Kahnawake FN evicting non-Natives

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ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Le T wrote:

Just so people know, "the band" and the Confederacy (some one was refering to The Great Law) are not the same thing. Just siding with the band council's decision is as colonial and medling as "fighting for the individual rights" of people from Kahnawake. I would encourage people to review the Two Row Wampum, which outlines the relationship that the Haudenasaunee and settlers have. I would also remind people that history has shown that the people of Kahnawake and other Haudensaunee communities have done a much better job of holding their colonial band council governments accountable for decisions than, say, Canadians do with our colonial governement. As much as it goes against so many people's progressive white liberal tendancies, the natives do not neeed our help!

Just to be more clear I wasn't saying they were the same and brought it up in contention with betrayal comment and the judgement that was passed.   However in terms of sides or outsiders taking sides with band Council vs Confederacy on this specific issue it's not as simplistic as saying one or the other. On the ground there's no absolute Confederacy traditionalist this side and all others colonial band council side.  It's not easy to peg into some sort of binary category.  It's just not the case with the real people involved and their viewpoints on this specific issue.

Beyond that comment I completely agree about the history of accountability and not needing outside help. This law has been around for close to thirty years and is not something that has just been created out of the blue.    My biggest issue are judgements being made about outright 'racism' being a major motivation.  It's crap on a whole number of levels.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Stargazer wrote:

I agree Le T. The problem is that the kids from these white/FN marriages are mixed, just like me, and a hell of a lot of other people I know. These kids are to be turfed off the land because they aren't full? I can't get on board with that policy. It isn't my nation so I have no say but I think turfing the kids and wives or husbands of full Mohawks is not going to do any good in the long run. These kids, regardless if they are 100 percent pure or not are FN kids. Not white kids. That's how I see it anyways. And what is to happen to them? Where are they going to go to learn their FN culture? Not to mention the deep divide this creates between "full blood" and mixed kids, of which there are many.

 

I find this an interesting post.  I think that culture and tradition is very important and not just blood ties.  I for instance although an Anglo still have deep feelings of belonging to my maternal family culture and tradition that is Acadian.  What I find interesting is that someone other than the individual would think they can define what tradition and culture any mixed-culture individual is a member of.  I self identify as an Acadian and count Beausoleil as one of my heros. As a teenager I really admired Gabriel Dumount as well.  However I have never as an adult lived in Acadia and I don't speak French. But three of my grandparents are Acadian so if the Indian Act rules applied to Acadians I would have status as one.

Two of my four grandchildren from the same family unit are part FN and could apply under the Indian Act for status. Their brother and sister on the other hand are not FN's and none of them have been raised in anything except the rural "island" culture.  While that "culture" is hardly mainstream it is also not FN's.  

From an interested non-FN persons perspective I lay the blame for this kind of problem squarely at the feet of the Indian Act especially the changes that were made that will eventually lead to there being no Indians as fewer and fewer people no matter the culture and background they grew up in fail to meet the racial purity test while others who might meet the race based test have never been part of the culture.

 

remind remind's picture

IMV, this goes back to the law the government imposed in the 80's, in respect to status, and I believe it needs to repealed.

 

Having said that it is up to FN's to decide to have it repealed, or leave it alone.

Joey Ramone

This isn't too complicated and there's no need to be so delicate. The Indian Act band council, which is not a FN government but rather an administrative branch of the federal Department of Indian Affairs, is enforcing the racist Indian Act against overhwleminingly poor "non-status" Mohawks, and a few people who have too little Mohawk blood (many of whom are the parents of Mohawk children) because it lets them appear to be fighting colonialism while they are actually doing no such thing, ever.

Al_Ar_Bee

ElizaQ wrote:

No that's not what I'm saying it does in terms of specifics. It's not about specifics because it's a hella lot more complex then just interpreting some lines, in an idealist fashion of an internet google search and passing judgement on what for most here are nameless people. My point was about the powers of soveriegnty and determination that are inherent in the law and your charge that it is a betrayal and they've gone racist. My point is only that there are other ways of looking at it, some actual people look at differently and that jumping to a charge of 'betrayal' and 'racism' as a result of what you might think....'or seems to me...' isn't a great thing. Can we get anymore paternalistic here. Ugh.

If we can try to avoid the ad hominem attacks we might be able to help each other to arrive at some clarity here.

I would like to understand how determining membership of a community/band/nation/country/confederacy or any other grouping that humans care to arrange themseves in is not racist when the decision is made by those in power within that group to exclude someone because of their racial origins. I understand that it is not racist when an oppressed person hates the oppressor because racism is clearly a product of power politics and only those in positions of power are strictly racists in their dealings with those they oppress.

It still seems to me that the power structure that is the band council is racist when it denies residency to someone on the basis of their race. I accept that I may not be understanding something here but I would appreciate help with clarifying my thinking rather than calling me paternalistic. I consider myself your equal, whoever you are, and neither your superior nor your inferior because of my particular background, cultural roots and genetic make-up.

Stargazer

Joey Ramone wrote:

This isn't too complicated and there's no need to be so delicate. The Indian Act band council, which is not a FN government but rather an administrative branch of the federal Department of Indian Affairs, is enforcing the racist Indian Act against overhwleminingly poor "non-status" Mohawks, and a few people who have too little Mohawk blood (many of whom are the parents of Mohawk children) because it lets them appear to be fighting colonialism while they are actually doing no such thing, ever.

 

Great post Joey.

Al_Ar_Bee

ElizaQ wrote:

 My biggest issue are judgements being made about outright 'racism' being a major motivation.  It's crap on a whole number of levels.

