Canada: suppression of natives: call to action


Richard Moore

From: "Stephanie McDowall" <•••@••.•••>
To: "'Richard Moore'" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Urgent Call to Action to Prevent Military & Police
          Incursion on Mohawk Nation
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 18:57:37 -0800

Would you consider reading this and sending it out to your

Canada has treated Native people very badly in the past and
we still do.  Many live in conditions that are comparable to
third world slums, lacking clean water and proper health
care. Many Native womenŠ.especially in Vancouver, B.C. have
gone missing and until very recently the police and the
government in B.C. showed very little interest.

You have probably heard of the  B.C.'s pig farmer who is
presently awaiting trial for the murder of countless women.
It seemed that after he was finished with these women he
ground them up and fed them to his pigs.  Many of the women
were native womenŠ.in fact most were.   This has finally
caused B.C.'s police to act but this isn't so across our

As to the Mohawk Nation's involvement in tobaccoŠ.because
prices are so highŠ.smokers prefer to purchase tobacco from
Reserves when possible.  Many of their cigarettes end up on
the black market and people purchase them through their
contacts.  While smoking is bad we still have hundreds of
thousands of smokers here in Canada.  This tobacco is a
source of much needed income for many Reserves across the

We have had several incidents in Canada between police
forces and Native Bands.  Sometimes it is about land that
the Natives consider theirs and actually is under treaties
but non-the-less has been sold by Governments causing
"showdowns" .  Natives get shot and killed because of road
blocks etc.   Quite frankly Richard, I am tired of having to
be ashamed of my government regarding how our Natives are
treated.  We also have lots of racism towards Native people
in Canada which serves the purposes of the Governments and
the Corporations that want the resources on and under land
that the Natives have a claim to.  

Thanks for your consideration
Stephanie McDowall, Nanaimo, B. C. 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Calvin Woida" <•••@••.•••>
To: <•••@••.•••>
Sent: Monday, March 20, 2006 2:22 PM
Subject: Urgent Call to Action to Prevent Military & Police Incursion on
Mohawk Nation

Urgent Call to Action to Prevent Military & Police Incursion
on Mohawk Territories

(apologies for duplicate posts)

Please forward this to your networks. If your group has a
website, we would be grateful if you posted this call.

March 2006

The Coalition in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty - Native
Caucus is asking that you take some time to phone, email or
fax the authorities below to register your objection to a
potential incursion onto Mohawk Territories this spring and
at any other time.

This request comes as a result of warnings by community
leaders in Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Kanehsatake and Tyendinega
who are preparing for a joint Canadian Forces/RCMP raid on
April 1, the latest in a series of actions designed to
destroy the Mohawk tobacco trade.

Our position on this issue is as follows:

In 1876 the Indian Act imposed the band council system of
government on  the indigenous people of Turtle Island (North

Among other things, this law:

Deposed already existing leadership to establish band
councils and the areas over which they had jurisdiction. The
Indian Act was passed without consultation with any
indigenous leader, usurped the treaty process (nation to 
nation agreements) and made First Nations governments null
and void, despite the fact that these governments had served
our ancestors for millennia before Europeans arrived on
Turtle Island.

This is akin to the US government passing a law that
disbanded the current  Canadian government, determined what
type of government Canada must have and designated the
limitations of its power.

Made First Nations Communities economically dependent on
Ottawa. The federal government controls the only sources of
revenue for social programs, economic development projects
or job creation in FN communities. Ottawa determines 
through a variety of legal and financing mechanisms what
band councils can and cannot do for their communities. Even
the process of pursuing a land claim is legislated by
Ottawa, funded (or not) by Ottawa and decided ultimately in 
Canadian courts. Land usage on FN territories is determined
by Ottawa.

There are many examples in history when the federal
government leased or  sold First Nations lands or resources
and consequently reaped huge profits that did not  accrue to
the community. Clearly, the poverty that exists in First
Nations communities is, and always has been, by Ottawa's

Blatantly discriminated against women by recognizing Native
descent through the male line so that First Nations
citizenship rights for women were recognized only through
their father's lineage and husband's status, and by
prohibiting them from voting or running for office in band
elections. This was a complete contradiction to traditional
First Nations practices, in which descent for many
communities was reckoned along the female line, and where
women had significant (authority) in political, economic and
social life. While there were many nations and many
practices, it is safe to generalize and say that women held
positions of leadership directly and/or appointed male
leaders and held them accountable. This was completely
overturned by the Indian Act.

