The legal issue here is: do the Mohawks of Akwesasne have a right of self-determination on their land or not? What is the historical context? How many agreements with them relevant to this case have been broken or ignored? Can they create bylaws like this? Then there’s the moral issue. Are there thugs amongst the CBSA that sneer at the natives and subject them to additional searches as has been suggested? Do they feel threatened? How would you like it if you got pepper sprayed for daring to defy the godlike authority of the TSA border guard by asking him to say please when he’s rude? How would you like it if that was a bullet instead? The Mohawks have a legitimate grievance and this journal supports them provisionally. Perhaps if they’re stonewalled they should consider outright secession in a move similar to that taken by the Lakota Sioux under Russell Means.
Update (2009/06/09): Commenter ‘attentive’ on the source CBC site has gone some way towards answering these questions… see reposted comment below, third down.
Flashback: Akwesasne natives protest armed border guards, border crossing closed in retaliation | New border rules create ‘invisible Berlin Wall’: mayor | RCMP and US Coast Guard to integrate as Canada signs border pact with Homeland Security | New US border technology directed at insidious threat: Canadians | US Homeland Security forced to retract statement accusing Canada of importing 9/11 terrorists | Predator drones patrolling border irk Manitoba MLA | Homeland Security Assuming Broad Powers, Turning Swaths of U.S. into “Constitution-Free Zone” | Surveillance on the Great Lakes: U.S. tightens security along border | Drivers licences with chips spark heated debate | Border ‘two-headed monster,’ industry minister says | Canada, U.S. agree to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies | U.S. Northern Command, Canada Command establish new bilateral Civil Assistance Plan
June 8, 2009
About 40 Mohawk protesters blocked a bridge in eastern Ontario Sunday evening in support of a nearby First Nations community engaged in a standoff with the federal government over the arming of border guards.
Protesters blocked either side of the Skyway bridge, which spans the Bay of Quinte near Belleville, Ont., and links the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Prince Edward County.
Shawn Brant, a well-known activist in Tyendinaga, helped organize the blockade. Brant and other Mohawks plan to stay on the bridge until the federal government makes a commitment to hold what they describe as meaningful talks with Mohawks in Akwesasne. The Akwesasne territory is located near Cornwall, Ont., east of Kingston.
Talks between Mohawk officials from the Akwesasne and the Canada Border Services Agency broke down last weekend over the issue of arming guards assigned to posts on Cornwall island, which is in the middle of Akwesasne, a territory that straddles Quebec, Ontario and New York state.
The border guards in Cornwall were set to start carrying 9-mm handguns last Monday, under a new federal policy enacted across the country. Instead, guards left their posts at midnight last Sunday, citing safety concerns, after hundreds of Mohawks set up camp near the border to protest the gun policy.
Canadian authorities then shut down the Seaway International Bridge into the United States at Cornwall last Monday. The bridge, which spans the St. Lawrence River, handles about 2.4 million crossings annually.
Possibility of closure
For the time being, travellers have been advised to use a point of entry at Prescott, which is 60 kilometres west, or the Dundee crossing, which is 17 kilometres southeast.
The Akwasasne protesters are angry about guards being allowed to carry guns, because they say it violates their sovereignty, and increases the likelihood of violent confrontations.
The federal public safety minister said Sunday the border crossing might be shut permanently unless Mohawk leaders accept a decision to arm border guards.
Peter Van Loan told CTV’s Question Period the government is examining all options, including moving the port of entry.
Source | See Also under Natives: Peru protest violence kills natives and police | New members tapped for residential school commission: report | Akwesasne natives protest armed border guards, border crossing closed in retaliation | RCMP shocked 16 people five times or more last year | BC Court Tells Ottawa to Amend Status Rules for Natives | Chair to have final say as residential schools commission jobs rewritten | Geronimo’s descendants fight Yale secret society for their ancestor’s remains | Remaining 2 members resign from residential schools commission | Quebec First Nations declare sovereignty, opposition to provincial development plans | Commission to Probe Graves at Native ‘Residential School’ Sites | Government to hold talks over future of residential-schools commission | Chairman quits troubled residential-school commission | Truth commission tied too closely to government: aboriginal groups | Mounties pinned me down in cell and tasered me, Manitoba girl says | OPP threatened natives to end blockade | Alberta natives protest oil exploration on their land | Water shut-off on Manitoba reserve an ‘act of terrorism’: chief | Canada hears of native abuse pain | Native leaders vow to fight mining law in Ontario | Mohawk protesters set up blockade in eastern Ont. town | Location of Mass Graves of Residential School Children Revealed for the First Time; Independent Tribunal Established | Judge gets 7 years for sexual assault on young native women