Debra O’Gara of Seattle Radical Women delivered the following statement at a rally in front of the Canadian consulate in Seattle on August 30. The rally, organized by local Native American activists and RW representatives, was called to support the Mohawk nation in its confrontation with the Canadian Army in Oka, Quebec. The faceoff commenced after the Indians set up a barricade on their land to prevent developers from bulldozing their cemetery to put in a golf course. Negotiations were initiated shortly after the confrontation occurred, but have since been broken off by the government.
As we head to press, the Canadian Army, faced by 15-20 armed Mohawk warriors, continues to occupy Indian land. Warrants have been issued by the government for the arrests of the warriors and Indian spokespeople.
I am an Alaskan Native and I am mad as hell. Enough is enough!
Canada has declared war on all Native people by calling in the army at Oka in Quebec. Native people from Quebec to British Columbia and throughout the United States have responded with arms, protests, and demands for the right to live as sovereign nations!
The arrogance of developers building a golf course over a Mohawk cemetery is appalling. And for the government to respond to the Mohawk protest by sending in the army is doubly outrageous!
The struggle doesn’t begin at the cemetery; it has been waged for over 300 years in Canada. The governments of Canada and the U.S. have stolen our lands, our languages, our fundamental right to govern ourselves and control our resources. This oppression has been designed to destroy us as nations and as a people.
But the governments have not succeeded! And Indian Summer has arrived in North America. Native people throughout Canada have risen and are fighting back. And the women are on the front lines at the barricades.
The Cheyenne proverb, “A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground,” serves us today.
Ellen Gabriel, a woman warrior at Oka, sent out a statement for us all to rally around today:
“Benefit and use of our lands is not enough. We demand control and title to them. We demand sovereignty for all our Indian Nations!”
The Mohawks’ fight is for the survival of the Mohawk nation and all native peoples against the devastation imposed by profit-seeking corporations and the capitalist governments who protect them.
Today the oppressors are:
Pouring asphalt over burial grounds in British Columbia.
Poisoning Yakimas in Washington state with nuclear waste.
Jailing Indian fishers on the Columbia River.
Sending troops into Akwesasne.
Incarcerating our leaders such as Leonard Peltier.
Digging up our lands for oil, coal, and uranium in Alaska and at Big Mountain.
All in the name of profit and big business!
We in Radical Women say “No more police states on Native lands!”
RW stands with the women of Gonewagi in Oka in demanding sovereignty for the Mohawks. Victory to the Mohawks! Get the army out of Oka! Sovereignty rights for all Native peoples!