Mohawks Kick Cops Off Rez from Wii'nimkiikaa

On January 12th of 2004, Kanehsata:ke's Grand Chief James Gabriel incited a confrontation when he brought in 67 police officers from other Native communities to take over the Kanehsata:ke Mohawk Police (KMP) force and "crack down on crime". Community residents called it an invasion and responded with force. Earlier in the week, the news had gotten out that Gabriel had secretly signed a policing deal with the Canadian government in November of 2003, and community residents swarmed the Band Council office to reject the deal and the incoming police force. When James Gabriel's new cops arrived on January 12th, road blockades were immediately set up to prevent nearby Quebec Provincial Police (Surete Quebec – SQ) from also invading.

Community members and masked-up Mohawk Warriors surrounded the Kanehsata:ke Mohawk Police station, using trucks to block the gates of the parking lot. The Mohawk Warrior flag was hung on the fence outside the station and a bonfire was built to keep everybody warm.

"In 2003, U.S. President George W. Bush deployed 113,000 troops to Iraq, population 27 million, to wage war on international terrorism. On Jan. 12, 2004, the Canadian and Quebec government sponsored a raid on Kanesatake, population 1,500, with 67 armed men. Can someone please tell Canadians why a small aboriginal community warrants an assault force that was proportionally 10 times greater than was deemed appropriate to combat Saddam Hussein?" (Jane Whelen, Montreal Gazette, Tues. May 11, 2004)

About 20 riot cops assembled and fired two volleys of tear-gas canisters over the fence. The Warriors responded by chucking burning logs from the bonfire at the police. Angry community members moved onto the road and then to James Gabriel's home. The house was set on fire, along with Gabriel's car. At some point, the Grand Chief had fled the reserve.

Community members then returned to the police station and vowed to confine the police to the building until they agreed to leave Kanehsata:ke entirely. When the cops tried to order pizza, it was quickly intercepted and given out to the community members at the bonfire. Some Warriors said that police of any kind are unnecessary in Kanehsata:ke, since Warrior Societies have always fulfilled the role of protecting the people. By the bonfire, one community member explained: "People are getting frustrated. They're sick and tired of Jimmy endangering their lives. People don't want this SOB back – he's not coming back. As far as we're concerned, he's banished. It's always these secret deals with him. The feds love him because he'll sign whatever they put in front of him – but then, what can you expect? That's Jimmy."

James Gabriel's decision to bring back former Kanehsata:ke cops Larry Ross and Terry Issac, further enraged the community. Both had been previously fired from the KMP because of their conduct, and in 1999 both had been involved in the shooting of Kanehsata:ke Warrior Joe David which left him paralyzed. "These guys are deadlier than the outside cops" asserted one person.

The next day, Kanehsata:ke Police commissioners and the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake negotiated a deal to bring in a joint force of Mohawk "peacekeepers" from Kahnawake and Akwesasne to temporarily take over Kanehsata:ke's police station. James Gabriel's goon squad left the reserve shortly after midnight.

It was soon revealed that the Canadian government had been ready to fund Gabriel with $900,000 to replace the Kanehsata:ke Mohawk Police and the community-appointed commission that is supposed to control it with a new organization called the "Kanehsata:ke Public Security Commission." The commission would work in partnership with the SQ and RCMP.

The so-called "Band Council resolution" which Gabriel passed in order to bring back Larry Ross and Terry Issac was signed on January 2nd, 2004, a day when government offices and the Mohawk Council of Kanehsata:ke were closed.

February 8th: 2004, about 200 Mohawks from Kahnawake and Akwesasne took part in a solidarity march in Kanehsata:ke, some carrying signs with written slogans like "Iroquois not Quebecois."

February 20th: The Mohawks of the Tyendinaga community showed their solidarity by physically preventing James Gabriel from holding a meeting on policing at the local Mohawk Community Centre. They set up a temporary lodge outside the centre and had a bonfire going all night. More people showed up in the morning to oppose Gabriel, but the ousted Grand Chief didn't show his face.

