In an August 2002 report co-commissioned by Transport Canada and the Mohawks, 70% of border crossers are Akwesasne Mohawks. It is adjacent to a bus stop for children, recreational fields, play area, large number of homes, the only convenience store, several small businesses and other features of a well populated and highly trafficked area. We need to visit our family and friends, get to work or school, attend health, social, cultural, recreational gatherings and shop or conduct business. Next to the customs children slide during the winter on the hills. People ride horses and walk in the open spaces. Children play volleyball, basketball and lacrosse. Recently the border patrol perpetrated a high speed chase where 3 people were burnt to death at the cross roads. Violence and death is their business!
Guns are for killing! They must be banned in this corridor. On Saturday, May 8th 2009, the Mohawks marched from the U.S. Port of Entry, across the Three Nations Bridge to the City of Cornwall. We called for a peaceful solution and a meeting with the Minister of Public Safety, Peter Van Loan, and the Mohawk representatives.
Grandmothers who marched at the "You are on Indian Land" demonstration in December 20, 1968, carried their grandchildren across the same bridge in 2009. They reminisced as they passed the checkpoint. One proudly looked in the face of the customs officers and said, "You're not going to intimidate me. I have never lost my spirit to resist. I will stand my legal ground no matter what you do to me."
Canada and U.S. are watching to see if we give up. We are one of the first groups to stand up to guns, brute force, harassment and attempts at totalitarianism. Friends from surrounding U.S. and Canadian communities honked their horns in support. U.S. policies are followed to turn Canada into an armed camp. We say, "No, you will not terrorize us, Americans and Canadians into submission on Great Turtle Island".
Officers know we are a peaceful people. Customs officers need a reason to draw their guns and shoot us. We are being entrapped into defending ourselves. The result could be deadly. If we heard that, "someone was just shot at the border", our families would pour out of nearby homes in minutes. Canada is setting up a scenario to justify cross-Canada martial law.
Mainstream corporate media did not cover this historic event. The real media are word of mouth, personal contacts of the people through phone calls, emails, communication between communities, friends and relatives around the world.
By law Canada must fully consult us and a majority of us must agree on whether anyone can set up an armed camp in the middle of our community. This is the law. They know we would not agree to this.
There are numerous similar crossings in highly populated areas. Canada cannot justify its actions in Akwesasne.
There is no history of violence in Canada against its citizens. In the U.S. most agencies are armed. At the U.S. border crossing numerous incidents of intimidation with guns, shootings and some fatalities have occurred. In Canada enforcement agents are also being taught to shoot to kill, whether we are armed or not and even if there is no reason to pull us over. Previously there was less corruption among government agents. Today they are being given a free hand to kill and to have guns to protect their illegal businesses as border guards. They can and are stopping us at their own discretion for no reason at all. They take us to confined areas where no one can see their cruelty. No surveillance equipment is inside to record their savagery. They're getting away with murder!
A long time ago the Rotino'shonni:onwe Iroquois decided to stop conflict against our nations by burying our weapons of war. The colonists agreed to this. Their acts of aggression violate their agreement to live on our land in peace. In effect, they are being given a license to try to kill us with impunity.
Contact: Chief Wesley Benedict 613-551-2573; Larry King 613-551-1930; Chief Joe Lazore 613-551-5292. Next unity march is May 29th. Meet at the cross roads on Cornwall Island at 10:30 am. March starts at noon. www.nationtalk.ca