The following is from episode one of the podcast Ayonwatha: Colonialism Through the Eyes of a Mohawk Turtle Clan Man:
The smiles we see and celebrations always have a darker side, a facade. Even the ones who seem genuinely evil are a lot nicer on a computer screen than in person, and even more diabolical and evil. Reality is like a shadow, it mimics your every move, but with an elegant darkness that sometimes goes unnoticed.
Indigenous peoples around the world face inter-generational trauma on a daily basis, it is interwoven into our daily actions and words. It is even deeply ingrained in our humor, which is dark and seemingly offensive to the settlers present. The elegant darkness that goes unnoticed is the very light that we live in daily, living in plain sight and neglected as non-human. Indigenous People, the only race to be forced to prove lineage the same way as horses and dogs, through blood quantum testing.
Every single person of Indigenous ancestry in this occupying settler state of so called Canada has blood memory and relatives who are victims of genocide through the residential school system. Parents had children and didn’t know how to love or show emotion, and that was passed down through generations. This resulted in alcoholism, drug abuse, and major mental health issues among the Indigenous population. These parents began having their children taken from them by Child and Family Protective Services, which is just the residential school system in a different form.
Children were taken from their homes and places with white foster families, ultimately losing their connections with the land and community in which they came from. This was called The 60’s Scoop, where the government hadn’t moved away from the residential school system quite yet, they were still perfecting their new way of stealing children and attempting assimilation through legislation such as Pierre Trudeau’s “White Paper”.
History will show a long line of old white men upholding the patriarchal status quo, ensuring the less fortunate stay that way while certain white Christian families become the most powerful. When you observe political power across the country, even in other colonized countries, notice how the power stays within a particular family branch. This wouldn’t seem extraordinary though, as there were only so many original families that travelled over here and made settlements initially. Power and dominance was established in order for more to come across, and the ones in charge were related either directly or indirectly to royalty and high ranking members of the Church.
Genocidal roots know no bounds, and the current leaders benefit from the outcry of the Indigenous and Black communities. They hear what we have to say, because we say it loudly. There are education programs for our people that they fund, but they take them as well. Minister Marc Miller for example is fluent in the Mohawk language, which gives him the advantage to better understand how we operate and think. Our language is rooted in who we are, in the law and creation.
What they do with this information and knowledge is use it against us to put on a show, scream reconciliation and sign important sounding documents with wording that we have been using for years. All of this, with the actual intentions of ongoing assimilation and genocide tactics. Not only are they stealing children still to this day, but they are fighting survivors of residential schools in Federal court. The current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the son of White Paper Trudeau is exactly like his father, coming in with a second white paper. One that would destroy Indigenous sovereignty and allow for further extraction and ongoing genocide by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and all other colonial agencies and policing forces.
For as stupid and idiotic as the colonial policies seem, they really are. The government is infantile in the way it is structured, and it is even worse in the United States because it is a stolen system that they whitewashed for their own benefit. True governance that works for the people has always come from the Indigenous peoples around the world. The Catholoc Church and subsequent Churches are all responsible for the destruction of the planet as a whole, beginning with humanity.
All of these things are embedded in the memory of the world, in the land and water; in the air and all of creation. Our stories tell us that most life as we know it originated across the sky in a world where there are beings much like ourselves, and that us as human beings are made from the soil which originated at the very depths of the ocean. We give thanks to all these elements because they have memory, they know what has been hidden away in the shadows. Nothing is gone or forgotten, people just haven’t been listening.
Now that we have your attention, I need to let you know that you’re all going to die. You can blame the Federal Government for this because they are the ones killing you all off. It’s not with vaccines or any other over exaggerated Roganism, it’s with the genocide of Indigenous people through our cultures, traditions, governance systems, and ecological knowledge. Not allowing us to defend the land and protect the waters and trees is killing everybody, and there will be nothing left for your children or grandchildren.
There aren’t two wolves inside you, that’s just some evangelical assimilation attempting bullshit. What is inside you is decency, morals, ethics, and logic. How is it possible that the Indigenous Nations defending the land could be the ones who are wrong when it is the Colonial Settler State that is ending humanity in front of our eyes. The ones who are racist, ignorant, and hostile are exactly the people the government wants following them. The ones who side with police, who are consistently, on a daily basis, killing and beating Indigenous and Black people. The incarceration rates are through the roof for people of color and the most racist thing a person can do is try JUSTIFYING them being behind bars.
