Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 17, 2013

Mohawk Nation News '1997 NYS Attack Haudenosaunee'


mnnlogo1MNN. Oct. 16, 2013. In May 18, 1997, members of the Haudenosaunee from our communities converged on Onondaga Nation land next to NYS Thruway 81. Most were  women, children and babies, as well as some of our men. It was to be a joyous celebration with a tobacco burning, feast, dancing and singing. At 3.00 pm 200 paramilitary New York State Troopers surrounded, attacked and viciously beat us up, injuring, jailing and incapacitating us. Many ran with babies in their arms to hide in the surrounding bush. 


Over the years this case went through the court. All motions to drop the case and that the cops had a right to do it, were defeated. Judge George Low studied the evidence and reported that if this went to trial, we would win. There was no justification for the attack and it was all filmed. [See video below]
Eventually New York State decided to stop any trial by giving about 100 plaintiffs and the lawyers $3 million. The condition was that the traitorous state controlled Onondaga Council Inc. that requested the attack, NYS police and the politicians would be immune from prosecution. We could not be able to discuss it. Some signed as the people are very poor and needed the funds. It had to be unanimous. 
On Oct. 15, 2013, those who refused to sign were ordered to meet with the Judge Therese Wiley Dancks of the US Court Northern District NY and our lawyers in Syracuse. The 12 plaintiffs did not expect to be taken separately into rooms and intimidated by their own lawyers and the judge into signing the agreement or else!  They were threatened to remain silent. 
On Oct. 16, the following day, the remaining plaintiffs were called in. Judge Lowe made a presentation. “I am neutral!” Then he proceeded to tell us of the dire consequences if we don’t sign: years of trial, motions, this is an that, racist jurors. By 2020 if we win, we might be awarded $1. Money was mentioned over and over again.   
NYS does not know that Haudenosaunee consensus is discussion and full disclosure.
Haudenosaunee consensus is based on open discussion and full disclosure.
Several plaintiffs said, “I did not come here to be talked to like a child”. He withdrew his consent to the settlement. Another said, “Sovereignty is our goal. Not money”. The majority agreed. They walked out of court and went home.  We were reminded once again we can’t stand before the enemy and expect justice. To be continued… See the NYS attack: NYS attack Haudenosaunee
MNN Mohawk Nation News  For more news, books, workshops, to donate and sign up for MNN newsletters, go  More stories at MNN Archives.  Address:  Box 991, Kahnawake [Quebec, Canada] J0L

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