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(en) Canada, Collectif Emma Goldman - Threat of expropriation in Châteauguay: In defense of the Kanien'kehá territory! (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]

Date Tue, 3 Aug 2021 09:38:38 +0300

Text from the Alternative Socialiste website. Link to the original, here . ---- For more than a week, a handful of members of the Kanien'kehá: ka (Mohawk) community have settled on Old Chateaugay Street to counter a land expropriation effort led by the mayor of the city of Châteauguay, Pierre -Paul Routhier. ---- Simon-Pierre from Socialist Alternative went to the camp to speak with Farn Kaherihshon Beauvin to learn more about the struggle to prevent the city's development project. ---- Socialist Alternative (AS). Can you explain to us why you set up a camp? ---- Farn Kaherihshon Beauvin (FKB) . The mayor of Châteauguay is talking about changing the zoning of the land on which we are. We are not fooled, we know that there must be a development ambition behind this sudden motivation. It is not the first time; the city cuts down all the trees and then builds luxury condos. But look around, do you think luxury condos are what we need most here?

AS. How can the city of Châteauguay take over the territory in the Mohawk reserve?

FKB . This land was conferred on King Louis XV, but was administered by the Mohawk people. Since then, the municipal and provincial government has started to sell parts of the land on a gradual basis. The problem is that the Mohawk people were by no means included in these decisions. When the sales materialized, we had no access to any money. Then the land is expropriated and developments of all kinds follow.

But, in reality, even if we had been entitled to the money from these exchanges, we would have refused. This land is more important than money. We need this space to uplift future generations. We do not have a country of origin. If we lose our territory, we lose who we are.

Also, we don't want to use it for developments. Our planet is suffering and it is our duty to maintain it. It is more important than ever to protect nature and our land. It is for all of these reasons that we are here.

AS. What is your strategy and what are your prospects for fighting to stop the real estate development efforts of the city of Châteauguay?

FKB . We are fighting against Mayor Routhier's political ambitions. We know that if we wait for the bulldozers to act, it will be too late. We want to avoid as much confrontation as possible. If we mobilize immediately, it is precisely to avoid going where resistance would become more dangerous. We must put pressure on the mayor: petition, call his elected officials, talk about our situation as much as possible.

We will continue our camp. But in the future, if people outside our reserve want to come together to help us, you could go and demonstrate in front of the mayor's office in his town. But we want to avoid conflicts as much as possible.

AS. We are in an eventful political context in Canada in connection with the natives. The Wet'suwet'en camps against the pipelines, the Mi'kmaq fisheries of Nova Scotia, the death of Joyce Echaquan, and the murder of hundreds of Indigenous children are fueling struggles across the land. How do you see your situation in the overall Canadian relations with other aboriginals?

FKB . The governments plan is always the same. They want to dispossess us of our land, our culture and our language. If they get what they want, then we will no longer have ownership rights over any resource. After 500 years, we are still in the same place. Governments do not want to admit that these are our territories.

When we accept their offer, we find ourselves without means. There are still 56 Indigenous Nations in Canada that still do not have access to safe drinking water. The first people who sounded the alarm on this matter are in an even worse situation today than when the media began to cover it.

When we resist, they send the army. Then we are blamed for everything. Right now churches are being burned down and we're the ones being singled out. There are families who would like to know what happened to their children. We must return the bodies to their communities so that we can do the ancestral ceremonies. These churches probably contain documentation on the provenance of these children, if not important information to prove the extent of their crimes!

This situation is reminiscent of the Oka crisis of 1990. A conflict then broke out between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and the mayor of Oka who wanted to appropriate part of the ancestral territory to allow the expansion of a golf course. . In solidarity, the Mohawks of Kahnawake blocked the Mercier Bridge. They suffered a hail of attacks and insults, but very little outside support.

Thirty-one years later, the same game begins again, but with different actors. This struggle is another expression of the housing crisis and the exploitation of the territory made by capitalists and their elected officials in order to make a profit, not to meet the real needs of the people.

Let us organize together against the projects of the capitalist promoters, as much in the cities as in the native reserves. Our enemies are common: the capitalists and their elected officials who are at the helm of the extractivist states of Canada and Quebec.

Posted 20 hours ago by Collectif Emma Goldman

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