500 Police Say, Make My Marijuana, Mohawk Marijuana Again And Again And Again by Spanner McNeil – June 16, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario

500 Police Say, Make My Marijuana, Mohawk Marijuana Again And Again And Again by Spanner McNeil – June 16, 2011 – Cornwall Ontario
Ellen Gabriel Speaks, Milton Born With A Tooth and Elder on stage. July 11, 1991 The Pines Kanesatake

Cornwall ON – Twenty years ago, July 11, 1991 First Nation speakers came together from all over North America to commemorate the events known as the Oka Crisis. It was a time of healing, respect, dignity and a strong path forward. What has happened since then? What has happened lately?

There was another invasion by the whites on native land just four years after that. It happens on a regular basis. Again, what was done and said back in 1995 helps with the understanding of why it is outrageous and gravely wrong to continually pummel people for this innocent activity.

Marijuana growing is innocent behaviour. Adult use of marijuana is innocent behaviour. It has to be grown so that it can be used. By keeping prohibition active this innocent product becomes a prison cell for political activists and identifiable groups. First Mrc Emery, then the natives, then the blacks, then kids with bad hair cuts…and they are all innocent.

Wet'suwet'en Woman and Buffalo Hold The Stage July 11, 1991 Kanesatake


In 1991 speakers, well wishers, friends and cousins met in The Pines at Kanesatake for a Pow-Wow of peace. It was part of the healing process after, what would be called, The Oka Crisis. The meeting was a wonder and inspiring and everyone wanted to be free from fear and to draw strength and respect. The path to the future looked clear. Milton Born With A Tooth marched proudly through the village of Oka to The Pines. Ellen Gabriel looked up in the sky. We all saw an eagle circle and she thanked the trees for taking bullets. Outsiders and friends were invited to camp out. The spirit and desire was so positive. Twenty years ago. A generation has gone by.

Five hundred police stormed onto native reserves two days ago looking for marijuana. Soldiers and police have been storming onto reserves for over a hundred years. Sixteen years ago I wrote a story about a marijuana raid on Mohawk land. It’s reprinted here to perhaps provide some context and illumination on current events. Clearly, if marijuana prohibition was over, gangs and groups would have to sell marijuana at a dollar forty nine a pound the same as anyone else. That’s about the price of tomatoes.

Spanner.

Wet'suwet'en Woman Speaks July 11, 1991 Kanesetake

The Grass Cage – originally published in Cannabis Canada 1995

* By Spanner McNeil, David Wiper, and Peaches
* With thanks to The Montreal Mirror & Lyle Stewart

The Introduction

I’m not writing the story that I wanted to write.

I thought that this was going to be about a Mohawk community banding together to cultivate cannabis and plowshare the rewards into cohesive, proud, and strengthening institutions. With initial reports of one million plants, I also thought the readership would be interested in the techniques, breed, and procedures involved in cultivating a billion dollar crop. Finally, people guarding fields of pot with rifles is a real revolutionary act.

The story, however, is an old one. Pot prohibition is an embarrassment to all concerned.

April – May 1995

In April-May 1995 a CBC radio reporter named Alain Picard was approached by members of the Mohawk community to investigate cannabis growing on a reserve about sixty miles from Montreal.

A woman who complained about the plants to outside media in July had her vehicle window destroyed and has since received several death threats. Picard has been beaten up twice so far, by “unknown assailants”.

July 23, Sunday

The story broke when some community traditionalists called in the media and walked with them into the cannabis fields. The camcorders whirring in fields of green came as a complete surprise to all those guarding and taking care of the cannabis. Thirteen of these young guards may face charges.

July 25, Tuesday

On July 25 the story was broken to the general public and area reporters were invited to tour pot fields in and around Kanesatake.

The Montreal Gazette headline read “GROUP IS RAISING 1,000,000 PLANTS”. I could do the math. If reports were right, this crop would have been worth about a billion dollars, give or take a few hundred million.

Potential income:

One million plants would yield approximately half a million pounds. At $2000 a pound, this works out to $1,000,000,000 (one billion dollars).

The Players

* Grand Chief Jerry Peltier.
* Band Council.
* Robert Gabriel.
* Outside Technical Support.
* Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
* Sureté de Quebec (SQ).
* Premier Parizeau.
* Mayor of Oka.
* Public Security Minister Serge Menard.
* The Big Media
* and anyone with access to a chopper that cared to look down.

The Admissions

At first there were public admissions of four fields, then seven fields, then eight. In another five days it would be an official fourteen fields. By August 8th I would be convinced of the existence of at least forty different fields of cannabis.