My arguments are not derived from the belief that racism is a "major" motivation or even a minor motivation for the band council's decision. I am sure that these desicions or calls for decisions like these arise out of frustration with a long history of racist discrimination against First Nations that has defined the last 500 years of experience throughout the Americas. It is simply my opinion that these measures are racist in character and not really a happy solution to the problems that they are intended to address. People make mistakes; that is our lot in life no matter what society we belong to; I think this is a mistake. I understand that I might be mistaken but I have seen nothing yet that clarifies for me why I may be mistaken.

zazzo

 

Re posting (#26) by M. Nenonen on Kusalis' theory of integrity and intimacy. This is an interesting theory, and I would like to explore it further. However, I would like to share my initial reaction to this posting.

 

My understanding of the word integrity is "the possession of firm principles, the quality of possessing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles or professional standards." Other meanings refer to being complete or undivided as in the integrity of the nation, or the state of being sound or undamaged, as in the integrity of the voting process (Encarta Dictionary).

 

I think that generally speaking integrity is used to describe a person's character, and the secondary meanings are used to describe abstract concepts.

 

Therefore, I disagree very much with the use of this word "integrity" being used to describe the dominant perspective of European societies, especially considering that we are not talking about abstracts but about people's behaviour and actions. I would caution that the use of this word may imply that this perspective has those qualities that are defined in the word "integrity".  No culture, as far as I am concerned, is without those qualities.  Use of this word, in the context of this theory, is misleading and only serves to perpetuate the myth of "white superiority".

 

I have studied the theories of indigenous philosophers and scholars that explain the differences between indigenous and European or western cultures. One word that has been used to describe western culture is "individualism".  On the other hand, Indigenous cultures stress the importance of relationships, whether it is with relatives, people, animals or the natural world.  I know that this is rather simplistic, but I am not expert enough to go into a more complete discussion of Indigenous theories and philosophy.

 

I would like to read Kusalis' book, and find out more about his sources of information.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Al_Ar_Bee wrote:

If we can try to avoid the ad hominem attacks we might be able to help each other to arrive at some clarity here.

I would like to understand how determining membership of a community/band/nation/country/confederacy or any other grouping that humans care to arrange themseves in is not racist when the decision is made by those in power within that group to exclude someone because of their racial origins. I understand that it is not racist when an oppressed person hates the oppressor because racism is clearly a product of power politics and only those in positions of power are strictly racists in their dealings with those they oppress.

It still seems to me that the power structure that is the band council is racist when it denies residency to someone on the basis of their race. I accept that I may not be understanding something here but I would appreciate help with clarifying my thinking rather than calling me paternalistic. I consider myself your equal, whoever you are, and neither your superior nor your inferior because of my particular background, cultural roots and genetic make-up.

Al_Ar_Bee: I'll hazard proposing an answer to the question in the second paragraph of your post. It is just a possible answer though -- and being offered solely from my own perspective.

If you look at the first paragraphs of the article Ghislaine is quoting in the OP, you will see that the reference is to non-native people, and I believe this can and should be interpreted even more narrowly as "non-Mohawk". It can, I would suggest, be validly interpreted as referring to anyone (including other FN people) whose upbringing was not Mohawk. The defining characteristic is culture, and obviously that is not necessarily determined by descent. In all likelihood, I would interpret the policy of the band council as also applying to the hypothetical situation where a "native" person (let's say Dene for the sake of an example) were to be cohabiting with someone who was Mohawk -- the policy would seem to indicate that both parties are free to pursue a relationship, but the fact that there is a relationship does not grant the right of residency to person who is Dene. Like any other Nation (First or otherwise) the council is merely asserting its right to determine citizenship rights (including the right to residency) on its own territory.

The policy being discussed does not, to me anyway, seem to be making any suggestion that Mohawk culture is in any way superior or inferior to any other, it is merely asserting that such a culture is distinct and is attempting to address the risk of it being destroyed by assimilation into the dominant culture surrounding it.

Joey Ramone

It has nothing to do with "protecting Mohawk culture".  People who have little or no Mohawk culture, and no interest in it, will be fine as long as they are "status" Indians.  People who are fully Mohawk in their culture will be evicted if they have insufficient blood quantum or are unfortunate enough to be "non-status" Mohawks.

Al_Ar_Bee

bagkitty wrote:

Al_Ar_Bee: I'll hazard proposing an answer to the question in the second paragraph of your post. It is just a possible answer though -- and being offered solely from my own perspective.

If you look at the first paragraphs of the article Ghislaine is quoting in the OP, you will see that the reference is to non-native people, and I believe this can and should be interpreted even more narrowly as "non-Mohawk". It can, I would suggest, be validly interpreted as referring to anyone (including other FN people) whose upbringing was not Mohawk. The defining characteristic is culture, and obviously that is not necessarily determined by descent. In all likelihood, I would interpret the policy of the band council as also applying to the hypothetical situation where a "native" person (let's say Dene for the sake of an example) were to be cohabiting with someone who was Mohawk -- the policy would seem to indicate that both parties are free to pursue a relationship, but the fact that there is a relationship does not grant the right of residency to person who is Dene. Like any other Nation (First or otherwise) the council is merely asserting its right to determine citizenship rights (including the right to residency) on its own territory.

The policy being discussed does not, to me anyway, seem to be making any suggestion that Mohawk culture is in any way superior or inferior to any other, it is merely asserting that such a culture is distinct and is attempting to address the risk of it being destroyed by assimilation into the dominant culture surrounding it.

THank you kindly, bagkitty. I can appreciate the fear of assimilation (which is in reality the effective destruction of a culture) that seems to be the motivating factor. I still think, however, that this policy addresses genetic rather than cultural qualifications for membership in the band.

Would banning people whose upbringing is not Mohawk include banning a full-blooded Mohawk who was adopted by a Chinese family and brought up "Chinese" so that they have no knowledge of Mohawk culture at all?

If it is the culture that is to be protected, why should not those non-native spouses who are prepared to assimilate into Mohawk culture and allow their children to be educated within Mohawk traditions be acceptible to Mohawk society? I'm still concerned that the community values I admire in First Nations culture is not being fully served here.

