A MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH
INDEPENDENT NORTH AMERICAN INDIAN STATE
NO. 23 APRIL, 1979
THE NEW NATION MAKERS ...AND THERE SHALL BE TWO MOHAWK NATIONS
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Recent events in Onkwehonwekeh indicate that certain Injuns have gotten a moment of truth and now want to protect themselves from a very uncertain future in the Province of Quebec. These are the enlightened members of the "Mohawk Band" created by the Canadian Parliament. Being told that they were superior, they used to laugh at the Mohawk Nation which held its councils at the local Long House and attended the Grand Council of the Six Nations Confederacy at Onondaga.The band councils of Caughnawaga, Akwesasne and Oka now want to be a nation. But they don't want to join the existing Mohawk nation. They want to organize a Mohawk nation of their own manufacture. The inference is that they can make a better one than the old Mohawk nation. Didn't they have the white man as their teacher? Of course, that worthy got his idea of a people's government from the Six Nations Confederacy, who were the first to have a national constitution.
The new nation plans to be funded by the federal government and to have other services continue such as education, protection, justice, livelihood, roads, housing, medical facilities, etc. They mean to have their cake and eat it. A check into the law of nations would reveal that a nation provides the above services. The people of the nation have to get on the hustle to work up the means to provide these services. The nation status, political independence and sovereignty shall not be given by Canada or any other nation for no nation ever received these from another nation. The new nation shall have to achieve it. By hard work. Sometimes, it takes a long time for a new nation to be recognized by other nations.
The band councils turned nation also wish to keep their white spiritual advisors (priests and ministers), to name their babies, marry their people and to perform funeral services. They've been led to believe that these services and ceremonies are the prerogative of the "dominant society" (it means bossy). They believe it's only good when their white masters do it. This is another area where the Onkwehonwe shall have to put their foot down. A nation has to be politically independent and religion is politics. As part of their sovereignty, the Onkwehonwe name their own babies, perform the marriage rites and bury their dead in their own way.Being a nation entails many responsibilities that must be met and taken care of. The nation must create a livelihood for the people so there'll be no need for welfare. Welfare destroys the people's initiative and fighting spirit. There are a lot of Indians on welfare. They become used to idleness. Working for anything is against the welfare religion or culture. Indians are already on Quebec's welfare rolls. They don't care if federal Canada's relationship with Quebec collapses. It's only when white man's economy collapses that they shall wake up starving. They'll be no help in this new nation making. The logical thing for the new nation makers to do is to join or be reinstated in the long standing and historic Mohawk nation, but that would mean eating humble pie. The Mohawks lost three hundred years - Dark Age of Native Onkwehonwe - and became white man's lackeys, they ridiculed the traditional Mohawk nation. Now, in the act of flinging off the heavy wool over their eyes, they wish to regain lost nationhood. Only great and uncommon people will eat humble pie when proven wrong. We shall see how well the nation makers shall rise to the task. Instead of joining the historic and traditional Mohawk nation, the new Mohawk nation makers are asking, nay, demanding that the traditional Mohawks help them make Mohawk nation No. 2. They will have to act like a nation, not run to the great white father for handouts nor to his holy men for spiritual advice. There is enough good advice in the Great Law. They must stand on their own two feet and tell the world they are their own authority, jurisdiction and will decide their own destiny. At present they are alienated from the Six Nations Confederacy because they vote in elections devised by foreign people and follow laws devised for them by foreign people. A nation must make its own law. After they finish organizing the new Mohawk nation, what are they going to do? We hear of coalition with other Indian nations in Quebec. This new fad of making Indian nations is spreading all over Canada. Instead of assimilating the Indian people, the dominant society have a new problem on their hands. They may end up on reservations themselves. Will the coalition of newly organized Indian nations go to Ottawa and make demands? The great white fathers shall see the same old faces and the same old songs. What then? The government knows the band council leaders and the band council knows the government leaders. They know each other.
Will there be any difference in relations and attitude? And when the great white fathers put on the same old patronizing faces and very patronizingly tell the new Indian nation they don't approve....
The traditional Six Nations system is different. The Rotiyaner are Peace Chiefs. They council only. They do not deal with physically active contentious affairs that may lead to violence and confrontations. Regaining lost lands is a physically contentious issue and belongs to the province of the Aharekowa (Big Knife or War Chief) and his men (Warrior Society). Even the women and girls are now active in the Warrior Society. If a Royaner wants to take a physical part in a confrontation or a war, he must go in as a regular warrior, subject to orders from the War Chief. After the struggle is over, the Royaner can take up his council duties again.
The new Indian nations shall have to beef up their protection and defense.
SOME NOTES FROM THE GANIENKEH TERRITORIAL SCHOOL
After reading through some of "League of the Iroquois" by Lewis Henry Morgan, "a classic study of an American Indian tribe", some remarks seem worth the expense of cultivating public awareness.
In Chapter IV of Morgan's study, printed during 1851 (considered by many of today's Iroquoianists - historians, anthropologists, etc. - as the "best general expertise on the Iroquois") he writes of the future destiny of the Indian. Here he examines issues such as education, Christianity, and civilization. He concludes that our Nation would do better to aspire to become American citizens. Here then are some outstanding excerpts from his study.
"There are but two means of rescuing the Indian from his impending destiny; and these are education and Christianity. If he will receive into his mind the light of knowledge, and the spirit of civilization, he will possess not only the means of self-defense, but the power with which to emancipate himself from the thraldom in which he is held." On education he said, "This enterprise may still, perhaps be considered an experiment and of uncertain issue; but experience has not yet shown that it is hopeless." He later adds, "Under the fostering care of the government both state and national, and under the still more efficient tutelage of religious societies, great hopes may be justly entertained of the ultimate and permanent civilization of this portion of the Iroquois." Finally, in applauding the efforts of the State he notes, "The time has come in their social progress when they are capable of a thorough intellectual training, and are able to achieve as high and accurate a scholarship, as many of their white competitors. The time has also arrived when academical attainments will prove a blessing to themselves, and their families. "
The purpose of this editorial is not merely to point out the paternalistic attitude taken by Morgan himself but also to remind our fellow Onkwehonweh that this program of cultural genocide is still being pursued. It is occurring on reservations, in residential schools and the state and federal education programs. The further purpose of this article is to solicit comment from our Onkwehonweh brothers and sisters. For a Nation to be truly an independent one it must provide its own education for the young.MESSAGE FROM GANIENKEH