As I spoke about earlier there has been an entire history of killing and removing Indigenous people from the land, and the prison system is just one of the ways. The more of us that are in jail means more access to land and resource appropriation for them. The implementation of the Band Council system was merely adding more Indian Agents to the reserves and territories, again under the guise of respect but ultimately to assimilate us into their system.
The attempt of using different titles such as Chief and Councillor were things meant to divide the communities when the western colonial government couldn’t completely destroy us while stealing our children. Our resilience was and still is terrifying to them, so much so that the very bodies they tried to hide are rising up from Mother Earth calling for a revolution. Money and power was thrown at some, different ones such as Joseph Brant caved and became traitors. There is a saying though, that even Custer had scouts.
Manipulation of our ways and governance system, our language and traditions is nothing new and has been ongoing since contact. The Code of Handsome Lake is another religious colonial attempt at division and assimilation. Although it came at a time of division and warfare, it was influenced by Handsome Lake or Skanadariyo. He was an alcoholic with syphilis who had a vision of spirit guides going up to the Sky World.
Handsome Lake was heavily influenced by Jesuit Missionaries and adopted things such as repentance, which doesn’t exist in the Great Law. It also forbade substances such as alcohol or anything that would alter your mind, all things based on colonial religious ideals. Some may honor this Code and that’s okay, but it is only meant to be a stepping stone back to the Kayanere’kowa; but truly there needs to be no stepping stone.
The idea of getting on track refers back to our way of being, balanced in all four realms. There is no need for a stepping stone when what’s there is attainable with little to no effort, something that involves not just a family but an entire Confederacy of families. All of which was built off of a simple condolence ceremony between a Wendat man and an Anishinaabe man and the strength of a Seneca woman. There is no need to scale up or down our law, as it instructs us to embrace everything and everyone around us because it is alive.
The conquest was for nothing, we as the Indigenous people of the world are rising up and refuse to be silenced any longer. As railways and points of operation have been strategically placed in Indigenous territories and in close proximity, the ignorance toward our strategic thinking and drive to survive has been sorely neglected. We are still here and getting stronger for a reason, there is a generation that has been able to break the cycle of inter-generational trauma.
We have been learning the stories our entire lives and they flow in our veins. Now it’s time people actually hear what we have been saying for hundreds of years. There are many people getting mad because statues are coming down, these would be the same as Nazi sympathizers being upset about monuments coming down. Those who believe a monument in the likeness of a long dead white genocidal man is needed to preserve history, what kind of person are they to love such a history?
In March of 2020 I made a comment to Nick Fury on National Post Radio and I’ll say it here again, Justin Trudeau is comparable to Adolf Hitler and anyone in a colonial policing position (especially the RCMP, OPP, SQ) are like the gestapo. Even Hitler was named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year, then again so was Donald Trump so there is a lack of effort being made in that department.
Fury was in a hurry to get me off the air, as it was a live interview, but that was fine with me because I had lessons to plan and a line to help hold on Wyman Road. This was when I decided that it was time to emerge from behind the lines in backup and support roles to speak up, because there was a complete lack of truth coming from the Mainstream Media.
I was always in support roles, in a march or holding a line, with my face covered and mouth shut. As an Indigenous youth you learn to just watch and listen when shit is hitting the fan, and a lot of this can cause PTSD. People need to remember that youth holding the line are at war just like the men that have been there for years. The time was then, and since then many others have begun to rise up or stopped censoring themselves.
As Indigenous people we are taking our strength back by using our songs, speaking our language, practicing our culture, and not sugar coating the truth when we use our voices. Our ancestors are proud, they recognize that we are becoming stronger and more resilient and can handle the unburdening of trauma. That’s why they sent these children from the graves, for the survivors to have closure and for their descendants to be there for them to lean on and hold them up.
The joy you see in the face of a survivor, the light that appears in the back of their eye is nothing short of a spiritual moment when you speak about following your ways. When you talk about upholding the law, clans, and spreading awareness through raw truth you can see a part of their heart heal. It is up to us and the next generations to ensure the healing continues, to ensure we see the colonial governance system collapse and a new/old form re emerge as the status quo.
The power is in the people, this is why we need the Federal Government to implement all calls to action and why we are focusing on call to action #47. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and Terra Nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.
The implementation and recognition of these calls to action are essential to our existence, and we will not let over 7 thousand of our ancestors so far be uncovered for nothing. The fight will continue to the end, because without our governance system and cultural practices Indigenous people have an empty space inside us. While throughout the day many of us seem happy and outgoing, there is a darkness to our existence that we deal with daily in the shadows of colonization.