Insofar as that racist Indian Act is concerned, we should all be addressing the injustices being perpetrated by the hegemonic society against the FNs in spit of all that hoopla of an apology that happened in the Canadian parliament. We live in a society that oppresses FNs’ at home and is complicit in injustices perpetrated against indigenous people all over the Global South. Canada's complicity in oppression in Haiti and Afghanistan are only two of the most graphic examples that come to mind, but there are plenty of examples where Canadian corporations are pillaging the natural resources of oppressed people around the world.

Neo-liberal globalization allows for the possibility that land claims will be settled and First Nations quickly given independence because international trade laws will prohibit national governments from preventing corporations from taking over the affairs of countries.

When apartheid ended in South Africa, rather than the legacy of apartheid being addressed and past injustices being righted, international corporations were able to come in and pauperize the majority of people even more than during apartheid while making millionaires out of a handful of the former victims of apartheid. The Canadian state is a strong supporter of those neoliberal policies which favour corporations above all else and it is this reality that FN have to face. To face this sort of power on your own in small political and cultural groupings all over the country is not a recipe for overcoming injustices. Canada does not recognize the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. This refusal to sign should be seen as a threat against all ordinary people, FN and non-Native alike—It is symptomatic of the intentions of those in power. This power can only be dealt with by masses of people joining together and yet that is an extremely difficult task to achieve.

For the masses of the people to unite against the oppressor, we need to become habituated to respecting each other as fellow creatures of the earth. We can have our self-determination, and we can have our cultural integrity safely secured only when we have joined together to overthrow the oppression that keeps us divided against each other.

I am still saddened by the fact that anybody can point to bloodlines as a reference for who is allowed to be part of a group or not.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

Al_Ar_Bee:

Only going to respond briefly, and this will be the last time I post in this thread (mostly 'cause I have to acknowledge that my first post was largely just "cafe theorizing"): so in response the question you asked me - yes, I think that would be the case since I am only talking in terms of cultural identity, "race" is coincidental in the case I am thinking of. But rather than us totally derailing the existing thread on this theoretical point, I would suggest launching a new thread in a different forum if you want to explore it further.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Al_Ar_Bee wrote:

alan smithee wrote:

First Nation communities are for First Nation people....Having said that,I find it interesting that in the 1980's,Mohawk women were banished from the reservation for marrying non-Native significant others while Mohawk men were free to live on the reservation with their non-Native wives.There shouldn't be a double standard.

People are free to marry or bed anyone they like....Mohawks from Kahnawake all know that white girls throw themselves on their men.Joe Delaronde has a point...Native blood is drying up and the survival of their community relies on the Mohawks to keep their culture and very existance alive.

I see nothing morally wrong with protecting one's identity or survival.

Is identity a “blood” issue? I really don't believe there is any such thing as racial purity except in the minds of racists. The issue would seem to me to be one of preserving cultural traditions that are dynamic and changing with time. The schools on Kahnawake and the lessons of the elders would seem to me to be the way of ensuring the survival of a cultural identity. If a Mohawk man or woman marries someone from off the reserve and brings their spouse to live with them on the reserve, the children of that marraige can be brought up within the cultural traditions and be fully part of the Mohawk Nation irrespective of what their bloodlines are.

Long before any outsiders appeared from Europe, a dynamic culture evolved over hundreds of years here and was perpetuated by education. White education attempted to destroy that culture while still maintaining a racist divide. Traditional education is now attempting to restore that culture and it saddens me that there are racist elements in the response to the threats posed by the white racist culture. While the band council has legal rights in accordance with Canadian law to make these decisions, it is an unfortunate decision which ultimately will not serve the Mohawk Nation well.

Kahnawake has its own school called 'Survival School'...before that school existed Mohawks attended schools off the reserve and were educated in a white curriculum.Schools teached history in the point of view of the European settlers that made up New France and Lower and Upper Canada.It's a shame that Mohawk culture is not taught in those schools seeing that Mohawks played a vital role in the history of Canada.

Educating Natives about their language,culture and heritage is imperative in the survival of their identity.But education alone will not protect their race.Why should a non-Native have status while a Native loses her status? This is why the double standard has to go.

There is nothing racist about protecting a community or a people from extinction.Today,more than ever in recent history,Natives must protect themselves and strengthen their sovereignty and independance from the federal government.

It's not just their bloodlines at risk...The federal government wants to scrap alot of the Treaties,strip Natives of their status and assimilate them into 'Canadians'.White society holds enough influence as it is.....As a people,you have to protect your existance by any means possible.

Stargazer

But in protecting that community they are also destroying it. The mixed kids from these marriages will be banished. These kids are also FN. Families will be torn apart. Some of these mixed kids may have more Mohawk culture than full bloods. So the determining factor is blood? That's it?

 

I am unsure why everyone has skipped past Joey's posts above, which speak about the heart of this whole mess.

milo204

another major question has to be that if first nations are indeed to be viewed as nations (they are not really viewed as such by canada) why are they not afforded the rights of a nation in respect to immigration, setting their own citizenship policies etc?

1. if a child is born of two foreign parents on canadian soil it is automatically granted canadian citizenship, in effect the reverse is true for FN, they are immediately stripped of reserve rights (national rights) as soon as they enter into a relationship with a non status person....you can even be born outside of canada and still claim citizenship if one of the parents is canadian, no?

2. canada has provisions for immigration that provide canadian "status" to non canadians with full legal rights, why can't first nations do the same?  It in effect refuses the right of their nations to grow.  Perhaps if they could define themselves and their national interest as opposed to the canadian government being the sole authority the situation would be different.

