Toronto Media Co-op

Local Independent News

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

“The Anishnabek of this territory support Occupy Toronto”

Indigenous Solidarity March, Nov. 12, 2011

by Deb O'Rourke

“The Anishnabek of this territory support Occupy Toronto”
“The Anishnabek of this territory support Occupy Toronto”
"We are here together as a unity."
"We are here together as a unity."
Decolonize Bay St.
Decolonize Bay St.
drummers
drummers
"100% foreign ownership of Indigenous land"
"100% foreign ownership of Indigenous land"
"Reclaim public space"
"Reclaim public space"

 

“The Anishnabek of this territory support Occupy Toronto,” John Fox told a crowd of hundreds who gathered on the knolls of St. James Park. This was a declaration that many had been hoping for.

Discussion around the Occupy movement has shown that to Indigenous people, occupy is an ugly word.  As Mohawk/Chinese activist Jessica Yee pointed out, “THIS IS INDIGENOUS LAND. And it’s been occupied for some time now.” Yee had waited awhile to see if the activists of Occupy Wall Street would mention that “New York City is Haudenosaunee Territory and home to many other first nations.” When she finally had to bring it up herself on Sept 30, she was mad.

The American Indian Movement has been on-site at Occupy TO Since Day One, to ensure the visibility of Indigenous people in the Toronto movement. It’s been a struggle, for even committed lefties tend to be blind to the ongoing genocide that freed the land for our obsessions and activities.

But a number of the St. James Park campers have been working for years on Indigenous solidarity and on issues like resource extraction, where theft and destruction of Indigenous lands is a daily reality. They’ve been working hard to educate their fellow campers. It all came together as Occupy Toronto celebrated its one-month anniversary with an Indigenous Solidarity March. Banners declared “(de)Occupy Toronto” and “Decolonize Bay St.”

John Fox told the “occupiers” that their presence was important at this time: that the Indigenous nations of Turtle Island had prophecies that their respectful ways would be lost for a time, and the land would be ruled by a spirit of materialism.  But after generations of loss, there would come a time of reclamation and recovery.

“The Anishnabek call this the time of the Seventh Fire,” he said. “The time of the Seventh Fire is now.”

He told the crowd: “We honor women as our leaders,” and introduced some of the many women speakers who would lead and teach on the march.

Addressing the complex issues the democracy in the park faces day after day, Tannis Neilson advised: "The heart of the struggle is in community. If the forces that act upon us are operating globally, still our resistance must be local, and embody a diversity of tactics.”

The crowd was informed that democracy itself is indigenous to this place: “The Anishnabek have a constitution and a governance mode that are truly democratic. We also have the strategies and techniques to live in harmony with the land.” The disenfranchisement and exclusion from the economy that radicalized the Occupy campers, and the fear of violent eviction and arrest that they face is not new to Indigenous people: “We've been on the front line resisting these oppressive techniques for over 500 years.”

The speakers emphasized unity and solidarity: “We are all Indigenous from somewhere. We are all related to the land and we are united by the land. We all have the duty to protect the land from corporate destruction.”

As the community prepared to march, an elder offered a prayer, and asked the marchers to walk in a spirit of peace. “We want to show people that we are here together as a unity. We ask for less homelessness, for love, and to find our stolen children. We need to feel we belong, not to be treated like invisible people.”

The march on this day was a tour of entities that directly profit from theft of Indigenous land, including two kingpins of environmental destruction: Barrick Gold Corp and RBC. Based on Bay Street, Barrick calls itself “the world’s largest gold producer,” with mines on every continent. RBC is a chief financier of Alberta’s Tar Sands, which has been called “one of the most environmentally destructive projects on earth” and affects Indigenous communities in Alberta and BC, with nearby Fort Chipweyan as “the sacrifice zone” plagued by pollution and unexplained cancers.