March 11th: Gabriel signed yet another policing deal with the Quebec and Canadian governments at the Hilton hotel in Laval, behind a wall of riot cops.

March 31st: Schools shut down and Mohawk Warriors gathered outside the Kanehsata:ke Police station as the community prepared for the arrival of Gabriel's newly appointed police chief Ed Thompson and the possibility of another invasion. The station's KMP flag was taken down and replaced with a Warrior flag, but the Warriors left the scene before Thompson finally showed up, all by himself. Over the next few days Thompson proved himself to be a puppet of James Gabriel, and he mostly operated from nearby Oka, while Melissa Montour was the only KMP officer actually patrolling the community.

April 9th: About 20 community members gathered on Highway 344 and blocked Thompson and six of his newly appointed police officers from entering the reserve. Another police officer was turned away the following day.

April 12th: Going on the offensive, community members took over and shut down the Kanehsata:ke Police station and said that it would stay closed, at least until Band Council elections in June. Weapons were removed and given to the Kahnewake Mohawk police force. Residents proceeded to patrol the community, watching for attempted police raids.

April 16th: Arrest warrants were issued for 24 people in relation to the January 12th conflict. Deborah Etienne voluntarily turned herself in the next day, only to be forced to sign release conditions that she not communicate with the 23 other community members on the warrant list or return to her home in Kanehsata:ke. Another community member was arrested in Montreal and given the same conditions.

May 3rd: 40-60 of James Gabriel's cops, decked out in full riot gear, tried to raid Kanehsata:ke. Warriors threw rocks, forcing the police to retreat and abandon a KMP police car. Gabriel and Thompson then called for SQ and RCMP intervention. Mohawks from nearby communities such as Tyendinaga rushed to Kanehsata:ke to show solidarity and assist in preventing a full-scale siege. At the same time, the community was hit with the news of Joe David's death.

May 5th: Masked Warriors set up camp on both sides of Highway 344 to prevent a joint intervention by the SQ, RCMP, and Gabriel's cops. SQ cars are being allowed to drive through the reserve on the highway, as they usually do, but not to patrol or intervene in the community.

May 8th: the 24 Kanehsata:ke Mohawks on the warrants list appeared in court in St. Jerome. James Gabriel was represented by Francois Briere, who was the prosecutor against Ronald "Lasagna" Cross and other Mohawk Warriors after the 1990 Oka Crisis. The judge ruled that nine of the accused could return home on the condition that they not wear masks, carry weapons or communicate with James Gabriel. Conditions preventing three of the accused from returning to their homes were upheld.

Throughout the recent conflict, the corporate media played their usual role in trying to cover-up the real reasons behind the struggle, to confuse and divide the people, to portray Warriors as apolitical criminals, and to convince the public that this was merely an internal dispute between Kanehsata:ke community members. The same tactics were used during the Oka Crisis of 1990, as they'd been used for years before then.

Cigarettes and marijuana have always been used as a smokescreen by the corporate media and their masters to divert attention from the legitimate struggle of the Mohawk people for their land and freedom. As some community members have pointed out, the cigarette trade has actually lowered the crime rate in Kanehsata:ke, since people now have a source of income.

For many traditionalists, the cigarette trade is a matter of self-sufficiency and economic survival. Mohawk involvement in the tobacco trade is hundreds of years old. Tobacco is an indigenous product which the European colonizers appropriated. Massive federal and provincial taxes on cigarettes have also contributed to smuggling.

Cigarette "smuggling" through the Akwesasne reserve, which is cut in half by the Canadian-American border, has been used by Canada as an excuse for police raids and harassment. Akwesasne has been ecologically destroyed by aluminium smelters and other industrial developments which have poisoned the land and caused birth defects amongst the people, leaving the cigarette trade as one of the only ways to make a living.

The ongoing conflicts on Mohawk territory, including Kanehsata:ke, are the result of more than 500 years of colonization and resistance. The authorities are trying to hide this fact in order to discourage the kind of radical solidarity that made the 1990 stand-off at Kanehsata:ke a "crisis" for Canada's ruling elite.