3. also the canadian position demonstrates an inherent lack of understanding of FN history.  If a child is born from cree and mohawk parents and raised as mohawk that would not presumably change anything with regard to status, but if a child is born from say, a "canadian" and mohawk and raised mohawk in a mohawk nation somehow that child is not considered a "real" mohawk in the eyes of canada and would eventually lose status if for example they had a child with a non mohawk.  By this logic a good portion of canadians would never qualify for citizenship if we applied the same rules to ourselves we impose of FN's

 

 

 

Joey Ramone

Stargazer wrote:

I am unsure why everyone has skipped past Joey's posts above, which speak about the heart of this whole mess.

I'm not sure, but my guess is liberal white guilt prevents many babblers from acknowledgling that the collaboration of FN elites, cloaked in hypocritical anti-colonialist rhetoric while they attack the weakest and most vulnerable members of their communities, is what we are really dealing with here.

Charter Rights

Come on people!

The Kahnawake Membership Law has been around since about 1984 and it was by custom before that. It has nothing to do with racism but was created as an attempt to maintain Mohawk as a viable independent nation. They are not excluding based on skin colour, but on the basis of entitlement to residency based on defined criteria.

 

As well it is not the Band Council that is causing this. The Kahnawake Membership Law was enacted with the majority consent of the people themselves. And while there might have been some self-interest by community members in supporting such a code, generally speaking the community wanted it. It was 15 years in the making and not imposed on Kahnawake by "leadership.

 

They are a Nation of people whom have never given up or capitulated their soveriegnty. Just as our govenrment has the right to define who are Canadian, and then expell those who are in our country illegally, Kahnawake people have the right to decide their own citizenry and likewise demand illegal aliens leave. We may not like it but we have to accept it. It is their business and has nothing to do with us.

j.m.

There is much not said about this story from the link, nor is there a strong contextualizing of it. I personally am interested in RP's observation of the lack of diverse respondants, but I would also like to see Joey Ramone's claims addressed some more (if only because I am sensitive to claims of very unequal power relations within communities).

There is something offputting though of the eagerness in which people are willing to judge this community. We can think of more than 25 people a day being evicted by Euro-centric property rights regimes that make people without homes.

 

Sven Sven's picture

A lot has been written on the subject of FN (or, here, "Native American" or "American Indian") identity.  Is identity based on blood quantum, culture, or some combination of those two factors?

This piece in High Country News illustrates the contentious, and complex, "question of identity" facing tribes.  Demographically, intermarriage with other ethnic groups continues to steadily dilute blood quantum.  If blood quantum standards remain relatively high (say, a minimum of 1/4th), most tribes will soon cease to exist.  If blood quantum standards are lowered (e.g., a minimum of 1/256th), the microscopic fractional amount makes a classification as FN (or "American Indian") almost seem absurd (especially if a particular individual has little cultural ties to a tribe).

There is no easy answer.

Stargazer

You don't have to have a cultural tie to a tribe. Lots of FN's have been brought up off reserve and still maintain their culture.

 

Charter Rights, I would hardly call removing the mixed breed kids and the wives/husbands of same as "illegal aliens".

Charter Rights

First of all in Haudenosaunee culture, there is no such thing as "mixbreed" and I find your use of the term offensive.

Second of all they are not being removed because of their skin colour or any other racial trait. They are told to leave because they do not meet the requirements of the Kahnawa:ke  Membership Code (residency requirements). Therefore they are foreigners according to the Code and therefore are not entitled to live at Kahnawa:ke.

Now, that does not preclude those who are not elegible from transferring their membership to another Territory. From what I am told, it happens all the time. However, it is not our business to even discuss the legitimatcy of the Kahnawa:ke people to determine their own destiny. They are a sovereign people and as such do not your permission or mine to include or exclude people from their territories.

If people do not meet the requirements for entry into the territory, then they are indeed "illegal aliens". It is just that simple.

 

 

 

Al_Ar_Bee

Joey Ramone wrote:

Stargazer wrote:

I am unsure why everyone has skipped past Joey's posts above, which speak about the heart of this whole mess.

I'm not sure, but my guess is liberal white guilt prevents many babblers from acknowledgling that the collaboration of FN elites, cloaked in hypocritical anti-colonialist rhetoric while they attack the weakest and most vulnerable members of their communities, is what we are really dealing with here.

 

As a Marxist White Male who grew up in apartheid South Africa let me say that I agree with everything Joey Ramone has posted here. The only different between Joey and I is that he says in three short sentences what it takes me ten paragraphs to say.

When I look at issues like the one under discussion here I am mindful of the fact the the Tomlinson Commission, which was set up by the South African government to make recomendations for the implementation of "grand" apartheid, came to Canada to make a detailed study of the reservation system in Canada to help them in formulating the arrangements for the apartheid system. While the two systems are not comparable, I am always suspicious of these "seperate but equal" arrangements that have a long tradition in British imperial policy of divide and rule—buy off a ruling elite and syphon away the natural heritage of the locals. That is to say, steal the commons that ordinary people need to make a decent living.

Another issue that also needs to be considered is that majority decisions are not necessarily democratic decisions. A system where a majority is not constrained by human rights principles can easily become majority tyranny.

Unionist

Al_Ar_Bee wrote:
... I am always suspicious of these "seperate but equal" arrangements that have a long tradition in British imperial policy of divide and rule—buy off a ruling elite and syphon away the natural heritage of the locals. That is to say, steal the commons that ordinary people need to make a decent living.

Not sure how you see this manifested in Kahnewake. Are you comparing it to a bantustan?

Quote:
Another issue that also needs to be considered is that majority decisions are not necessarily democratic decisions. A system where a majority is not constrained by human rights principles can easily become majority tyranny.

Warning about unconstrained majority rule seems odd coming from a white South African, if you don't mind my saying so.

But the basic point remains: How the Mohawk run their affairs is really none of your affair.

 

Al_Ar_Bee

Charter Rights wrote:

First of all in Haudenosaunee culture, there is no such thing as "mixbreed" and I find your use of the term offensive.

