NO MORE LANDCLAIM TERROR!
McGuinty – Fantino: protect ‘Dancer’ – NOW!
This post began when a man named Karone:rorakwe sent in a comment to my favourite post on VoiceofCanada: ‘Outsiders’ and why they are so important.” He felt that I had deliberately ignored or downplayed the sacrifices made by aboriginal people.
As with my other discussions with critics, this one didn’t begin too well. Although we didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything, I believe that we eventually came to understand and respect one another enough to make this post a worthwhile read.
In the course of our ‘discussion’ Karone:rorakwe passed on some wise words about the importance of listening. I posted them on the right sidebar to remind myself to try to understand why people are angry with me or don’t agree with me. It’s not always easy to do.
Re: Jim Smith – “Outsiders and why they are so important.”
Not to denigrate Mr. Smith nor his God. Not to marginalize the sacrifices made to democracy and freedom made by his ancestors in their acts of selflessness by wearing Canada’s uniform. But to be soooo dramatic is unbecoming. Wherein all of this is there any mention made of the indigenous people of this great country and the sacrifices made by them? Were one to take time and visit any, any cemetary on any reserve in this great country, one would be impressed by the many markers showing the the interred as having served in every branch of service in BOTH the Canadian Armed Forces AND the armed forces of the United States of America.
So I don’t see the sacrifice of these “outsiders” as being of any more significance than that of my own people. The markers in foreign lands also bear witness to the “ultimate sacrifice” we have made. The untold, unmarked graves that lay on every inch of soil from Pennsylvania, New York, Quebec and Ontario that speak to the blood shed by the Onkwehone:we on behalf of the Crown to create, preserve and defend this country. Where is mention of all of this in anything I have read on this site or anywhere else? Ignored. Of little or no consequence.
Where are those to speak for us? Certainly the Canadian government had/has no intention of educating Canadians to the TRUE history of sacrifices mage by my people. It’s as though we played but a minor role in all of this you non-natives are so damed proud of and just love to shove in our faces as if you were the great white saviours of all of Canada. In fact, without us, without our sacrifices, there would simply be no Canada you would recognize today. You decry us as “savages, terrorists” even without having any direct knowledge of our accomplishments and sacrifices. All you write, all you decry, points in the direction of ignorance of us and who we are. You know nothing about us yet, when these things come in to the public eye, you have soooo much to say about us. Enough! You are NOT the greatest thing to happen to mankind since the wheel. Humility, try it!!
VoC REPLY: Thanks for writing, Karone:rorakwe. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, I actually enjoy hearing from people who don’t agree with me as long as they try to make their point with an argument (even if the argument is kind of on the angry side. :-)) I appreciate that you took the time to send me this, so let me try to respond to the issues you raise…
1. WAS I ‘DISRESPECTING/IGNORING’ SACRIFICES BY NATIVE PEOPLE?
Jim Smith sent me his very personal photos and a link to his uncle’s war register in a specific attempt to show that the argument against ‘outsiders’ like Gary McHale and me was a foolish one. It was an extremely personal message for a very specific purpose. His purpose was not to recognize natives or to insult them, but to share a very dramatic story to make HIS point on OUR behalf. Therefore, the drama was very real, at least for me – when I say I cried, I wasn’t kidding. I’m not in the habit of lying to my readers, and I’m not afraid to get ‘real’ with them. That’s why people like this site. Also, Jim is a very passionate and emotional guy, and that’s how he writes.
I most certainly did not (nor would I ever) denigrate the service of native people in the service of Canada. Every sacrifice for this country is worthy. It’s just that this particular story was not about native sacrifices in Canada’s wars, and it was not the time or place to include it.
If you’d like to send me photo(s) of your relative(s) who died in one of Canada’s wars with a short history attached to it/them, I would be very proud and honoured to publish it provided that your words are educational, personal and historical.
2. MY EDUCATION RE CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANADA BY NATIVE PEOPLE
You said that the Canadian government had/has no intention to educate Canadians regarding the sacrifices made by ‘your people.’ I would absolutely agree that I didn’t learn too much in school regarding native contributions to Canada. I’m not sure if it’s the same today since I don’t have any kids in school. I’ll have to ask a friend who does.
3. MY CHARACTERIZATION OF NATIVE PEOPLE
“You decry us as “savages, terrorists” even without having any direct knowledge of our accomplishments and sacrifices. All you write, all you decry, points in the direction of ignorance of us and who we are. You know nothing about us yet, when these things come in to the public eye, you have soooo much to say about us. Enough! You are NOT the greatest thing to happen to mankind since the wheel. Humility, try it!!”
Part of what you say is true. I really don’t know much about your culture. Since writing VoC and having some amazing discussions here with native people who took the trouble to reach out – like you – I realized that it’s up to all of us to try to understand native culture and sacrifices and grievances. The problem right now, however, is that a small group of criminals are getting in the way of that process, and so long as we have to argue about the merits of allowing thugs to terrorize innocent people caught in a land claim, the real learning and understanding cannot begin.
The only native people I have denounced as ‘terrorists’ are the thugs who are using violence and criminality to get what they want. I don’t need to understand the history of native peoples in order to know that the evil that has been done by a small group in your midst is wrong, that trying to use past injustice as an excuse to justify what cannot be justified is wrong.
I would like to know more about you and your people, but the words of the extremists in your community frighten me with their viciousness and undisguised hatred of all whose opinion may differ from theirs. I have been slandered and libelled simply for talking about equality and non-violence. I wish you could have been there on January 20th when a group of 75-100 people on DCE stood near Chris Syrie’s property yelling filthy insults at us as we stood silent holding Canadian flags. Even they got tired of their own words after 30 minutes of hurling disgusting slurs against us, and drifted away after being unable to provoke trouble. We didn’t want to hurt anybody; all we wanted to do was exercise our Constitutional right to put up a flag of our own across from DCE.
When I drive along the Grand River I no longer marvel at the beauty; I wonder who will attack me if I stop for gas at the gas station if they knew who I was. I wonder what would happen to me if I drove through the reserve to see what was there. The Lions Hall has refused to rent rooms to Gary McHale and I because they have been the victim of harassment/intimidation from supporters of the DCE thugs. Despite all of this, I would never characterize all native people as being ’savages’ or ‘terrorists’ because I don’t believe it to be true.
I have said many times on VoiceofCanada that I believe the actions of a few organized criminals is bringing disrepute on native peoples as a whole. If it is understanding and cooperation and truth and justice you seek, ridding yourself of the troublemakers on DCE, and then joining us in our fight against Two Tier Justice by the OPP would be a very good place to start.
4. ARE YOU WILLING TO UNDERSTAND WHAT I HAVE SAID & WHAT I REALLY BELIEVE?
In fairness to me, have you actually read “all that I write?” If you had I suspect you might have a different opinion of what I believe and what I have actually said. Would you please take a few minutes to review two VoC articles for me? They both began with comments from critics, but they are among my proudest posts. The second one began with a comment from an Iroquois man named Terry Jamieson Jr. We didn’t start off too well, but you may like the ending. Tell me what you think:
5. WHAT I HAVE SAID PUBLICLY ABOUT REACHING OUT TO NATIVE PEOPLE
If you’d like to see how I applied what I learned from my interaction with ‘Rob’ and Terry Jamieson Jr., read my ‘Blue Beret’ speech to Caledonia that I gave during the March for Freedom on Jan 20/07. After reading it, please tell me if you still believe I hold any animosity towards honourable native people.
I hope this helps. I’d be interested in your feelings about the 3 VoC articles listed above. If you decide to write back, let me know that you’ve read them by telling me what the last words of Terry Jamieson Jr. were to me, OK? Thanks for writing, Karone:rorakwe. Mark
Too much to comment on. So many truths, half-truths and utter innuendo. I’ll leave the history lessons to those better informed than myself. As to Terry’s last words, “Live Long and Prosper.” There were other “last words” as I’ve been reading now for about 2 hours. Which “last words” would one choose? To say you were becoming a well-informed person would be correct. It does seem apparent that you are intent on at least making the effort to inform yourself. Kudos.
I do want to make a few points however. In response to WL “what happens when every court decision finds the occupation to be illegal and . . . . etcetera” The analogy that comes to mind here is “putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.” We are speaking of the colonial court system aren’t we? Of course we are. The very same colonial system that “raped” us, deciding on the guilt or innocence of our actions at Caledonia? That HAS to be the epitome of arrogance and typical of the ignorance we have come to expect from people such as WL. Sad, very, very sad.
Also, I WAS at Syries that day, standing silently, watching, with my heart covered in tears at the actions of my people. But in contrast to your observations about “your people” standing quietly, I saw and heard otherwise. There is a difference though, in “knowing” of the history as to the “why” of our actions, and “living” the history of the “whys.” The continuing fall-out of the residential school systems affects us profoundly even today, these many years after the fact. The residential school system was directly responsible for the loss of my marriage and my wife. I can understand the pain, the hurt and frustration of my people and their unseemly conduct. I don’t condone it . . . I just understand it. I saw many of our children watching this nasty exchange and was saddened by this. I wondered what it was we were teaching our children by such conduct? To teach them this was appropriate behaviour only serves to ensure this hate and bitterness will go on and on and on. This is/was not our true way. This is not the teachings of our Great Law. This, was not the true “us.”
Like you, like countless others, I too wore the uniform of this country. I did not serve for the foreign government in Ottawa, I served this country we call Canada. My land. The same land that we Onkwehone:we were always willing to “share” with our white brothers. Trouble is, our “white” brothers never had any intention of sharing it with us. They wanted it all then; they want it all now. To understand that, you have to learn of our “one bowl” philosophy. We always believed there was more than enough room to live side-by-side with enough for all. Big mistake.
I am a moderate Mark. I do not believe in violence for any other reason than to protect my loved ones, my honour and my land. I will stand at Kanonhstaton when called upon. I will stand with dignity and with honour, with open face and open hands. I wear no mask to hide my face. Yet, as others say, it is easy to understand the passion of the young. We will do our best to keep them of a good mind.
