Believe What You Like But Know What You Must

People are free to be consumed with contemplating their existence, their origins, the origins of the universe, supreme beings, controllers of destiny or anything else. But solving "the Great Mystery" is neither a requirement of being Ohnkwe Ohnwe nor does it provide a path to righteousness. I maintain that spirituality does not require faith or the leaps that faith requires but rather awareness. If it helps to believe that "God has a plan" and we just must have faith that "He" knows what "He" is doing, then walk that path. My interest is in taking the mystery out of life by pointing to the obvious that is ignored everyday in the midst of fanatical ideology and the sometimes not too subtle influences of promoting beliefs over knowledge. I have said it before: “beliefs are what you are told, knowledge is what you experience”. I support a culture that prepares us to receive knowledge and to live a life with purpose. I am certainly not suggesting there is only one way to do that.

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Friday, September 4, 2009

Saint Regis Tribe Trying to Sell Out The Mohawk People...Again

North Country Public Radio, September 1, 2009
Last year, Governor Paterson signed into law a bill that would enforce collection of state tobacco taxes when non-natives buy cigarettes at native-owned stores. Albany estimates up to 400 million dollars a year in taxes are going uncollected. But like his three predecessors, Paterson’s administration said last week it will not try to collect the taxes. Remember when the Seneca Nation burned tires on the Thruway when then-Governor George Pataki tried to collect them? The whole issue is knotted up in lawsuits. New York City is suing a Long Island tribe. Two counties are suing the Cayuga Nation. The rulings could set precedents in the now cloudy case of tobacco taxes and native tribes. Jim Ransom says there’s an easy solution – sit down and talk. Ransom is chief of the St. Regis Mohawk tribe in Akwesasne. The Mohawks are at odds with New York State over three issues – the cigarette taxes, land claims in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, and building a casino in the Catskills. Ransom says one agreement can resolve them all.

That giant sucking sound is the State and federal government sucking on Ransom hoping the load he drops has the last remnants of Mohawk sovereignty neatly within it. The short-term instant gratification will be the Tribe's credit for putting a Casino in the Catskills. Ransom says he doesn't understand all the fuss over taxing the Mohawk people and Mohawk land claims. A Saint Regis Casino in the Catskills can fix it all. He brags about how successful the Tribe has been in meeting the demands of the State in the past. Joseph Brant would be proud. This will be the greatest sellout of the Mohawk People since he sold 9 million acres of Mohawk land for $1500. The beauty of this deception is that Brant had no more authority to claim to represent the Mohawk Nation than Ransom does. The last time the Saint Regis Tribe tried to claim to be the Mohawk Nation using a handful of Six Nation treaties to defend themselves, a federal court slapped them in the mouth and ruled against them, stating for the record that they were not Mohawks, but rather Saint Regis Indians. Perhaps Ransom will get his image carved into the White man's history, monuments and buildings just as Brant did.


Anonymous said...

Watertown Daily Times-Letter to the Editor. September 14, 2009

I read the article in your newspaper regarding the "tribe" visiting the Sullivan County casino deal in the Catskills. I would like to clarify a few statements. First, the Tribal Council does not constitute the "tribe" when you consider that less than 2 percent of the population of 8,000 voters elected these people who are questionable representatives of tribal matters. In the future, use the term "Tribal Council," not the generalization of the Mohawk tribe.

The tribal members do not receive any per-capita payments for the existing Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, but New York state receives 25 cents per every dollar played at this casino and the tribal members receive nothing. The rest goes toward the operating cost for this casino. So whose casino is it?

This casino rides on the backs of the name Akwesasne Mohawks but allows no benefit to the Mohawks. We are a laughingstock, and the recognized organization leaders are laughing with them. Eighty percent of the employees are non-natives at the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino. The employment would be for the Sullivan County residents and not the natives from Akwesasne. Can you imagine that households here would abandon their homes for weeks at a time to work for the casino in Sullivan County when they are not hired employees of the local casino?

Why any one of the members would want to support the Sullivan County pursuit by the Tribal Council is utterly ridiculous as the Tribal Council could not or refused to amend the Gaming Compact for the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino with the state of New York to benefit all who live here. What credible proof is there that would suggest the Tribal Council can manage a real, profitable deal for the people here for another casino using our name?

But yet they want to put us in debt for $600 million to benefit again New York state. The spending of the casino profits are hidden from the members as the Tribal Council refuses to show itemization records to the members.

I just want your readership to hear from a member and to know the truth of being a member of this St. Regis Mohawk tribe. We are generalized as smugglers and we carry "tax-exempt" cards that are useless when all the stores refuse to recognize and honor these cards throughout New York state.

Agnes Terrance


Anonymous said...

Do you have any information about the Mohawks coming into Moss Lake in the early 1970's
I can't even make out your words. I'll give it a shot.

John Kane said...

Look for "Sovereignty and symbol: Indian-White conflict at Ganienkeh" by Gail Landsman or another book written by two state police offices involved called "Indian Givers: True Story of Moss Lake". Keep in mind these are written by white people. It is not the account from the Mohawks.