The Mohawk Nation has been a major thorn in the side of the Canadian government, because the armed resistance of the Mohawk people has exposed Canada as a colonial state and has awakened the Warrior spirit in indigenous peoples across the country.

No other Indian nation within Canada has engaged in armed resistance as often as the Mohawks, and no other nation has been able to maintain police "no-go zones" for as long as they have. The fighting spirit of the Mohawks, and their ability to forcibly retain independent control of their territory is completely unacceptable to the governments of Canada and Quebec.


Ten Months in (by Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement) 

For the past ten months the Mohawks of Kanehsatake have been successfully resisting invasion by ousted Grand Chief James Gabriel’s illegitimate goon squad. During this time, both the SQ and RCMP have offered to help Gabriel’s goons gain access into Kanehsatake, and actually set up shop as Grand Chief and the Kanesatake Mohawk Police (KMP). This coordinated effort to usher in a police-state hasn’t happened yet, but is certain to come in the future.

Last week there was news from Kanehsatake that a high-tech, 180 degree, ball-like camera had been found on the roof of the school in a fake chimney. The school is directly across from the old police station, now the office of the community’s security patrol. People in the community say the camera was in place for four or five days, is being used to spy on them, and may have been put there in preparation for Gabriel’s goons to invade the station. After the community alerted media to their discovery, the SQ were quick to claim the camera and said it was placed on the school not for spying, but instead for a criminal investigation into a fire set at the police station 5 months previous. Besides, the SQ claimed, “normal people” don’t care about being filmed, only people who commit crimes do.

Two days following the discovery of the camera, the media announced James Gabriel hired Terry Isaac as the new Kanesatake Police Chief. Isaac was fired from the position of Police Chief earlier due to his excessive use of force and poor judgment shown on the job. The peoples of Kanehsatake unanimously rejected his presence in the community during the January 12, 2004 police invasion. Ellen Gabriel immediately denounced James Gabriel’s appointment of Isaac through the media as an irresponsible and provocative move against the community.

Throughout September and October, Gabriel and his loyalists had been attending a mediation process held in federal court with the “dissident” Chiefs and two Kanehsatake Elders. The goal of this process was to try to come to agreement about a date for the next Kanehsatake elections. After two months of the process the “dissident” chief side walked out – they were tired of talking in circles – James Gabriel was unwavering in his insistence that Kanehsatake would only be “safe” for elections if his goon squad were able to patrol the community. As mandated by the community, the dissident chiefs offered a compromise – to have the more competent Kahnawake Peacekeepers patrol during campaigning and elections. Gabriel refused to compromise.

After the mediation broke down, Canada and Quebec extended Gabriel’s mandate again; this time indefinitely since no election date has been set. In the meantime, Gabriel continues to plunge Kanehsatake into deeper and deeper debt. He has spent $8 million on his goons who have only been patrolling Oka and St. Eustache – areas where they have no jurisdiction. A few of those goons, most notable Larry Ross, are currently under investigation by the Montreal Police for their assault and false arrest of Kanehsatake community member, Shawn Hurley. This incident took place in St. Eustache – not the goons jurisdiction. While some of the money for Gabriel’s goons has come as “gifts” from the province and the feds, the rest came directly from budgets intended for education, economic development, housing, employment, etc.

Twenty-four Kanehsatake Mohawks are facing bogus charges of “forcible confinement of police officers” and “participation in a riot”. The necessary legal fees to defend themselves are an additional financial hit on the community. When Gabriel next attempts to force his police on the community, and the community resists, more charges are bound to follow.

Against the backdrop of the mass media’s relentless campaign to criminalize all those resisting Gabriel’s police state and municipalization deals, we want to spread an anti-colonial analysis of the situation. We want to mobilize a broad base of support for the Mohawks who will take action, or at the very least support and understand actions by others when the invasion occurs.  