As you, I was also a charge of the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society. I too have been through the mix of orphanages and foster homes. I must be a very resilient person for I survived relatively unscathed. A whole person at my advanced age of 63. (some humour there).
In closing, I have to say to you, you are a very committed man. I hope your “new” education serves you well. You have much to say but harken to an old Native expression if you will; “be silent before your tongue makes you deaf.” Listen, and listen well. There is much more to learn.
Be well. Take best care.
VoC REPLY: Dear Karone:rorakwe – I like your words of wisdom very much: “Be silent before your tongue makes you deaf.” I will try to remember them and who it was that told them to me.
Just to clarify re the angry words at Chris Syrie’s property. Again, you are partially correct and I am glad you reminded me. When I wrote my response to you, I did not think to mention the second instance during the day where there was some shouting from ‘our side.’ Allow me to explain: After the speeches on the side of the road were over at approximately 1200, many of us drove over to Chris Syrie’s property. When I arrived there were some people standing at the edge of the hill overlooking DCE holding Canadian flags as the insults were flying toward us. From the time I arrived until the people on DCE got tired of insulting us, there was not a single response to the provocation that I heard. It is possible that there were words exchanged before I got there, but I didn’t hear them. I did see later on CHTV some footage where someone on ‘our side’ asked the DCE crowd to join with us in putting up flags and was rewarded with ‘middle finger’ salutes. I don’t know when this took place (Of course, I don’t trust the media any more than you likely do, given how often they ‘get it wrong’ about us). As I said, it’s possible that someone from the Syrie camp said things they shouldn’t have before I got there.
I thank you for your words regarding the hurt you felt about the insults coming from the DCE side.
I remember saying to the man I was standing beside (Jeff) that our struggle against Two Tier Justice will only be won through peaceful means, by showing our strength through silence in the face of degradation. It was hard for him, but he understood. After the DCE hecklers left (around 1230 +/-) we gathered around the fire at Chris Syrie’s property.
After a while we got word that Fantino was at Unity Road, so some us piled into cars to go over there to see if he would answer our questions. I don’t know if there were any confrontations while I was gone.
When we came back (Fantino met with you, but he wouldn’t meet with us.) someone thought that DCE people were trying to harass the people whose house had been vandalized Dec 17th so we ran down to the edge of the hill to see if they needed some help. There were some DCE people there, again insulting us. One man in a yellow rain suit (I think?) on the DCE side, however, said that wanted to talk to us. ‘Jeff’ asked me if we could invite him up, to which I was very sympathetic, but I told Jeff that it wasn’t our property and therefore we had no authority to invite anyone in without the homeowner’s permission. Jeff was very disappointed, but he understood. He later wrote me an email telling me that he wished he could have met the man from DCE to hear what he had to say. Another DCE man, also in a yellow suit (I think) got very angry with the first guy and told him not to talk to us. The crowd then began yelling insults at us again.
This time, however, a couple of people had had enough and began to react. One man on ‘our side’ became very angry. Although he did not yell any slurs towards DCE he did offer to fight the people who were insulting him. I went over to him, put my hands on his shoulders, looked him in the eyes and told him forcefully to stop, that just one incident – no matter how it started – would be held against us and against our struggle. Eventually, he calmed down enough for me to convince him to move away from the hill. After we returned to the fire he became very angry with me, telling me how much he resented me telling him what to do. Eventually, he apologized. I suppose this is a longwinded explanation to say that it’s possible you witnessed his reaction, or someone else’s while I wasn’t there.
I am honoured that you read my words for two hours. When one is 63, you never really know what the next two hours will bring, do you? Two hours is quite an investment of faith! (Said by someone who just reached the traumatic age of 50)
I am truly sorry that you lost your wife and your marriage because of what my government did to you. I wish I knew what to say, but let me offer this: When I was in jail on Dec 16th I had that moment of clarity that you read about in my post, and I realized that everything in my life – both good and bad – had prepared me for this struggle, and I also knew – for the first time – that I would not go back and change a thing even if I could.
One day I hope that Caledonia will be remembered not for the awful pictures on my site, but as a place where wise men (and women!) backed away from the abyss of anarchy and civil war, resolved to live as true equals under an admittedly imperfect Rule of Law, and dedicated themselves to teaching others what was learned there.
Let me close with one thought that you may or may not find strange; I suspect that you and Gary McHale would enjoy each others’ company very much, and that much knowledge and understanding would be gained and shared in the process. He is an good man, a man of great vision, wisdom and learning. More importantly, he is a man of great integrity – someone who cannot be bought or intimidated. He, too has suffered from a very bad childhood and, like us, has “emerged relatively unscathed.” I would very much like to be in the same room with you both. Perhaps one day…
Thank you for the gift of your time, Karone:rorakwe. I wish I could discuss the “One Bowl” philosophy with you, but I have much to do now. Perhaps we will meet again. I have written your words and your name in my notebook. I will also put them on the right margin of this site so I will remember. Live long and prosper. Be well and take best care yourself. Mark