Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Jake Fire Would Have Joined the National Day of Action

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The following letter by a Mohawk youth is being posted on the Day of Action:

Mohawk Nation News
Letter to the editor:

Jake Fire Would Have Joined the National Day of Action! Canadians are seeing the gruesome power of police officers. They have been given the right to carry deadly weapons as part of their arsenal to use during arrests. They carry 50,000 volt tasers, which recently caused the death of an immigrant at the air port in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Canadian public should be very concerned about that incident, since it was not an isolated one. On May 1, 1899, an Akwesasne Mohawk, Saiowisakeron, also known as “Jake Fire”, faced the barrel of a gun in the hands of an RCMP officer. The RCMP had been sent to arrest the Akwesasne traditional chiefs. Standing up for what was right, an unarmed Jake Fire was shot and killed by the RCMP officer. The RCMP officer shooting and killing Jake Fire is the kind of violence and aggression that the colonists use when dealing with Indigenous Peoples asserting our rights. Jake Fire was killed because he supported the traditional Iroquois government and though it was best for his people. At the time, the federal government wanted to impose the colonial band council system of governance. When the Mohawks of Akwesasne resisted the colonial band council style of government, they were coerced into obedience. This pattern has been followed over the centuries when Indigenous got in the way of the immigrants who were swarming all over Turtle Island. In the United States, whenever the settlers came against opposition from the Indigenous, the army was called in. Indigenous resisters were pushed onto uninhabitable areas of Turtle Island. In 1922 the RCMP raided the Six Nations as part of an Indian Affairs plot to overthrow the traditional govenrment. [Order in Council PC 1629, Sept. 17, 1924]. The Iroquois have always resisted being bulldozed into obedience by land developers, governments and police agencies. The most recent example of this brutal method to attempt to control Indigenous occurred in 1995 when an OPP sniper killed an unarmed Indigenous, Dudley George, at Ipperwash, Ontario. Canada and the provincial governments refuse to talk peacefully with the Indigenous people. Instead they arrest and jail, especially the youth. Jailing our people means that Indigenous across Canada are forced to take a back seat to ancestral land and resource theft. We are presently seeing the fast pace of urban development coming into conflict with the Indigenous. Land developers see no problem in going onto disputed Indigenous land to put up housing complexes and explore for oil that destroy the land. Reserves are the only lands left where the non-native are not supposed to encroach. This has not been stopping the developers from trying to enter them too. On May 29, 2008, the Indigenous are asking the Canadian public for support to inform the government that Indigenous Peoples must be dealt with fairly and equitably. This will be the second annual National Day of Action, and Indigenous will show the world that we still care about our rights. Support the cause since it is the future of Indigenous and non-natives alike that will be affected by the federal and provincial government’s response to Indigenous concerns.

Kanatase Horn
Mohawk Akwesasne

Posted by MNN Mohawk Nation News, May 29, 2008. http://www.mohawknationnews.com/

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Amnesty Criticizes Canadian Policies Regarding Indigenous Peoples

The following is excerpted from Canada.com:

Amnesty Criticizes Range of Canadian Policies

Peter O'Neil, Europe Correspondent , Canwest News Service
Published: Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Amnesty also charged there is discrimination against aboriginals and poor treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and objected to federal anti-terrorism legislation.

"In Canada there was widespread concern about a government decision in October to reverse a long-established policy of seeking clemency for all Canadian citizens sentenced to death abroad," the Amnesty said. "Under the new policy, clemency will no longer be sought from 'democratic countries that adhere to the rule of law.'"

The report also cited Canadian government statistics showing that aboriginal women are five times more likely than other women to die a violent death. This highlights "the desperate need for a comprehensive national action plan to address the violence and protect indigenous women from discrimination."

The report also charged that:

Canadian governments have failed to ensure disputes with aboriginal groups over land and resource rights are being resolved quickly and fairly, even though the report into the 1995 police killing of Dudley George provided a "blueprint" for measures to protect native rights.

"This was exemplified by the situation at Grassy Narrows in northwestern Ontario, and the plight of the Lubicon Cree in northern Alberta," the report said.

Canada is not ensuring equal funding for aboriginal child protection agencies and voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

© 2005 - 2008 Canwest Digital Media, a division of Canwest Publishing Inc.

Native Rights News is making this Canada.com material available in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine codified at Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information. Distribution of this material is for research and educational purposes that will promote social and economic justice and benefit society.

For the complete article discussing other areas in which Amnesty criticized Canadian Policy, go to: http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=5f6a0576-36e7-40fa-a770-975c20619b3a

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Monday, June 30, 2008

A Letter from Leonard Peltier

"Each One of Us Can Be Better
Than What We Are"

June 26, 2008

Greetings my relatives,

I say relatives because you are all my family. I am honored, greatly honored today that you would listen to my words and come together in this way so that our future generations’ will not forget what happened here in this land.

You can't imagine how much I miss walking on the bare earth. Or brushing against a tree branch or hearing birds in the morning or seeing an antelope or deer cross my path. I have been here in federal prison for 32 years; if you could imagine being in your own home stuck in one room for one year without leaving it, multiply that by 32 and you might have some idea of how imprisonment plays on your feelings. I really get tired sometimes living here in this cell, this prison. Yet at times I feel really good because for some reason I know that there are those out there who have prayed for me in some way. And it helps me because there are moments when a peaceful feeling will wash over me in my solitude.

I try to keep up with world events like the war in Iraq, where those people are going through the same thing our Indian people went through and over the same things. The US wants their resources and they have divided those people against each other. Those children over there and families for generations will still feel the effects of that onslaught of destruction.

When I look at our own people’s situation I see a people who have not recovered from the destruction put upon them in the past. Today, the greater society of America doesn't want to accept us for who we are because we will always stand as a reminder of the immoral wrongs that they do and have done all over the world, all in the name of technology and progress. Our people have told them from the very beginning about the consequences of mistreatment of individuals and mistreatment of Mother Earth. There are history books that quote our chief headmen and medicine people cautioning them about there destruction of the earth and nature.

We know the first concentration camps America ever had held Indian prisoners. The first biological warfare was used on our people with poisonous blankets. The first atomic bomb dropped was dropped on Indian land in Nevada. Today there are abandoned uranium quarries in Navajo country that cause genetic defects on a lot of their people. When you look into the past, America has used us Indians as their social experiment. They tried to destroy us with boarding schools, relocation, and even the first slavery practice was with American people. However Indian people would fight or commit suicide than to become slaves, and so they imported Africans.

Forgive me if I am repeating things you already know, but I just wanted to bring these things up because these are the reasons behind the Wounded Knee takeover in 73 happened and the shootout at Oglala happened. Our people were not just taking a stand against this government for themselves; they in essence represented Indian people all across the Americas. Our resistance wasn't to kill anyone; our resistance was to remain alive while we let the world know what had been and what was being done to us, the Indigenous people.

I know for a fact from communication all around the world, that we Indian people inspired many other indigenous people to stand up and defend themselves because of our actions. I have gotten letters from all over the world where people said “if the native Americans can stand up to people like that being in the belly of the beast, surely we can do likewise in some way.” I recognize that my being here isn't all about me; my continued imprisonment in essence serves as a warning to others willing to stand up for their people.

The US has violated their own constitution they violated the treaties we had with them, they violated all kinds of moralities to bring about my conviction. The average non Indian American either doesn't know or couldn't care less. As long as they can keep their high standard of living our struggles mean nothing to them. Most recently other nations have raised the issues of America’s mistreatment of the people in the concentration camp in Guantanamo; issues of lack of a fair trial, issues of physical, mental abuse and of sanctioned torture of prisoners. I want to also mention that our people were the first to be tortured by this government and we were the first to be victims of scalping by the Europeans. The colonizers were paying for our men, woman and children’s scalps.

I may sound angry in what I am saying, but all this goes back to why we are here today. We must not forget what has happened in the past but we must also find a way to heal from those things that have happened and be stronger in the future. We need to heal our families; we need to heal our family’s structures so that what happened to our people in the past can't happen to us again. For several generations our children were shipped off to boarding schools which destroyed their understanding of family and family responsibilities, and you think of the statistics today facing this, they don't have to kill us anymore with guns, our children and adults both are killing themselves.

Again, like I said before we have not healed from the destruction that was put upon us, I know each one of us can be better than what we are, it takes effort, it takes getting back to our ceremonies, it takes getting back to our respect for one another, the earth, the Creator and our respect for our brothers’ and sisters’ vision. It takes men being men and being strong fathers and uncles and grandfathers and brothers, not just as a matter of birth but as a matter of responsible behavior. It also takes our women to stand as the strong mothers they were meant to be and the sisters, grandmothers and aunties.

We need to repair ourselves and not wait for some grant from the government to tell us or guide us in our recovery. We need to take that responsibility ourselves and mend the sacred hoop.

Again I want to say as I have said many times in the past, though my body is locked into this cell, my heart and soul is with you today. In closing I would like to acknowledge the great loss of my brother Floyd Westerman, a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights I’m sure that he as well as many others, who like him devoted their time and energies to better the conditions our people face, are here with us today in spirit. We have no guarantees of the time of our own passing but until that time or my time I will miss them greatly as I miss you my family. Be kind to one another, and remember my words; for I have spoken to you from my heart of hearts. And you will always be in my prayers.

In the spirit of Crazy Horse and every Indian man or person that stood for their people, Doksha

Leonard Peltier
# 89637-132
USP Lewisburg
US Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 17837-1000

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