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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Monday, February 23, 2009

Something is Rotten in Maryland

To suggest that there is something a little strange about the region claimed by the Commonwealth of Maryland, that on one hand has such a rich and deep history of Native people, yet has no State or Federally recognized Native people in the entire State, is an understatement. That is, apparently till now. In spite of the fact that a consistent group of Piscataway people have been asserting their presence in Maryland for over 50 years, the State has refused to formally recognize them. But now all of a sudden the State is trying to relax the requirements for recognition. A bill before both the House and the Senate of Maryland is attempting to change the process that would require a petitioner applying for recognition to be descendants of a tribe indigenous to the State before 1790 to now being descendants of a tribe from the State prior to 1900. A request for this change did not come from thin air, so why would the State be considering such a change? Was there a pile of rejected applicants that couldn't trace their occupation back to 1790? No, the Piscataways can't even get an answer to their application. Was there a Native influx during that 110 years that the rest of us don't know about. I'm quite certain someone would have noticed. We know these things happen for a reason and the only reason is lobbying. The question is who is doing the lobbying or more importantly who is paying for it. It certainly cannot be a coincidence that a gaming and entertainment interest named the Cordish Group has been trolling for Indians in the region. They seemed to have caught some live ones that may have had just a little trouble with their historical claims, but nothing 110 years can't fix; I guess. All sarcasm aside, this game has been played before. The idea of creating a process that will facilitate the propping up of false leaders and worse yet, false "Indians", so someone else's interests can be served. That's how land was stolen, cultures destroyed and 98% of our populations extinguished. The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) has become the modern day "small pox blankets". Casino compacts handed out like gifts with hidden yet devastating consequences. States that don't want the debt or stigma associated with casinos can prostitute the local Indians instead. If the Native people don't want to play ball, the State will find or create someone who will. States are desperate for revenue. Most dance a little with lotteries and other low level gaming, but the states that get the highest yield for the smallest investment are the ones that let the Indians get dirty and just sit back and collect. We all need to watch Maryland. There is a stench in the air. Any legitimate Native person or people should have no trouble tracing their past to 1790, but the reality is State and Federal recognition won't validate a real Native person - Onkwe ohnwe. Call or write to the Maryland State Assembly for explanation and answers. Thomas V. Mike Miller is the Maryland State Senate President write to him at

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Land Claims; Mohawk Style

This is the statement released by the Men's Council of the Great Law Longhouse in Akwesasne.
February 6, 2009

Land Reclamation Position Remains the Same

On January 21, 2009 the Kanienkehaka Kanonhsesne released a statement regarding the reclamation of a parcel of land on what has been referred to as the “Hogansburg Triangle”, within the Kanienke territory of Akwesasne. The statement made it clear that the land is and always has been the property of the Kanienkehaka. The people will no longer tolerate anyone else laying claim to this land and interfering with its use. Any attempt to purchase, cede into Federal trust or otherwise transfer title to this land will be rejected and resisted by the Kanienkehaka Kanonhsesne. Any financial transactions, including profiteering, bribery, fraud or other pay-off schemes will not be acknowledged as a part or in any way connected to the title to this land, which is absolute and inherent to each generation of Kanienkehaka. The territory of the Kanienkehaka, including Akwesasne, is not established, defined, set aside, reserved or granted for or to the Kanienkehaka by treaty or any other pretended legislation. There has never been a legally binding transfer of Kanienke title, which is specifically vested with the women for perpetual ownership for those faces that will always be beyond the sight of each generation. Although the Kanienkehaka do not currently control or occupy all of their homeland, the Kanienkehaka Kanonhsesne rejects any and all of the fraudulent transactions spoken, written or otherwise claimed to suggest anything but our clear and absolute title to the territory of the Kanienkehaka. As with this current reclamation, there is no intention to dispossess anyone of any legitimate personal property or forcibly remove anyone from our lands. The Kanienkehaka Kanonhsesne will, however, work diligently with the people to make Akwesasne whole again by addressing those parcels that have been claimed to have been removed or some how carved out from within the community. Efforts to reclaim and reoccupy Onkweh Ohnwe homeland are authorized by a long-standing resolution of the Grand Council of the Haudenosaunee to reclaim lands ‘by hook or by crook”. It is the position of the Kanienkehaka Kanonhsesne to not simply seek permission to use certain lands under the control and authority of other controlling interests but to assert and affirm the rightful control and historic birthright of the People to their homeland.