Friday, April 21, 2006

Caledonia Occupation

For material on the peaceful occupation by Six Nations people in Caledonia, one good source that seems to be posting or linking to a lot of different stuff is Sketchy Thoughts.

There is also a new feature article on recent events from my friends at IMC Hamilton, including an audio interview with Clan Mother Hazel Hill recorded yesterday.


Anonymous said...

The occupation is not peaceful. It is violent and destructive.

Scott said...

I would encourage you, since that is your sole response to this post, to learn more about both what has gone on in Caledonia as well as the more general context in which it is occurring, and not to close your ears or your mind to words coming from indigenous standpoints. We settlers have a choice -- we can allow mass media distortions and our own ignorance to let us drift passively into complicity with the latest phase of a centuries long process of colonization and theft, or we can take responsibility for our history and name and oppose the massive violence that is the ongoing legacy of institutions that supposedly represent us. That your comment is silent on the disregard for the law and the overwhelming violence, both historical and ongoing, that is integral to the occupation of indigenous lands by settlers and by the Canadian settler state is very telling.

Anonymous said...

The occupation is illegal, which is what the law says. We seem to have two sets of laws when we are dealing with natives.

If the natives have issues, do what the rest of us do, use the Canadian law and justice system.

Scott said...

Actually, it is not at all clear that that is what the law says. Even within the assumptions of the settler state's legal system, it is possible that, if it is forced to operate fairly, it will recognize that the coerced supposed surrender of the Haldimand Tract is not valid, and it is settlers who are illegally occupying territory belonging to the Mohawk Nation. See this letter by renowned lawyer Andrew Orkin for a brief picture of some of the legal realities that tend to get erased by the dominant media and the institutions of the settler state. Of course, it is possible, given the long history of the legal system replicating colonial biases against indigenous peoples in Canada, that courts will decide against the Mohawks on technical grounds, and rule that the coerced dispossession in the early 19th century was within the powers of the colonies -- however, such a technical affirmation of settler theft by a settler institution is hardly justice.

Beyond that, though, there are deeper questions. The legal system has been imposed upon the indigenous nations of northern North America, not created or chosen by them, so why on earth should they inevitably accept its authority? Look at the history: in indigenous experience, it has mostly been about legalizing theft and settler-originated destruction, not about justice, not about remedying colonization. Certainly they use it as a tool, but its imposition upon them is one more facet of the historical injustice. What is needed is not a technical legal remedy but a political remedy in which the Canadian settler state and settler population once and for all deal with our colonial history -- something, settler protestations to the contrary, we have never even come close to doing. The federal government has not even begun to deal with the indigenous nations in good faith, and its refusal to do so is a big part of the reason why the dominant media and most settlers are completely clueless about the true history of this country.

For one particular indigenous analysis of the relationship between indigenous struggles and the legal system, see Thunder in My Soul and Journeying Forward by Patricia Monture-Angus, who by coincidence happens to be both an academic specializing in legal studies and a woman of the Mohawk Nation from the Grand River Territory. The books are old enough that they don't mention this specific conflict, and obviously they are just one woman's analysis and should not be taken as speaking for entire nations, but they do give significant background on relevant issues for people who are actually interested in educating themselves and they contain references to other scholars doing related work.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a bigger bunch of cry babies than the caledonia residents and white people in general over the reclaiming of native land.