By John Karhiio Kane (Mohawk)
The embarrassing failure of the U.S. prosecutor in the Three Feathers Casino trial is not a win. It's not even a draw! Surviving the persecution and prosecution of their law enforcement agents, lawyers, judges and juries is a good thing, but it is not justice. It is not justice when someone jams a stick in each of your eyes and his system forces him to pull one out.
Kaneratiio and Rarahkwisere did not win in U.S. Federal Court last week with their acquittal in the Three Feathers Casino trial. They didn't get their year back. Kaneratiio doesn't get back the freedom that was restricted. Rarahkwisere doesn't back get the 11 months he was forced to sit in jail. Sakioetha doesn't get back the year he spent away from his home avoiding the same fate. Nor has the stick been pulled from his eye.
Their courts are for “them.” Their courts are for those who are part of their system — for those who vote, who fly their flags and pledge allegiance to it. The courts are for the people who come to America with hopes and dreams of striking it rich or escaping homelands gone terribly wrong.
These courts are not for us — people that have lived free and independent lives for thousands of years before a White man, his church and his laws washed up on our shores. They are not for a people that never consented to subjugation or incorporation to them or with them.
Neither the U.S. nor Canada can cite the date or the event that our sovereignty was transferred to them. They both claim jurisdiction over us but can't seem to come up with how or when they got it. Oh sure, they can cite a law or a ruling, but they can never quite explain how their lawmakers and judges obtain the authority to strip the sovereignty from a people outside their legal authority. Is it “might makes right”? Well, what happened to their "rule of law" claims then or those "unalienable rights" they declared?
It's all a house of cards. These claims to ownership of our lands and lives are simply false. When all is said and done, all the lands and freedoms of Indigenous peoples were claimed under the banner of "Manifest Destiny" and the "Doctrine of Christian Discovery,” the latter a racist concept put forth by the Catholic Church and clung to by all European "Christian" nations as justification for half a millennium of crime — crimes that continue today.
The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms "that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust."
Yet the U.S. and Canada claim supremacy over us on what the entire world knows to be a premise that is racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust.
So the question isn't, does the U.S. and Canada have jurisdiction over us? That would be an unequivocal NO! The question is, what happens when they jam their authority down our throats, forcing it at gunpoint or with bars and chains? Most of the time their courts have their way with us while the people of the world who know it is invalid, condemnable and unjust sit quietly in the corner hoping not to be called upon. And we survive another indignity and affront to who and what we are.
But sometimes they fail. Sometimes all their power and resources, all their false accusation and claims, and all their high paid lawyers and judges fail to complete another exercise in persecution through prosecution.
The Three Feathers Casino trial is one of those failures. But it is their failure — not our victory. We can be happy and even celebrate their failure, but ending the commission of a crime before it is complete is still a crime. Surviving an attempted murder or rape does not mean that a crime was not committed.
Kaneratiio and Rarakwisere did not win a contest. They foiled a crime. The fact is that the U.S. Attorney's office attempted a crime and that, too, is a crime, a crime to which they will never answer. There is no justice when the Justice Department is committing the crime, even when a jury of their peers rules against them.
So congratulate our guys for standing up and for surviving the targeted assault against them and the Kanienkehaka Kaianerehkowa Kanonhsesne — our Longhouse. But until we stop the criminal assaults against our people there is no victory.
– John Karhiio Kane, Mohawk, a national expert commentator on Native American issues, hosts “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane,” ESPN-AM 1520 in Buffalo, Sundays, 9-11 p.m. Eastern Time. He is a frequent guest on WGRZ-TV’s (NBC/Buffalo) “2 Sides” and “The Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter” in Albany. John’s “Native Pride” blog can be found at www.letstalknativepride.blogspot.com. He also has a very active "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane" group page on Facebook.