The Mohawks are demanding that Canadian Border Guards not be allowed to carry weapons on their land. In response, the Canadians have blockaded the bridge to Mohawk land and the US has supported them by closing their side.
[An irony is that the truck plaza for the proposed new Peace Bridge was going to be on the Canadian side in Fort Erie. Canadians wouldn't allow US border guards to carry weapons on Canadian land or to fingerprint people since that is a violation of their constitution. Now they are planning to tear down an entire historic neighborhood so they can put the truck stop on the Buffalo side, thus allowing US border guards to have their guns. (The West Side neighborhood has some of the highest respiratory illness among the children living there with the current set up. It would only increase with the planned truck plaza. There has been a lot of opposition and it may never happen.) The arming of the Canadian border guards went into effect on June 1, 2009]
The Mohawks have been harassed and abused by the Canadian border guards for years and are concerned about the attempt to arm the guards. Many believe it is to elicit a reaction from the Mohawks so they can move in forcibly and confiscate their valuable land.
Perhaps the Canadians have been studying the tactics used by the Israelis to control and confiscate Palestinian land.
Monday, June 22, 2009
22 Days into June and Still the US is Denying Mohawks Access to their Own Community
Before a June 1st deadline filled with threats of armed border guards and tougher scrutiny for those that dare enter the American dreamland could come to pass, the US and Canadian shut down the Three Nations Bridge, connecting the two through the most unlikely and unwilling partner; the Mohawk Nation.It is amazing that the blockade of a small Native community by two of the largest countries in the world could continue this long with little to no outrage, media or even comment. No Obama, not even a tap dance around the subject. No Clinton, no Napolitano. The few comments offered by US politicians, like Schumer, Gillibrand and McHugh, suggested this was a quarrel that had to be worked out between Canada and the Mohawks, accepting no responsibility or even acknowledging the actions on the US side of this issue.
The two issues that simply do not square is why the Mohawk opposition to allowing the Canadian Border Service Agency to establish an armed presence in the heart of a Mohawk village should result in the US blocking access to that portion of the community. As mentioned in previous posts; all the 911 hysteria that has allowed unprecedented incursions into civil rights and has literally allowed both the US and Canada to get away with murder (sometimes even against each other), proves once again to be only a tool to be picked up and used when convenient, not necessarily an evenly applied policy or standard.The US / Canadian border became a spotlight issue after 9/11. Millions spent on high-tech border stations, passport requirements and higher identification standards, travel and tourism studies, trade and commerce studies; all smoke and mirrors.The US right now is not only forcing a so-called breach in their "border security" at a spot that they have bitched about ever since they scribed a line on a map of our territory, but they are now completely turning a blind eye to it. With the New York State Police denying us access to our own community by bridge, we are forced to once again go back to days of old and use the river for our transportation. This traffic has increased to the point that many passenger and even a vehicle ferry is now in operation granting access to the Cornwall Island from the southern portions of our community. In spite of this "breach" or the hazards of water travel, no one from the US side has even attempted a conversation with the Mohawk people. To be honest, most of us are OK with the bridge being closed, for now. But the first accident on the river or the first attempt by anyone trying to close this access will certainly cause the stakes to be raised.
The Obama administration has prided itself on the diversity of their appointments. So my question is when do these people move beyond gesture made by their appointments and really do something. Larry Echohawk, Jodi Gillette and Kimberly Teehee; the Mohawk lines are now open. It must have been pretty uncomfortable coming to our Western Door in Seneca Territory for NCAI unprepared to address the issues of our Eastern Door. The Seneca People too are waiting to see how you conduct yourselves regarding the assault on their commerce as well.
We don't need anymore apologies from US and Canadian officials or agencies. We don't need new policies unless the new policy is removing the old ones. Stop the assault on our sovereignty.
-thanks to ohnkwe ohnwe at Native Pride