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(en) Canada, Montreal, QC, IPSM* call: Saturday November 27 - Kanehsatake Public Assembly & Mobilizing Meeting

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 11 Nov 2004 19:12:14 +0100 (CET)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
News about and of interest to anarchists
http://ainfos.ca/ http://ainfos.ca/index24.html

Saturday November 27, 2004 13h00 - 17h00 (free lunch) Childcare Available
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), room # RM120
For the past ten months the Mohawks of Kanehsatake have been successfully
resisting invasion by ousted Grand Chief James Gabriel's illegitimate goon
squad. During this time, both the SQ and RCMP have offered to help Gabriel's
goons gain access into Kanehsatake, and actually set up shop as Grand Chief
and the Kanesatake Mohawk Police (KMP). This coordinated effort to usher in
a police-state hasn't happened yet, but is certain to come in the future.
Last week there was news from Kanehsatake that a high-tech, 180 degree,
ball-like camera had been found on the roof of the school in a fake chimney.
The school is directly across from the old police station, now the office of
the community's security patrol. People in the community say the camera was
in place for four or five days, is being used to spy on them, and may have
been put there in preparation for Gabriel's goons to invade the station.
After the community alerted media to their discovery, the SQ were quick to
claim the camera and said it was placed on the school not for spying, but
instead for a criminal investigation into a fire set at the police station 5
months previous. Besides, the SQ claimed, "normal people" don't care about
being filmed, only people who commit crimes do.

Two days following the discovery of the camera, the media announced James
Gabriel hired Terry Isaac as the new Kanesatake Police Chief. Isaac was
fired from the position of Police Chief earlier due to his excessive use of
force and poor judgment shown on the job. The peoples of Kanehsatake
unanimously rejected his presence in the community during the January 12,
2004 police invasion. Ellen Gabriel immediately denounced James Gabriel's
appointment of Isaac through the media as an irresponsible and provocative
move against the community.

Throughout September and October, Gabriel and his loyalists had been
attending a mediation process held in federal court with the "dissident"
Chiefs and two Kanehsatake Elders. The goal of this process was to try to
come to agreement about a date for the next Kanehsatake elections. After two
months of the process the "dissident" chief side walked out - they were
tired of talking in circles - James Gabriel was unwavering in his insistence
that Kanehsatake would only be "safe" for elections if his goon squad were
able to patrol the community. As mandated by the community, the dissident
chiefs offered a compromise - to have the more competent Kahnawake
Peacekeepers patrol during campaigning and elections. Gabriel refused to

After the mediation broke down, Canada and Quebec extended Gabriel's mandate
again; this time indefinitely since no election date has been set. In the
meantime, Gabriel continues to plunge Kanehsatake into deeper and deeper
debt. He has spent $8 million on his goons who have only been patrolling Oka
and St. Eustache - areas where they have no jurisdiction. A few of those
goons, most notable Larry Ross, are currently under investigation by the
Montreal Police for their assault and false arrest of Kanehsatake community
member, Shawn Hurley. This incident took place in St. Eustache - not the
goons jurisdiction. While some of the money for Gabriel's goons has come as
"gifts" from the province and the feds, the rest came directly from budgets
intended for education, economic development, housing, employment, etc.

Twenty-four Kanehsatake Mohawks are facing bogus charges of "forcible
confinement of police officers" and "participation in a riot". The necessary
legal fees to defend themselves are an additional financial hit on the
community. When Gabriel next attempts to force his police on the community,
and the community resists, more charges are bound to follow.

We're organizing this public assembly in an effort to ensure to recruit
groups and individuals to participate in, and have the tools for, a mass
public education campaign in support of the Mohawks of Kanehsatake. A police
invasion of the community is imminent, and there will be resistance.
Solidarity with this resistance will be largely determined by how informed
the public is about Band Council and Canadian/Quebec government corruption
and interference with Kanehsatake affairs.

