Legacy of Mohawk Resistance at Akwesasne Border

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Forty-One Year Legacy of Mohawk Resistance at Akwesasne Border - Next march: May 29, 2009
by MNN
Over 250 Mohawks marched on May 8, 2009, against guns and violence at the U.S.-Canada border.  [link at end] Canada is militarizing all borders across Canada.  Guards will carry Beretta 8 mm guns for a start on June 1, 2009.  The safety of Mohawks and all border crossings in Canada are being jeopardized.  The Akwesasne checkpoint is on a large island in the St. Lawrence River, in the middle of a highly populated residential area.  It is the border-crossing from NYS to Cornwall, Ontario.  The day-to-day security provided by an unarmed Mohawk security has always been enough.   

We are the most policed people in the world.  Almost 20 U.S. and Canadian enforcement agencies traverse our community.  Canada has two alternatives:  to peacefully operate on our land or to move the customs building and compound off the island.   

After construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and the International Bridge in the 1950s the customs station was placed on the island.  We tried but could not stop it.  A commitment was made that armed guards would never be put in the middle of our neighborhood, which we saw as dangerous for both Customs and Mohawks.    

Mohawks have not fallen for this trap.  Daily disagreements have been instigated against Mohawks who must pass through the checkpoint on a daily basis.  There have been serious injuries, hospitalizations, charges and assaults.  So far there have been no fatalities.  There has been a steady increase in racial profiling and slurs direct at us sanctioned by Canada.  Incidents are being provoked to justify armed guards.  

Hundreds of complaints have been filed with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Canada Justice Department and the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  No peaceful resolution has come forward.

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   
Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News, www.mohawknationnews.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Note:  Your financial help is needed and appreciated.  Please send your donations by check or money order to "MNN Mohawk Nation News", Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L 1B0.  Nia:wen thank you very much.  Go to MNN "BORDER" category for more stories; New MNN Books Available now!  Purchase t-shirts, mugs and more at our CafePressStore http://www.cafepress.com/mohawknews; Subscribe to MNN for breaking news updates http://.mohawknationnews.com/news/subscription.php; Sign Women Title Holders  petition! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Iroquois

Contact the following contagions: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, London, SQ1A UK; President Barack Obama, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500, http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ Comments: 202-456-1111, Switchboard: 202-456-1414 FAX: 202-456-2461; The Governor General of Canada, M. Michaelle Jean, 1 Rideau Drive, Ottawa This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Alain Jolicoeur, President, CBSA, Ottawa, ON K1A 0L8, 613-952-3200, 613-957-0612; General inquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Lance Markell, District Director, Northern Office - Customs, St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa Ont. K1G 4K3, CBSA 613-930-3234, 613-991-1214, General inquiries This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528, Operator Number: 202-282-8000, Comment Line: 202-282-8495, Jayson P. Ahern, A/Commissioner, U.S. Customs, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229 Chief Counsel (202) 344-2990; Marco A. Lopez, Jr., Chief of Staff, U.S. Customs, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20229; Prime Minister Stephen Harper; House of Commons, Ottawa, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, House of Commons, Ottawa; Hon. Robert Douglas Nicholson, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, 284 Wellington St., Ottawa, ON K1A 0H8; Attorney General of Ontario, 720 Bay St., 4th Floor, Toronto, ON M5G 2K1; Hon. Yvon Marcoux, Minister of Justice and A.G.O., Louis-Phillipe-Pigeon Bldg., 1200 Rue d l'Eglise, 9th Floor, St. Foy G1V 4M1; Hon. Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs, 10 Wellington St., Hull, Que. K1A 0H4 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Premier Dalton McGuinty, Province of Ontario, Queens Park, Toronto ON; Premier Charest, Province of Quebec, Legislature, Quebec City; British High Commission, 80 Elgin St., Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7; Canadian Human Rights Commission, 344 Slater St., 8th Floor Ottawa, ON K1A 1E1; United Nations, 405 E 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017; The Hague, Anna Paulownastraat, 103, 251 BBC, The Netherlands; Coalition for the International Criminal Court, c/o WFM, 708 3rd Ave., 24th Floor, New York, NY 10017


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