Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Six Nations: Machiavellian Ghosts Haunt Canadian Media

The following from Kahentinetha Horn :

Where is “Deep Throat” when we need him?

MNN. April 23, 2006. The Canadian media continues to deliberately distort what’s happening at Six Nations. The law and British guarantees to protect our land are completely on our side. We want to show just how tricky and deceptive the corporate media is. Let’s go through the editorial published in the Montreal Gazette on April 21st 2006, the day after the police raid on the Six Nations at Caledonia.

Their heading was, “Enforce the law for natives, too. Authorities are chronically terrified to deal with native truculence and belligerence.”

We agree with the first part. The law should be enforced on behalf of Natives too. That’s what this demonstration is about. Canada has laws against theft and fraud. We want Canada to obey those laws. Why is it alright to steal our land? Why do they call us “truculent and belligerent” when we try to live by the law? Why are the authorities afraid? We haven’t attacked them. They surround us with guns, bullets, pepper spray, tasers, M-16’s, ambulances ready to ship us to the hospital and body bags to put us in when they drive us to their morgues. Who is being belligerent? We have no weapons. We have not made any threats. We are sitting on our land. If they are afraid, it must be of their own ugly faces in the mirror and shadows on the ground. All that weaponry in their hands is not a pretty sight.

The Gazette says we have been “illegally occupying a subdivision construction site”. Since when is it illegal to sit on one’s own land? This is a deliberate attempt to defame us. Such as their claim “In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of native policy…nobody really expects the laws to be applied to aboriginals as it is to everyone else.” Yes, why don’t we get the same benefit of the law as everyone else? Why aren’t we considered innocent until proven guilty? Why is it still open season on “Indians”? Why, in 2006, more than 50 years since Canada supported the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are we being vilified in the Canadian press?

Canadians don’t have to obey American laws when they are not in the United States. The British don’t have to obey French laws when they are in England. Why are we treated different? We aren’t Canadians. We have our own jurisdiction and Britain promised to protect it. Every time we have tried to present our case in a neutral tribunal Canada has refused to participate. It has done everything to avoid respecting the promises made by Britain. Colonialism is supposed to be dead and gone. But Canadian officials continue to conspire to stop us from getting justice.

It’s not as if we haven’t tried to get justice before. We had a lot of international support at the League of Nations in the 1920’s. Canada’s response? It officially deposed our government, denied us access to our trust funds, set up a puppet band council regime and passed laws to prevent us from hiring lawyers to fight our case. What’s legal about that?

Of course, Canada could not legally depose our government. No more than the Nazis could depose the legitimate government of France in World War II. Our legitimate government was and always has been by and for our people according to the Kaianereh’ko:wa. Our traditional Confederacy government always continued. Canada only persuaded a tiny minority to vote in their puppet elections. Now they can’t find enough puppets to fill a band council. The Six Nations Indian Act band council has now publicly decided that Six Nations land claims should be dealt with by our traditional government. The Gazette never mentioned that.

That editorial was meant to defame us and our legitimate struggle to hold onto our assets, to right injustices and to exercise our right to self-determination. The Gazette did not do any research or competent reporting. It did not explain the legal basis of the Women’s trust responsibility for the land, the reason why we are standing up.

The Gazette trotted out a bunch of trite and hackneyed insinuations. It outright lied, declaring that, “There’s not much real evidence” of “legitimate land claims rooted in historic complaints”. What? Check out the League of Nations Archives or Canada’s own National Archives [watch it get burnt down suddenly!]. The latter includes a 1952 memo by the national archivist, A.E. St. Louis. When he was ready to retire, he decided to put his shock over the mistreatment of the Six Nations people on record. There is a ton of work by accredited scholars. Sydney L. Harring stated that a substantial proportion of the litigation in Upper Canada courts concerned Six Nations land.