Second of all they are not being removed because of their skin colour or any other racial trait. They are told to leave because they do not meet the requirements of the Kahnawa:ke  Membership Code (residency requirements). Therefore they are foreigners according to the Code and therefore are not entitled to live at Kahnawa:ke.

Now, that does not preclude those who are not elegible from transferring their membership to another Territory. From what I am told, it happens all the time. However, it is not our business to even discuss the legitimatcy of the Kahnawa:ke people to determine their own destiny. They are a sovereign people and as such do not your permission or mine to include or exclude people from their territories.

If people do not meet the requirements for entry into the territory, then they are indeed "illegal aliens". It is just that simple.

It is not our business to impose our will on others.

To say that it is not anybody's business to even discuss what a ruling body is doing to people is absurd. We all need discussion to learn and grow as members of the human community. You didn't have to be British or Chinese to evaluate the legitimacy of British actions with regards to the Opium Wars that Britain waged on China. You didn't have to be a US citizen to discuss US treatment of the Blacks in the US during the 1950s or their treatment of their indigenous populations today. You don't have to be Canadian to condemn the Canadian policy on the Tar Sands or the Canadian state's racist Indian Act. You didn't have to be German to Condemn Germany's treatment of their Jewish citizens in 1938, nor do you have to be an Israeli to condemn Israel's treatment of the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

Personally, I think it is a bit rich when settler states like Canada, the USA, Australia, and New Zealand talk about “Illegal aliens” when these states were founded by the equivalent of illegal aliens.

Unionist

I think our conversation is now complete.

 

Al_Ar_Bee

Unionist wrote:

Al_Ar_Bee wrote:
... I am always suspicious of these "seperate but equal" arrangements that have a long tradition in British imperial policy of divide and rule—buy off a ruling elite and syphon away the natural heritage of the locals. That is to say, steal the commons that ordinary people need to make a decent living.

Not sure how you see this manifested in Kahnewake. Are you comparing it to a bantustan?

Quote:
Another issue that also needs to be considered is that majority decisions are not necessarily democratic decisions. A system where a majority is not constrained by human rights principles can easily become majority tyranny.

Warning about unconstrained majority rule seems odd coming from a white South African, if you don't mind my saying so.

But the basic point remains: How the Mohawk run their affairs is really none of your affair.

 

I don't mind you saying anything you like. What I'd like you to explain is what is odd about a white South African warning about unconstrained majority rule that would not be odd coming from a Canadian of indeterminate race.

How the Mohawk run their affairs is not my affair in the sense that I have no right to intervene in the running of their affairs, but I believe I have the right to discuss the running of the affairs of any group anywhere on the planet. It astounds me that so many people are saying that we have no right to be having a discussion because we don't have some kind of heritage or birthright to the discussion.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Wow, a dude from a minority persecuting a majority thinking he can discuss a minority persecuted by the majority.  What irony.  Or not.

 

Has nothing to do with a birthright, it has to do with having a clue.

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

alan smithee wrote:

There is nothing racist about protecting a community or a people from extinction.Today,more than ever in recent history,Natives must protect themselves and strengthen their sovereignty and independance from the federal government.

It's not just their bloodlines at risk...The federal government wants to scrap alot of the Treaties,strip Natives of their status and assimilate them into 'Canadians'.White society holds enough influence as it is.....As a people,you have to protect your existance by any means possible.

 

There are a couple of former reserves near my family's rez that have lost the few native rights left.  
They can't even legally hunt to feed their family on what is their traditional hunting grounds.  
They aren't even recognised as a legitimate community and are denied any government funding for the most basic infrastructure such as roads, schools and running water.

What happened?  Well a whole bunch of nonnatives moved there and married into the tribe.  The federal government not only stripped them of their sovereignty but also as a recognized community.  
I am not against mixed marriages but I think if the love is so strong it will hold wherever they go.  Why jeopardize the sovereign status of their entire tribe.
My mother's reserve so far hasn't had to deal with that but my father's reserve has considered something along the lines of what Kahnawake has proposed.
If I fell in love with a nonnative woman I wouldn't take up limited space on land my Great Great Grandparents were segregated to - and at one time would be legally shot if they left.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

I agree j.m., I'm certainly willing to engage in a thread of my privilege.  I started a thread in Canadian Politics about a poll on what whiite canadians think of one another.  The facts are being laid bare here.

 

http://www.rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/poll-looks-what-canadians-...

j.m.

i'm still bothered by all the privileged hypercritical perspectives.

a lot of names come out of the woodwork that i haven't seen before on threads about (equivocally) perceived shortcomings non-white groups. to those individuals: are you willing to participate in threads that are critical of your privilege? i suspect not.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Thanks for having more courage than I, LWB. 

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

E.Tamaran wrote:

Oh come on...Ethnic cleansing?! Look, in Uganda they kicked out all non-Ugandans mostly South Asians in a violent way. Same in Serbia with the Muslems. Non-FNs being asked, politely, to leave. They don't have any right to live there anyway. The FNs aren't savages, like the way the Serbs and Ugandans were about it. In fact, the FNs have been extremely calm patient, considering the 500 years of brutality they've suffered.

 

In other forums especially First Nation forums I have encountered posters who claimed to be natives.  What drew my suspicion was that they claimed everyone else was racist for stating anything slightly contradicting them. Yet the statements they made were blatantly racist.  They spewed hatred.

I suspected that they were actually fulfilling another agenda.  As the most vocal on the forums they quickly ended up being the persona's that misrepresented my people.  
They painted an image of outspoken native "activists" being racist against everyone else.  
It was almost as if they wanted to be viewed as ignorant and hate-filled.  
They claimed to be activists yet every statement they made was detrimental to any First Nations cause - the only ones who would benefit from their slanted and hateful blather would be an organisation that wanted FN people to be viewed in a negative light.

This was [I think] before the term 'cointelpro' was coined.  But as any real activist knows they do exist.  
What can any activist actually do hiding behind some anonymous screenname.  They couldn't even legitimately sign on an online petition.  And they definitely could not register a petition with the government.  How is their "work" of spewing hatred anonymously on line so important that their identity need be kept secret.  Who do they think they are... James Bond?!