Against the backdrop of the mass media's relentless campaign to criminalize
all those resisting Gabriel's police state and municipalization deals, we
want to spread an anti-colonial analysis of the situation. We want to
mobilize a broad base of support for the Mohawks who will take action, or at
the very least support and understand actions by others when the invasion

Our solidarity actions will have to be immediate and effective in applying
pressure on our government to withdraw it's police forces. To this end, we
are proposing a mass demonstration in Montreal at the first 1pm following an
invasion, as well as encouraging affinity group actions geared towards
economic disruption. We will also be preparing to transport people to
Kanehsatake the first weekend following police action in order to show our
support directly to community members, to provide alternative media and
hopefully, deter police violence through our presence.

The mainstream media have deliberately avoided the core issues underlying
the crisis in Kanehsatake today. They haven't explained our government's
support for Gabriel. They collude to cover up the fact Gabriel is Canada's
main man for pushing through it's "final solution" to the "Indian problem".
This is why the federal government signed a $900,000 policing deal in secret
with Gabriel. It is why they negotiated the new Tripartite Policing
Agreement without the "dissident" chief's presence, and why the TPA totally
centralizes power over the police in James Gabriel and the Quebec Public
Security Minister's hands.

Bill S-24, the Kanesatake Interim Land Based Governance Act, is Canada's
"final solution" to their "Indian problem". The deal with it is this: Her
Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada "gave" Kanehsatake the 160 properties
purchased for them after the Oka Crisis. The feds "gave" Kanehsatake the
right to pass a Land Code and municipal-style by-laws enforceable on their
territory. In exchange, underlying title to the land undergoes a Transfer of
Administration between Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, and Her
Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province. The province, Quebec, then
becomes the beneficial owner of the lands, subject only to the residual
rights of management agreed to through the Land Code and municipal by-laws
of Kanehsatake. Original Aboriginal Title to the lands are legally
extinguished by way of "surrender".

Because Aboriginal Original Title and Rights flow from the land, once
underlying title is surrendered to Her Majesty, She also owns all the
animals and resources on the land. For example, take the person who hunts
and/or fishes for subsistence in Kanehsatake. Under this agreement, animals
are no longer a gift from the Creator but a gift from the Queen. The Queen
has no obligation to uphold the priority accorded to Aboriginal hunters
under Section 2(a) of the Charter to hunt for religious purposes. By the
tricky wording of the Agreement, beliefs regarding Indigenous relationships
to the Land, the Creator, are surrendered. The Mohawks of Kanehsatake then
are no longer recognized as a Peoples under international law, become mere
managers of the Land they live on, and can be sued if they don't do it

Canada dangled the carrot of 160 properties and a modicum of control over
community affairs for almost a decade in the face of Kanehsatake Band
Council. They "flowed" funds to Council for several years to get the ball
rolling on Bill-24. After the vote, but before the Act was implemented, some
Council members asked critical questions and demanded a legal opinion to be
shared with the community on the Act. In response the feds blackmailed
Council by threatening to withdrawal these funds that Council had become
dependent on. Even though Canada purchased the 160 properties soon after the
Oka Crisis ended, they waited until Parliament passed the Land Management
Act and it's amendments in 1996, and 1998 respectively to begin the
negotiations with Kanehsatake to hand the properties over.

In June 2000, James Gabriel secretly signed the Act with Walter Walling from
the Department of Indian Affairs and Eric Maldoff, federal
negotiator/lawyer. In September of the same year, Gabriel called a
referendum vote to ratify the Act but did not provide the community with
information on it's implications if, he himself was fully aware of them.
Despite the fact many people boycotted the vote due to lack of information,
and others because they are traditionalists and boycott all Indian Act
proceedings, the referendum went forward and was passed by a vote of 239 to
237 - less than half the eligible voters in Kanehsatake.

