From: Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
STATEMENT FROM AKWESASNE COMMUNITY ORGANIZERS
We have lived the past 100 years under the
Indian Acts of two colonial governments. For 100 years, we have endured
the indignities of poverty, isolation, hunger and disease. For 100
years, we have been environmentally destroyed. Our women give birth
to babies that suffer from the effects of pollution, children born
without intestines or intestines that grow on the outside of their
bodies. We are told that new mothers can no longer feed their newborns
because of toxin levels within their bodies. For 100 years we have
not been allowed to speak out for fear of reprisals from our own duly
elected' Indian Act governments.
On April 19th, we did something that this community
has never seen before.
Prior to the arrival of the American Caravan,
Akwesasne community people were told to stay indoors, not to let their
children outside, and to prepare for the looting and burning of their
homes. Band Council and other counter-intelligence organizations disseminated
false information in an attempt to keep people out of our community,
and to keep Mohawk people from participating in the realization that
we share a common political struggle.
The overwhelming majority of community people
understood the issue and were honored to have warriors from other
nations coming into Akwesasne.
Despite local governments hysteria, 80 people
participated in cooking and organizing for the day. Two hundred and
fifty people participated in the event by attending the feast, crossing
the bridge or observing from behind customs lines. The Ontario Coalition
Against Poverty helped us with organizing, but we stressed that it
was something that must come from within the community. We planned
the April 19th event with the intention of organizing our people,
so that we could legitimately play a part in the plans to defeat the
government. We acknowledge the mistakes we made in organizing, however,
these tactical errors should not override the success of the day.
We defeated the attempts of five governing bodies that were committed
to stopping the event. We showed courage and integrity to the 13 policing
agencies that had threatened to attack, beat or kill us, and our families,
if we continued with our plans.
We met adversity with honor to the very end.
Any shortfalls within the day are necessary to understand so that
they do not appear in future issues, but clearly , we feel that this
was an issue of the people of Akwesasne and we gauge our success on
that. We have opened the door to building links with non-native people
and organizations. We stood together to demonstrate to governments
that they will no longer be able to isolate us from each other.
Your courage to overcome the political adversity
surrounding the day, will not be forgotten and we can now legitimately
work toward understanding your issues and having you understand ours.
We are not prepared to endure another 100 years.
Yours in solidarity,
Mohawk Organizers of Akwesasne