The screenname I use is the name on my birth-certificate.
Though I have publicly spoken out against many powerful tyrants I do not see a need to hide behind a screenname.  
I can prove who I am and if I was enough of a threat they would find me behind a phony screenname anyway.
But for some reason those "activists" who's statements are detrimental to my people will not identify themselves. 

I have to call you on this one.  If you can't or won't stand behind your words then I can only say that that speaks volumes.

If you by chance actually happen to be native then I must say to you that you must better represent our people.
I am not calling you on this because I believe reserves should be allowed to have so many white people living on it that the next generation loses all of the few native rights we have left.

But at this point I cannot make any statement without having the negativity of your words tainting mine if they fall on "your side of the fence".  There wouldn't be a fence in this discussion if it had not been for the nature of your statements.

Erik Redburn

Stargazer wrote:

But in protecting that community they are also destroying it. The mixed kids from these marriages will be banished. These kids are also FN. Families will be torn apart. Some of these mixed kids may have more Mohawk culture than full bloods. So the determining factor is blood? That's it?

 

I am unsure why everyone has skipped past Joey's posts above, which speak about the heart of this whole mess.

 

Hi Stargazer, I've been trying to stay out of this one but I'll just say I saw it too.  Has anyone thought of asking these "Mohawk" chiefs if they themselves are anything close to "fullblood" (whatever that really means) or why their definition of "status Indian" is still bound by a patriarchal double standard that is at odds with their traditionally matrilineal society, not to mention values?

Erik Redburn

lonewolfbunn wrote:

E.Tamaran wrote:

Oh come on...Ethnic cleansing?! Look, in Uganda they kicked out all non-Ugandans mostly South Asians in a violent way. Same in Serbia with the Muslems. Non-FNs being asked, politely, to leave. They don't have any right to live there anyway. The FNs aren't savages, like the way the Serbs and Ugandans were about it. In fact, the FNs have been extremely calm patient, considering the 500 years of brutality they've suffered.

 

In other forums especially First Nation forums I have encountered posters who claimed to be natives.  What drew my suspicion was that they claimed everyone else was racist for stating anything slightly contradicting them. Yet the statements they made were blatantly racist.  They spewed hatred.

I suspected that they were actually fulfilling another agenda.  As the most vocal on the forums they quickly ended up being the persona's that misrepresented my people.  
They painted an image of outspoken native "activists" being racist against everyone else.  
It was almost as if they wanted to be viewed as ignorant and hate-filled.

 

I've seen it before myself a few times and wondered the same, but thank you for voicing what I couldn't.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Erik Redburn wrote:

Hi Stargazer, I've been trying to stay out of this one but I'll just say I saw it too.  Has anyone thought of asking these "Mohawk" chiefs if they themselves are anything close to "fullblood" (whatever that really means) or why their definition of "status Indian" is still bound by a patriarchal double standard that is at odds with their traditionally matrilineal society, not to mention values?

 

Has anyone thought why the racist Indian Act forces this?

 

Fuck...

 

Wake up folks.

Charter Rights

Al_Ar_Bee wrote:

Warning about unconstrained majority rule seems odd coming from a white South African, if you don't mind my saying so.

But the basic point remains: How the Mohawk run their affairs is really none of your affair.

I don't mind you saying anything you like. What I'd like you to explain is what is odd about a white South African warning about unconstrained majority rule that would not be odd coming from a Canadian of indeterminate race.

How the Mohawk run their affairs is not my affair in the sense that I have no right to intervene in the running of their affairs, but I believe I have the right to discuss the running of the affairs of any group anywhere on the planet. It astounds me that so many people are saying that we have no right to be having a discussion because we don't have some kind of heritage or birthright to the discussion.

Wrong.

We can't have a legitimate discussion on what is happening in Kahnawa:ke because we hold a completely different world-view. Our values and are not their values. Trying to apply our thinking to propose solutions is pretty socially immature. They don't see a problem because within their worldview they are protecting their sovereignty and culture. It may not sit well with some, but any emotional uneasiness is completely in your own  mind. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong in any nation or society in applying a citizenship code. We have one and in fact there are many articles that exclude people from not only becoming Canadians but also prohibiting residency. The criteria might be slightly different but it is legitimate nonetheless.

As well, we have a social contract in Canada on who can be Canadian, what types of justice gets meted out and what rights need to be protected. It starts out with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms AND in that document we are prohibited from interfering in native cultural or governance issues. That is how important it is that pre-existing native rights be protected and recognized. And as Canadians our social contract is based on that premise. Non-interference not only legally but socially and politically.

Certainly no one is suggesting you don't have the right to discuss any issue you feel is important. However, your criticisms are not legitimate and therefore not relevent to the discussions.

I may not criticise my neighbour until I have walked a mile in his moccassins.  

An old Mohawk proverb. Such an applicable quote.

 

 

 

 

Charter Rights

Erik Redburn wrote:

Hi Stargazer, I've been trying to stay out of this one but I'll just say I saw it too.  Has anyone thought of asking these "Mohawk" chiefs if they themselves are anything close to "fullblood" (whatever that really means) or why their definition of "status Indian" is still bound by a patriarchal double standard that is at odds with their traditionally matrilineal society, not to mention values?

Blood quantum is a colonial construct and as such has no place in this discussion. In fact I find the whole term offensive.

As a matrilineal society those people who claim ancestry and therefore membership in Kahnawa:ke trace their connection to their nation through their mothers. It would seem to me that this is a valid method of determining membership, since well how many Canadians can guarantee that they know who their daddies are. Just because one finds a name on their certificate of birth does not mean they are the legitimate father. However, it isn't that hard to know from birth who our mothers are. The are the ones who suffered through the childbirth....right?

