NO. 38 SEPTEMBER, 1980


A plan was submitted to the Ganienkeh Council Fire on August 31, 1980 by Kakwirakeron for a diplomatic mission to see Judge Jan Plumadore in the matter of helping along the settlement of the dispute in Akwesasne, which seems to be bogged down by misunderstanding, prejudice and other mischievous actions. As he explained to the Council, it shall be a talk on matters of justice and our Onkwehonwe position regarding human rights and treaty obligations. It's not going to be a surrender to be arraigned. It is to be a motion of dialogue such as a delegation of one nation makes with another. Have the meeting with the judge in a restaurant, school, church building or some such place. Not in court, town hall nor any government building but in a neutral place. It is a duty and doing a good deed to help our own struggling Onkwehonwe. The Ganienkeh Council Fire decided to go along with the plan but "no surrenders, arraignments, courts or town halls." It fell to the lot of this unhumble scribe to draw up the following document to be presented and was presented to the judge at the diplomatic talks:
August 31, 1980


In view of the dangerous crisis which has developed in the Akwesasne community, the Ganienkeh Council Fire has decided on a diplomatic meeting with Judge Jan Plumadore, to help achieve a settlement of the dispute which brought on the said crisis.

In no way does this diplomatic mission constitute any agreement on the part of the traditional people of Akwesasne to any violation of the Treaties of 1784, 1789, 1794 or any other treaty which confirms and guarantees the national independence and sovereignty of the Six Nations Confederacy which includes the Mohawk Nation.

May we recall that the United States, in the Treaty of 1794 did "engage never to disturb the people of the Six Nations or their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them, in the free use and enjoyment thereof...."

Neither the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy nor the Mohawk Nation has directly nor indirectly agreed to this diplomatic mission nor does it in any manner effect any rights, obligations or legal claims of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy and the Mohawk Nation, under the Treaties of 1784, 1789, or any other treaty.

In the cause of peace and justice, the Ganienkeh Council Fire does hereby respectfully ask that the charges against traditional Mohawks arising from the dispute at Akwesasne be dismissed. That the events were occasioned by oppression and tyranny, whereby, one set of native people were pitted against another, is now a known fact throughout the world. There is a limit to what any people can bear. To build a fort against overwhelming odds is an act of people in despair. It is the duty of us all to see that right prevails and that justice shall be done.
Karoniaktajeh, Secretary

The date scheduled for the meeting was September 2 at 3:00 p.m. in Saranac Lake. Kakwirakeron asked the judge for an escort so as not to be molested on the way by State troopers. We arrived in Saranac Lake in a poring rain. The cars stopped before what looked like an old church and we went running in. We later found out it wasn't a church but the town hall and the wing we were in was the police department. There wasn't a cop around. No uniform was in sight. Someone had neglected to inform the judge we did not want to meet in a town hall.

There were reporters from the newspapers, radio and television which was unexpected by this uninformed and unhung scribe. We crowded into a room on the side which contained chairs and a table behind which sat Judge Plumadore, after donning a long, black coat. Kakwirakeron and Warren Deer sat across the table from the judge.

It's an old Iroquois custom that whenever there is a gathering of the people, the Opening Thanksgiving Ritual is recited and so it was in this diplomatic occasion. Dekarontake recited the ritual after which Kakwirakeron stood up and explained the purpose of the meeting which is consistent with treaty agreements made a long time ago and the cause of peace which is consistent with the Great Law. He finished his presentation by reading our document, "A Diplomatic Mission" here above mentioned, which he then presented to Judge Plumadore for public record.

Then followed much riffling of papers on the table. The judge spoke to Kakwirakeron across the table and though he was facing in our direction, we could only get a word once in a while. There was a lot of traffic noise coming in through the open windows. When Kakwirakeron spoke we understood every word. The judge and the District Attorney carried on a dialogue of which we could only get a word now and then. The reporters had to squat close to the table to make notes. Then everybody stood up and there was much shaking of hands and well wishing.

The radio and television called it a hearing where two more Mohawks were arraigned which made the Warrior Society very angry. Cries of "sell outs" emanated from Caughnawaga, Akwesasne and other Mohawk places. The next day, after talking it over, the warriors demanded a meeting and an explanation for an arraignment means that Kakwirakeron surrendered. He said: "It's not an arraignment. The reporters misunderstood." The Warrior Society decided to investigate. One of the facts they uncovered was an interview with the judge who was quoted as saying, "The minimum requirement of the State law was met," which raised speculation among the lay scholars of the law.

Another fact revealed was that an arraignment is not always an arraignment. An arraignment can follow procedures of state or federal law and the people may be satisfied it's an arraignment, including newspapers, radio and the television, but if it violated international law, the arraignment is null and void. That happens when people on a diplomatic mission are seized and arraigned in the court of the host nation of the diplomatic talks. It is then illegal because people on a diplomatic mission have diplomatic immunity. The viewpoint of optimists who say nothing is impossible is hereby vindicated. Excellent investigation by the Warrior Society. Congratulations are in order.

From Rochester, Leah Smoke speaks:

I go to Ganienkeh to learn about tradition...
I go to college to get a whiteman's education...
Ganienkeh is the natural way of life, that I like to live.
Whiteman's education is in the big city that is full
of poison and pollution everywhere without relief.
City life is not my style;
I think I'll go to Ganienkeh for a while.
I'll take what I can put to use and leave the rest;
I think this way is the best...
I'll take parts of the whiteman's education,
The little knowledge that I can use to help my
people is the best way I can.
You ask me, why do I go to school??? I need not
give an explanation...
But, a preventive dentistry program from Ganienkeh
is my expectation ... from the whiteman's education...

Below: Text from a Poster:

You ain't learnin' nuttin' when yore talkin'
Be sure brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear