Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Declaration for the 4th of July

A Declaration of Sovereignty
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one People to define the political and historical relationship which has connected them with another, and to re-assume among the powers of the Earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Creation entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to make such a clarification.- We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all mankind are created equal, that they are endowed by Creation with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.-- That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among People, deriving their just powers only from the Consent of the Governed,-- That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the Right and Obligation of the affected People to alter, abolish or separate from it, and to re-establish themselves, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments and Relationships long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all human experience has shown, that mankind is more disposed to suffer, while injustices are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing that which they have grown accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Course, evinces a design to reduce Human Beings to a mere resemblance of a proud People under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty to throw off such Governments, and to provide new measures for their security.- Such has been the patient sufferance of entire Generations of the People of the Six Nations; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter what has become of their Relationship to the New York State and United States Governments. The history of the Executives, Legislators and Judges of these Governments is a history of repeated injuries, usurpations and deceit, all having in direct object the unlawful occupation of Native lands and the Eradication of First Nations as Distinct, Autonomous Societies. To prove this, let the Facts be submitted to a candid World.- The Governments of New York State and the United States have combined together and with others to subject our People to a jurisdiction foreign to our Constitution(s) and unacknowledged by our Laws; giving assent to their acts of pretended legislation:--For developing national policies, including Extermination, Removal, Assimilation and Termination, with regard to Native People:-- For directly or indirectly allowing for the unlawful occupation of Native lands and the theft of Natural resources:-- For abrogating their own "Supreme Laws of the Land", altering on every occasion promises made by the United States regarding Territorial Boundaries, Land Use and Sovereignty:-- For attempting to Denationalize us by forcing U.S. Citizenship upon us:-- For abusing our children with a policy of "Kill the Indian, Save the man" through the use residential schools, forever altering generations:-- For cutting off trade with all parts of the World, including in and amongst our own Territories:-- For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:-- For forcing our People into their courts and there by depriving us of a trial by a jury of our peers:-- For imprisoning our People for conduct in our own Territories and claiming such conduct to be crimes against the United States:-- For ignoring our own power to legislate, and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:-- For historically coercing, corrupting and deceiving our Representatives and in many cases appointing our Representatives for us:-- For keeping among us an unwarrantable police presence without the consent and against the will of our People:-- For designing specific military plans for the invasion of our Territories (ala Gallant Piper), including the requisition of body bags and ambulatory services:-- For developing the concept of “Federal Indian Law”, which applies case law from one Native Territory to another completely disregarding the distinct status of our Nations and the Relationships to, not only the United States, but the International Community in general:-- For reducing the obligations made in Treaties to welfare and arbitrary act of charity:-- For adopting policies that encourage Socialism in our Communities and discourage the private sector development of our economies:-- For developing self serving concepts including; Quasi-Sovereign, Domestic Dependent Nations, and Ward- Custodian Relationship, and then treating them as accepted and established law:-- For claiming that the U.S. Constitution vests Congress with plenary powers over the affairs of our Sovereign Nations and that our own Sovereign Powers are subject to the plenary powers of Congress:-- For destroying the natural beauty and integrity of our homelands, contaminating the air, water and soil; destroying the game and vegetation that existed in harmony since time immemorial. Representatives from New York State and the United States have mis-stated history, law and fact for the sole purpose of causing dissention and hostility among their People against our People. The formation of citizens groups calling for the abolishment of all U.S.- Indian Treaties, all Native Land Claims and recognition of our Sovereign Territories has begun. Tension between Native and non-native People in some communities is at a modern day high. By and large the Good People of New York State and the United States have remained our friends. Together with People from around the World they support our efforts and continue to recognize our Sovereignty. Our presence alone, however, is not a strong enough reminder of our history. We must, therefore, promulgate our position, our standing, our autonomy and, in the oldest of ways, offer to clean the eyes of those who cannot see injustice, clean the ears of those who cannot hear the appeals of others and clear the throats of those who cannot speak the truth.
We, therefore, the People of the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Tuscarora and Seneca Nations, appealing to the People of the Earth, Declare, that we are of right and, indeed, have always been a Sovereign People. We reject any assumption of subjugation, including any misconception regarding our Citizenship. We are and always have been the People that constitute our respective Nations and claim no other. We define our Sovereignty as the Right or Power to have Independent Authority not affiliated with other controlling entities. We affirm our Relationship to the United States and to the rest of the World as defined in the “Two Row Wampum” and disclaim and/or dissolve any political connection to anyone that supports behavior contrary to Mutual Respect, Non-interference and not conducive to a Peaceful and Prosperous journey on the River of Life.

July 4, 2010
This appears as the centerfold for the July issue of Making A Visible Impact Magazine

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Seneca Warriors mean it when they say: "Never Again!"

The following is an anonymous email forward well worth passing on.

We are a Nation in a crisis. The Seneca Nation is in the crosshairs of the US and NY State again.