So from a membership perspective, using lineal identification for the security of the nation helps guarantee that culture, tradition, language and other nation identification will be maintained. In Haudenosaunee culture, land, language, and ceremony is passed down through the women along with their clans, chieftan titles and traditional names (which are preserved generation after generation). Without some kind of law such as their Great Binding Law of Peace, there would be no way to identify them from everyone else. I think we would all agree that the Canadian definition of what an Indian is, is racist. So why not let them self-identify? It is clearly within their Charter rights, which we all hold in high esteem as Canadians.

E.Tamaran

lonewolfbunn wrote:

I have to call you on this one.  If you can't or won't stand behind your words then I can only say that that speaks volumes.

If you by chance actually happen to be native then I must say to you that you must better represent our people.
I am not calling you on this because I believe reserves should be allowed to have so many white people living on it that the next generation loses all of the few native rights we have left.

But at this point I cannot make any statement without having the negativity of your words tainting mine if they fall on "your side of the fence".  There wouldn't be a fence in this discussion if it had not been for the nature of your statements.

1. Interesting concept. Only people who use their actual names should be allowed a real "voice" on discussion boards. How would you go about "proving" the name was real? FWIW, my first name does start with E. My second name isn't Tamaran but sounds something like it.

2. I've already discussed my ancestry and home in NB. 

3. So you don't disagree with the concept of limiting or denying non-FN residency on FN territory. That's good.

4. Maybe we can exchange PMs and emails and have a talk. I'll even give you my ISP email so you can see what my name is if you promise not to share it with others.

remind remind's picture

Quote:
Blood quantum is a colonial construct

 

Exactly correct, which is why IMV, it needs to be struck from the Indian Act.

 

 

 

Stargazer

Charter Rights, personally I don't care if you find mixed breed or mixed race unacceptable. I am mixed and I can call myself what I choose to. Are you FN at all? If not, then I suggest to you that you are being offensive.

lonewolfbunn lonewolfbunn's picture

E.Tamaran wrote:

1. Interesting concept. Only people who use their actual names should be allowed a real "voice" on discussion boards. How would you go about "proving" the name was real? FWIW, my first name does start with E. My second name isn't Tamaran but sounds something like it. 

I think that if you are a voice that is viewed as representing our people than you should put your name behind your words.  Whether it is your intention or not it is possible that your opinion is interpreted as the opinion of all of us

I am not saying that you are one of the Nazi's that go online pretending to be FN to brew animosity but I had to raise the question because it does happen and I saw a pattern.
If you are a FN expressing your opinion about a controversial topic regarding our people than it should be made clear that it is your opinion.  As it stands you could be anyone. 

Though by your response my suspicion has wavered.  The CIO trolls that I have dealt with reacted much differently.  
They attacked with words so foolish that they exposed themselves likely because they couldn't careless about their reputation and sounding foolish would only fulfill their goal.  

E.Tamaran wrote:

2. I've already discussed my ancestry and home in NB.

I could discuss my ancestry as an albino pigmy and my home planet Neptune but it would be hard to prove with a screenname like whitemidget789.
Sorry my sarcasm knows no limits.  I am not referring to you.  But believe it or not I am attempting to make a point.

E.Tamaran wrote:

3. So you don't disagree with the concept of limiting or denying non-FN residency on FN territory. That's good. 

No I don't but as a FN person I am careful not to make statements that could portray my people as hateful.  I do not see my self as a spokesperson for my people but you must understand that with so few vocal FN people on the internet the inevitable result is that any negative words spoken by a FN person reflects negatively on all of us.

E.Tamaran wrote:

4. Maybe we can exchange PMs and emails and have a talk. I'll even give you my ISP email so you can see what my name is if you promise not to share it with others

I'm still not sure what's up with the secrecy 007.  But I know first hand that removing your anonymity gives you the benefit of proving that someone impersonating you is not you. 

I had someone steal my password to my web-archive and post a ridiculous statement under my name that was moronic and racist.  A month later when I stumbled onto it I was able to prove that it was not me.  If I had a different screenname every week it would be difficult to do.
I have nothing to hide and I stand behind my words. 

If I am proven wrong about something it is a real person admitting it and taking responsibility.  I do not start fresh with a new screenname the next day.

As for you giving me your email address that wouldn't really prove anything.  I can register a new email account within minutes.  Myspace and facebook is one way for someone to prove who they really are because there are other people that can verify it.  I don't expect you to publicly post it but if you like you could give it to me through a PM.
Don't worry James I won't blow your cover.

But in all seriousness it's not really necessary but please heed my response to your third point.

Bacchus

lonewolf,

Removing ones anonynmity online can have serious consequences and that is why many do not do it. Many could lose jobs or suffer in other ways if their words proved at odds with someones impression of the real them.

 

And if Tamaran is offering his ISP email then no, he cannot get one of those in minutes. He means the ISP he gets his internet from like rogers, verizon, bell etc. They are not like a free webaddress like Yahoo or Bell where you can indeed get as many as you like in minutes

Joey Ramone

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Has anyone thought why the racist Indian Act forces this?

 

Actually, it doesn't.  Since 1985 the Indian Act has allowed FNs to control their own membership.  Some have opted to be inclusive, others have chosen to enforce narrow, discriminatory rules based on racist Indian Act divisions between "status Indians" and "non-status Indians".  Some communities, such as the Ardoch Algonquin FN, have rejected the Indian Act entirely.  They have refused to live on a bantustan "reserve", refused to divide their community into "status" and "non-status", and have welcomed settlers who respect their customs and want to live side-by-side with them.  Of course this is a tough road - they get no funding whatsoever and must constantly fight for recognition as a FN community.  The Indian Act "Chiefs" of Kahnawake have chosen to enforce racist, divisive colonial rules against some of the weakest and most vulnerable members of their community because this allows them to pose as anti-colonialists when in reality they are doing the dirty work of colonialism, as they do on a daily basis.

