Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Opinion: Mohawks defamed by New York Press reporter
Monday, February 6, 2006
The following was written by Kahentinetha Horn, MNN Mohawk Nation News, in response to The New York Press article "New York's Angry, Armed Mohawks." Horn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently Tekarontakeh (Paul Delaronde) was visited by a reporter, Brad Lockwood of New York Press. Ganiengeh is a community in the Mohawks Territory presently referred to as "northern New York State". Tekarontakeh thought Brad wanted to write on the special farming they are doing there. They are proud of their work on hydroponics and using Indigenous knowledge to redevelop seeds for the coming generations.
The story that came out was a 7-page diatribe titled "New York's Angry, Armed Mohawks". It portrays Tekarontakeh as one mighty "Indjun", who mutters and snores in Mohawk. Tekarontakeh has no memory of falling asleep in Brad's presence. If he did fall asleep, he wouldn't remember, huh? According to Brad, Tekarontakeh is paranoid. Brad knows this because he noticed that Tekarontakeh always checks his rearview mirror when he's driving. (What's the matter, Brad? Haven't you read the Highway code?)
Brad, who seems to have been fantasizing about sleeping with Tekarontakeh, saw him as "a man of action, with a rap sheet and stories to prove it"! Brad was so enamored by the lurid horrific tales he must have been fed before he got there that he was salivating when he finally met his hero.
Brad even imagined that Tekarontakeh said that northern New York is "Cocaine Alley" "where blow and bud come through the Canadian border". The trouble is that no matter what Brad was interested in, Tekarontakeh said nothing of the sort, and his "grow-up" has nothing whatsoever to do with hallucinogenic substances. Tekarontakeh is obsessed with nutrition and growing nutritious food.
To bad, Brad! No coke! No Bud! There weren't any arms either. Nobody knows what Brad may have snorted before he got to Ganiengeh. Tekarontakeh only talked about agriculture. Everything else that Brad reported was a delusion.
Brad told the readers about "crumbling roads, fewer and shabbier homes and more roadkill" as they got closer to Ganiengeh. He's right on this count. The non-natives in that region are desperately poor and hopelessly neglected by their governments. In fact, Ganiengeh has become a major employer in the region. Ganiengeh is an enclosed gated Indigenous community with modern log cabin homes. He was not taken on a tour of private living quarters of the people. It's strictly off-limits to the public, like most people's homes.
Later in the article Brad mentioned the "acres of soybeans, corn and tomatoes, along with a full herd of "Beefalo". Solar panels and satellite dishes speckle the land. Carbon-based pollutants are still strongly discouraged, and a new gymnasium and school line the shores of man-made Miner Lake — formed by a dam that will soon generate clean electricity. A university is in the works". He alleges financing for all this was through tax-free cigarettes and illicit ventures such, "though undocumented", "guns, many of them tied to prior crimes" and shady drug deals.
Sorry to disappoint those who think the only way to make money is through dishonesty and violence. America was stolen from the native people with guns and violence. And some force was needed to reclaim Ganiengeh. However, everything that is there now was built through the honest hard work of the people — sugar bushes, green houses, golf course, saw mill and farming. The people who live and work at Ganiengeh are skilled. They are the people who built the Twin Towers in New York City and who helped clean up the mess after 9/11.
Brad said the Warriors are now going after fellow natives, such as those who were evicted in Kahnawake near Montreal. First, no one is going after anyone. Second, the people evicted from Kahnawake in 1974 were all non-natives who were squatting there illegally.
Brad also described how Tekarontakeh lit up a cigarette made in Oneida. Tekarontakeh would not smoke anything but a Mohawk-made cigarette or a Marlborough. But, hey! Does that matter to someone like Brad who obviously doesn't care about the truth of what he reports?
Brad claimed that the Senecas are signing new treaties and settling land claims with Pataki. This is totally false. A lot of the misinformation about Tekarontakeh is taken from the Onondaga hate sheet "Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force" and the FBI files. These are often used to attack any Indigenous enemies of the frauds being perpetrated by New York State and their "bought and paid for" Indians. The Haudenosaunee don't want to advance treaties. We want to advance constitutional jurisdiction.
In keeping with the modern international ethics that require friendly conduct between nations, Tekarontakeh greeted Brad with diplomatic hospitality because he thought that the work they have been doing on agriculture at Geniengeh would help other people, native and non-native alike. Environmentally friendly economic development! Who could object to that? Well, Brad, it seems! He wanted to find a gun-toting crazy Indian. But all he found was agricultural promotion. How boring! Especially when New York Press service spent so much money sending him up there. He had to come back with something!
"Paul Delaronde is a warrior, and a Warrior", Brad announced, even though he hadn't seen so much as a sling shot. "He's a leader of the Warrior Society", proclaimed Brad. The only problem is there's no leader of the Warrior Society. He's projecting his own cultural assumptions onto the Haudenosaunee. He's the one who comes from a culture that sings "Hail to the Chief" to a president who tries to dominate everyone. He's blinded by his own reflection in the mirror, we guess.
Brad did admit that Ganiengeh is self-sufficient, self-governing and environmentally responsible. Then he tried to side track the reader by saying the Iroquois fought on both sides of the American Revolution depending on what they were offered. Then he describes how the Seneca refused to renew the 99-year lease to the city of Salamanca. He forgot to mention that New York State is still Indigenous land, that not one inch has ever been surrendered and that the Indigenous people retain sovereignty.
The issue is New York State's efforts to claim our land by underhanded pressure tactics such as demonizing the Indians. We've told them to back off. They think they can make us back down by publicly smearing us as criminals and deviants. The illegally imposed taxation and outside policing on Indigenous people without our consent violates the nation-to-nation relationship respected by the U.S. Constitution.
Throwing in "Salamanca" is meant to muddy the real issue. Brad tried to tie all resistance by other Indigenous people to Tekarontakeh. He seems to think he has a supernatural capacity to be in many places at once. Brad is projecting god-like qualities onto him. Being a modest man Tekarontakeh would be embarrassed by all this adoration.
Brad should read the question we submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court on this (USSC 05-165). I think I'll send it to him even though he probably won't be able to understand any of it because he's so delusional. Who knows? Maybe his delusions will make him read between the lines. He's been living in the city smog too long.
Throughout, Brad accuses Tekarontakeh of offering no explanations and no apologies. In other words, he said nothing. Unsatisfied with the actual results of his investigation Brad hallucinated a trip into the deep woods with Tekarontakeh's son. He asked himself questions that came to his mind and answered them himself. Tekarontakeh couldn't answer questions that he wasn't asked. So how could he explain and apologize for the writer's silent assumptions?
Tekarontake assumed something correctly, that this was going to be a personal attack on him. Still he treated him politely. Tekarontakeh feels a strong commitment to protect his people. To find that his hospitality was abused in this his way makes him and all Mohawks feel violated.
. . .
All material © copyright its original owners, except where noted.
Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.
Copyrighted material is posted under the Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act,
which allows copying for nonprofit educational uses including criticism and commentary.
Comments sent to the publisher become the property of Blue Corn Comics
and may be used in other postings without permission.