MNN. Mar. 28, 2013. On March 26, 2013, the MNN editor was invited to be the opening speaker at Champlain College in Sherbrooke Quebec. The topic was, “A Native Perspective on Canada’s Exploitation of Resources”. Two Mohawks, as is our custom, accompanied the speaker. They sat at a table facing the crowd.
She did a traditional opening; explained the Seigneury of Sault Louis land,dispute which is returning vast areas to the Mohawk Nation; that Canada is not a state according to the Montevideo Convention of 1933; the genocide committed by the Jesuits, the storm troopers of the Catholic Church; the Great Peace of Montreal 1701 that created the official two row wampum relationship between the Indigenous and the visitors to Great Turtle Island; and Section 109 of the BNA Act 1867 that established the ever growing $50.3 trillion Indian Trust Fund. The presentation was legalistic and cautious.
Cartoons were inserted in the power point presentation to help them understand the basics. They were carefully taken step by step through the legal maze of their settlement history here on our land and their legal position today.
The speaker received an ovation. Then the questions and comments began. Some in tears, said, “What happens to us?” “I came here because I love the Indians. After listening to you, now I hate them and I hate you!” “I didn’t do anything. My ancestors did.” “Why? Why are you telling us this?” “You have no feelings for us!” I instructed them to study the Great Law of Peace to help them understand our position.
The speaker, a 73-year old elder of the Mohawk Nation, tried to make light of the provocative jibes to calm them down. This made them madder. The discussion became more and more heated. Some students stomped out. Others heckled and smirked. The air became static with anger and threats. The speaker remarked, “The truth hurts”. Almost the entire student body jeered in astonishment. The three Mohawks could feel intense anger and were ready to deal with it. And they did.
For a moment the crowd calmed down. Then the insults started again. The speaker was accused of “having no feelings”. The speaker answered, “Yes, the we have strong feelings about the genocide of 100 million people and the murder of half our children placed in your church run residential schools. No one has been charged or punished for this.” More angry words flew. None addressed the legitimate issues. The sound arguments backed them into a corner. It was like they were standing on their hind legs and were ready to jump the Mohawks.
Suddenly a teacher rose up. She reminded them that, “We wanted to hear the Indigenous side. You have to listen even if she turns it inside out”. The confrontation ended. They formed groups and began talking, some giving the Mohawks dirty looks.
A native speaker should take at least three people security when they go into a potential hostile situation. Because of the rampant spread of the Owistah disease throughout the settler population, an adverse side affect is, when they don’t like the message, they might kill the messenger. As the Guess Who sang:Guns Guns Guns “You be the Red King and I’ll be the Yellow Pawn. Guns, guns, guns! Eagle all gone and no more caribou. God speed mother nature. Never really wanted to say good-bye”.
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