The Act transferred $14 million worth of property to the privately held and
newly created Kanesatake Orihwa'shon:a Development Corporation, not
Kanesatake Band Council. Underlying title to the lands is held by the
Crown - people in Kanehsatake only hold them as "fee simple" properties. Fee
simple estates can be transferred and sold between Her Majesty's subjects
and others but, Title is not transferred from Her Majesty to anyone unless,
for example, it is necessary to put an end to a war between Canada and
another country. In such a case, title is transferred from Her Majesty to
the head of another state. Original Aboriginal title is gone.

The Act also removes Mohawk tax-exemptions, and if taxes or fees on these
fee simple properties are not paid, Band Council is authorized to seize the
property. In conjunction with a politically controlled police force, the
criminalization of dissent and the tobacco-trade (which sustains many Mohawk
families and services), this power to seize property is the perfect tool to
launch a full-scale war on the poor and political opponents. Finally, all
by-laws passed by Kanehsatake must be harmonized with the laws governing
Oka, a further indication of Kanehsatake's new municipal, not national,

Canada's First Nations Land Management Act is legislated cultural genocide.
It is an Act of warfare in a time where International Laws, which Canada
must obey, are acknowledging Aboriginal People's Original title to the land.
The Land Management Act is a preemptive strike against future Aboriginal
claims to traditional territories. The Kanesatake Interim Land Based
Governance Act effects not just the Kanehsatake Mohawks' future claims, but
the whole of Mohawk territories. As Janice Switlo, Indigenous lawyer
explains in her article "Apple Cede", claims to traditional territories will
require proof of continuous use of territories will not be required for
every inch of these territories, but rather portions with meaningful
relations to each other.

Like, for example, a farmer's claim to their farm land. A farmer may have a
house on one corner of the land, a barn in the other and a corral somewhere
else, but this all works towards proving possession of all the lands between
these structures. The same principle applies to small reserves spread
throughout Treaty territories or, in the case where no treaties exist, to
the extent that geographically separated bands maintain meaningful relations
with each other.

For the Mohawk Peoples, or even the Iroquois Confederacy, this means there
is potential in the near future to claim vast amounts of territories from
the Crown which lay between their individual "reserved" lands. This is the
direction the law is going. But if one Band enters a Land Management
Agreement, back at the farm, one band will get the barn, another the house,
and another the dog house. Canada gets all the lands between for free. If
land is surrendered, which it is through the Act, proof of continuous
ownership of the whole territory is lost forever.

This is why Canada supports James Gabriel - they want the farm for free.
This is why Canada gave Gabriel complete control over, and boosted the
numbers of his police force. The issue is not, as the media claims, about
cracking down on crime. If this were the case police would be arresting the
fraudulent authors of the Agreement. They'd be arresting Canadian and Quebec
politicians who have been negotiated with Gabriel illegally. James Gabriel
is Canada's main man for implementing the Kanesatake Interim Land Based
Governance Agreement - the extinguishment of the Mohawks' Aboriginal
Original Title and Rights. No cost is too great for Canada to achieve what
it has desired for the past 284 years - not monetarily, nor the loss of

This assembly and organizing meeting is being called because solidarity with
the Mohawk Peoples of Kanehsatake is essential to help prevent bloodshed and
to expose the ongoing colonial efforts of our government. If Canada and
Gabriel get their way, most of those opposed to Bill S-24 will soon be
imprisoned or impoverished.

We must organize a solid anti-colonial campaign in support of the Mohawks of
Kanehsatake. The Mohawk People's resistance and our solidarity actions must
be understood and supported by a mass of non-native people. This serious and
deadly war is taking place in "our" own backyards. The bureaucratic assault
has nearly been finalized, now Gabriel wants to "cut the heads off his
opposition". This will only happen if the Canadian and Quebec governments
are allowed to continue their support for Gabriel, he cannot fight the
Mohawk community on his own. Stopping our government's interventions in
Kanehsatake affairs is the role we can take in this conflict.


* Ed. Note:
....."IPSM works within an anti-authorian/anti-oppression framework. we strive
towards helping people who are currently under federal/provincial authority
and struggling for sovereignty and subject to violent repression and racism.
CLAC-montreal has asked us to become a part of them. most of us are indeed

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