TYENDINAGA – At 1:15 PM, the skies were overcast but much warmer for the women of Tyendinaga as they stood their ground about 52 feet from the tracks at the Wyman Road location on the edge of Mohawk Territory.
All was peaceful as the Mohawk women, accompanied by women students of Ryerson University and a handful of Mohawk warriors stood peacefully.
The stated purpose of the peaceful presence was to hold the railway crossing until the end of Wednesday. According to several sources at the site, police had been notified that today’s action would end at that time and that lines of communication were always open to avert any misunderstandings.
Police presence was rather minimal (nine police vehicles) and it was evident that a non-aggression agreement had been reached.
Sources present said that at around 10:00pm Tuesday night, a huge bonfire was lit on Wyman Road that lit up the night sky with an estimated sixty people attending the event. Other sources said that as many as thirty students from Ryerson University were present either over-night or early Wednesday morning. At one point, it was estimated by one who was there, that possibly seventy people were present. He said he “was really moved to see that kind of support.”
In speaking with many of the women present today, the intent of today’s action was to re-focus on what these actions (and others) are all about.
In other news reports, they say, the real reason for these actions has been lost or brushed aside in favour of more sensational style of reporting and they say “that will not do.” The focus must remain on the issue so that Canadians will truly realize the horror being committed against not just Aboriginal women, but all women is real regardless of ethnicity and can no longer be tolerated in our society.
In speaking with Shawn Brant who was not present at today’s action, he stated that he was in full accord with the women. When asked, Brant said “I don’t have to be there every time.” He said that with the familiar quirky, wry smile he is so well known for. Brant also noted that, in the government’s announcement, Harper did not specifically say “no” in response to calls for a National Inquiry.
Brant is more than aware of the ground-swell of support coming from all quarters of the country and said there can be no end to these actions until all Canadians become fully aware of Ottawa’s failure to protect all of its women: Native and non-Native alike and further, that police must fully investigate and prosecute those who specifically target Aboriginal women.
He’s hopeful under a policy of full and complete investigations in these cases, that the “creeps” who commit the acts will think twice before hunting down Aboriginal women knowing police will in turn, hunt them down and hold them accountable.
We all hope for that and Brant is right when he insists, “it has to stop. There’s too much pain and no closure.” And he fully intends to continue doing all he can to see that it stops. As these actions bring pressure to bear on Ottawa to act accordingly and initiate a National Inquiry, we must try to ignore the sensational aspects that occur from time-to-time and keep focused on the real reason for them in the first place: our women. Without them, we have no future.
The Ryerson women and the women of Tyendinaga also say “Nia:wen” to the people of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, for the fire that was lit at the gates of Kanonhstaton in support of their action.