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Solidarity with Kanehsatake


In solidarity with the 284-year struggle against colonialism by the Mohawk Peoples of Kanehsatake, a newly formed coalition has come together to, in part, facilitate the transportation of outside supporters into the Pines area of Kanehsatake where community members have been maintaining nightly guard against police incursion into their territory.

For the past 6 months, since January 12th, 2004, the peoples of Kanehsatake have successfully resisted a federally sponsored, politically motivated, militarized invasion of their community. They have put their lives and freedom on the line in order to stop the formation of a police state headed by Grand Chief James Gabriel, whose leadership itself was imposed through a federal court injunction. Twenty-four Kanehsatake community members face charges of participation in a riot and forcible confinement of police officers.

Resistance on the part of community members has meant, in part, camping out, night after night over the past three months, in the Pines of Kanehsatake. Community and outsider presence in this pivotal geographic area is necessary if bloodshed in the community is to be prevented and federal and provincial sponsored aggression is to be stopped. The task of maintaining guard is exhausting, and community members continue to request and appreciate the physical presence of people from outside of the area in the Pines alongside them.

Support is especially necessary now, given that the community of Kanehsatake faces great uncertainty as the Band Council mandate has ended and elections for the new council are still two months away. James Gabriel has proclaimed that he and his council allies will continue to rule, with Quebec Native Affairs backing. Gabriel "needs" law-and-order - his criminal police force - to be implemented in the community before he start election campaigning he says. Due to these circumstances, and the uncertainty of the situation, the community of Kanehsatake is asking for supporters to come and stand with them through this transition period. Bring your tents, some food, and any recording devices such as video cameras, cameras, mini-discs, etc.

Solidarity with Kanehsatake means standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the community and sharing in the burden of their struggle. If you can't make it to Kanehsatake, call all Canadian & Quebec officials involved in this ploy. Demand they respect the Mohawk peoples' right to determine an end to this crisis, and their political, economic and policing future.

To connect with other people and groups planning to go to Kanehsatake or helping organize transportation for supporters, e-mail soutien-k-org@lists.taktic.org

Getting to Kanehsatake:

Hudson route
There is a ferry from Hudson to Oka that runs everyday from 7h00-22h00 except Sunday when it starts at 8h00. The ride is 10 minutes it takes you to Oka, from where you continue straight to Highway 344, take a left and up "the hill" into Kanehsatake. Cost: 7.00$ / car or truck, 2.00$ / bike, 1.50$ / walk-on
To get to Hudson
- By Train (AMT www.amt.qc.ca): Cost: 6$ each way or 24$ for 6 tickets Mon-Friday only. The train leaves leaves Lucien L'Allier: 17h20, Vendome: 17h26 and arrives in Hudson at 18h30. Return to Montreal from Hudson 6h58 (useless for return from Kanasehtake if the ferry doesn't start until 7h00)
- Driving: Take the 40 west and you'll see signs for Hudson and the ferry to Oka, exit 26.

Train to Deux-Montagnes route:
- The Train for Deux-Montagnes leaves from Gare Central mon-fri 6h45 - 00h30, Sat 9h00 - 00h30, and Sun 10h00 - 00h30. *If you have a bike you have to leave from the Canora station (7300, chemin Canora; cross with Jean-Talon West). Cost: 6$ each way or 24$ for 6 tickets.
Driving: From the autoroute 40, take the 13 north (exit 60) OR 15 north to the 640 west until the end and then the 344 which goes straight through Oka and into Kanehsatake.


BACKGROUNDER

Grand Chief James Gabriel of the Kanesatake Band Council is a politician dazzled by powers given by Quebec & Canada no matter the cost to his community. People in Kanehsatake are fed up with Canada & Quebec's attempts to use Gabriel to undermine Mohawk sovereignty, culture, land rights and economies. Learning about Gabriel's deals with government only through press releases, the community's been excluded from decision-making - a cornerstone of the consensus-based Mohawk culture. With Gabriel's help, Canada has nearly accomplished its goal of subordinating Kanehsatake's sovereign national status to that of a municipality through Bill S-24, the "Kanesatake Land Based Governance Act". Canada's January 12th attempt at imposing totalitarian rule over Kanehsatake - by funding Gabriel's privately-controlled, 60-person police force - left community members no place in the affairs of their own community. Or so Gabriel hoped. Since January 12th, Kanehsatake residents have demonstrated their opinions through militant resistance, and successfully stopped attempts at outside invasion and political interference.

In 1994, leaked documents proved Canada was planning a 6,000-troop military invasion of Mohawk communities producing and selling their own cigarettes. One report stated the need to "target the Indian's claim to the inherent right of inter-tribal trade with sister Mohawk communities and the native run tobacco manufacturing industry as a whole". With all other funds tightly controlled by Department of Indian Affairs & Band Council, the Mohawk tobacco trade is the one autonomous source of income enabling Mohawk families and social services to sustain themselves. It enables Mohawks to organize and fight Canada's attempts to assimilate and control them. The growing economic strength of Mohawk Nations threatens the implementation of Canada's colonial agenda, it's not just about lost tax revenues. Canada's January 12th "extraordinary" police operation, and April 1st Tripartite Policing Agreement (which transfers control of policing in Kanehsatake to Canada, Quebec & Gabriel) both aim to crack down on this Mohawk economy not, as they claim, "organized crime". Chief Gabriel stated he wants his police to "cut the head off his opposition". Gabriel's opposition is Quebec & Canada's too. This is why our governments are so invested in Gabriel's leadership they've been making deals excluding half the Chiefs on Council and the whole of the community. This is why Quebec & Canada maintain Gabriel is "the sole legitimate authority for Kanehsatake". In the context of 21st century colonialism, Canada rewards native "leaders" willing to place their communities under Canadian and provincial jurisdiction. Last year's First Nations Governance Act was defeated by the unified efforts of Indigenous communities across Canada. Now the strategy is to implement the legislation quietly, community-by-community, in order to avoid collective resistance. Once again Kanehsatake is drawing national attention to Canada's colonial agenda by standing up to all the government can throw at them. They are determined to not allow Gabriel's collusion with the state to undermine their rights, nor set a precedent for the assimilation of other Indigenous Nations.
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