Although women now have the right to vote and run for band
office, almost  a century of being excluded from political,
economic and social decision-making has left First Nations
women on and off reserve in very vulnerable situations.
Women are among the poorest in First Nations communities.
They have been targeted through various amendments to the
Indian Act and thousands were stripped of their status along
with their homes, benefits and any treaty rights they may
have had. The hundreds of women who are missing from our
communities, dead and murdered, is a direct result of a
deliberate and calculated attack on the rights and
authorities of First Nations women by the Canadian

Determined who could call themselves an "Indian" and live in
First Nations  communities. The Indian Act established an
Indian registry and with subsequent amendments there has
emerged a complex set of legal categories (status & non-
status Indians, Treaty Indians, Bill C-31 Indians, etc.)
designed to divide and disempower First Nations families and

Non-status Indians are those who are not recognized by
Ottawa as First Nations. They cannot live in their
communities, do not enjoy benefits or treaty rights and are
not permitted to participate in band council elections.
Again, this is akin to the US determining who could be a
Canadian and who could not, as well as who could live here
and vote in Canadian elections.

Initially through the use of Indian agents with sweeping
powers and more  recently through purse strings, Ottawa has
controlled band councils, band chiefs and the Assembly of
First Nations. Whether this current control is perceived of
as friendly or hostile is irrelevant and sidesteps the basic
assumption that First Nations people are children who cannot
manage their own affairs. To recognize that some band
councils, their chiefs and police are sincerely interested
in serving their communities while others are corrupt may 
be true but fails to recognize that the band council system
is itself inherently corrupt, paternalistic and racist.

The Indian Act was and is an instrument of genocide.
Likewise, the system  of reserves, band councils and taxes
are all tools of genocide. At best, the levying of taxes by
Canada or the provinces on commercial activities within and 
among First Nations communities is an infringement of
sovereignty as well as a violation of the treaties that
exist, not to mention the inherent rights of First Nations

This is particularly objectionable when the levying of taxes
applies to  transactions involving tobacco. It was First
Nations people who developed, cultivated and cared for
tobacco plants. Our ancestors were the first to understand
and benefit from the use of tobacco in ceremony (even in
times when our ceremonies were illegal). Canada now assumes
it has a right to control the tobacco trade, which is
consistent with its assumption that it has a right to
control the lives of First Nations people. Now that tobacco
is being used to generate income and sustain First
Nations-owned businesses (an anti-genocidal activity),
Ottawa wants to step in and crush the initiative.

We reject the portrayal of Mohawk communities as divided
between the minions of organized crime and law-abiding
citizens. Mainstream media and Canadian authorities would
have us believe that thugs are defying legally elected
First  Nations governments and Canadian laws. Such an
analysis does not acknowledge the impact of a band council
system, imposed, funded and controlled by Ottawa.

It does nothing to educate us on the long history of
genocide that remains  official policy in this country. It
does not examine Ottawa's historic role in sabotaging
activities that contribute to the economic independence of
First Nations people.

On these grounds we are asking that you and your
organization fax or email  the officials below and voice
your concerns regarding a potential violation of Mohawk
sovereignty, which would follow a systemic pattern of
violations over the years...Below is a sample letter that
you can edit, cut and paste into your own email if you

Nia:wen / meegwich / thank you for your support. For more
information contact:

•••@••.••• or •••@••.•••.

Scroll down for the sample letter. To voice your concerns
send an email, phone or fax:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
K1A 0A2
Fax: 613-941-6900

Jim Prentice, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development and Federal Interlocutor for Metis and
Non-Status Indians Parliament Hill: House of Commons Ottawa,
Ontario K1A 0A6 Telephone: (613) 992-4275 Fax: (613)
947-9475 E-Mail: •••@••.•••


To: Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Jim Prentice, Minister of
Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal
Interlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians

I am writing to register my concern regarding ongoing
violations of Mohawk  sovereignty and continued actions that
threaten the health and safety of the residents of
Akwesasne, Kahnawake, Kanehsatake and Tyendinega.

I strongly urge you to put a stop to government-sponsored
activities that  portray these communities as being bastions
of "organized crime" engaged in an illegal tobacco trade.
Furthermore, I suggest your government cease operating 
under the assumption that Band Councils and the Assembly of
First Nations, which are funded and controlled by the
federal government, are the only legitimate representatives
of First Nations communities.

Many studies, some commissioned by the federal government
(such as the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal
People), have determined that the issues confronting First
Nations communities include sub-standard health care, 
inadequate and sub-standard housing, inadequate employment
opportunities, poverty, violence, racism, etc. These studies
clearly attribute this set of deplorable conditions to the
actions and inactions of consecutive Canadian  governments.

Raiding Mohawk communities and seizing tobacco products does
nothing to  address the day-to-day issues confronting First
Nations people. In fact, such activities actually contribute
to worsening the oppressive conditions under  which First
Nations people live by depriving families of their
livelihood as well as assaulting their dignity and violating
their inherent rights.

Military and police incursions onto First Nations
territories are not a  solution to the long standing issues
confronting these communities. Moreover such actions shame
non-First Nations people, many of whom reject complicity in
a centuries-old genocide project.

Your government has the option of creating a disaster that
would rival the  Oka Crisis, Gustafson Lake and the murder
of Dudley George put together. Or you can decide to deal
with First Nations communities in a way that is proactive, 
peaceful and respectful, for the first time in Canadian
history. I strongly urge you opt for the latter of the two



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