Mining is a very dirty business that often involves the utter destruction of a piece of land, and thus the removal of a people and the complete loss of their way of life and a formerly viable economy. Canadian companies are active both at home and abroad. Bridge Cosme, of Binnadang-Migrante, an organization of Indigenous migrants from the Cordillera, explained how government and multinationals collaborate to shatter Indigenous communities in the Philippines:

“The Philippine Mining Act of 1995… initially rejected by the Philippine Supreme Court but put into law through former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's machinations, guarantees 100% foreign ownership of the land that allows displacement of the residents and removal of their houses and stripping of the forests.” The few jobs offered to locals cannot begin to make up for the utter loss of their lands and economies.

Ontario’s Mining Act is no better. Passed in 1873, it allows individuals and companies to secretly stake claims without landowner permission, on public, private and Indigenous land. In 2008, Robert Lovelace was jailed for trying to prevent toxic uranium extraction on Algonquin land, and six women and men from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Innuniwug band were jailed for blockading unwanted platinum exploration.

Cosme related that, with 30% of the Philippines opened up for exploration to foreign and local mining companies, “Peoples' peaceful and militant resistance has always been met with violence. In fact, the present president, Benigno Aquino, approved the military proposal to allow privately-owned mining companies to form and fund militias.”

A stop at the American Consulate showed that such tactics occur on Turtle Island as well. Speakers called for the release of Leonard Peltier, seen by many as “America’s Nelson Mandela.” He was convicted in 1976 for 2 FBI deaths in a shootout that occurred during a period when, as encapsulated by Amnesty International, “more than 60 Indians on the Pine Ridge reservation had been killed, allegedly by paramilitary squads connected to the tribal government, without anyone being brought to justice for the crimes...” There is evidence of FBI collaboration with these squads on a war against traditionalists during those years, and enough documented instances of witness intimidation and evidence tampering for Amnesty to call for Peltier’s release.

As people interested in the Occupy movement have found, there is a vast difference between the way European-based cultures see the land, versus the way it is seen by the traditionalists in places like Pine Ridge and Fort Chipewyan. It shows in our use of language.

“The right word isn’t “occupy,” said a speaker. “It’s to “reclaim” public space. We are promoting the idea of the public good.” Marchers were told: “Our system, capitalism, is only one reality, and we don’t need that reality. We need to decolonize Bay Street. We need to decolonize our minds and ourselves.”

Approaching Queens Park after a three-hour tour, the hundred marchers left were chanting: “This is the revolution. Decolonize is the solution.” Those who remained were asked to continue their self-education and to join in movements that oppose developments like the Tar sands, and mining giants like Barrick who are destroying land and community in Indigenous territories.

Echoing John Fox’s declaration that the time is now, marchers were exhorted: “You are the people you have been waiting for.”

Links:

Indigenous Sovereignty Week: http://www.defendersoftheland.org/Toronto

Bulletins on Ontario Issues: http://chiefs-of-ontario.org/News/List.aspx

Jessica Yee: http://www.racialicious.com/2011/09/30/occupy-wall-street-the-game-of-colonialism-and-further-nationalism-to-be-decolonized-from-the-left/

Barrick: http://protestbarrick.net/article.php?id=593

Tar Sands:
http://understory.ran.org/2009/02/26/rbc-get-out-of-the-tar-sands/
http://www.tarsandswatch.org/tags/aboriginal-rights

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Innuniwug:
http://lakesuperiorminingnews.net/2008/12/31/community-unifies-to-defend...


Socialize:
Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
Topics: Indigenous

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

About the poster

Trusted by 0 other users.
Has posted 5 times.
View Deb ORourke's profile »

Recent Posts:


Deb ORourke (Deb O'Rourke)
Toronto
Member since Avril 2011

About:

Deb O'Rourke is a writer and community journalist who has published with the Toronto Media Co-op and Now Magazine.

