money without asking us and spent it on building the "nation" of Canada, as well the Law Society of Upper Canada and McGill University, to name a few, and maybe even the “steal” road that crosses Canada.

Ottawa put the validity of our claims in writing and the world now knows. The Haldimand Tract that arches around Toronto and the “Golden Horse Show” is one of the most important and valuable areas in Canada.

The Six Nations spokesperson, on behalf of the people, dismissed the offer. We always said that we want our land. Mohawk Confederacy Chief Allen MacNaughton basically said, "It's a recognition that it’s ours and they owe us." When we get everything back, then we can start talking.

Our decisions are based on the Kaianereh’kowa, the law of Onowarekeh (Turtle Island). The Two Row Wampum governs our relationship with the colonists. We want respect for the natural owners and our natural laws. We want to exercise our jurisdiction over our land, to manage it, to control education, health care, roads, infrastructure, business management, courts and all aspects of social order. Canada is a foreign entity and is not entitled to collect any taxes on our territory. We also want a say in the immigration of people onto our land. They have to stop poisoning our land, clean it up and put it back the way they found it.

They want to give us money so that we will cease to exist. They have not understood our message. No generation can sell the land we are given by our ancestors to hold for our future generations. As long as there is one of us who adheres to our natural philosophy, the colonists can never claim Onowarekeh.

One of their conditions/threats is for us to get off our reclaimed land of “Kanenhstaton.” Do they want us to live in the air? Or to retreat back into the few trees they left behind on our land?!

They want this to be a “full and final settlement” of the land claim. Dream on! When we get all of our land, resources and possessions back in our hands under our control, then we can start talking about a “settlement”! They want “a strong and significant consensus” (which they will define) from the Six Nations. We do have a consensus. We all agree that you robbed us blind and now you have to give everything back to us. Can a criminal that is caught with the goods demand a “consensus” from those he robbed as a condition for returning the stolen goods? We don’t think so.

They don’t want us to sue them ever again over any of the lands in the dispute. So, stop trespassing and development on our land. Stop encroaching on our jurisdiction. Supposing someone stole your car, you find out about it and they say, “I’ll give you a hundred bucks if you promise not to sue me about it.” Just like Ottawa’s residential school “trick” settlement where people are being coerced into taking money and then can’t sue. Canada is looking for a “cookie cutter” precedent to deal with the other Indigenous lands they’re claiming.

Can they convince us to take this offer? If we turn this down, will they come back with a bigger one, like double or triple the money? Is this what it’s all about? We have conditions too! Get off our backs and stop trying to colonize us.

Stop telling us how to live and conduct our business. Colonialism and abuse is over! Get used to it. Caledonia is not a dispute between the Six Nations and the federal government going back before Confederation, as Caledonia Mayor Marie Trainor would like to think. Disputes about Six Nations at Grand River started long before that. The root of the problem is theft of our land by the colonists and refusing to even admit it. Then when they’re caught, they point their gun at us trying to make us accept a few dollars for it.

Trainor says Six Nations will be permitted to keep the former Burtch Correctional Facility in Brant County. She can’t permit us to do anything! Get real, Marie! How would Canadians feel if George Bush told them he was going to permit them to keep their Parliament? Can criminals make these kinds of demands? Only by threats of violence! Ottawa still has “control freak” fantasies. As part of the Kanehsatake/Oka settlement, Ottawa wanted me to sign an agreement that I would never say anything against Canada for the rest of my life. I refused to sign. It’s amazing the kind of illegal conditions Ottawa’s carpet-bagging lawyers come up with. Can we be ridiculous too? We could require all Ottawa dogs, provincial puppets and town criers to wear Six Nations certified muzzles.

Recently, Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Ramsay threatened to pull Ontario from the “talks” if new “protests” (assertions of our rights) such as the one in Hagersville, Ont. continue. "This lawlessness breaking out is not acceptable," he said. "It will not be tolerated." Yes, stop breaking the laws. We will not tolerate it. We’ve been objecting to colonial lawlessness since day one. As one Six Nations resident said, “Holy crap, that's a real bargain for them! $125 million to construct the biggest farce in the world! Well maybe not THE biggest. You gotta consider the USA, too!” Oh yeah, the feds can't produce a valid sales receipt. The offer barely covers fixing our water problem here at Six Nations caused by the toxins they’re dumping upstream!

We are in the driver’s seat. We have always been in the driver’s seat. We are the eyes and ears of eastern Onowarekeh. Respect us. Give us what is ours. We will decide what we will do.

What about giving us back the past, present and future royalties on anything built on our land? How about a seat at every development table? How about lands being set aside for us anywhere we want and guaranteed university education forever? We want to run the affairs of our land.

We want the fox out of hen house. Indians Affairs has to go! The myth that we can’t manage our own resources is a fabrication. We have to be a part of any development that involves our people and our resources. From now on we do all the surveying and registration. All illegal entities have to go, like the band councils and tribal councils. The colonists have to deal with the original entities that were here.

We will not be confined to penitentiaries without walls. We can live anywhere on our land without paying “foreign” taxes.

We demand a seat in the UN as an independent nation. We will not allow the colonial powers to appoint museum Indians to represent us. Get rid of those colonial borders and colonial place names.

This mess could have been avoided. When the “visitors” came they should have abided by the agreements, rules and regulations with each of our nations. Canada just ignored us.

We are looking out for the interests of everybody. We have over 300 alliances with our brothers and sisters. We have many friends and supporters in Canada. It has always been our custom that when Indigenous people come from another area to our territory we have the duty to comfort, feed and house them. This we shall continue to do.

We are considering the natural principles and philosophy of all the Indigenous People of Onowarekeh. There are people on every territory who maintain the knowledge and obligations.

Ottawa’s conditions are veiled threats telling us to take their offer, or else! This kind of negotiation is a violation of international law. They are telling us they will give us back our stolen land, and if we don’t do as they order us to, they will re-steal our land and our freedom! Colonists, if you made such a threat, if you act on that threat, we will take it for what it is, a declaration of war! Our ancestors did not negotiate with our enemies with their guns and weapons at hand. They set their weapons and hostilities aside. We want to create peace, harmony and to stop all hostilities. The only weapon we have is the truth.

We remind the colonists that our mother, the earth, is not for sale. She has to stay intact. If any of our people has no desire to remain connected to our mother, we will continue to keep our obligation to protect her and the future generations. Should any of them come to their senses and decide they cannot continue to live on the earth motherless, they can always come home.

Kahentinetha Horn is editor of Mohawk Nation News. An avid writer, Kahentinetha works on her own material and edits the works of others. Mohawk Warriors Three - The Trial of Lasagna, Noriega and 20-20, the account of the first trial of the warriors arrested after leaving the compound, is Kahentinetha's first published book. She lives in Kahnawake with her children and grandchildren.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

Really interesting post.

I hope the Mohawk leaders, maintain their stand.