MNN. Mohawk Nation News. 16.Mar.98. Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Today the Mohawk, other Indigenous People and supporters marched to the band council office to hand Joe Norton and the Council the following letter:
Handed to Joe Norton and the Band Council of Kahnawake, March 16, 1998, by Mohawk People, allies, friends, and supporters of Indigenous People of Mexico.
PEOPLE AGAINST THE OAXACA-MOHAWK TRADE AGREEMENT
Mr. Norton and the Band Council of Kahanwake, Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada J0L 1B0
At this time, it is clear that you will not listen to our concerns about Project OK. Therefore we have no choice but to openly demonstrate our opposition. In the name of the Mohawk, other Indigenous people and supporters, we urge you to immediately stop Project OK. At this moment, we fear that something terrible is about to happen again in Mexico because the Mexican government has restricted their borders, have asked tourists and human rights watchers to leave, and there is a military build-up. In this situation it would be incredibly immoral to even think about signing a deal like Project OK.
Aside from this, you know that under Kaienerekowa, our Iroquois Constitution, your Band Council established under the Indian Act by the Canadian government cannot make nation to nation deals. You purport to be a nation government but you have not gone through the proper procedures to get our consent. We know that getting our consent is difficult. But since you are signing an international agreement you are setting up a dangerous precedent which can only erode our sovereignty. Donít you see that you (and we) are being used by Canada and Mexico in a public relations campaign to divert international attention from the repression of Indigenous people in both Canada and Mexico?
On the KRK radio talk-show on March 13th, you inferred that morality and business are separate issues. This is not so. For example, on the program 20/20 last week, sweatshops on American soil were condemned. In Saipei, large multinational corporations like GAP, FILA, Ralph Lauren and others were exposed as having their products made in repressive labor camps where human rights were being violated. This documentary clearly shows that morality and business are very much inter-related. Furthermore, who exactly are these 'Indigenous People' you are signing Project OK with? ARIPO, your liaison, is an agent of the PRI. PRI is the ruling party of the Mexican government which is indirectly responsible for these recent massacres. If the Mexican government is not responsible for the actions of its military and paramilitary, then who is?
The three principles of the Kaienerekowa are Peace, Righteousness, and Power. If we do not agree with actions that concern us, we have a responsibility to research and discuss the problem together, and come to one mind. We have some of the information about Project OK, now we need the rest to make an informed decision. This demonstration is so that you can clearly see that there are many who are not satisfied with Project OK. In our opinion, you, similarly, are not fully informed. In sum, supporters, human rights organizations, and solidarity groups have informed us of the gross human rights violations that have taken place in Mexico. This is one issue. The second issue is that once again we have not been given all of the information about your conduct that concerns us. Please do not sign Project OK. Please open your minds to our objections and your hearts to the plight of the Indigenous people in Mexico.
People Against Oaxaca-Mohawk Trade Agreement
Mohawk Nation News (MNN)
P.O. Box 991, Kahnawake Mohawk Territory (Quebec, Canada) J0L 1B0