The mainstream media have deliberately avoided the core issues underlying the crisis in Kanehsatake today. They haven’t explained our government’s support for Gabriel. They collude to cover up the fact Gabriel is Canada’s main  man for pushing through it’s “final solution” to the “Indian problem”. This is why the federal government signed a $900,000 policing deal in secret with Gabriel. It is why they negotiated the new Tripartite Policing Agreement without the “dissident” chief’s presence, and why the TPA totally centralizes power over the police in James Gabriel and the Quebec Public Security Minister’s hands.

Bill S-24, the Kanesatake Interim Land Based Governance Act, is Canada’s “final solution” to their “Indian problem”. The deal with it is this: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada “gave” Kanehsatake the 160 properties purchased for them after the Oka Crisis. The feds “gave” Kanehsatake the right to pass a Land Code and municipal-style by-laws enforceable on their territory. In exchange, underlying title to the land undergoes a Transfer of Administration between Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province. The province, Quebec, then becomes the beneficial owner of the lands, subject only to the residual rights of management agreed to through the Land Code and municipal by-laws of Kanehsatake. Original Aboriginal Title to the lands are legally extinguished by way of “surrender”.

Because Aboriginal Original Title and Rights flow from the land, once underlying title is surrendered to Her Majesty, She also owns all the animals and resources on the land. For example, take the person who hunts and/or fishes for subsistence in Kanehsatake. Under this agreement, animals are no longer a gift from the Creator but a gift from the Queen. The Queen has no obligation to uphold the priority accorded to Aboriginal hunters under Section 2(a) of the Charter to hunt for religious purposes. By the tricky wording of the Agreement, beliefs regarding Indigenous relationships to the Land, the Creator, are surrendered. The Mohawks of Kanehsatake then are no longer recognized as a Peoples under international law, become mere managers of the Land they live on, and can be sued if they don’t do it “properly”.

Canada dangled the carrot of 160 properties and a modicum of control over community affairs for almost a decade in the face of Kanehsatake Band Council. They “flowed” funds to Council for several years to get the ball rolling on Bill-24. After the vote, but before the Act was implemented, some Council members asked critical questions and demanded a legal opinion to be shared with the community on the Act. In response the feds blackmailed Council by threatening to withdrawal these funds that Council had become dependent on. Even though Canada purchased the 160 properties soon after the Oka Crisis ended, they waited until Parliament passed the Land Management Act and it’s amendments in 1996, and 1998 respectively to begin the negotiations with Kanehsatake to hand the properties over.

In June 2000, James Gabriel secretly signed the Act with Walter Walling from the Department of Indian Affairs and Eric Maldoff, federal negotiator/lawyer. In September of the same year, Gabriel called a referendum vote to ratify the Act but did not provide the community with information on it’s implications if, he himself was fully aware of them. Despite the fact many people boycotted the vote due to lack of information, and others because they are traditionalists and boycott all Indian Act proceedings, the referendum went forward and was passed by a vote of 239 to 237 – less than half the eligible voters in Kanehsatake.

The Act transferred $14 million worth of property to the privately held and newly created Kanesatake Orihwa’shon:a Development Corporation, not Kanesatake Band Council. Underlying title to the lands is held by the Crown – people in Kanehsatake only hold them as “fee simple” properties. Fee simple estates can be transferred and sold between Her Majesty’s subjects and others but, Title is not transferred from Her Majesty to anyone unless, for example, it is necessary to put an end to a war between Canada and another country. In such a case, title is transferred from Her Majesty to the head of another state. Original Aboriginal title is gone.

The Act also removes Mohawk tax-exemptions, and if taxes or fees on these fee simple properties are not paid, Band Council is authorized to seize the property. In conjunction with a politically controlled police force, the criminalization of dissent and the tobacco-trade (which sustains many Mohawk families and services), this power to seize property is the perfect tool to launch a full-scale war on the poor and political opponents. Finally, all by-laws passed by Kanehsatake must be harmonized with the laws governing Oka, a further indication of Kanehsatake’s new municipal, not national, status.

