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FW: MNN Another Arrow Coming Our Way - Film on Mohawk/Oka Crisis 1990

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    From: Orakwa International Indigenous Ent. To: ActionCanadaNetwork Subject: MNN Another Arrow Coming Our Way -
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2005
      FW: MNN Another Arrow Coming Our Way - Film on Mohawk/Oka Crisis 1990 From: "Orakwa International Indigenous Ent." < orakwa@... >
      To: "ActionCanadaNetwork" < actcan@... >
      Subject: MNN Another Arrow Coming Our Way - Film on Mohawk/Oka Crisis 1990
      Date: Thu, 28 Apr 2005 15:21:59 -0400


               MNN.  April 28, 2005.  A guy named Claudio Luca of Group Cine Tele
      Film in Montreal is embarking on a project funded by Canada and Quebec.  He
      is recreating the Mohawk Oka Crisis of 1990.  Thats when Quebec sent in the
      paramilitary troop of the Quebec Police (SQ) who opened fire on Mohawk men,
      women and children in Kanehsatake on July 11th., 1990.   This attack in the
      Pines escalated to the point that Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney
      sent thousands of Canadian Army soldiers to surround three of our Mohawk
      Territories  Kanehsatake, Kahnawake and Akwesasne. The reason for the Mohawk
      resistance was we did not want the golf course of the nearby municipality
      extended over our burial and ceremonial grounds.

               Now they want to exploit our misfortune.  They have made no
      attempt to determine our feelings about their project.  The funders,
      producer, writers and researchers are non-native.  Lets hope the Mohawks
      will not be portrayed by non-native actors!  Canada and Quebec, the
      financiers, are colonial powers.  They have continually suppressed
      indigenous points of view.  This kind of bias violates international human
      rights law.  

               The way we responded to the attack on our cultural integrity at
      Oka was entirely our collective invention.  These non-native entities have
      no right to what we created.  The constant one-sided way of looking at our
      issues proves that they do not understand what we were doing.  They continue
      to violate the respect that is due to all human beings.    

               As one of the people who was involved and remained to the last at
      the Kanentoken Treatment Center, they do not have my permission to replicate
      my actions.    

               International audience.  Since this is being created for French
      television it is a transparent attempt to present us in a biased way and to
      prejudice international opinion.  We are appalled at their insensitivity
      towards everything that we Kanienkehaka have suffered.  Since both Canada
      and Quebec live on our territory, they are obligated to ensure that our
      interpretations are presented.  The United Nations Declaration on the Rights
      of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic
      Minorities, adopted on December 18, 1992 is supposed to safeguard us.  We
      never gave them permission to depict us through a story written exclusively
      by non-native writers, filmed by non-native filmmakers for a non-native
      audience.  This is cultural exploitation at its worst.  

               The Euro-Canadian and European public will be mislead.  This film
      should not be made because the entire Mohawk population own this story and
      they need our permission to use it.  

               They forget that we are people.  This is our story.  It is not
      just a commodity to be packaged and sold to the highest bidder.  They cannot
      change facts or add fictitious characters to suit their needs as has become
      the established custom in previous dealings between our cultures.   

               Misappropriation of our image.  It is obscene the way people try
      to profit from the one-sided depiction of our lives, our tragedies and our
      struggles. If they respected our humanity and took the trouble to get to
      know us, they would understand the harm they are doing by appropriating our
      image, our actions and our events.  If the story is ever to be filmed, it
      will be by the Mohawk people being totally in charge of everything.

                 Their theft of our culture by filming this event brushes aside
      the central issue.  They think we have no intelligence.  This is why they
      feel free to exploit us.   

               What is it that makes them think that the Mohawk people are of no
      consequence to their production?  What makes them think that it is cool to
      ignore what we have to say? Why do they think it is open season to use our
      struggles for their commercial and political purposes to entertain and shock
      their audience?  

               We do not want to be used.  They would not want to be used this
      way either. If they had suffered a personal tragedy as significant and of
      the same consequence as ours, they would not want to have it exploited
      either.  Would they not feel violated?  

               They should read up on colonialism.  They are participating in the
      abuse of our people that has been going on for 500 years. When will this

               If they really wanted to help our people, they would do what needs
      to be done to give us a voice.  Instead, they are telling the story they
      want to hear. The story that they wish was there, instead of what really
      happened.  This is called twistory.  The Europeans took our land and our
      resources.  Now they are taking advantage of us again.  

               Our issues need to be addressed.  We must stand together as Mohawk
      people.  This is one of the most basic rules of our culture.  It is one of
      the rules that the non-native culture, with its totalitarian habits, seems
      to have the most difficulty understanding.

               We believe in respect and honesty.

      Stop production.  It would be in the best interests of the Mohawk people and
      the Canadian public to stop this production completely.

      All we ask for is to be treated in a respectful way.  

               Since they cant seem to understand our rights according to our
      cultural values, we are asserting them on terms that they can understand.
      We have copyrighted our story.  So now the rights belong to us under
      Canadian law.  A copy of the Copyright Certificate of Registration, No.
      1024217, dated October 20, 2004 has been sent to them.  It is duly
      registered under Canadian law and internationally recognized in over 130

      The right to this story belongs to us.  We lived it!  

      Kahentinetha Horn

      MNN Mohawk Nation News


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