Stoney Point Trial Update - Feb 24 / 97


Volume 1 Number 1, Winter/Spring 1992


* A Note to the Readers
* 500 Years of Resistance
* Voices of Oka
* As Long as the Rivers Flow...
* Occupation of Anicinabe Park, 1974
* The American Indian Movement


"Oh-Toh-Kin" means "strength from our ancestry", in the Kwa'kwala language. It's one of the very few words I know in the language of my people, the Kwakwaka'wakw (Kwakiutl). This, despite having lived on two reserves, Fort Rupert and Alert Bay, both in the northern region of Vancouver Island. And despite attending potlaches and learning some basic art forms. That's acculturation. and that means, like many other Indian youth, I'm a mostly "acculturated Indian". But I know that reclaiming that ancestry is more than getting a status card; it's a long process that begins but never ends. And it's a process that has nothing to do with the government of Canada, or that state's Constitution, or laws.

It's no coincidence that Oh-Toh-Kin has began publishing in the year 1992, the 500 year mark of the colonization of the Americas. For myself, 1992 is the year to begin reclaiming that ancestry that was denied largely because my mother, a Kwakiutl, lost her "Indian status" by marrying my father, a Euro-Canadian. Because she lost that "status", we could no longer live on the reserves or have the "benefits" allowed a "status Indian". So we found ourselves moving further and further down the coast as my mother looked for some kind of employment, after having divorced my late father. And that is only one example of how acculturation can occur. As I said, it is a long process to relcaim that ancestry. 1992: 500 years of genocide, colonization, racism... 500 years of Indian resistance, we all know this history has been rewritten or denied by the European colonizers. European history portrays Indians as savages or imbeciles, or both. And Indian women don't even exist in these histories. Colonization is portrayed as "development" or a "discovery of a new world", because that is history as viewed by the European colonizers. The sad part of this is that many of us only know the European versions of history. The tragic part is that we don't even know the history of 20 years ago, never mind 500 years ago! That's why this first issue of Oh-Toh-Kin is aimed at relearning this history, including the struggles of the 1970s. But colonization and genocide didn't end 500, or 200, or 20 years ago; it continues at this very moment throughout the Americas, as does Indigenous resistance. Organizing for 500 years of Indigenous resistance, or against the "celebrations" of the invasion of the Americas, cannot be a substitute for the struggles that continue today. That's why there is info on the Lubicon Cree, the Peigan Lonefighters, and the trials resulting from the standoff at Kanesatake. [SISIS note: we have not reprinted the "current news" sections of Oh-Toh-Kin that are out of date, the trials resulting from the 1990 standoff at Kanesatake and the Daishowa boycott to support the Lubicon. We have current information on the struggles of the Mohawk and Lubicon nations on other pages. We have not done any other editing.] There is so much more that simply could not be included for space limitations, and not just in Canada, but throughout the Americas.

Two other important points: Oh-Toh-Kin is an independent publication which receives no funding from the Canadian state and is therefore not dependent on funding which can control the content or be pulled away at any moment. As such, the paper relies on subscriptions and donations.

As well, Oh-Toh-Kin is distributed for free because there are no Native bookstores (besides Chief's Mask in Vancouver, at least as far as I know) or Native distribution systems in which the paper could be sold. Of course, Oh-Toh-Kin could be sold in some bookstores but it would be limited to mostly Euro-Canadians and that's not who this paper is directed towards.

Please write in your thoughts and suggestions, as well as any articles or drawings.

Okay, that's it for now!

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