Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 12, 2014

Mohawk John Kane "Sovereignty is not our Defense. It's what we Defend!"

"Sovereignty is not our Defense. It's what we Defend!"

By John Karhiio Kane, Mohawk

On my "Let's Talk Native..." radio show on Sunday, March 9, I announced my new campaign. No, I am not running for office. My campaign is about truth telling and clearing away false assumptions about what the United States and Canada believe they have reduced us to — namely, their subjects.
In spite of the lop-sided "deals" and, more often than not, fraudulent acts committed by Europeans and their descendants to gain access to the lands of our children, the characterization that we are dependent on them is false. The very existence of the U.S. and Canada depends on their claim to a land base. The fact of the matter is that they are completely dependent on lands that we allowed them to occupy — but that occupation was and is conditional. And neither of these "colonies" has been released from the debt of those conditions.

In the egotistical view of Christian Europeans, the Earth was created to be subdued and owned by man. With that assumption and with their own view of such things, treaties were entered into with a people who by and large were willing to help a poor and wretched class of humans that washed up on their shores. In later years, these white men, cloaked in their religion, would attempt to claim certain ownership of lands under decrees of their church and the tenets of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery. But in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court's attempt to codify this racist and unlawful policy that literally says a Christian people can just claim ownership of the lands of pagans, the early American leaders crafted law after law acknowledging Native lands and our exclusive ownership of those lands as well as the distinction of our autonomy and sovereignty.
There is no reconciling on the attempt by the U.S. or Canada to create some uniform body of "federal Indian law" with the realities of their own inconsistencies, ambiguities and outright lies. The crumbling foundation of the concept of federal Indian law is built upon religious and racist dogma addressed in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as follows:
 "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."
We are not wards of the state. The U.S. and Canada are not our custodians, our guardians, our trustees or our superiors.
Those who choose to be victims of the American genocide are certainly free to do so and the U.S. and Canada are happy to oblige. But for those of us who continue to not just survive but actually fight back, we do so to affect change and not just to find a kinder and gentler master. We fight and defend our sovereignty for our children and those unborn faces to come and also to transform those victims among us into survivors.
As I spend the next several months exposing the absurdity of state, U.S. federal, provincial and Canadian federal policies and showing how these policies are born out of blatant racism with a clear objective to eliminate our claim to distinction and autonomy, I ask that others join me to advance this campaign.
My goal in defending our sovereignty is to turn the tables on those who attempt to criminalize us or assert unlawful controls over us. Let them produce their documents defending their positions. Name the event that transferred our sovereignty to them. Give us a date, a time and a place. When and where was our consent given to their governments "instituted amongst Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed?" When did we concede to subjugation?
Even the self-righteousness of the U.S. and Canada cannot give them the right to legislate or adjudicate away the sovereignty of another people. It's fine to cry "rule of law" with mouse eyes but we have been watching with the eyes of the eagle from a thousand feet in the air. We see where justice stops and where law is used as a tool or a weapon against us and others. If man's laws are needed at all, they need to be built on a foundation of truth and integrity and must be just to be valid.
When New York State claims our trade must abide by their laws with no legal basis for making such claim and when the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms sends armed and masked agents into our lands to bolster the State's claim, this is not justice. This is not rule of law. This is manipulation of law. This is secret oppression — undeclared policy.
It has been almost three years since two New York State Senators (Senators George Maziarz and Timothy Kennedy) asked the Commissioner of New York State's Department of Taxation and Finance to disclose and provide in writing what the State's policy was on Native-manufactured goods and Native-to-Native trade. Commissioner Thomas Mattox has refused to accommodate this request even as the New York State Attorney General pursues lawsuits against Native manufacturers. These are not the actions of governments and agencies demonstrating just powers. These actions are political and discriminatory, and based on policies hidden from the view of those affected, their own citizens and their own lawmakers. 
Hold on. It is going to get nasty around here. This ends only one way — with our sovereignty intact!
– John Karhiio Kane, Mohawk, a national expert commentator on Native American issues, hosts two weekly radio programs — “Let’s Talk Native…with John Kane,” ESPN Sports Radio WWKB-AM 1520 in Buffalo, N.Y., Sundays, 9-11 p.m. EST and “First Voices Indigenous Radio,” WBAI-FM 99.5 in New York City, Thursdays, 9-10 a.m. EST. John 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 He also has a very active "Let's Talk Native...with John Kane" group page on Facebook.

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