Over the past 10 years, the State of New York and Phillip Morris have worked hard to pass a bill that will attack and erode the sovereignty of the Seneca Nation. Over the course of this decade our Councillors and Presidents have insisted that the passage of such legislation will be a violation of our Treaties, deny the Seneca Nation a legitimate revenue source, and devastate our economy. In spite of these efforts, the US has passed the PACT Act, and now there is no doubt that the enforcement of it is a Treaty violation, criminalizes our people, will eliminate funds needed for legitimate Seneca programs, and eliminate over 60% of commerce occurring on our territories.

The passage and implementation of the PACT Act has targeted the Seneca Nation economy, and the passage of this Act has been at the behest of the State of New York. Just as New York pressured all credit card companies and carriers like UPS, FED EX, and DHL from freely interacting with our Nation's economy, now New York State is preparing to implement a plan that will force every Seneca to pay NY State taxes. A report issued on June 10th, 2010 states clearly that the Treaties between the US and Seneca do not preclude the State of New York from collecting taxes on everything but "land".

New York State will implement this plan on September 1st, and they are planning on the implementation of the PACT Act as a measure that will destabilize our Nation--weakening our ability to use resources to defend our economy and preserve our culture. Clearly, our deadliest political enemy is our neighbor: New York State.

These facts are clearly known, so the question is what can we do about it? One option is to do nothing and simply allow the US and NY State to slowly eliminate and terminate our Nation. This option would show that the Seneca Nation agrees with NY State politicians that Senecas are "terrorists", "smugglers", "criminals", and that our economic activities are "illegitimate." More importantly, doing nothing would in essence show our acceptance of the colonial control of our destiny and our submission to the law of perpetual genocide. The PACT Act is not unique; the PACT Act is only the most recent example of colonial control by the US and NY State. The passage of this act now joins other historical events like the construction of Kinzua, I-90, I-86, Salamanca Lease, Thomas Indian School, forced relocation, compromised Treaties, land theft, Sullivan's Campaign, and the countless other colonial measures that sought to eliminate our "free use and enjoyment" of our lands.

Another option is to resist and refuse to accept NY State politicians' determining our future. Didn't we tell the US and the State of New York, "Never Again" after they flooded 1/3rd of our Allegany Territory? Isn't this why we protested NY State's invasion of our lands in 1992 and 1997. This was a time when peaceful protests on our lands were met with several thousand NY State shock troopers. Less than 20 years ago, the defense of our territories by Seneca Warriors effectively resisted the two month long NY State Trooper occupation of I-90 and I-86.

As in 1992 and 1997, the Seneca Nation in resisting the PACT Act has used every method available and like other times in our history, these efforts have fallen short. And like times in our history, the defense of the Seneca people and Nation rests in the abilities, fearlessness and strong will of Seneca Warriors to stand up and resist.

Resisting New York State has been an activity that has consumed our resources since the 1600's.

Resisting New York State this time mandates that we also resist the passage of a New York inspired law from the US. Make no mistake, NY State takes pride in proclaiming that they are behind the PACT Act.

While the United States Postal Service stance is they are simply "following orders" of the US Congress. The US Congress and US leaders have insisted that this law does not impede on the sovereignty of the Seneca Nation. Yet how do these US leaders explain away that the "main sponsor" of the PACT Act is from New York State: Anthony Weiner - US Congressman from NY? They cannot. We need to prove to the world that these people are anti-Indian. This act seeks to profile Seneca people as automatic criminals. The legislators that passed this act have positioned themselves as our enemies with their anti-Indian legislation. When the US Postal Service follows this act they will abide by anti-Indian laws and racially monitor our economic activities.

What do we do to stop New York State? We develop a plan of action to address this issue internationally, nationally, and locally.

We need to make this an international issue. Now is the time to insist that our voices are heard over the din of New York State's greed. The world is on our side, and international media will pay attention. We can get their attention by proving the PACT Act as an attempt by NYS to blockade our economy and this economic blockade must be exposed for what it is: economic terrorism. The perpetrators of these actions will be exposed as anti-Indian, and making this case will be easy in a time when Arizona is suppressing brown people in the South West.

On the national level, any plan must include the formation of a Seneca Nation postal service and the complete elimination of all US postal activities on our Territories--especially all addresses that insist on the colonial occupation of NY. This means that your address will be known as the Cattaragus Territory, SN or Allegany Territory, SN. This will send a clear and precise message to the US and NY State that the Seneca Nation refuses to remain under the passive or active control of the US and NY.

Locally, we need organized and visible protests that include the people of Western New York, during which time we need speeches, signs, and of course the local, regional, national, and international press. Our claims need to make it clear that the PACT Act is imperialism, colonialism, genocide, and the actions of NY State over the past 5 years is tantamount to an economic embargo. These protests need to be on our Territories and we need to say under no uncertain terms will we turn our people into criminals, nor will we allow outside colonial agencies to use evidence gained through racial profiling to come onto our territories to arrest and criminalize Seneca people.

Seneca Warriors are here to defend this Nation during times when America's colonial experiment enters the realm of outright oppression. Now is the time.