August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No jail time for Kahentinetha Horn

No jail time for Kahentinetha Horn
Jan. 26, 2011

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
On January 21, 2011, Kahentinetha Horn pleaded guilty to charges of assaulting police officers and obstructing justice. The charges arose when the publisher and editor of Mohawk Nation News was attacked at the Akwesasne Canada-US border on June 14, 2008 by Canadian Border Service Agents (CBSA.)

Her lawyer, Phil Schneider, and the crown attorney at Cornwall Court agreed that if she pleaded guilty to the obstruction, the assault charge would be withdrawn. The judge gave her a sentence of an absolute discharge, with no criminal record.

Background: Kahentinetha had a problem that occurred at the border two and a half years ago one June 14, 2008. She drove to the Canada-US checkpoint on Cornwall Island with two Mohawks, a man and a woman. They were pulled over allegedly because the woman passenger had an outstanding arrest warrant.
An hour went by. She said that around 2:15 pm, “We were surrounded by about a dozen flak jacketed, steel toe booted, gloved and well armed special squad."

The male passenger got out and sat on the nearby bench. The customs officers wanted to speak to her female passenger, who was reluctant to get out. The CBSA pulled her out, pushed her to the ground, handcuffed, subdued her and took her away.

Kahentinetha said, “I became afraid for my safety. They had no reason to stop me. When they asked me to get out of the car, I became scared after I saw what they did to her."

The mob of guards came around to her side ordering her to get out without giving a reason. She hesitated.

She told them, “I’ve done nothing wrong, have no outstanding charges, contraband, or reason to be questioned.”

After the treatment of the others who were under her protection, she wondered what they would do the owner of the car. “I told one customs officer after another, “I refuse to be mistreated like my passengers." They gave her no guarantees this was not going to happen to her or worse. She had no independent witnesses.

Twelve large male and two female customs officers swarmed around. “I saw big trouble for me if I got out," Kahentinetha said.

At a signal from a guy taking orders by cell phone, they pounced on her, pulled her out and started twisting her left arm. The pain was so severe she thought they were trying to break it. She screamed and tried to pull her arm away. (This is all on the Canada Customs video.)

She began to think they were after her, not her passenger. They obviously knew who she was. They kept calling their superiors and must have been told to take her out and arrest her, no matter what.

The question is why did they need so many large male guards to deal with a 68-year old woman? They had taken a long time verifying her age, address, background and car.

“I’ve been through this before with police officers who have tried to put me in hospital or a morgue. There seems to be a lot of anger towards me."
They finally dragged her handcuffed behind her back into the customs house where she was out of sight. She was put alone in a cell and treated roughly. One of the guards would tighten the cuffs. He tried to bend her over and push her arm up to stop the blood from circulating into her arms and across her chest. It seemed like they knew what they were doing.

“An officer stood in front of me and tried to pull my head down towards her crotch area. I found that very disgusting." They both kept yelling at her to bend forward.

"What really scared me was I could feel them trying to pull my pants down as I was being bent over. At that moment I saw stars, became dizzy, starting panting and having pains in my shoulder and across my chest and back. I almost passed out," said Kahentinetha. The guards had tasers, which is electric shock that can kill a person. “They thought they could get rid of me without using it," Kahentinetha believed.

It was at that moment her brother, Taiotekane, a lawyer, and his son Kanatase appeared. Everybody backed off. He wanted to talk to her privately. They went to a room. He realized she was having serious physical problems. Her eyes were becoming glazed, her face was flushed and she had a hard time breathing. He demanded she be taken immediately to the hospital.

Mohawk Constable Pyke contacted the emergency team from Hogansburg, New York, who rushed an ambulance. His sister, a paramedic, began to deal with Kahentinetha. Her quick work saved her life.

When she got to Cornwall Community Hospital, doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack. Before this she never had problems with her heart or health. Her heart was damaged permanently. Since then, she had to stop a lot of activities.

Kahentinetha realizes that every indigenous person who crosses the border could be subjected to this treatment. It looks like the CBSA have hired those who have no concern for the lives of those who traverse the border.
The border guards deliberately misstated the facts. They knew Kahentinetha’s true age. Yet they described her as being a “large strong 55-year-old woman," which is untrue. Such disinformation is sent out to keep the public uninformed. Don’t believe anything the CBSA says. Beware!
Contact her at:
Also read: 'Kahentinetha Horn: Resistance'

New York film fest: Qapirangajug: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change

Subject: Environmental Focus Opens Native American Film + Video Festival in New York City Mar 31-Apr 3
The New York screening premiere of “Qapirangajuq: Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change” by renowned Nunavut-based director Zacharias Kunuk (“Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner”) and Winnipeg researcher and filmmaker Dr. Ian Mauro (“Seeds of Change”) will open the 15th Native American Film + Video Festival. Produced by the Film and Video Center of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the festival is held at the New York City branch of the museum from Thursday, Mar. 31 to Sunday, Apr. 3. The festival will include some 100 films and an international symposium about endangered indigenous waterways, “Mother Earth in Crisis,” on Friday, Apr. 1.

All programs are free to the public. Reservations are recommended for evening programs.

Screening on Thursday, Mar. 31, “Inuit Knowledge” teams the filmmakers with Inuit elders and hunters to uncover the social and ecological impacts of a warming Arctic. The film will also be simultaneously stream on the Internet courtesy of Isuma TV, an independent network of Native and Inuit media, at; Dr. Mauro will be in attendance for the screening and Zach Kunuk will be available via Skype. Both filmmakers will be available to answer questions from audiences worldwide via Twitter.

