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(en) Canada, Toronto, [ocap*] Press Conference for Kanehsatake [WXCERPT]

From OCAP <ocap@tao.ca>
Date Wed, 21 Jan 2004 20:53:01 +0100 (CET)


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1. OCAP SUPPORTS SOVEREIGN RIGHT OF THE MOHAWK NATION TO MANUFACTURE AND SELL CIGARETTES
OCAP SUPPORTS SOVEREIGN RIGHT OF THE MOHAWK NATION TO MANUFACTURE AND SELL CIGARETTES
COALITION TO DISTRIBUTE SMOKES PURCHASED DIRECT FROM KANEHSATAKE AT PRESS CONFERENCE
THURSDAY, JANUARY 22, 11.00 AM, CORNER OF GERRARD AND SHERBOURNE
Over the past week, the struggle in Kanehsatake, Mohawk Territory has come
to a sharp head. Acting on deal signed with the Federal Government, Grand
Chief James Gabriel brought an outside police force into the Mohawk
community. Grand Chief Gabriel was given a vote of non-confidence by the
community this past summer and turned to the federal court of Canada to
restore his position. The reinstatement of Gabriel was done in direct
opposition to the mandate of the community and in collusion with the
Canadian state. Thus, it is a government that does not represent the
Mohawk Nation.

After sacking the Police Chief, Gabriel allowed an invading force on to
the Territory to crack down on so-called illegitimate cigarette trade
being conducted by the Mohawk nation. In response to the move by Gabriel,
members of the community torched his home, and saw that his cops were
forcibly confined in the Kanehsatake police station for over 24 hours. As
a result, the Government of Quebec was forced to broker a deal and remove
the occupying police force.

The Canadian government and media have made every effort to portray this
as a dispute between law-abiding Mohawks and supposed criminal factions
within the community, with connections to organized crime. In describing
trade conducted by the Nation, a Mohawk community member says, it is
"perceived as organized crime because they agree collectively not to
collect taxes. The issue at hand is simple. It is an attempt to curb the
sale of cigarettes, made by First Nations people and industries, and sold
throughout First Nations communities in every province."

What lies at the heart of the actions taken by members of Kanehsatake is a
sincere and genuine desire for peace and stability in the community, and
to defend the legitimacy of First Nations people to trade on their own
terms and further the struggle for sovereignty of the Mohawk nation.

The communities OCAP fights alongside are no strangers to the targeted
violence carried out by the Canadian government. In the month of December,
eight homeless people died, half of whom were Native. First Nations
people living in cities are subject to the ruthless efforts of the
Canadian government to refuse basic rights to housing and a decent wage,
underscored by the denial of the right to self determination and
government.

The Ontario Coalition Against Poverty asserts its solidarity with the
struggle of the Mohawks of Kanehsatake and we condemn the Canadian state's
attempts to repress and reject the fundamental right of sovereignty of the
Mohawk nation.

The press conference we are calling will involve distribution of Mohawk
cigarettes that we have purchased to support a legitimate trade conducted
by members of the Mohawk Nation.

For more information, contact Sue Collis of OCAP at 613.968.3305
------------------
* [Ed. Note: OCAP is an antiauthoritarian social struggle direct action initiative]


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