Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 12, 2019

Kahentinetha Horn and daughter on 'Coffee with My Ma' -- 'Ma Goes to Cuba in 1959: Just to See'

Kahentinetha Horn (right) with daughter Kaniehtiio Horn (left). Photo, courtesy Coffee With My Ma.

Listen to the incredible Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, and her daughter, actress Kaniehtiio Horn. On this episode, Kahentinetha, 19, and friends, went to Cuba and met Fidel Castro in 1959. It was years before they shared their story.

Article by Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Coffee with My Ma, broadcast by Kahentinetha Horn, publisher of Mohawk Nation News, and her daughter, actress Kaniehtiio Horn, is featured in an article on Flare, which shares nine Indigenous women's podcasts.

"Coffee with My Ma: The Premise: It is an incredibly simple set-up—a daughter asks her mother questions over coffee. But in the hands of actress Kaniehtiio Horn (Letterkenny, The Man in the High Castle) and her mom, Kahentinetha Horn, the results are fascinating," Flare writes.

Kahentinetha and family members were on the frontline at Oka. On the podcasts, she shares her rich history and memories, including attacks on the Mohawks throughout the decades, and the oppression and media misinformation they faced.
One of the duo's podcasts shares the story of Kahentinetha, when she went to Cuba at the age of 19, "Just to see."

It was 1959.

Kaniehtiio begins by describing how Fidel Castro, Che Guevaro, and farmers, overthrew the regime in control of the Cuban government -- because Cuba had become the playground of rich Americans.

Sharing her trip to Cuba, Kahentinetha tells how she and her three friends didn't have any money, but one wanted to interview Fidel Castro, so they drove down to Miami on their way to Cuba.

They had enough money for sandwiches.

One of her buddies had a relative in Miami, who slammed the door in their faces, since anyone trying to go to Cuba in those days was considered a 'Commie.'
So, they slept on the beach.

On the drive down, in Georgia, she wasn't allowed to use the white bathroom.
The sign said, "Whites Only."

Kahentinetha and her buddies bought Pan Am tickets from Miami to Cuba. It was the only flight they could find. The fares were  $15 and they had one credit card to put the fares on.

"No one was going there," she said of the flight. Most passengers were headed to Venezuela.

"The Americans were terrified," she said of visiting Cuba at the time.
So, they flew down to Havana. It was full of young people from all over, who were invited there by Castro.
They stayed in Havana at the Hilton with these young people.
"In the evening, Fidel would come over."

People were coming with baskets on their heads, she remembers.

Fidel's people drove the friends around, and they had a look at the mansions that Castro and his people had taken over. Their driver looked just like Fidel.

She said when they went to take their flight home, the lines were too long to reach the airport. The people that supported the oppressors were fleeing.

They believed they would have to take a raft back to Miami. So, they started asking around for a raft so they could paddle back home.

So, one of Fidel's people took them to the airport by another route.

They still had little money, so riding in their jalopy back home, they picked food along the way, including pecans in Georgia.

For years, she never talked about the trip to Cuba.

Kahentinetha said what Fidel faced was an impossible situation. The people had become slaves to the white American casino owners.

Then, Russia went in to help them.

"I didn't meet Che," she said of the freedom fighter assassinated by CIA forces, while trying to bring freedom to the Indigenous miners in Bolivia, South America.
Che was still alive when she visited Cuba.

"The only one I saw was Fidel."

Tall, imposing, and very dedicated, is the way Kahentinetha describes Fidel Castro.
"I think the Americans absolutely hated him."

"He stood up to the Americans, and they couldn't get back in there."
Kahentinetha liked what she saw in Cuba.

She said in 1959 in Cuba, the people were starving to death. The people were skinny like skeletons.
"When I saw that, and what he wanted to do, I saw he was going to keep his promises."

"He did it," she said of Castro's advances in education, literacy and Medicare.

Listen to Coffee with My Ma:
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