The day-long symposium, “Mother Earth in Crisis,” features award-winning films on Native perspectives about the fate of the earth and its rivers throughout the hemisphere. The program includes discussion with the filmmakers following each screening and a panel with environmental and indigenous organizations, moderated by Tonya Gonnella Frichner, of the American Indian Law Alliance. Co-presented with Amazon Watch, International Rivers and Rainforest Foundation.

The festival showcases outstanding feature films, short fictions, documentaries, animations and youth works from throughout the Americas. Screenings take place each evening and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Other featured works include “Kissed by Lightning” by Shelley Niro (Mohawk); a a contemporary story based on a traditional tale; “Y el Rio Sigue Corriendo/And the River Flows On” by Carlos Efraín Pérez Rojas (Mixe), an award-winning film from Mexico about communities threatened by a dam project; and the world premiere of “Apache 8,” a documentary by Sande Zeig, telling the story of the first all-female wildland firefighting crew, comprised entirely of White Mountain Apache women.

The 15th Native American Film + Video Festival is a production of the National Museum of the American Indian’s Film and Video Center. The program is made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency. Special support has also been provided by the Ford Foundation and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the George Gustav Heye Center, is located at One Bowling Green in New York City, across from Battery Park. The museum is free and open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays until 8 p.m. Call (212) 514-3700 for general information and (212) 514-3888 for a recording about the museum’s public programs. By subway, the museum may be reached by the 1 to South Ferry, the 4 or 5 to Bowling Green or the R to Whitehall Street.

In Defense of Raza/Indigenous Studies: Five sentenced, but not guilty!

In Defense of Raza/Indigenous Studies: Five sentenced, but not guilty!
It is the law that is illegal

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Four students and myself were just sentenced to 10 hours of community service for a crime we did not commit. More importantly, our act of civil disobedience was in response to an illegal, immoral and unconstitutional law: hb 2281 – a piece of legislation that makes the teaching of Ethnic Studies in Arizona illegal.

Back in May, 15 of us were detained as a result of refusing to leave the 2nd floor of the state building because the state superintendent of schools refused to speak to our community. About a thousand of us – mostly middle, high school and college and university students, plus community members – had been awaiting his arrival earlier at TUSD headquarters where he had come to gloat because Gov. Jan Brewer had just signed an Inquisition-style law that made it illegal to teach Ethnic Studies. Rather than showing, he opted to have an impromptu press conference at the state building instead. Using Martin Luther King Jr. as a prop, he continued, and he continues, to claim that his actions to destroy and eliminate ethnic studies, complies with MLK’s dream of a color-blind society.

Despite the 15 of us doing the same act of civil act of disobedience, we have all been treated differently. Two were outright acquitted. From the original 15, three more remain. They will be tried March 3.

As far as many of us are concerned, the battle over hb 2281 has just begun; the teaching of ethnic studies became illegal on Dec 31 and MAS was ruled out of compliance on Jan 3. We are not only convinced of its illegality, but we are certain of it because of the unambiguous actions of the state legislature. The same day the president came to Tucson, a new Republican-introduced bill (SRC 1010) calls for Arizona to be exempt from international law. As written, it will go to the voters in 2012. The thing is, this issue has already been litigated in U.S. courts. But since when has that stopped our 19th century state legislature?

Yet, that state legislators would attempt to nullify international law in Arizona is outright proof that the forces of hate in and out of the legislature are fully aware that hb 2281, sb 1070 (the legislation that promotes racial profiling) and the efforts to nullify the 14th amendment all are illegal, immoral and unconstitutional. Beyond U.S. laws, src 1010 would violate virtually every international human rights treaty and convention. Under such treaties, the right to education, history and culture is sacrosanct. These treaties are in place in order to protect small nations, peoples and cultures from being swallowed up by larger ones.

At the moment, there is a lawsuit against the state in regards to hb 2281; this involves 11 educators who are challenging the constitutionality of the law (

It is also not out of the realm of possibility that a case(s) will be taken to the Organization of American States or the United Nations. What’s at stake here is not simply the right of 11 teachers to teach, but rather, the right of all peoples (students) to education, history and culture. In Arizona, everything has been flipped upside down. Things Greek-Roman are deemed to be American and part of Western Civilization, whereas things Indigenous (MAS-TUSD Indigenous-maiz-based curriculum) are deemed to be un-American and alien.

That’s why many of us were arrested. In one sense, it’s a 42-year struggle; the same battle – one over legitimacy – that’s been waged since the creation of Ethnic Studies. At another level, it’s a 518-year clash of civilizations, even though it needn’t be (the civilizations can absolutely co-exist). Yet in actually, this is part of a battle to preserve and maintain (and to learn about) a 7,000-year AmerIndigenous maiz-based culture. Nothing less.

That’s why many students walked out in May. That’s why many were arrested. That’s why many continue to run, walk, vigil, protest and why others in the future – in the actual tradition of MLK Jr. – will commit to further acts of civil disobedience. We are not satisfied with hiding our culture in the home. And that’s why we welcome the OAS and the UN to examine Arizona’s lunacy in their forums and courtrooms.

At the moment, TUSD has until April 24 to be in compliance (elimination of MAS). One thing is certain, if it ever came to that, many of us will teach MAS/Indigenous Studies in front of the state building and/or the state capitol until the courts fix this symbol of the new Inquisition.

Rodriguez, a professor at the University, can be reached at: It is also posted at: