Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Mohawks: Colonial Collapse of the Western Hemisphere


Mohawk Nation News

March 21, 2007. We’ve been trained to think that things are inevitable. We forget to look at the fact that human beings have a basic instincts for law, order and decency. In the April 2007 issue of Vanity Fair there is a major story on “How a Prison Gang took Over a City of 20 Million” by William Langwiesche. He described how a highly organized prison gang launched an attack that shut down Brazil ’s largest city last May, with the authorities powerless to stop it.

The center of Sao Paolo is a gated city of rich non-natives living in lavish luxury. They are guarded by private security. They run multi national corporations and banks from there. Their business is extraction of the resources of Brazil .

The city is ringed by shanty towns and slums where millions upon millions of the ultra poor live. These people have no voice and live completely separate from the upper and middle class. The police have gone into these shanty towns and imprisoned the bright men they considered to be trouble makers. The imprisoned people are the result of extreme colonization. They set up a secretive shapeless network that controls much of Sao Paulo . Government is non-existent to the rich and to the poor. Each has their own systems of “governments”, based on what could be called the “law of a jungle”.

For 7 days last year Sao Paulo was in a wilderness zone. A vast, amorphous "criminal" network was the only government they had. It was controlled by people who have been officially denied and not seen.

One day before this event, out of fear, 765 of those the police thought were “leaders” of 140,000 prisoners in Sao Paolo were moved to a prison outside the city. They could not communicate with their people nor continue running their businesses that were outside prison walls using cell phones. They could not protect their people. The following day the centre of Sao Paulo was swarmed by waves upon waves of people that devastated the entire city, the transportation, buildings and businesses for seven days.

The authorities could find no one to negotiate with. No one made any demands. In the end the prisoners were asked to make demands. So they asked for plasma televisions so they could watch the World Cup and to have more conjugal visits. Did people lose their lives so they could get television sets? We don’t think so!

There are positives and negatives to this story.

We’ve survived centuries of oppression, colonization and imprisonment. We’re in it for the long haul, no matter what they do to us. We’re seeing in the siege of Sao Paolo the kind of conditioning of both the colonizers and the colonized. The positions are polarized.

Human equality is a basic instinct and a reality. In Sao Paolo it developed naturally among the poor. There were cell organizations with none dominating another. Inwardly we will always work towards that. The prison situation proves that the hierarchical model will self-destruct. The distribution of wealth and opportunities must be equitable, otherwise it will fall apart.

The Onkwehonwe of Turtle Island always understood this. That is why the Kaianereh’ko:wa/Great Law is the model for democracy for the world. It takes into account this drive inside of every person for freedom. It was totally contrary to the hierarchical system.

In the hierarchical pyramid system these people do not see others. They only see themselves. It is based on self-centeredness, which is natural to a baby. A baby is dependent and weak and can only think of itself. The “twos” are called terrible because that’s when people have to learn they are not the only people in the world. They give up their childish self-centeredness. They have to co-operate to survive.

The hierarchical system is not based on rational reasonable human characteristics. Ego centrism is a basic survival instinct for a baby. Those caught up in the hierarchical system indicates they have been improperly "potty trained". Psychologically they are what is called an “anal” personality. They regress if they are conditioned to see other humans as being inferior to them. To them we are not human. We are not visible.

They can’t see humans as part of the natural world. They cannot care for the natural world because they cannot see it and are disconnected from it. In a lonely individualist society they can only be part of that which they can control and destroy.

Those who wish to dominate us make us focus so hard on getting the basic things of life like food, water and a place to live. We have no time to think. We can only react. This is a major cause of a lot of crimes.

A lot of property crimes are based on the system of wealth for the few and poverty for the many. In Onkwehonwe communities we are forced to eke out a living. Then our activities are criminalized. If not, then foreign corporate states [ Canada and the U.S. ] try to regulate and tax us, which are extortion.

They make us think all we can do is run casinos for them on our lands. This kind of gambling violates Onkwehonwe law. Those who win at our gambling games end up with the presents but also with the obligations to take care of those they defeated. In the colonial style there is no obligation to winning. It makes them even more self centered.

Colonial states will only support gambling in our communities if they can take money from us with no obligation to us. They don’t give any of that tax back to us. At the same time they use the gambling as a way to demonized us and associate us with illicit behavior.

The good side of the Sao Paolo event shows that respect for fellow human beings will always emerge. Even in a jungle like a prison. This is the basis of legality. The depressing side of this is that Canadian and U.S. societies have not come to that realization. To colonial society sharing is a loss of control.

The large metropolitan areas in the United States are developing the same symptoms as South American cities where roving bands of youth are organizing themselves and are going to try to take over. Turtle Island cities are going to face the same situation if they don’t share the resources equitably. They think they have to steal from and brutalize people to keep control, by using armies, police, government and all levers of the military to keep control. They don’t know that “power” is in the people.

They think if they obey their own laws and recognize Onkwehonwe rights, they will fall. They don’t realize in an egalitarian society there is no place to fall. The energy wasted on that kind of fear should be directed to problem solving that makes life better for everyone.

Like South America , more "private" prisons are being built. It’s been proven that a crack down by the police precedes lawlessness. Imprisonment does not foster lawful behavior. The more police the more crime there is. Many have been falsely accused. Many are appealing, with DNA and other means. Many have been wrongfully convicted.

Those who were not criminals became criminal minded. They learned inside from thieves, rapists, killers and liars. When placed in their midst, how do you survive? You have to fit in. Otherwise you will be their victim. Many become part of that swinging door society. The burden falls on the tax payer, not on the corporate crooks.

In fact, we are seeing prime examples of corrupt governments. Look at all the political scandals, the politicians trying to hide their crimes, each cutting the others throats and protecting their private interests. The difference between them and those in jail is that the bars are not on their windows yet.

This corruption is based on fear by those who think that society has to be set up so that everybody is afraid of them. If not, they will lose out to those they have no control over.

As it looks now, the upper class of South America are going to be eaten up by American companies. This model is being played out on Turtle Island . Here we have two corporations, the U.S. and Canada . The U.S. amoeba is going to swallow up the Canadian one.

Remember Britain thought it “ruled the wave” forever. Rule Brittania! It collapsed. The U.S. thinks it will rule everything. It will collapse too. The symptom of its collapse is that it is trying to swallow everything in its sight.

We have to hold onto our hats. We’re in for a rough ride. We Onkwehonwe have survived devastation before by hanging in there. We remembered our culture. We looked after our children. We thought about our future generations. We kept our sense of humor. We got rid of our spies and traitors. We never bought the story that we were any less than anyone else as human beings. That’s how we beat colonialism before. That’s how we will beat it again!

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News
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