May 26/97: Was NYS attack practice for brutal repression?


MNN. Mohawk Nation News Editorial
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MNN. 26-May-97. A billboard alongside the NYS Interstate 81 states Iroquois Confederacy, Tax Free Forever' says a lot about the Iroquois nations' fight with New York State over taxation. At the base of the billboard burns an Iroquois Peoples' Council Fire. This was the scene of a brutal attack on Sunday May 18 by riot geared baton Swinging NY State Troopers on orders of NYS Governor George Pataki, Oren Lyons, Irving Powless and Ollie Gibson.

Pataki had given these Indian traitors powers to call NYS police on their people anytime they desired. They apparently planned this raid in advance. Blank warrants were made out and signed by Ollie Gibson. The storming of the Peoples' Council Fire was set for 1:00 p.m. and 50 men were to be captured.

Instead, the assault took place an hour behind schedule (Indian time), at 2:00 p.m. They took men, women and children, some as young as 11 years of age. The time '1:00' was crossed out on the warrants and '2:00' was hand scribbled on the charges. Ollie Gibson was at court when the people were arraigned and their next appearance is May 27th.

Four days after this vicious unprovoked attack, Pataki, in a press release and at a press conference, withdrew his plans to illegally impose taxes on sovereign Indian territories. Pataki finally admitted that Indian sovereignty must be respected, meaning nationhood and nation to nation relations. Legally, all land is presumed to be sovereign Indian territory unless the newcomers can prove that the Indians relinquished their sovereignty and that the newcomers validly purchased the land from the Indians. Judge Rose Sconier's May 14th 1997 decision of the New York State Supreme Court also affirms the Indian Sovereignty position.

But does the proposed legislation go as far as Pataki did in his press release? The Indians have to see the actual bill because Pataki could be saying one thing to the Indians to shut them up for now but shaft them in the legislation.

Sovereignty means the Confederacy cannot conduct nation affairs with New York State but must deal only with the United States, unless the "13 Original States Doctrine" remains a valid constitutional principle. The elected Tribal Councils and the NYS selected non-leaders like Oren Lyons cannot represent sovereign Indian nations. The others like Irving Powless, Ollie Gibson, Leo Henry, Cliff Halftown, Emerson Webster and Phil Tarbel cannot conduct business on behalf of the Iroquois nations because they have committed treason by violating the People.

Now that the cigarette arid gas delivery trucks are making their way back to the Indian territories to re-establish tax-free businesses, what will the Iroquois do now? Commented an elder, "We are suppose to share the hardships, the wealth, the success, the poverty, everything". Now what?

Four years ago in Onondaga Ken Papineau and Oliver Hill were giving a percentage of their profits from cigarette sales to the Onondaga chiefs to spend on much needed services for their people. The chiefs were not doing this. So Papineau and Hill asked for an accounting. The chiefs and Oren Lyons angrily refused, Papineau and Hill stopped giving money to the chiefs, put it in escrow and started to voluntarily fix the peoples' wells, sewers, roofs and plumbing themselves. The chiefs and Oren Lyons attacked them, eventually burning down Papineau's restaurant and gas bar, putting him out of business and illegally banishing him from the nation, Apparently Oren Lyons and New York State set up an enrollment system in which they can put on and take off anyone they want. In a video of a NYS police attack of the Papineau's at their restaurant Oren Lyons is seen directing the Sheriffs department.

Said a source, "It is a well-known fact that millionaires were created among the Iroquois people, This has created inequality which leads to crime. Only a few got rich while most stayed poor. In some cases lndians who worked for these cigarette millionaires got slave wages, worked long hours, sometimes six days a week without benefits or vacations, just like in the third world. If they complained they got fired, The workers need a place to complain to the people about the way they're treated. If the business people don't make things better then the people should close them down. Everyone should get paid the same, then they will work harder so that everybody benefits, After all, these millionaires got rich using our sovereignty. Much of the earnings of these Indian elites were invested and spent off the territories".

The elder explained that, "It is the people who fight for land and sovereignty. Some of the business people violated our nation to nation relationship by going in Governor Pataki's back door and making deals. So we have to set up a system to stop this from happening again".

The elder continued, "Yes, we have to clean house. We did not fight so these few people who got rich can keep getting rich. We fought for everybody. If we don't change the situation there will be more fighting because Indians can't stand inequality. Is anyone going to thank the many activists who worked tirelessly with money out of their own pockets and aren't going to get rich. The feeling is that when the activists finally win the fight for sovereignty and liberty, they will be thrown on the junk pile. But these activists pursued the fight against New York State because it is right and they will have the satisfaction that they did what was right, But does this victory mean that the same few people are going to get back into business and get even richer while the rest stay poor? What about those women who spanked Philip Tarbel with a red willow switch (Akwesasne Tribal Chief) for illegally signing with Pataki on behalf of the Mohawk Nation? In the past these women would have been arrested for asserting the Great Law. Perhaps there is a growing shift in the consciousness of Indians and of society in general. The government thugs and the greedy Indian people are having a hard time. Pataki is probably waiting for the Iroquois to start fighting among themselves because the conditions of inequality are still there".

Another elder elaborated, "Needed Is an economic summit on our future. The business people and the Nations should agree on some rules to govern these businesses and if they don't follow the rules, then the people should close them down. This is a chance for us to revamp our economy so it will not change the social fabric of the Iroquois, but will actually enhance the communal self-sufficiency of our communities".

One activist complained, "Those men and women who marry non-Indians should leave. We fought for our rights and got our heads bashed in by their white cops. Pretty soon we won't have anything left. These non-Indians who have businesses on our territories are taking advantage of our rights and mostly it is us the ordinary people who fight for it".

Another businessman said, What about the "10 percenters", those Indians who front business for non-Indians for 10% of the profits, while the rest of the money goes off the territories? They're killing our businesses. The money is made here using our sovereignty and tax free status with mostly white employees and managers and it's our people doing it."

Finally, "How are the Iroquois going to deal with their collaborators like Oren Lyons and the others? In the Indian way they won't kill or jail them. The people should tell them face to face how much they've hurt their people. They should truthfully explain what they did. If all else fails, then the 'red willow brigade' will have to be called upon to get after these collaborators and deal with them".

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