Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Is the "Mohawk Council of Kahnawake" trying to Hijack the Longhouse?
Last year when 60 Minutes exposed a cheating scandal that involved Mohawk Internet Technologies, an IT/gaming company that is licensed and regulated by the band council of Kahnawake (the MCK), Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes asked band councilor, Mike Delisle, if internet gambling was illegal in Canada. Delisle said Internet gambling is illegal in Canada, but told Kroft, "We're not Canadians. We're a member of the Haudenosaunee Five Nation Confederacy. And we're Mohawk, Kanienkehaka, people. We're not Canadian."
What Delisle failed to mention is that the band councils exist as a function of Canadian law. The MCK is not the Kanienkehaka. It is not Haudenosaune. It is an administrator for the Canadian government. They are funded by Canada, they are regulated by Canada, their police and courts uphold Canadian law and they administer Canadian ID cards. And although I'll admit I have never seen it, I'll bet there are more than a few Canadian flags flying around their offices and chambers. But when push comes to shove the MCK cannot defend itself on its own existence, all of a sudden they are Haudenosaune; People of the Longhouse.
These guys are realizing, like Jim Ransom did of the Saint Regis tribal council, that these tribal and band councils ain't shit. When Saint Regis tried to fight OSHA violations by the US Department of Labor against their casino in Akwesasne (which bears the name, "Akwesasne Mohawk Casino"; no mention of Saint Regis) they received a slap in US Federal court when they were ruled against with the court telling them they could not use Mohawk treaties because they were not the party to them. The court literally said that the Saint Regis Tribe could not claim to be the Mohawk Nation.
This kick in the groin to tribal and band councils did not get much attention, but some noticed. The MCK noticed, so inch by inch the band council tries to reshape itself into the Kanonhsesne; the Longhouse. When a Mike Delisle or a Joe Norton hide behind the sovereignty of the Kanienkehaka in this public manner it is fairly easy to call them out. But what is going on behind the scenes?
Even this judicial reform nonense is a concern. There has been a big push to incorporate concepts from the Kaianerehkowa in the tribal court system that will be uniquely "Mohawk", although the court's authority will come from Canada. The Kaianerehkowa could not possibly be bastardized enough to accommodate creating individuals or a panel to sit in judgement of others. And for what, so property can be "legally" seized from individuals as judgements? No way! Band councilors have been quoted as claiming that the Great Law is theirs too. I say "bullshit!" These band and tribal councils have abandoned the Kaianerehkowa as well as their birthright as Kanienkehaka. They get their authority from Ottawa and Washington, not from our history, not from our ancestors and not from the instructions handed down over time immemorial. Just like the rest of Canada and the United States, these tribal and band councils know where true sovereignty lies.
So how do you regain a birthright you have surrendered? These guys either think they can just repackage themselves as Kanienkehaka or worse yet can earn brownie points from their custodians by undermining the Kanonhsesne.
Let's be clear the Kaianerehkowa does not create authority or institutions. It provides a process for sovereignty to stay where it belongs, with the people. Band councils are for people that do not want to accept responsibility and simply want someone else to do the work that they are too lazy or too useless to do themselves. Abuse of authority comes from delegation of authority. Our Longhouses need to become more active and they need to resist any incursion from these imposers and impostors.