Members of the Kahnawake Mohawk community, supporters and Mexican Indians held a walk on March 16 to protest against a proposed “Oaxaca-Kahnawake Trade and Commerce Convention,” also known as Project O.K. Project O.K. would set up an international trade board having powers over Mohawks and Iroquois art and crafts.
The massacre of 45 Mexican Indians in Acteal, Mexico, though, is what stands out in some Native minds. Twenty-one women, nine men, 14 children and one baby under a year were gunned down.
This is what protesters say is shameful about the Mohawk leadership entering into a deal involving people who practice “Indian genocide.”
Joe Stacey, one of the band council workers, was a pallbearer of a coffin representing the massacred Indians. It led the procession to the local band office. Demonstrators talked about the deal and how the Mexican government isn’t suppressing the paramilitary groups hunting aboriginals. Human-rights organizations say state law enforce-
ment officers “arrest individuals arbitrarily” (in the region). Killers are rarely brought to trial.
Surprisingly, an announcement came from the council. Chief Joe Norton would speak to the crowd. He said the deal was needed for a better Mohawk future. He had to worry about the next generation of Mohawks finding work and said this would help the community’s economy. None of this moved the protestors who claimed Norton would be personally profiting from Project O.K. “Listen to them, Joe,” could be heard as various protesters berated Norton about the Band’s dealing with Mexico.
Violet Quinney, a Cree from Saskatchewan, and John Goodleaf, a Kahnawake Mohawk, have joined forces to raise money for the Indian survivors of Killings in Mexico. To date they have raised over $5,200.
People who are interested in helping can call 514-635-5719 and ask for Violet or make donations to theKahnawake Caisse Populaire (transit #30539-815, account #80805).
Suzanne Coutu Director