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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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Two Injured in Assault on the River

The following is a Press Release from the Men's Council of the Kaianerehkowa Longhouse in Akwesasne.
Kanienkehaka Kaianerehkowa Kanonhsesne
For Immediate Release
April 13, 2010

Ahkwesasne - Last evening, in the final daylight hours, members of the Men's Council for the Kanienkehaka Kaianerehkowa Kanonhsesne were called to the scene of an incident where a couple of young Mohawk men were attacked on Mohawk waters. Upon the questioning of eye-witnesses and conversations with the victims, the following was determined: The act of aggression was committed by a group effort consisting of RCMP, the US Coast Guard and the US Border Patrol using the vessels under their control. It is presently unclear which agency actually rammed the small craft operated by the young men, but the RCMP and Coast Guard immediately fled the scene after the assault, leaving the Border Patrol to fish the injured men out of the river and see to their injuries. Both men are hospitalized with back injuries with one of them currently suffering paralysis. Neither has been charged but the damaged boat which lost its motor in the collision has been confiscated. The US Border Patrol denied committing the assault on the young men.

The Men's Council of the Kanienkehaka Kaianerehkowa Kanonhsesne condemn this act of aggression and demand that those responsible for this criminal act be held accountable. The parties involved in this action have no right to interfere with our use of our water ways and, in fact, have from time to time forced our people to use the river as our only means to access areas of our community.

The US and Canada use Our land to connect their people and commercial interests and then attempt to dictate to Our people on what terms we can access Our communities. The constant high level of tension between the Kanienkehaka and our oppressive neighbors has now been ratcheted up once more. This Council will consult with the People and take steps to aggressively confront this action and any future acts of violence against our people.


Anonymous said...

Seriously what is the world coming to when something like this happens to our people? My heart goes out to the families of the injured men.

Ohnkwe Ohnwe said...

Boat chase on St. Lawrence ends with crash, injuries
By David Nesseth, QMI Agency

AKWESASNE — Two men are severely injured after several law enforcement vessels pursued an Akwesasne resident's boat Monday night on the St. Lawrence River and collided with it about 140 metres from the U.S. shore.

According to eyewitnesses, there were four boats visible between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., belonging to at least three agencies, including the RCMP, the U.S. Border Patrol, and potentially the Coast Guard.

At least three U.S. Akwesasne residents witnessed the crash from a shoreline apartment complex next to a popular Akwesasne marina.

"It was amazing how fast they were going," said one woman in the apartment complex, who asked not to be named. "They hit right there by that buoy. It was all lit up so you could see. (After the impact, the two men) both flew out of the boat, and were yelling for help."

None of the eyewitnesses were certain about which law enforcement vessel struck the men's boat.

A spokesperson for the RCMP confirmed that the Cornwall Regional Task Force was on marine patrol on the St. Lawrence River Monday night. They had attempted to stop a boat for a violation. The boat didn't stop, an official said, and continued into U.S. waters.

The RCMP stated that the U.S. Border Patrol is currently in charge of the crash investigation.

A U.S. Border Patrol official indicated Tuesday that the agency is not yet prepared to comment on the crash.

The interviewed woman, who claimed to be a cousin of one of the injured residents, had a photograph of one of the injured men handcuffed after they were pulled ashore.

According to her, as well as other family members, one of the men has been paralyzed from the crash. The two individuals were initially transported by ambulance to Massena Memorial Hospital, but later airlifted to a hospital in Burlington, VT.

The condition of the second man is believed to also be serious.

Witnesses said they didn't see police recover anything from the pursued boat to suggest it may have been transporting contraband.

Ohnkwe Ohnwe said...

U.S., Canada Probing River Crash That Injured 6
St. Lawrence River Crash Under Investigation
POSTED: 11:48 am EDT April 14, 2010
UPDATED:11:57 am EDT April 14, 2010

MASSENA, N.Y. -- Authorities say U.S. and Canadian police are investigating a collision between an American Coast Guard vessel and a power boat during a chase on the St. Lawrence River.

Coast Guard officials say four crew members aboard the 25-foot patrol boat and two men on the 21-foot power boat were injured in Monday night's crash near the Seaway International Bridge in Massena.

Lt. Brian Sadler says Wednesday the chase started when a Royal Canadian Mounted Police vessel tried to stop the power boat as it traveled at a high rate of speed with no running lights.

The official says the Coast Guard personnel were treated and released. The two men, both from the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, were hospitalized. Sadler says he has no information on the men's whereabouts or conditions. Associated Press

Ohnkwe Ohnwe said...

This article ran in the Cornwall Standard Freeholder newspaper 9 days ago; that would be 3 days before the river assault.

COFFEE BREAK: Back to the future in war on smuggling
Updated 9 days ago

Law enforcement agencies have fired a warning shot across the bow of smugglers.

It's a new offensive in the 17-year-old war on contraband ... a new offensive with an old twist.

The Regional Task Force (RTF), put in mothballs back in 2000, has been towed out of the hangar, retooled and prepped to take flight.

The RTF is a partnership involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police and Cornwall Community Police Service. They will be supported by the Akwesasne Mohawk Police, a force that has the unenviable job of operating at ground zero.

This may be a case of trying to put the smuggling horse back in the barn after it has been allowed to run away.

Since the RTF was retired in 2000, 10 cigarette factories have set up shop on the U.S. side of the Akwesasne reserve, a geographic nightmare for law enforcement.

Once the sun goes down, the smugglers own the river. So it is not surprising that the boats are running full tilt at night.

And with the opportunity to earn as much as $3,000 a night, there is no shortage of runners.

More illegal cigarettes are crossing into Canada than ever before.

It is estimated that at least 50% of Canadian smokers purchase illegal cigarettes.

You can bet that it is much higher in Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec.

In Cornwall and area, they are as easy to buy as legals ... some vendors even deliver.

It wouldn't be outlandish to suggest that up to 75% of smokers in this region purchase illegals, either regularly or otherwise. That's certainly the case with financially challenged teen smokers who come under the smoke cops' radar.

Police are, of course, concerned about the illegal cigarette trade, but it's the dark side of the industry that worries them.

Their intelligence reports show that the obscene profits generated by the sale of illegal smokes have attracted several crime groups to this region.

The baggage they bring with them includes more crime such as drugs, gun-running, human trafficking, money laundering and extortion.

One of the big problems law enforcement faces in trying to fight smuggling is lack of public support.

In some cases it is apathy; in others it is downright fear.

With it harder to get through the CBSA port at the foot of the bridge, smugglers are taking to the river in greater numbers.

And, that means they need more places to unload. Docks provide the ideal offloading ramps.

Police say the runners have been inviting themselves onto private property.

This has resulted in confrontations between landowners and the party crashers.

In other cases, landowners fearing retribution, turn a blind eye. They are afraid to call police.

Who can blame them? Short of a witness protection

program, they are sitting ducks. People living on the riverfront have faith in the OPP, but they also know that the police can't give them round-the-clock protection.

But there is another important player.

The court system.

It needs to step up to the plate and do its part with convictions.

Slap-on-the-wrist penalties only encourage smuggling.

As one veteran police officer said, "To most smugglers, losing the odd load and getting a fine is like paying taxes. It's an inconvenience."

Back in the 1990s a gun runner told a TV reporter, "Nobody wants to get caught on the U.S. side. They throw the book at you.

"Canada's a joke. You get a fine and they send you home."