Shawn Brant’s head tilted to the side and his eyes welled up with tears as he said, “If we cannot protect the women, then we have failed to carry out our responsibility as men.”
He so deeply believed in his own statements that on March 8th, 2014, Brant and other Mohawk Warriors of the Bay of Quinte blocked the CN mainline in response to the thousands of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada.
They ended up getting arrested.
In a secret CSIS document it was revealed that shutting down the railline that crosses Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory for only a few hours caused “about $100 million in economic damage.”
It’s no wonder that OPP descended upon the rail blockade pretty quickly and put everyone in jail, Brant included. Shawn Brant, Matt Doreen, Steve Chartrand and Marc Baille were arrested and charged with various crimes, the biggest of which was standing up for indigenous women.
Traditionally when our people so desperately need help it becomes a matter of life and death. These four guys and others put their lives on the line and paid a heavy cost. Brant to this day is on a CSIS “terrorist” list, and court proceedings revealed his cell phone was tapped (yes, they can do that).
The practice of sacrificing yourself for the greater good must be an ancient Mohawk way. The thing is, when roads are blocked, or rail lines crossed it must be for a righteous cause.
In 2006 in reponse to the brutal early morning raid by the OPP the people of Six Nations put barricades across the road and put out the call to all other territories to help. It was a national emergency, a true crisis.
The late Dick Hill was the first to cross the thresh hold onto DCE in defiance of the OPP and that thrust continues even today. He was a great warrior amongst the Mohawk (Kanienkehaka).
The hearts of the people soared that day when they saw the Sit-N-Bull trucks arrive in response to OPP action. A local Mohawk businessman, Ken Hill was instrumental in securing the road and pouring tons of gravel to help the people. He was later charged twice by the OPP. Everyone got involved, it was unanimous.
Many others were charged and arrested and when their names were announced the people cheered because they were like martyrs.
Argyle Street is blocked again.
This time a small group of individuals are rallying around Kris Hill and the legal struggle she is facing for farming the Burtch Lands. And what does Argyle Street have to do with Burtch Lands you may wonder? Well it all goes back to the “Peterson Promise” of 2006.
Ontario sent in crack negotiator David Peterson, who promised to return Burtch Lands to Six Nations if they took down the barricades. See the stories on pages 8-9 for more on that.
Ontario did sent a letter to the HCCC about the Burtch Lands that was read July 8th 2015 and I was even there at the meeting and so was Kris Hill (then Green). They didn’t even respond to that letter and maybe if they did Six Nations wouldn’t be in this current mess. It was procrastinated for three months until the deadline.
Not everyone is supporting the new protest. As a matter of fact, most are probably against it. It’s partly because the people do not trust each other. On social media some say it should be somewhere else, like Cockshutt Road this time.
Instead of tugging at the heartstrings of Six Nations by reclaiming the reclamation again, why not block something that will get results instead of ruining the local economy and making things harder for people on 6th line. Or better yet if you are protesting against Band Council why not protest at the door’s of Band Council?
Who is paying the cost for the new protest? Will it be Kris Hill or the protestors themselves? Or will it be the children when they start high school at McKinnon Park this year?
History shows if it is a righteous cause the Mohawk Warriors will be there.
The HCCC is once again showing poor leadership with this blockade. How does leasing the land to one person for their own profit benefit me and the rest of the Six Nations people? The lands were returned to the people off Six Nations and the elected council represents more people than does the HCCC. The HCCC,HDI and Aaron Detlor have joined forces and have shown questionable decision making skills trying to represent the people of Six Nations. They preach of the “old ways” then go home to their big screen TV’s and microwaves. Times have changed over the last 80 years and so must we to remain as the best and most prosperous reserve in North America. Let the elected council deal with the government as that is their area of expertise and the HCCC to their area of expertise which is tradition, culture and languages.
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