In the Canadian “just-us” system there are many tiers, trap doors, smoke and mirrors in a man made machine. It’s fuel? Red blood and tears keep the parts lubricated and running smoothly – and the Onkwehonwe of Turtle island are it’s preferred candidates.
Our kids are over stolen and their parents are over incarcerated. But the government don’t make no money off us if we do our own thing on our sovereign traditional homelands. Things like running home businesses; hot dog stands, restaurants and smoke shops.
Jails and judges need criminals to justify their pay checks. Head shrinkers need long haired heads to shrink. Crown attorneys need some one to try slap the dangerous offender designations or D.O. for short on. Which if successfully applied results in a life sentence. This my brothers and sisters – is the equivalent of the American three strike law in Canada and is the big leagues when it comes to criminal prosecution.
In London, Ontario the crown is seeking the dangerous offender designation against Shondowekowa from the Chippewa of the Thames reserve, which is neighbour to the Oneida reserve in Southwestern Ontario.
I recently met Shondowekowa after he was released from ‘administrative segregation’ (or “the hole”) after being down there 3 years. I just met him but have known his family since the early nineties.
It is well known in the jail system that the crown is seeking to D.O. Shondowekowa. So when they finally brought him up to the unit I asked him if he wanted to tell his story.
He is a kind natured Onkwehonwe through and through. Certainly not the kind of man you would think was looking at a life sentence. He was born in London and is the youngest male in a family of 24.
He spent years on Chippewa as a youth – some in Detroit. He grew up in a environment rampant with domestic violence and alcoholism. Which was the typical seventies dark shadow on the rez – leftovers of residential school.
Growing up my household was no different. Me and Shondowekowe were both born in 1976. The only difference was he was sent to Mt. Elgin Residential School in Third Grade. One of the only two residential schools in the southern most part of Ontario. The other being the notorious Brantford Mush Hole.
One was by any means no better than the other. Hell on earth. But what is expected when the deck gets stacked against us in Grade 3?
The Canadian governments “reconcilliation” supposedly erased all residential schools. But that doesn’t mean the horror and structure don’t exist intrinsically in all of us the residential schools touched.
When you grow up watching violence you become violence. This is the case with Shondoweknowa. At twelve years old he was flung into a racist system that was beyond his comprehension. As he grew in the system so did his violence, alcohol and drug abuse.
It’s the same story from here to Vancouver Island. At 18 Shondoweknowa was charged with 2nd degree murder. But after the trial he was convicted of manslaughter and received a four and a half year sentence. When he was paroled in ‘96 the drinking wasn’t that bad.
In 1998 he was sent back to the federal penitentiary in Kingston, Ontario on gun charges for 4 more years. He got paroled again, lasted 3 months, assaulted a guard in London and from there received 6 months. This is the reason they put him in the hole. In 2009 he received 31 months for assaulting his wife and has been in ever since.
Locked up for close to six years now – the crown finally went for its final blow. The D.O. designation is meant for long term violent offenders and weapons offences like Shondoweknowa’s are considered violent based on what the person buying the weapons might do with them.
This is a big portion of the crowns case. There is some violence but not enough to warrant a life sentence. Especially since Shondoweknowa is a product of the genocidal policies and practices perpetuated against him since birth. Expect to see this more with this anti terrorism bill being rammed through parliament.
Onkwehonwe across Canada are targeted. The dangerous offender designation will be easier to attain with media putting the masses into a semi hysterical state of fear. Floyd will find out in April if he gets life. He has been going to court every two weeks since last November.
So far the crown has brought forth roughly 30-40 witnesses some of which were Aboriginal that have helped Shondoweknowa’s case – like elders from London’s Native Gathering Centre and an Onondaga Beaver Warrior that handles spiritual well being at the Brantford jail and here in London.
The crown has used a lot of psycho-therapists and doctors educated in western medicinal practices that have no idea what we Onkwehonwe people have been through or what we’re going through to this day. Nor do they have empathy to the plight of the original peoples of this land. They are merely looking at the situation from a statistical stand point.
A female superior court judge will have the final say on Shondoweknowa’s dangerous offender ruling if she strikes it down. The crown will try to get a long term offender ruling in which Shondoweknowa will get 10 more years on top of his 6 he’s already done.
The government is going to turn up the heat on us and see who don’t dance. This is as serious as it gets. Shondoweknowa has a big loving Onkwehonwe family that needs him out. So let us keep them in our prayers when we burn tobacco. WA KI RO!!