Erik Redburn

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Erik Redburn wrote:

Hi Stargazer, I've been trying to stay out of this one but I'll just say I saw it too.  Has anyone thought of asking these "Mohawk" chiefs if they themselves are anything close to "fullblood" (whatever that really means) or why their definition of "status Indian" is still bound by a patriarchal double standard that is at odds with their traditionally matrilineal society, not to mention values?

 

Has anyone thought why the racist Indian Act forces this?

 

Fuck...

 

Wake up folks.

 

RP, Stargazer and Joey are FN, and I only stepped in because this is about the third time recently that I've seen them being told to "mind their own business" by whites.  Think about it.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Sorry Eric, I agree and was getting upset at some of the poisoning of this thread, not you.  Anyway, I've taken up enough space and thanks Joey Ramone for your explanation but it still left me confused considering the lack of funding for the Ardoch Algonquin. 

Erik Redburn

RevolutionPlease wrote:

Sorry Eric, I agree and was getting upset at some of the poisoning of this thread, not you.  Anyway, I've taken up enough space and thanks Joey Ramone for your explanation but it still left me confused considering the lack of funding for the Ardoch Algonquin. 

 

No need to apologise RP, I know from experience you always try to understand others views.  Something I forget to do myself at times.    :)   Joey will have to explain about the Ardoch Algonquin as I know nothing about them.

Erik Redburn

Charter Rights wrote:

Erik Redburn wrote:

Hi Stargazer, I've been trying to stay out of this one but I'll just say I saw it too.  Has anyone thought of asking these "Mohawk" chiefs if they themselves are anything close to "fullblood" (whatever that really means) or why their definition of "status Indian" is still bound by a patriarchal double standard that is at odds with their traditionally matrilineal society, not to mention values?

Blood quantum is a colonial construct and as such has no place in this discussion. In fact I find the whole term offensive.

 

 

Tell that to the Chiefs who are using just such a 'construct' to deport members because they don't conform to their notions of racial purity, an even older racial construct, and ironically a notion that they too would likely fall short of.   That IMO is unjust regardless of ones particular or shared identity and values. 

Look, everything we think could be said to be a mental "construct", if it is not directly tied to immediate experience or universal instincts or needs perhaps, but the concept "blood quantum" is often used to question these same constructs, unlike the old fashioned racist notion of "purity".

 

Quote:

As a matrilineal society those people who claim ancestry and therefore membership in Kahnawa:ke trace their connection to their nation through their mothers. It would seem to me that this is a valid method of determining membership, since well how many Canadians can guarantee that they know who their daddies are. Just because one finds a name on their certificate of birth does not mean they are the legitimate father. However, it isn't that hard to know from birth who our mothers are. The are the ones who suffered through the childbirth....right?

So from a membership perspective, using lineal identification for the security of the nation helps guarantee that culture, tradition, language and other nation identification will be maintained. In Haudenosaunee culture, land, language, and ceremony is passed down through the women along with their clans, chieftan titles and traditional names (which are preserved generation after generation). Without some kind of law such as their Great Binding Law of Peace, there would be no way to identify them from everyone else. I think we would all agree that the Canadian definition of what an Indian is, is racist. So why not let them self-identify? It is clearly within their Charter rights, which we all hold in high esteem as Canadians.

 

Charter rights are also a colonial construct and not necessarily in opposition to the "Indian Act" which is indeed one of the most racist going, (although most outsiders looking to "free" First Nations from it now are only looking to free them from their last few acres of land and last few shreds of self determination, so traditional as well as 'progressive' Chiefs often feel theyre still better off working within its confines --its complicated --and beyond my own limited knowledge and non-existent rights to declare one way or another on this issue as a whole) but again, one member kicking another off the reserve with only ten days notice, for the sin of having a relationship with a non-member, can hardly be described as "self-indentifying".   

Self identify by definition means something you decide for yourself.  Whether others accept this designation is between you and them, and not something that can easily be enforced on another, one way or another.  I know of nowhere where that is the case.  If I call myself "Metis" for example, the government might recognise that "status" but other Metis may not.    OTOH, other Metis might see me as a member but the government may not.   The tribal councils may get caught between the two at times.

The issue of how to keep reserves from being swamped by those who may not identify as members and presumably less likley to hold to the community/s shared values or laws --whatever they are-- could be dealt with in more constructive, less divisive ways IMO.  I believe that is all others are saying here, but they're free to correct me on that too.  You aren't.  Not on that anyhow.

Joey Ramone

Personally, I have no problem with anyone expressing an opinion on this thread.  I find it somewhat paternalistic to restrict these discussions, and welcome any opinions from well meaning lefties, but those without genuine Aboriginal experience will be handicapped and, at least by me, probably mostly ignored.  For the most part I have found the discussion on this thread to be a little simplistic, but it has exposed lots of innocent ignorance and has generally been without personal attacks.

Unionist

Erik Redburn wrote:

 Joey will have to explain about the Ardoch Algonquin as I know nothing about them.

I learned a lot from Joey on previous threads - [url=http://www.rabble.ca/babble/aboriginal-issues-and-culture/divide-and-rul... one in particular[/url].

 

Charter Rights

Joey Ramone wrote:

Personally, I have no problem with anyone expressing an opinion on this thread.  I find it somewhat paternalistic to restrict these discussions, and welcome any opinions from well meaning lefties, but those without genuine Aboriginal experience will be handicapped and, at least by me, probably mostly ignored.  For the most part I have found the discussion on this thread to be a little simplistic, but it has exposed lots of innocent ignorance and has generally been without personal attacks.

 

I agree.

 

I used to think that ignorant drivel was a trait of the extreme right. I now stand corrected. It is pervasive even in the modest left.

 

I trust that it is this bad because of world view differences and find that most who claim to have an opinion on the subject, lack sufficent understanding to formulate a proper thesis.

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