1233 words

Commentaires

“The Anishnabek of this territory support Occupy Toronto”

The Six Nations Confederacy does not support Occupy Toronto. Toronto is not Anishawbek territory. It is under the 1701 Peace Treaty of Montreal which is led by the Six Nations. There are 40 Indigenous Nations that have signed onto that treaty. John Fox also does not speak for all Anishnawbek people as there are many who do not support Occupy or Occupy Toronto. There is no permission granted by the Six Nations Confederacy to be using their flag at any Occupy events nor should the Unity Flag be used because the Mohawk Nation as a whole does not support Occupy Toronto or the Occupy movement. The Clanmothers from Six Nations have asked all Six Nations people to withdraw their support from Occupy Toronto.

“The Anishnabek of this territory support Occupy Toronto”

The Six Nations Confederacy does not support Occupy Toronto. Toronto is not Anishawbek territory. It is under the 1701 Peace Treaty of Montreal which is led by the Six Nations. There are 40 Indigenous Nations that have signed onto that treaty. John Fox also does not speak for all Anishnawbek people as there are many who do not support Occupy or Occupy Toronto. There is no permission granted by the Six Nations Confederacy to be using their flag at any Occupy events nor should the Unity Flag be used because the Mohawk Nation as a whole does not support Occupy Toronto or the Occupy movement. The Clanmothers from Six Nations have asked all Six Nations people to withdraw their support from Occupy Toronto.

Thank you for these Important clarifications.

I thank you for these important clarifications, which I'm sure will be of interest to Occupy Toronto and those who come out to support them, as well as their critics. 

I'm personally aware that the Toronto area is home to a number of different First Nations, including the Haudenosaunee. Yet I neglected to mention that speakers on the Solidarity March acknowledged that the Haudenosaunee also regard this area as their territory. I apologize to these members of the Occupy movement as well as to the Six Nations Confederacy, for my failure to represent this view.

I was unaware of the 1701 treaty: thank you for directing me to it.

Some members of the Occupy Movement understand the fundamental right that Indigenous people have to their lands, and see on-going colonization and genocide as the fundamental crimes underlying all the injustice and desecration of this country. They work hard to share this awareness with others. On this  Saturday, Indigenous speakers from numerous nations came out to lead, guide and teach, so I wanted to ensure that this important event is on the record.

I tried to respect speakers by recording them as accurately as possible, and I hope I have done them some justice. Perhaps further commentary may bring more clarification.

“New York City is

“New York City is Haudenosaunee Territory and home to many other first nations.”

Patently false.

If you had said Montuak, Deleaware, Munsee, Unami, Wappinger, Pequot, Mohegan, or even Algonkian  to cover all these diffrent bands that have ties to the area, I'd be inclined to agree. But when you're saying that Haudenosaunee/Five (Six) Nations has claim to the lands that we're cooupied by their traditional enimies, I have to question the validity of that statement. 

Also, I was under the impression that Toronto was on Mississaugus land...

 

 

@ Anonymous in Toronto  You

@ Anonymous in Toronto  You stated'

“New York City is

“New York City is Haudenosaunee Territory and home to many other first nations.”

Patently false.

If you had said Montuak, Deleaware, Munsee, Unami, Wappinger, Pequot, Mohegan, or even Algonkian to cover all these diffrent bands that have ties to the area, I'd be inclined to agree. But when you're saying that Haudenosaunee/Five (Six) Nations has claim to the lands that we're cooupied by their traditional enimies, I have to question the validity of that statement.

Also, I was under the impression that Toronto was on Mississaugus land..."

 

First of all your spelling needs work. Secondly, New York City is on Haudenosaunee Territory and is home to many other first Nations. Thirdly, all of the other bands you mentioned are off-shoots of the Delaware ( Lenape) , who migrated from the west many generations ago. Forthly the 1701 Peace Treaty of Montreal, Nanfan Treaty, Silver Covenant Chain, and Royal proclamtion of 1763, all guarentee the Six Nations and their allies sovereignty over a land base 1200 x 2400 squ. miles, which includes New York City.

