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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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Federal Agents Raid a Seneca Business

Wednesday, shortly before 11am, 20-30 federal agents moved on to the Seneca territory of Cataraugus to arrest Will Parry and to search his home and business. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came in en masse after a long undercover investigation that spanned from Kansas City, Missouri to the Native lands of the Seneca. Whether it is a coincidence that Parry was singled out in what many would perceive as a pretty brazen assault on a strong community of Senecas remains to be seen. Parry has had an on-going dispute with the Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI) business regulators and challenges the authority of their Import-Export Commission to tax and regulate Seneca businesses. With or without SNI approval or involvement the ATFE asserted federal authority/aggression over a Seneca man on Seneca soil. Will Parry is accused of violating a federal wire fraud and telecommunications statute in the purchase of cigarettes; not drug, guns or bombs: cigarettes. 

This raid constitutes the second armed act of aggression this year by federal authorities within sovereign Native lands of the Western Door of the Haudenosaunee. Early this year almost 100 federal agents raided several businesses on the territory of the Tonawanda Senecas. Most in this area can not remember a time when the federal government has taken such aggressive actions against Native people. Add to this heavy handed attempts by the IRS and the Treasury Department's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) agents to impose and collect income and "floor" taxes against individuals and tribal governments and the atmosphere is clearly unprecedented. 

A US President who spends millions on photo ops with "real Indians" and even has a Crow Indian name has signed several bills into law that killed thousands of jobs and businesses on Native lands and has TTB agents adding insult to that injury by attempting to impose millions of dollars in "floor tax" on those very businesses and others. There are some "BIA Indians" out west that will swear that Mr. Obama is the best president "Indians" have ever seen (of course that includes the Crow). In the lands of the Haudenosaunee the president is called Ranahtakaias. This name started with Washington and has been used for the 43 since. The "Town Destroyer" that now sits in the White House will almost certainly serve a second term before the 45th Rahnatakaias is served up and as such the question is: will he continue to violate the sovereignty of Native people?

This year also saw this Rahnatakaias tepidly endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It wasn't a full endorsement but rather an endorsement for the "aspirations" of the Declaration (provided, of course, it doesn't conflict with US laws or undermine the current remedy for Native conflicts; US courts). So tepid or not, what does a Declaration signed by every nation of the UN mean? And  how can it be reconciled with the actions of this administration in DC? The question is not for the US courts but for the World. 

Many would offer a complete disconnect between this Rahnatakaias and the US Attorneys and federal agencies directly involved in the aggression. But that simply can't fly around here. This guy even has a Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs in the White House. In fact, he is on his second one; Jodi Gillette was appointed this year after Kimberly Teehee left the post. Surely White House Indians gotta help close that gap.

All said and done, Will Parry sits in chains today not sure what the future holds. These things never go well in court (that's their plan). Can it be pulled out? Perhaps. The two raids this year cannot be erased but the next one does not have to happen and the current charges don't need to be pursued. 

What is to make this stop? Time to get Jodi to put a bug in the ear of the 44th Rahnatakaias. 


Robert said...

Any chance for an "official" Haudenosaunee response to these raids? Fool me once...ya know?

Anonymous said...

2X in less than one year...There is no respect for Haudenosaunee rights. What's next? How would another country like it if the US just decided to raid them one day? Oh yeah. They do that all the time.

John Kane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Not a Robot said...

The pictures in this blog post are exclusive of all of the media coverage of these events. Thank you for your hard work in what you are doing here. These are the only public images to date. Great job John!

Haudenosaunee federal Marshals said...

There is a current ongoing investigation of these actions and others. Any treaty violation will be adjudicated by the lawful entity who possesses the jurisdiction. The State of New York and the Seneca Nation of Indians are bound to these treaties as are the Haudenosaunee and the United