Our ancestors hired the best lawyers available. But we still couldn’t get justice from a system that was all too willing to accommodate illegal squatters and dip into our trust funds. More recent research includes Brian Titleys’ book, “A Narrow Vision: Duncan Campbell Scott and the Administration of Indian Affairs in Canada”. In the 1970s the late Sally M. Weaver received a Canada Council grant to research the Six Nations situation. Her findings were upsetting and never published. They lie hidden in the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room at the University of Waterloo. Royal commissions and other official studies have been done time and again. They all show that the Six Nations have been defrauded. The Law Society of Upper Canada and McGill University borrowed from our trust funds and never paid it back. If Canada believes in the rule of law, why doesn’t it do the right thing?

The Gazette stated that, “courts have been consistently generous, many say too generous – in accepting native arguments”. What judgments are they talking about? To date our arguments have been almost universally ignored, misunderstood or misrepresented. Naturally many might say the courts have been” too generous” – especially if they’ve relied on the Gazette for their information. With such biased media shaping public opinion, no wonder people imagine that we’re a gang of hoodlums.

It’s obvious that yellow press, like the Gazette, is deliberately trying to create the impression that we are a bunch of uneducated criminals. They can’t do this by showing pictures of us beating anyone up. They do heavily cover trials where it is ‘proven’ that we did something ‘violent’ when we defended ourselves from armed attacks. But they can’t plant violent images in their readers’ minds.

The Gazette editorial said: “Ask yourself this: in a province deeply concerned about crimes, gangs, and gun violence, would any other ethnic or cultural group be allowed to shut down a legal construction site for 52 days and counting”? Notice that it didn’t actually say that we had guns or gangs or did anything violent. It couldn’t because we aren’t. It just inserted these images into the middle of its statement about us.

Every time people read about “Natives” they see something about crime, guns and violence. They get conditioned. They start to think that “where there’s smoke, there must be fire”. That’s how they keep the old missionary stereotypes alive. They could steal our land. They could kill us. They could steal our children, because God was on their side. They want you to keep on thinking that they are “civilized” and we aren’t.
But you have to wonder. If the Gazette is really so concerned about crime, why didn’t the Gomery Report on major bureaucratic fraud get full front page treatment? Most of the Gazette’s anemic reporting got shuffled to the inside pages, while the front page ran a feature on the heart wrenching plight of children who are apprehended from dysfunctional parents. That goes on every day. One of the reasons why there’s not enough money for legitimate public work is that too much is being skimmed off by crooks with official government positions.

They are using the same tactic on the Six Nations Caledonia story. Guess what the front page featured the day of the police raid? A new portrait of the Queen!!! As if what happened to us that day did not leave the British monarchy in total disgrace!

Back to that shameless Gazette editorial. Another trick it used to make us look violent was mentioning that an SQ officer was killed in the “Oka affair” of 1990. They didn’t recall that the man was killed by a police bullet when they opened fire on our people, including people who were asleep and a two year old toddler on a tricycle. Talk about selective memory!!!

We do agree with one statement, however, “rewarding bad behavior only encourages more of it”. Right on!!! So we why is the Gazette refusing to do an honest and competent job of reporting? Why is it spreading lies about us and covering up past and present bureaucratic corruption and incompetence? We think Woodward and Bernstein, those reporters who uncovered the Watergate scandal, based on secret informant “Deep Throat”, wouldn’t work there. The spirit of investigative reporting is alive and well. It lives in the hearts of the people. We are getting our tips from latter day Deep Throats! Honest decent Canadians, Americans and friends all over the world. You won’t find out what they know by reading the corporate press.

Canadians and Americans, for that matter, are being told bare faced lies. As we write, they are being ‘fibbed’ to by the corporate press that “everything has been resolved” [at Six Nations]. Those shady characters who run Canada want our supporters to stay away from us. We are still here. We’re still ready, and we’re still on alert. We can see the build-up of troops before our eyes. Twenty vans full of armed RCMP have been spotted in Caledonia. This is a life and death situation. The corporate media lies to you.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

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