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Mohawks openning the canadian Border for FTAA protest!

Mohawks allied to anarchists! Aie! ça va barder!

March 22nd, 2001


The US/Canadian border at Cornwall falls entirely within the Mohawk community of Akwesasne. Every day, in an affront to the sovereignty of the Mohawk Nation, U.S. and Canadian authorities determine who crosses the border and who does not.

OCAP, in partnership with the traditional people of the Mohawk Nation, labour, and community groups is organizing in solidarity with anti- globalization protesters en route to Quebec to open the border at Akwesasne.

It is, for the community of Akwesasne, both an assertion of sovereignty and an opportunity to expose the conditions Mohawk and Indian people generally, live under. First Nations people are over-represented on the street, in the prisons and live crammed on tiny reserves often without running water or heat in the winter. As one Mohawk man said, "The State's not so worried about people crossing the border, but about non-natives coming into the community and seeing how we live."

OCAP is proud to standby side by side with Mohawk people, to open the border and grant safe passage to folks fighting the brutality of the globalization agenda.

Get on a bus. Call OCAP. (416) 925-6939.

For more information contact:
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty: (416) 925-6939

Opening the Border for FTAA
by CARLYN ZWARENSTEIN 11:27am Tue Mar 20 '01

Americans coming north to protest free trade talks in Quebec City next month will find the border open, if Shawn Brant has his way.

A Mohawk from the community of Tyendinaga and an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP), Brant will take part in a plan to open the international border near Cornwall, Ont., on the weekend of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas talks in Quebec City (April 20-22).The border cuts through the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, which overlaps Ontario, Quebec and the United States.

"My motivation is to assert and reinforce the sovereign integrity of Mohawk people within the Mohawk nation and to bring the organizing bodies together so we can stand and fight in preparation for the fall," he says, referring to a series of actions with which OCAP and allied groups plan to confront the Ontario government. "We will engage in attacks against the provincial economy, the provincial infrastructure. We will shut down highways, roadways, bridges until this government is brought to its knees."

As Brant describes it, people will assemble in Cornwall on April 19 and then move into Akwesasne, while supporters from the US will gather on the American side of the border. And then?

"The Mohawks of Akwesasne will have pre-secured the bridge," says Brant, though he is reluctant to go into details. "That's probably something that wouldn't be best to publish, tactically," he says. "We are preparing for every possible scenario. Certainly an aggressive stand by the state would not stop us from pursuing our objective — we'll respond to force with force and to opposition with opposition."

Meanwhile, OCAP is forming networks with Mohawk communities in the area. A recent OCAP tour raised interest among Oneida, Cayuga and Seneca communities south of the border.

The action has been endorsed by the Cornwall Labour Council (CLC), the Kingston-based People's Community Union (PCU) and members of the Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Kahnawake. The CLC has sent letters to the elected leadership in Akwesasne, requesting their support.

Brant maintains that although some members of the Akwesasne Mohawk community may oppose a potentially explosive action, none oppose opening the border. "The border is a barrier to community life in Akwesasne," says Brant, who must submit to car searches and ID checks at Customs in order to visit relatives who live in the same Mohawk territory, but across the border. "It is the right of the Mohawk nation to determine who can cross the border," he adds.

According to Darren Bonaparte, the Akwesasne author of A Line on a Map: A Mohawk Perspective on the International Border at Akwesasne, the Mohawks have had a love-hate relationship with the border over the years. During Prohibition it provided opportunity for illegal profit through alcohol trading, and more recently cigarettes and foreign nationals have illicitly traveled north and south, respectively.

The border action was news to Canada Customs spokesperson Collette Gentes-Hawn. "Have we been officially notified?" she asks. Still, she's not surprised. "This wouldn't be the first time there are demonstrations on this bridge," she adds, noting that a court case relating to the border is outstanding. The case, launched by Grand Chief Mike Mitchell and the Mohawk Council, alleges that the feds knew about cigarette smuggling across the border, but used the Mohawks as scapegoats rather than acting against the tobacco industry.

According to Brant, the action is really about the free-trade-friendly policies of the Ontario government, which are of concern to poor people and First Nations alike: "[Free trade] does everything to help corporations, and absolutely shit to help people in poverty."

