Thursday, April 16, 2009
Shockwaves or Ripples?
With no TV crews or armed conflict, no protest rally or demonstration and no court room drama or billion dollar development plan the Kanienkehaka are rattling the Establishment. For those of you that have read my posts, affectionately referred to as "Land Claims; Mohawk Style" and thought it was kinda cool or some what interesting, let me put it in its proper perspective. The powers that be are freaking out. The US Department of Justice sent their ace mediator from their enigmatic Community Relations Service to try to do an assessment of the "conflict". Now most of us don't just suspect, but know the State, feds and even an occasional overly zealous city agency has sent their agents into our communities to keep an eye on us. Hell, we know that all too often "tribal leaders" call them in and even assist them. But rarely do the feds sideline their gun-toting, badge-wearing, warrant-waving tough guys from their undercover("Oh, We're here for some other reason") work, sneaking around asking elusive questions, identifying the bad guys and planning their assaults. Those of us who have been around long enough, have seen it before (we remember their last guy, Fletcher Graves), but we still know it is not their normal procedure. The new guy, Renaldo Rivera, like Graves is a man of color(Graves was black, Rivera is Puerto Rican). His demeanor is even more humble than the last guy and works very hard to endear himself to us. His stature and presence does not command respect but rather he asks very politely for it. So why is he here? He claims that a potential conflict is brewing over the land reclaimed by the Kanienkehaka Kanohnsesne and that the conflict is borne out of the fact that no one wants to touch this, at least not directly.
So in comes this meek and humble buffer.
We know the Mohawk Nation Council has weighed in on the issue as has Joe Heath which means Onondaga has as well. we know they have read the posts here on Native Pride. The Saint Regis Tribal Council is scrambling as evidenced by its pathetic planned civil action mentioned in the previous post. The County, the sheriffs, the clerks, the courts, the lawyers; no one knows quite what to do? This is the last thing Albany or Washington wants to deal with now or anytime. There is too much wrong with this mess and the only ones that are right are the Kanienkehaka.
But aren't those the guys the Warriors? We can't let them be right. They are the Bad Indians. Grand Council said so. The first thing those guys did when they took the land back was fly that flag. What if they mess up land claims? Think of the money that could be lost. What if they take over more? Could this screw up gaming? What about our precious Monticello? Hey! don't forget about me. I'm the white guy who was hoping to sell that land and make several million dollars. Sorry dude! you are the last thing any of us are worried about. Joe, you better figure something out. You haven't been paid all these years by Oren Lyons to have all the propaganda we have put out against these guy squandered by this. Our Handsome Lake Longhouse is barely hanging on to any relevance here in Akwesasne. We can't let that other Longhouse push us further into obscurity. That's it! Let's call the Feds. We will all look the other way while they drag our people around and remove them from this land. We will blame this all on the Warriors and tell everyone, that will listen, what a set back this has been and how much money it has cost us. It has always worked in the past; why not now?
Wait a minute! This isn't what we meant when we said send in the feds. We don't want a guy whose strength is determining where the real leadership lies in a community (unless it is part of a plan to take them out). We don't want a guy to slow this process down and reduce provocations (unless it is only a ploy to lull them into a false sense of security). We want action. Smear them with guns, or drugs or even gaming might work again. But don't let them look good just because they are right. The Kanienkehaka Kanohnsesne has already made the rest of us look bad on border issues and policing issues. Now we all look completely incompetent on land issues especially with the SRMT paying property taxes on the the land purchased in Akwesasne from a native person and the deafening silence that followed. Mr. Rivera, you better have a plan. Those of us across these native communities that have fallen in lock step with everything the state and federal governments have ever asked of us did not turn our backs on our people and everything we believe in so these guys that really believe they are sovereign can look like heroes. Hurry up and do something so we can resume our positions as token Indians and get back to posing for National Geographic and pretending to be successful, wise and "traditional".
Rivera claims to be keeping the peace. He also tell us much of what we want to hear; the land is ours, we are right, he relates to us, we have the system upset and that he respects and would never do anything to dishonor us or our Longhouse. We'll see.