Canada’s First Nations Land Management Act is legislated cultural genocide. It is an Act of warfare in a time where International Laws, which Canada must obey, are acknowledging Aboriginal People’s Original title to the land. The Land Management Act is a preemptive strike against future Aboriginal claims to traditional territories. The Kanesatake Interim Land Based Governance Act effects not just the Kanehsatake Mohawks’ future claims, but the whole of Mohawk territories. As Janice Switlo, Indigenous lawyer explains in her article “Apple Cede”, claims to traditional territories will require proof of continuous use of territories will not be required for every inch of these territories, but rather portions with meaningful relations to each other.

Like, for example, a farmer’s claim to their farm land. A farmer may have a house on one corner of the land, a barn in the other and a corral somewhere else, but this all works towards proving possession of all the lands between these structures. The same principle applies to small reserves spread throughout Treaty territories or, in the case where no treaties exist, to the extent that geographically separated bands maintain meaningful relations with each other.       

For the Mohawk Peoples, or even the Iroquois Confederacy, this means there is potential in the near future to claim vast amounts of territories from the Crown which lay between their individual “reserved” lands. This is the direction the law is going. But if one Band enters a Land Management Agreement, back at the farm, one band will get the barn, another the house, and another the dog house. Canada gets all the lands between for free. If land is surrendered, which it is through the Act, proof of continuous ownership of the whole territory is lost forever.

This is why Canada supports James Gabriel – they want the farm for free. This is why Canada gave Gabriel complete control over, and boosted the numbers of his police force. The issue is not, as the media claims, about cracking down on crime. If this were the case police would be arresting the fraudulent authors of the Agreement. They’d be arresting Canadian and Quebec politicians who have been negotiated withGabriel illegally. James Gabriel is Canada’s main man for implementing the Kanesatake Interim Land Based Governance Agreement – the extinguishment of the Mohawks’ Aboriginal Original Title and Rights. No cost is too great for Canada to achieve what it has desired for the past 284 years – not monetarily, nor the loss of life. If Canada and Gabriel get their way, most of those opposed to Bill S-24 will soon be imprisoned or impoverished.

We must organize a solid anti-colonial campaign in support of the Mohawks of Kanehsatake. The Mohawk People’s resistance and our solidarity actions must be understood and supported by a mass of non-native people. This serious and deadly war is taking place in “our” own backyards. The bureaucratic assault has nearly been finalized, now Gabriel wants to “cut the heads off his opposition”. This will only happen if the Canadian and Quebec governments are allowed to continue their support for Gabriel, he cannot fight the Mohawk community on his own. Stopping our government’s interventions in Kanehsatake affairs is the role we can take in this conflict.


Kanehsatake Election Looms

Mohwak Nation News. June 15, 2005. Canada must get their man into office. The dollar signs are popping up and the cash registers are ringing. It all about “niobium”, a rare metal that has been found in only a couple of places in the world. Kanehsatake Mohawk Territory is sitting on a motherload.

Niocan Inc. and its multi-national investors just have to start mining one of the most valuable minerals in the world. Niobium strengthens steel needed for armaments and other military toys. It is also useful for space exploration. There’ll be no peace ‘til they get it. Maybe we should let them build their rocket ship so they can get out of our way once and for all. It is a useful mineral for those who want to control the world. All that stands in the way of world/universal domination is a few stubborn Mohawk Indians in a little community 50 kilometres up the Ottawa River from Montreal. The people of Kanehsatake have been fighting mining since the 1950’s. This area has the highest naturally found radon in North America. So when mining is started, it will stir up the natural level of radon gas as well as several other radio active materials. The territory will become a wasteland. About six years ago Indian Affairs tried to stop the protests and demands for an environmental study by cutting off their funds.

If they can’t get total control of these pesky Mohawks, they have to get rid of them. What to do. Canada decided to send in the troops. They hired a public relations firm, high rollers with slick suits lead by someone from the Prime Minister’s Office. They found a ready puppet in James Gabriel. He had just been kicked out of the band office by the people through a vote of non-confidence for mismanaging their affairs and for corruption.

