Mohawk Nation News: Kanesatake Under Siege Again
- From: "Kahn-Tineta"
MORE WASTE OF TIME AND RESOURCES
Kanesatake Under Siege Again
Mohawk Nation News. Kahnawake. May 1, 2004. Left without a proper
police force, the Mohawks of Kanesatake have taken to guarding their
community themselves. They keep watch at each entrance of their
community and burn tobacco to remind people to stay calm. Meanwhile,
the militia, set up by runaway chief, James Gabriel, is making
provocative gestures on many roads into the community. They are
speeding their trucks in reverse right up to checkpoints at both ends of
the community. The 40 or so militia at the west end are equipped as a
SWAT team - in riot gear, bullet proof vests, side arms, rifles,
shields, tear gas and concussion grenades at the ready. The Mohawks are
unarmed and everyone's nerves are on edge. When asked to intervene, the
RCMP insisted everything was calm. They see no problem here. The
people of Kanesatake do not agree.
Presently, the schools are closed, services are shut down and the
community is in trusteeship over Gabriel's gross mismanagement. He
reportedly paid Richard Walsh $110,000 of the people's funds to find out
whether Kanesatake residents have committed any crimes. According to
the Kingston Whig Standard, this man is a convicted criminal wanted for
defrauding several Ontario businesses. Instead of consulting the people
to find out how to repair this mess, the Canadian government is paying
top dollars to Dean Dussault from a Liberal Party public relations firm
with Kanesatake land claims negotiations money to be Gabriel's
mouthpiece and put a positive spin on this debacle.
In January Canada promised $900,000 to Gabriel to fund what Jacques
Chagnon, Quebec's Minister of Public Security, has described as a
"militia". This militia was set up without the consent of the duly
established Kanesatake police commission. Gabriel disbanded the
commission and fired the policemen they had appointed. On January 12th
2004 Gabriel sent in 67 outside uniformed and armed men to assert his
rule. This resulted in the January 12th confrontation at the police
Meanwhile, as reported in Le Soleil on Monday, April 30th, Quebec
Minister of Public Security, Jacques Chagnon, visited Kanesatake last
Monday, May 26th, and stated that James Gabriel, who tries to rule the
people from a hotel in the city of Laval, has until Monday, May 3rd to
execute 24 warrants against a wide array of quiet citizens resulting
from the January 12th confrontation. Treated as guilty before trial,
those who have responded have been ordered not to return to their homes
or speak to their relatives in Kanesatake and several nearby towns.
Gabriel has assured Chagnon that these 24 warrants would be executed by
May 3rd which is when they have to appear in court. Chagnon is fed up
with dealing with this issue, is getting a lot of pressure, but accepts
Gabriel as the legal authority. This is despite the fact that Gabriel
is a court appointed chief against the wishes of the people who forced
him out for lack of confidence and gross mismanagement of their affairs.
Chagnon has given him all the resources and still he cannot exert his
Chagnon also criticizes the Canadian government for giving Gabriel
$900,000 in the first place which allowed him "to bring in his militia".
Chagnon complains that the federal government has turned a blind eye to
the divisions within the community.
The People of Kanesatake have continuously pressed for mediation. The
three chiefs who remain on the territory with their people have accepted
a mediation process with Ralph Brant from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
recommended by the Assembly of First Nations, a government sponsored
national Indigenous organization of band councils which are set up under
the Indian Act. But Gabriel refuses to mediate until what he calls "law
and order" is in place. As one councilor said, "he puts a gun to our
heads and then mediates". What he means by this is anyone's guess.
Some of the militia members were also involved in the shooting and
crippling of community member Joe David in 1999.
The Mohawks of Kanesatake want to know why they are being attacked and
misrepresented, why such heavy handed measures are being taken when all
they want is a peaceful solution. People everywhere should be asking
why so much resources are being thrown away on such reckless ventures.
Any help, advice, insights or comments would be appreciated. Please
send messages to <mailto:kanehsatake_indymedia@...>
MNN Mohawk Nation News
Box 991 Kahnawake Mohawk Territory
(Quebec) Canada J0L 1B0
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