Fifthly, Toronto is not Mississauga Land. Notice confirming stance of Six Nations Confederacy, through the designated hereditary chief ( not band council chief) Arnold General, Beaver Clan, Onondaga Nation, the 1701 Peace Treaty of Montreal and Nanfan Treaty covers the land area that mounds in High Park are in. There is no line of demarcation between the Mississaugas and Six Nations at the Humber. The Six Nations chiefs and clanmothers are the ones who hold any jurisdiction of this issue because they are also the lead signers and negotiators of those treaties with the colonialists. There is no mention of the Mississauga of having their own chief signing that treaty, therefore any discussions, arrangements and etc. must be made with the Six Nations Clanmothers, Chiefs, and their extended arm, in dealing with this issue, THPS. It has been stated by the Six Nations Confederacy that the Mississauguas will need to consult with Cayuga Nation, which has been holding the Mississaugas wampum since 1782. It is improper for the City of Toronto to be holding back door discussions with the Mississaugas over the issues in High Park and it maybe that some of the recent decisions of the city to bulldoze the site and put a fence around was part of the back door discussions with the Mississaugas. We will hopefully be able to confirm that with the city on Tuesday, when we meet with them. If that is the case, and find that city has been making plans for the High Park Mounds, before consulting THPS, Six Nations Confederacy and others who are supporting the defense of the land and the ancestors, will not bode well with the Confederacy on any futures issues that Mississauga seek assistance from . This is one of the reasons why many of our people have not shown their support that they would like to is because of the “fraudulent Mississaussuga land claim of Toronto” as they are offended by it and also know that it is a violation of the Great Law of the Six Nations Confederacy and is also a violation of treaties made in 1701 and after. A land claim legally does not establish ownership or sovereign rights of the land, instead, relinquishes those rights once monetary compensation is received. Therefore the Mississauga Land Claim in Toronto is a business transaction that has now been completed, therefore according to the chiefs and clanmothers at Six Nations that have been consulted about this issue, have stated that the Mississauga have sold out any sovereign rights that they thought they had. All the other 39 nations who did not sign on to the Mississauga land claim, still have their sovereign rights intact under the 1701 . The Clamothers in 2009, had asked us to “preserve and protect” all of the sacred sites in High Park ” at all costs” , and that we will do.

Further note, there are no confirmed Mississauga burials in the Toronto area, and the mounds at High Park or Magwood Park have no relationship to the Mississauga or Algonquian language family as they were not builders of ceremonial or burial mounds. Mounds elsewhere that have been erronously labeled as Algonquian or Ojibwa are in fact insitu Iroquoian . Thefore the Mississaugas can not claim the mounds as theirs in order to support their fraudulent land claim.**

According to the Office of the Ontario Ministry of Culture, there are NO Mississauaga burial sites located and confirmed in the Toronto area. We also found out that the Mississauga’s are trying to claim the Seneca-Mohawk village of Taiaiako’n as their own.No Mississauga village was ever located at the site of the Seneca-Mohawk village of Taiaiako’n. They did have a village a located across the Humber River in 1788, 100 years after the massacre at Taiaiako’n by the French. Since there is a 10 acre burial ground located on the village site itself, no one ever lived there afterwords,not even Baby himself. The first residences built on the site of the village of Taiaiako’n, was in 1916.The Mississaugas have no valid claim to the Toronto area, especially since they don’t have any confirmed ancestors buried here such as do the /Neutral, Wendat and Six Nations.

http://taiaiakon.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/fraudulent-land-claim-mississauga-and-toronto_.pdf

 

 

Toronto is Tkaronto - it's a Mohawk word.

Toronto is Tkaronto - it's a Mohawk word.

Read Terri Monture's article on it: http://redindiangirl.blogspot.com/2011/10/listen-all-of-you.html

They also made a film on Tkaronto

Join the media co-op today
Things the Media Co-op does: Support
Things the Media Co-op does: Report
Things the Media Co-op does: Network
Things the Media Co-op does: Educate
Things the Media Co-op does: Discover
Things the Media Co-op does: Cooperate
Things the Media Co-op does: Build
Things the Media Co-op does: Amplify

Connexion utilisateur


Google+
Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!