This emptiness leads to addictions as mentioned before, and also a sense of helplessness, abandonment and loss that drives many to suicide even in their youth. Every single Indigenous person has at least one family member that has died by suicide, has been murdered or beaten by police, or both. Every single Indigenous person has a family member that has been to jail, prison, or both; every single one of us is the descendant of a Residential School victim.
The number of suicides among Indigenous communities is just as atrocious as the number incarcerated or taken from their homes. When all of these different factors add up, you can blatantly see the ongoing attempt to wipe Indigenous people from the land. Even the settlers aren’t safe from the power and control of the genocidal state.
Even to have the need for calls to action, for the government to be forced to apologize for something they continue to do is alarming to anyone who has the smallest bit of humanity. To take responsibility for the rape and murder of thousands upon thousands of children is reprehensible, and we aren’t even counting the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, the men that have been taken out on starlight tours and left to die, or the ones who didn’t survive their wellness check.
Mass grave sites are crime scenes, no matter which way the mainstream media and government want to spin it. The truth is coming up from the ground and there is nothing they can do to stop it. Staying loyal to their colonizer roots, the founders of so-called Canada implemented and perfected practices of genocide they had already been using overseas in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the rest of the world.
To this day, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have a specific division to protect corporate interests such as logging, gas, and oil. Canada is literally protecting the destruction of life as we know it, while many sit back and think that planting a few new trees in their place is going to solve the problem. This is the ignorance that will lead to our annihilation as a species, the natural world doesn’t need us to survive and once the damage is done and we’re all dead it will rejuvenate itself.
Consider it a privilege to live on this planet, and an honor or live on Turtle Island. You are still a settler here regardless of how many generations your family has been here. That’s part of the point, you can count how many generations have been here while Indigenous Nations and our people have been here for countless generations. There is no way in existence that the infantile legislation can last the test of time like the wampums of the Great Law have, so many of their laws have been amended and changed so far because they don’t have consistent leadership.
The ones who are supposed to be in charge and looking out for the best interest of the people are the biggest con artists there are. Those that give themselves titles, those that appropriate council names under false pretenses and mislead people outside of your community to think you’re a true warrior. The politicians that are all about speaking with Indigenous people until the election is over and their four years in office begins.
The thing about Indigenous leadership is that their titles sit with families, can be traced, and all of us can trace our lineage through a simple introduction. We sometimes even include who our clan mothers are if we are familiar with the community someone comes from within the same Nation. This too, is a small but very important detail to look for when the pretendians like Shane Ortega cry lateral violence because he was asked who his clan mother is. I’ll tell you right now mine is Delia Cook, and I sit with the Ayonwatha Turtle Clan Family. So far Shane has claimed to be Cherokee, then Tuscarora, then he had a Shoshone person give him a Mohawk name. A Mohawk Elder who he claimed helped him has been telling him to stop impersonating Indigenous people, more specifically Haudenosaunee people, and he says it is because he is black and trans.
It has nothing to do with his skin tone or orientation, it has everything to do with him being a liar and taking money from actual Indigenous people. This is a form of genocide as well, it’s the next step up from wearing the Indian Princess of Chief costumes at Halloween, this is full on cosplay shit that the government will 100% support and throw money at.
With all the assimilation and genocide attempts, it’s not okay to try to play Indian just like it isn’t okay to learn our language with ulterior motives. We are not your entertainment, we are not your fetish, we are the very descendants of the people who helped the first settlers survive and were subsequently murdered. It was in the Caribbean with the Taino people that destruction began, then the boats began to emerge from the North.
As warriors, or Rotihskenhrakehte, we would paint our skin red and shave our hair into different styles to appeal to the colonizer, to put their focus on our scalps as they would be worth more. Many other tribes paint themselves as well as tattooed themselves, each one with a significant story. Even the plains tribes would paint their horses.
This is still practiced to this day, we still maintain all the ancient agreements and laws, and the original treaties. Indigenous peoples have defended the land and water with our lives and will not stop any time soon, so it’s time for even the settlers to find their identities. Even the Briton, Irish, Scot and Pict tribes would paint themselves as well as many others around the world, into the Caribbean and the great continents of Africa and Australia. But here in Haudenosaunee territory, we painted ourselves red so our ancestors could see us, and go to war beside us.
Written by Sha'tekayen:ton Andrew Brant,
Mohawk Turtle Clan, Ayonwatha,
Kenhteke (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory)