MONTREAL, March 13 /CNW Telbec/ -
As two former Grand Chiefs of the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake, with fifty
years of combined leadership experience, we would like to express our concerns
regarding some statements by some Quebec politicians.
Recently, Parti Quebecois leader Mr. André Boisclair made statements
about the indivisibility of Quebec in the event of independence, stating
"territorial integrity would be protected and maintained."
We are concerned Mr. Boisclairs statement, along with those recently made
by Premier Jean Charest, clearly shows a lack of understanding of the history
between our nations, which is based on the Two Row Wampum and could have a
direct impact on our relationship.
We would like to remind Mr. Boisclair, throughout our lives we have shown
our resiliency and our ability to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances.
For generations, we have encountered colonial governments who have tried
to impose their laws, policies, ideas, language and religions upon our people
with little, if any, regard to our opinion or position. This is unacceptable.
Unfortunately, in order for our voice to be heard and our historic rights
protected, we have learned that we must sometimes react in an aggressive
manner, which in turn may lead to confrontation.
It is our strong belief that a good portion of the lands that Quebec
currently occupies are Mohawk ancestral land. If there is to be talk of the
"integrity" and "indivisibility" of the land, those discussing this had better
be knowledgeable of history.
It is very ironic to us that Mr. Boisclair chooses to speak on this issue
with such disregard for the native reality. As two former Grand Chiefs, we had
the opportunity to meet on several occasions with Mr. René Levesque, founder
of the Parti Quebecois on issues of nation building.
Despite a linguistic and cultural divide a mile wide, Mr. Levesque
understood that the Mohawks and the PQ share some similarities of philosophy
in terms of independence and relationships with other governments. He was
open, understood the concept of nation to nation, how we must live as
neighbors, respected the fact that native people have lived here since time
untold. He must be rolling in his grave as he sees what has become of his
With that being said, if anyone has the right to talk about separation,
nationhood, independence, sovereignty et al., it is the Mohawks. To this day
we make peace with those we choose to make peace with. We make war with those
we choose to make war with. And we ally ourselves with anyone we so choose.
That is how it has been throughout history. And that is how it will remain.
Mr. Boisclair's slight is just another incident that we face in our long
relationship with Quebec and Canada. Government leaders must understand that,
when the smoke clears, we will still be here.
With that, we urge both Quebec and Canada's leaders that it is in their
best interest to maintain a dialog with us. Otherwise, our "good neighbor"
policy may require some serious revisions.
In Peace and Friendship,
Andrew T. Delisle, Former Grand Chief of Kahnawake (1960-1980)
and Joseph Tokwiro Norton, Former Grand Chief of Kahnawake (1978-2004)
For further information:
For further information: Andrew T. Delisle, Indios Communications
(Former Kahnawake Grand Chief '60-'80), (514) 705-2525; or Joseph Tokwiro
Norton, Indios Communications (Former Grand Chief '78-04), (514) 946-4785