The amount of people disgusted by a recent decision to make adopting a non-Native child “an offence,” where a Mohawk couple would lose their rights, means it is basically only a matter of time before it’s reversed.
It can’t stand. It makes no sense. And if there is enough of an outcry – through petition, probably, then it will be changed.
Adoption was always an accepted practice in the Mohawk Nation, to help build back up and replace the people lost to disease and war, and it didn’t matter who they were or what bloodline they came from; as long as they put their past lives behind them, they became part of the community.
Fast-forward to last week at the Community Decision-Making Process and a handful of people said anyone who adopts a non-Native child would no longer be accepted as a full member of Kahnawake.
The Kahnawake Legislative Coordinating Commission wrote the amendment to the membership law in this paragraph in a press release:
“A child who has no Kanien’keháka (Mohawk) or Onkwehonwe lineage adopted by a Kanien’keháka of Kahnawà:ke parent(s) after the enactment of this law on November 10, 2003 is not eligible to be recognized as a Kanien’keháka of Kahnawà:ke or be an Approved Kahnawà:ke Resident and, therefore, the parent(s) who chose to commit this offence will have their recognition (as a Kanien’keháka of Kahnawà:ke) suspended and not be eligible to reside in the territory of Kahnawà:ke.”
Imagine that. Help out a child and you’re punished for it. So much for teaching our children to be selfless and kind.
The sheer amount of angry Facebook posts, emails and people on the street who are against this is overwhelming — including many who had already strongly agreed with not allowing non-Natives to live here — but the Mohawk Council showed its true colours when it affirmed its position at the community meeting on Tuesday, with MCK chiefs Carl Horn and Martin Leborgne saying YOU had YOUR chance to show up to the CDMP meeting and be heard so YOU are the one that failed.
You, meaning the rest of the much larger majority of the community that doesn’t attend the CDMP meetings.
Wow. That’s some good leading right there.
If there is an outcry in the community, you listen; you don’t point the fingers back at the people.
This decision leaves a bad taste in so many people’s mouths it would be a miracle if it somehow stays as “law,” however within the current structure of the CDMP, there is no real way to reverse it right away.
That also has to change. Leaving huge decisions like this to the ones who go to the meetings is a problem in itself.
Taking someone’s birthright as a Mohawk away from them is plain wrong. Who are they to say you get kicked off the Kanien’kehá:ka of Kahnawake Registry (KKR) because of such a heroic, human action?
What about that woman who can’t have children and has a chance to adopt a baby boy or girl? She doesn’t look at race. She has love in her heart first and foremost.
Maybe she has already been through so much heartache by not being able to have her own biological children, so in the months and sometimes years it takes to adopt, she then has to deal with the reality of having the identity rug pulled out from under her?
What if godparents have to face that sullen day when they lose their friends to a tragic accident – and must adopt the child they love like a son or daughter?
Another tragedy would follow; one that blames the adoptive parents, simply because that child is non-Native?
Let’s hope the right thing is done and this ridiculous “law” is erased from the books. It does nothing to protect Kahnawake as a Mohawk community and is two steps backward no matter how you slice it.
The Eastern Door