Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Mohawk Warriors and the Mohawk Workers at Six Nations

Many believe that the following two groups play a key role in promulgating the agenda of the Six Nations.  One wonders if the facts suggest otherwise, with each asserting their own agendas which are largely self serving.  It is a debatable point.  Neither appear to have a working relationship with the other; and while having names that sound roughly similar, their goals bear little relationship to one another.

The Mohawk Warriors group tend to show up at Six Nations when matters involving occupations come to some sort of crisis point, or their grandstanding (such as at the the "parade" with radical White supporters in the spring of 2012) would give texture to an event. They have a stated mandate in defence and security.  Specifically they state that, their purpose is to defend and protect the citizenry and territory of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois ConfederacyThe gnarly flag of the "Warriors" is, however, seen everywhere on the Reserve, or protest sites where threat and intimidation can be suggested just by its mere presence.   It is as welcome in local off - Reserve communities as a Hell's Angels patch to the citizenry of Niagara Falls. A history of the flag is given here.

The Mohawk Warrior group tend to be centred at the Eastern Mohawk Reserves such as Akwesasne and Kanesetake (Oka), but are willing to travel on short notice. The flags can be purchased locally, and one does not know who is the "true" MW without a programme. A sense of their widespread militancy can be seen in the following article here.  They also have a strong presence at Kanawaki, as the following will show here.  Many hope that the "Warriors" do not set up a chapter at Six Nations and add to the already complex stew.

The Mohawk Workers, are a group local to Six Nations, not to be confused with the "Mohawk workers", generally from Kanawaki, who are employed in dangerous "high iron" building projects, and are nicknamed, "skywalkers".  The Mohawk Workers at Six Nations seem to have first come to the attention of the public when, in 2007, they took over the Kanata Village Tourist Centre across the road from the landfill in Brantford.  The Centre was slated to be turned over to De dwa da dehs neye's Aboriginal Health Centre.  The two best known figures are Bill Squire, and Jason Bowman (a non-Native leftist group leader who provides "legal advice").  Since then they have been a bone of contention for the City of Brantford, and threats and action by the latter to turn off their utilities with over $50,000 in unpaid bills outstanding - see here.  One of the best descriptions of the genesis of the group that I can find can be seen here.  The Kanata Iroquois Village Centre is shown below.

They are now moving ahead with various land deals, initially the return of the Burtch lands, and now the property on Erie Avenue in Brantford, on their own authority (e.g., see Turtle Island News, 23 October 2013, p. 2).   A U-Tube video of this confrontation is found here.  Their expanding role from Kanata occupiers, to activists intent of directing the return of the Burtch Tract, to a "force" at Six Nations can be found in this video and the text that goes with it here.

At least at the beginning, the Mohawk Workers did not recognise the authority of either the Elected or Hereditary Councils, maintaining that the Haldimand Tract was given to the Mohawks, and the Mohawk should have the say in matters pertaining to land reclamation.  A website devoted to the Mohawk Workers (and a lot of radical rants) can be found here.

It appears that the Mohawk Workers may have been responsible for the recent visit to Canada by the "Special Rapporteur" to the United Nations, James Anaya.  His goal was to "investigate Canada's treatment of the indigineous people of this country".  See here.

However, things continue to get more complicated when for example, The Men's Fire, made up primarily of Mohawks, were upset at another Mohawk group, the Mohawk Workers, was securing a deal without their involvement (Two Row Times, November 6th, 2013, p. 3).  A recent statement by Bill Squire gives a flavour of what is on their agenda 6 years after the take over of Kanata Village.  He says that the Mohawk Workers, maintain, a recognition of the underlying title the Mohawk Nations have on the land through the Haldimand Deed, which they believe belongs to the Mohawks first and Six Nations at large by way of the Mohawks (Two Row Times, November 6th 2013, p. 7).  Some idea of their stated views and role, as articulated by Bill Squire, can be found here and here. For info on the "legal advisor", "spokesman" and leftist activist, Jason Bowman see here and here.

Whether the group will survive, or implode from within, remains to be seen.


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