Subject: Traditional Mohawks call for "Day of Rage" April 19th
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 20:07:38 -0800 (PST)

Traditional Mohawks call for "Day of Rage" April 19th and pledge to open border, welcoming anarchists.
Written By World War Three, Target & Warcry

This April the heads of State of every country in the Western hemisphere except Cuba will be meeting in Quebec city Canada to sign a trade deal that undermines the rights of working people, environmental protections and human rights. They are very afraid that people will come to Quebec City and ruin their party. So afraid that protesters are being refused entry at the Canadian border. But there's good news. There is an important chance to build solidarity between anarchists and indigenous people.

The Mohawk territory of Akwesasne straddles both sides of the Canadian border. The Mohawk people view that border as illegitimate. On April 19th,a group of Mohawks from the Traditional contingent of the Mohawk people will open the bridge at Cornwall to activists wishing to go to Quebec City. They are billing this as a "Day of Rage" in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Canadian radicals and trade unionists are supporting this action on the Canadian side while several different mobilization groups from the U.S. are planning a caravan from the Burlington Convergence to Quebec City through the Mohawk reservation. This is not a blockade. In solidarity with the Mohawk nation's grievances towards the Canadian and U.S. governments and their action upon that day, the caravan hopes to travel without harassment and unfettered to Quebec City.

The Mohawk people consider the bridge and border an abomination forced on them by the U.S. and Canadian governments. The bridge is controlled by customs 364 days of the year but one day of every year Mohawk people take over the bridge to assert their sovereignty over their land. They have never given up their lands to these tyrannical nations.

This is a chance to build an alliance between Anarchists and indigenous people. There is a lot we can learn from the Mohawk people, who have struggled for centuries against all forms of oppression at the hands of the capitalist system and the governments of both Canada and the U.S. They have never conceded their land. They have never accepted the U.S. or Canadian government as legitimate. They have responded to oppression with armed resistance. The powerful spirit of insurgency has been very effective in the recent past as well. The federal governments have amassed to strike with horrendous force only to back off when it became apparent what they were up against: a people committed to sovereignty at all costs. As Anarchists we aspire to be as strong and defiant as the Mohawk Traditionalists already are.

This group of Mohawk Traditionalists - along with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (An organization of poor people fighting to bring power back into poor communities, OCAP) and the Kingston People's Community Union (An organization of community members, PCU) - are using this as a chance to build coalition and organize towards a larger campaign to unseat their rightwing asshole premier of Ontario, Mike Harris. This will be a day of solidarity between radical Mohawks, Canadian Trade Unions, the poor of Ontario (Through OCAP), several radical activist groups in the U.S. and Canada, independent Anarchists, and the Anti-Globalization movement worldwide. A few of the U.S. groups currently involved are NYC DAN, NYC YaBasta! Collective, IMC-NYC, Philly Direct Action Group. The Canadian Guelph Direct Action Group is also down. The border crossing also has the endorsement of the Cornwall Labor Council, the radical Canadian Postal Union and possibly a Canadian AutoWorkers Union. Once over the border the U.S. caravan will be free to join the Canadians for a large-scale caravan to Quebec City. Canadians are still discussing plans to shut down the locks on the Saint Lawrence Seaway if necessary. The Burlington Convergence (Starting possibly the 14th of April., is being used as the jump off point and it is strongly advised that those interested be at the convergence by the 17th for training, or by the 18th spokes council meeting at the very latest. This convergence will have teach-ins, workshops, bands, protests and much more. If you can't make it to Cornwall or Quebec you have to come to the convergence.

Some realities about working with the Mohawks: Mohawk society, like most societies, is not politically homogeneous. There are Mohawk freedom fighters, but there are also Mohawk police, Mohawk venture capitalists, Mohawk reactionaries and Mohawks working with the Canadian Government. Just as there are Anarchists, Republicans and all kinds of people in U.S. society. This action is being called by a group of Mohawk Traditionalists with radical politics. (So understandably, they have welcomed the U.S. Anarchists to cross their land.) It is possible that we will come into contact with some Mohawks who don't support the action. We may in fact be confronting Mohawk police officers. If this happens we should deal with this in a principled way and stand up to them as police - and not fall into raising racial issues. When possible, we will take the lead from our Traditionalist allies on how to deal with these situations. Considering that the blood of 20 million Indigenous people has been spilled since imperialists first set foot on this country, and considering how fiercely these warriors have always resisted oppression, we consider it an honor to work with these uncompromisingly brave people. They are opening their land for us to reach Quebec City; we should open our hearts and raise our fists.

Some sites related to the Cornwall caravan and the Vermont convergence:

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