“It’s no wonder so many of our youth seem lost, without direction and guidance, and are choosing the wrong road. Look at the examples they have to follow.” Six Nations Councillor Helen Miller, May 25/11
UPDATED June 11/11 — In the wake of the lawless takeover of the former Six Nations police station by youths Councillor Helen Miller has written a letter to the Turtle Island News in which she itemizes a brutally honest shopping list of reserve dysfunctionality and provides a shockingly fresh solution:
- repeated vandalism of the Veterans’ hall.
- Men’s Fire telling people provincial laws don’t apply, and that Six Nations Police have no authority, which promotes lawlessness.
- People paying kids to steal cars and sell drugs.
- Cigarette shops, some of which are fronts for drug dealers.
- ATV drivers & Poker Run organizers refuse to respect farmers’ properties and crops.
- People stealing reserve land, including the Glebe Lands.
- Domestic violence is rampant.
- Women and girls are being sexually assaulted.
- Too many kids being raised by single parents because fathers refuse responsibility or mothers deny access.
- Increased violence at sports games with racism on both sides.
- More suicides among kids in last few years than in 10 years.
- Kids being bullied at school, but no zero-tolerance policy adopted.
- Drug addictions are plaguing the community, not just youth, but moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles. Several babies born addicted to drugs, or born w/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.
- Elected council fighting with confederacy council with Mohawk Workers refusing to work with either council.
After listing out the social ills of her community Miller tells her fellow Six Nations residents to stop blaming others and look in the mirror for solutions:
“It’s no wonder so many of our youth seem lost, without direction and guidance, and are choosing the wrong road. Look at the examples they have to follow. [...]
“What do we need to do to make our community a better place to live? First of all we have to stop blaming colonization, stop blaming residential schools, and stop blaming 1924.
“Secondly we all have to take responsibility for what has happened to our community. [...] Far as I’m concerned it all comes down to leadership. The only way we can hope to get our community back on track is for the elected council, the confederacy council and the Mohawk Workers to work side by side, hand in hand, with one mind, supported by the people. For the sake of our young people and children we need to make this happen otherwise I’m afraid our young people won’t have much of a future.”
- Helen Miller letter, Turtle Island News, May 25/11: Vets hall hit again, councilor concerned [PDF]
- Turtle Island News: www.TheTurtleIslandNews.com
Six Nations youth leader condemns lawlessness by occupiers of former police station
In another positive development the Coordinator of the Six Nations Youth Movement, Laurel Curley, has issued a lengthy public apology and explanation to residents who were misled by the group of youths who occupied the former police station, saying, in part:
“Recently our name was appropriated and our credibility exploited without our knowledge or consent. [...] None of our Core Team or Working Group members were involved in the old police station ‘takeover’ or the acts of vandalism on the Fair Grounds property.
“As members of the Six Nations Youth Movement 2011, we do not make ‘demands’, issue ‘ultimatums, engage in ‘takeovers’, vandalize property or undertake disrespectful or unlawful activity. We…do not take kindly to individuals or groups appropriating our name and exploiting our credibility to further their own political or criminal agendas.”
- Laurel Curley letter, Tekawennake News, June 01/11: “Youth Movement” confusion [PDF]
- Tekawennake News: www.Tekanews.com
Curley’s letter was written in response to a militant May 25th letter written by the youth occupiers of the former Six Nations police station who say they are “not interested in collaborating with any colonial structures: Band Council, Police, CAS or corporations.”
- Tekawennake News, May 25/11: Official statement from Youth Movement [PDF]
- Tekawennake News: www.Tekanews.com
Councillor Miller’s letter is the single most hopeful document I have seen during the past 4.5 years of fighting for justice in Caledonia, and there were tears in my eyes as I read it. The courage. The wisdom. The truth.
In 2009 I lauded Councillor Miller for another courageous letter she wrote. That letter to the Brantford Expositor denounced the various groups responsible for the lawlessness against Six Nations’ neighbours, and made it clear that they don’t speak for Six Nations, and aren’t supported by the community at large.
- VoiceofCanada, July 14/09: ‘The Strength of a Woman’: Six Nations Councillor Helen Miller
I have always believed that the radicals who terrorized Caledonia didn’t represent Six Nations so her words back then gave me hope and vindicated my faith in the people of Six Nations.
Since initially publishing this article I have been made aware of an excellent article about violence against native women by a woman (whom I have met personally) with a 30-year connection with aboriginal communities. She wrote to tell me how pleased she was to have read Helen Miller’s observations about the futility of constantly blaming colonization and residential schools since she had written nearly identical words in her own article - before reading Miller’s letter on VoC:
“Why does the violence continue to get worse? I would argue that the constant blaming of forces such as colonization and the residential schools has not helped move the dialogue forward. Yet many witnesses who presented evidence to the Status of Women committee included these two factors among the main causes.
“Don’t get me wrong. I know that colonization and the residential schools have contributed substantially to the dysfunction, but I maintain it is completely unrealistic for some people to insist that all aboriginal misfortune only started when non-aboriginals arrived on this continent.”
- Counterpoise, May 27/11: Violence Against Aboriginal Women
CUPE 3903 FNSWG interlopers also bear responsibility for Six Nations dysfunctionality
Interestingly, the groups named by Miller in 2009 as illegitimate, self-appointed spokespeople for Six Nations were the very groups being supported by Tom Keefer and CUPE 3903′s First Nations Solidarity Working Group coalition of anarchists, radical unionists and Israel haters.
Every community – native and non-native – has problems virtually identical to those facing Six Nations, but over and over again, I have been told by supporters of the Haldimand Tract lawlessness that the blame for Six Nations troubles lies not with those natives committing crimes against innocents, but with ‘racist white-privileged settlers.’
The CUPE-led anarchists et al have, however, never once acknowledged – let alone express compassion for - the native rape and assault victims of their Six Nations proxies even though I have spoken out for them again and again in my writings and in my speeches in Caledonia, in Calgary and in Ottawa. Instead, they deflect attention from the inconvenient truth that their actions are also hurting native people via false accusations that Gary McHale and I are racists:
- Mark Vandermaas speech at ‘Remember Us’ protest, Caledonia, Oct 08/07: Natives are Victims of Two Tier Justice [VIDEO 18.29 mins, [PDF]
- 2010 New Directions in Aboriginal Policy forum, Mount Royal University, May 05/10, Mark Vandermaas presentation: Listening to Victims: A Fresh Approach to Healing and Reconciliation [PDF, 21p]
- ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares’ event, Ottawa, March 22/11: Mark Vandermaas presentation, Part 1 - Caledonia’s Victims [VIDEO #1, 15:05] [PDF, 36p w/citations]
- Caledonia Victims Project, April 29/10: Campaign against Vandermaas & McHale results in positive outcome
This ‘Blame Everything On The Racist White Colonialists’ dogma has been CUPE 3903 FNSWG’s battle cry all along as they have used Six Nations militants for their own anti-capitalist agenda since 2006, and it is the reason they also bear some responsibility for the miserable dysfunctionality on the reserve.
These non-native interlopers have done their best to inculcate a culture of hopeless victimhood and lawless entitlement within the people of Six Nations. I hope that Helen Miller’s courage will encourage the community to pull up the welcome mat for them so it can begin to repair the damage done by their indoctrination of race-blame. What a wonderful first step that would be for Six Nations and her neighbours.
In a place of darkness, someone has to be the first to light a candle to chase away the shadows. Helen Miller’s latest candle isn’t really a candle at all, it is a bright searchlight on those who victimize others for their own selfish ends.
Bravo Councillor Miller. And bravo to you, too, Laurel Curley.
- Counterpoise: www.CounterPoise.ca
- VoiceofCanada, June 10/11: Gary McHale to Six Nations: Beware what you teach your children
- VoiceofCanada, June 02/11: Youth barricade of ‘reclaimed’ Six Nations police station represents teaching opportunity for elders
- Tekawennake News op-ed series by Gary McHale, Mark Vandermaas, Merlyn Kinrade & Doug Fleming, July 14-21/10: Healing Two Communities [PDF, 7p]
- Mark Vandermaas presentation, Queen’s Park Media Studio, Truth & Reconciliation’ news conference, Feb 23/11: Healing in The Absence of Justice [PDF]
- ‘Caledonia: No More Nightmares’ event, Ottawa, March 22/11: Mark Vandermaas presentation, Part 2 - Caledonia Myths & Policy Issues: Caledonia: a National Security Issue [VIDEO #2, 14:50] [PDF, 36p w/citations] (includes info re support for native militants by radical unionists, anarchists, anti-capitalists, anti-Israel groups and terror group supporters)
- Caledonia Victims Project brochure, March 28/10: Caledonia’s Fifth Column: How radical unionists, anarchists, anti-Israel groups and terror group sympathizers are aiding and abetting native militants in their quest for ‘aboriginal sovereignty’ in Caledonia and Brantford [PDF, 6p]
- Celestial Junk, June 10/11: Mohawk Woman to Her People…