Canada needed to discredit the community. Gabriel was given access to unlimited funds and resources. He hired Richard Walsh, a petty crook with a string of convictions who was wanted for fraud all over southern Ontario. In an inversion of regular police procedure, his job was to find “or create” proof that the people of Kanehsatake were criminals. Despite gaining access to private military files and impersonating a police officer, Walsh found nothing. No charges were laid against him except for impersonating a Mohawk police officer and possession of prohibited weapons given to him by James Gabriel. Canada covered up the scandal.

Kanehsatake is a modest rural community. About 900 people live there. They’ve been having trouble getting funding for  education and health care. Never mind. Canada found $40 million for a police action that was doomed to failure from beginning to end. Defeated by less than 50 determined Warriors, old age pensioners, moms and teens.

James Gabriel’s ruthless disregard for the lives and welfare of his people was recently confirmed by a report by the Surete du Quebec (SQ). Senior officer, Jacques Beaupre, signed an affidavit concerning James Gabriel’s raid on Kanehsatake on January 12th 2004. As he pointed out, normal policing procedures were not followed. There wasn't enough evidence to lay a single criminal charge or get a warrant. Grand Chief James Gabriel initiated a “botched plan to raid his own community with a force of 60 aboriginal police officers drawn from all over Quebec and Ontario. It was a recipe for disaster”. As Beaupre could see in advance, the operation “risked unleashing a series of events that would be difficult to control”. That’s an understatement!

Apparently the RCMP told the SQ about the planned operation in October 2003. James Gabriel’s goal was to fire Kanehsatake police chief Tracy Cross, ignoring the people’s committee that was supposed to supervise policing. He wanted to replace Cross with officers who would follow him personally with unquestioning loyalty. He wanted to disband the citizen run Police Commission, close down the cigarette shacks and look for “criminals”.

James Gabriel’s plan was to seize control of Kanehsatake, start patrolsand arrest “drug dealers”, even though there was no evidence to prove any existed. He and his public relations firm used the press and media to criminalize the entire community to justify the attack.

There were no pre-raid investigations, no identifiable suspects, and no proof was provided to justify arrests or seizures. They were just gonna charge in! Gonzo! @#*! Smack! Pow! Whack! Zing! Boom! Smash!

The RCMP and SQ refused to back up the Aboriginal policemen and Gabriel’s personal militia popularly known as the “goons”. Vans and police cars came rolling in with concussion grenades, tear gas, high tech equipment, sophisticated weaponry such as MP-5’s and AR-15’s. They also had 16 body bags for the 16 targets of James Gabriel. The invasion of this peaceful rural community known for apple orchards, ice fishing and country delights began on a cold wintry morning around lunchtime.

The officers and goons got only as far as the police station before they were surrounded by about 50 residents of all ages ranging from toddlers to gray haired elders who were surprised to find red dots shining on their foreheads. They had become the targets of snipers. Shortly after this Gabriel’s house was burnt down. It’s not quite sure why. Some say a truck was seen moving goods out of his house a few days earlier. No one was charged even though there is lots of film footage of the area before and after the fire which burnt very well. It seems there may have been ammunition stored in Gabriel’s basement.

Was this arson by the community or an event staged for the media by Gabriel and his buddies? There just isn’t enough evidence to say. The authorities aren’t looking for any. After Gabriel’s failed coup, he fled the community and set up shop in the Hilton Hotel in nearby Laval. Poppa Doc Duvalier, Aristide, the Shah of Iran and Imelda Marcos with all her shoes. No matter how poor the people they try to control are, why do these guys always end up in the lap of luxury? Peacekeepers from sister Mohawk community, Kahnawake, arrived to broker a peace deal. The goons left, though they continue to intimidate the people on the outskirts of the community.

Beaupre predicted that there will be no peace in Kanehsatake and no peaceful election if the police are led by Gabriel’s loyalists. Gabriel considered no alternatives to the raid and he had no risk management plan. The lives of the people were endangered. At first, the heavily armed goons mistakenly arrived in the parking lot of the elementary school. Young children were playing outside. Two dismayed band councilors, Pearl Bonspille and John Harding, just happened to pass by. When they asked what was going on, the commandos flashed a paper claimed to be a band council resolution. It was signed by James Gabriel and his three loyalists keeping the rest of the council in the dark. This was their authorization for this hostile takeover.

The goons then went to the police station right across from the high school without evacuating the students or even informing the principal. The gun toting, flak jacketed commandos had prepared themselves for battle. They made no provisions whatsoever to protect the children. The principal who saw things happening thought someone was shooting a B movie. The police raid was so improbable in this otherwise calm rural setting. .

Following Gabriel’s lead, the media started calling Pearl Bonspille, John Harding and Steve Bonspille the “dissident councilors”. It’s hard to know what they were dissenting to other than the usurpation of democratic processes. In the face of Canada’s astonishing support for Gabriel’s despotism, and in a bid to ensure fair elections and honest governance, they started a law suit on behalf of the people. They filed charges against James Gabriel stemming from the January 12th 2004 raid and another incident on May 3rd 2004, a second attempted coup. They are suing for breach of trust, violating the Coroner’s Report in the Death of SQ Officer Marcel Lemay, breaking the Police Act, endangering civilian lives, abuse of authority, breaking the policing agreement, providing fraudulent information and diverting $900,000 of community funds for the raid.

To further punish the community, Gabriel and the Canadian government closed down the high school one month before the end of the school term. Children are now writing their exams in
temporary trailers. Gabriel loyalist, Marie Chene, made a public statement that “there should be a separate school for the children whose parents are criminals”. They still haven’t figured out a way to get proof anyone in the community has committed a crime. Looks like another flawed plan. The community suit brought by Bonspille and Harding could do the trick and Gabriel and his gang could end up in jail. In violation of Indigenous rights under international human rights law, education, health and social services have been drastically cut. Since the botched raid, Gabriel has fired many people who he believes are not loyal enough to him.

Gabriel allowed the sale of the LaTrappe property to a white buyer. This violates the agreement made by the community with Indian Affairs that all properties that are put up for sale must be bought by Indian Affairs and turned over to the Mohawks. In another violation of this agreement, Gabriel loyalist, Raymond Gabriel, helped with the sale of 680 acres of prime Kanehsatake land adjacent to the niobium mine to the Mayor of the nearby non-native town of Oka for $8 million. Nobody knows where that money went.

Kanehsatake is not a reservation. It is unsurrendered Indigenous territory. The Indian Act and its municipal government system cannot apply to this territory. Canada is desperate to force an Indian Act election. James Gabriel unilaterally called one for June 25th, 2005 without
consultation with or getting the consent of the community. The people had thrown him out in a referendum for mismanagement of their affairs, corruption and misuse of their funds. Canada used its courts to put James Gabriel back into office violating the referendum results.

This is not a democratic election! There appears to be no rules except those generated by Gabriel. Only the candidates loyal to Gabriel have been provided with the ‘real’ list of voters. The others have been given a list with no addresses or phone numbers. There is no membership code. There appears to be a lot of new non-Mohawk voters carrying around newly acquired membership cards. Recently, at a metro store in Oka, a pale non-native wearing a jacket with a Mohawk Warrior emblem on the back, flashed his membership card. He stated he is eligible
to vote in the forthcoming election. The electoral officers are Gabriel loyalists. They are accepting ‘proxy’ votes from who knows who and who knows where.

Is this Zimbabwe or Kanehsatake? At least Zimbabwe benefits from United Nations supervision of its elections. It is hard to believe that such imperious ways are happening here. Despite Canada’s fine international reputation, it is allowing Gabriel to violate all the established democratic standards. What gives? Is this all for niobium?

Kahentinetha Horn