July 26, Wednesday

We had been told by three different sources that if we went down Centre Road we would receive an “unholy beating”. It therefore seemed like the right direction to find the pot fields.

We encountered five men on the road who were “media hunting”, including Robert Gabriel. Robert Gabriel is Grand Chief Jerry Peltier’s close aide, the Mohawk equivalent of “Minister of Justice and Security”. He invited us to a 7AM press conference the next day.

The Peacekeeper guarding the road agreed with the others there that cannabis should be legal and commercialized to compete with cotton, to make shoes, and to make paper.

It looked good. This group appeared to have a sound scientific background when it came to the potential of cannabis for medicine and other positive uses.

By this time reports and helicopter aerial footage made it appear that some of these fields were five to fifteen acres. At twenty million dollars an acre for quality pot, this was big. Under close scrutiny of the negatives these photos were mainly of apple orchards and tomato plants. But there were big cannabis fields as well. I am certain that at least one field was four acres solid.

July 27, Thursday

We showed up Thursday morning for our scoop. Fifty people were assembled, Peacekeepers, Community Watch Team, Billy Two Rivers, Grand Chief Jerry Peltier of Kanesatake, Grand Chief Joe Norton from Kahnawake, and Russell Roundpoint of Akwesasne. They were meeting to take care of all the fields by cutting them down and burning them.

The Peacekeepers are a sort of police force who are looking for official police status. Part of the tension on this and other reserves is due to white cops enforcing the law among natives. Kanesatake is currently involved in talks which they will hope will lead to the Mohawk Peacekeepers receiving official police status.

The Watch Team is a broadly based group within the community which acts to stop trouble before it reaches the ears and arms of federal authority. They will try and sit someone down and take an interest in their problems before they receive outside attention.

Curiously, no women were present at the 7AM pot burning roundup.

We got out of the car in front of the Band Council office to interview and photograph. End of story. We were told to leave and go away.

Robert Gabriel said the chiefs met the night before and “didn’t want it to appear as if they were pro-pot… they just wanted to get rid of it. Cannabis Canada and High Times can’t be here. You can’t come with us.”

At this now exclusive conference for CTV, Quebec’s Minister of Justice – Serge Menard – was applauded for his efforts by Grand Chief Jerry Peltier.

The Factory

The pot fields were referred to as “gardens”, and cloning was done in at least one quarter acre greenhouse called the “factory” owned by Robert Gabriel’s father.

Sources say that individuals could buy
clones from one of the factories, but after that they were on their own. Each man was considered responsible for his own field.

The Money

It’s hard to believe that this could start out on such a scale without significant practical experience and prior field studies. Yet if this was successfully pulled off last year, where did the money go? Could it be that trickle down economics doesn’t work any better on a reserve than it does in our cities?

One noteworthy young man in his mid 20’s built a $250,000 house. The whole community takes on a risk, yet only a few took the profit, so creating a dynasty for generations to come.

The money trail would answer many questions about individual behaviour. We leave it to Revenue Canada and the I.R.S. to pursue those questions.

The conclusion is not that cannabis is bad, but rather it that the illegality of cannabis, coupled with potentially huge profits, can greatly influence legitimate authority.

The Past

Meanwhile, negotiations between Mohawk leaders and Quebec social control agents remained constant and open, even if they were occasionally lying to one another.

This was a vast improvement over 1990, when a road leading from Oka into Kanesatake was blockaded by members of the Mohawk community. The issue under dispute was the desire of the municipality of Oka to expand its golf course over Mohawk territory and cut down an old pine forest originally planted by ancestors of the people living there.

On July 11th, the blockade was attacked by the Quebec Provincial Police, leading to the death of one SQ officer. The raid led to a 78 day standoff which involved 2,500 troops from the Canadian Army, tanks, tear gas, thousands of rounds of machine gun fire, a United Nations Observation team, the public stoning of Mohawk men and children by whites, effigy burnings, and continuous demonstrations in the
streets of Montreal in support of the Mohawks.

SQ officers carried cannabis off to the garbage truck for removal.

Although the disputed land was ultimately purchased by the federal government, the land has never been granted to the Mohawks, nor has their territory received official reserve status, even though they have lived there continuously since the 1960’s.

While S.Q. and native leaders were figuring out how to handle the raids to come, the Quebec coroner, Guy Gilbert, was about to present his findings on the 1990 S.Q. raid. His August 14th release would say, “There was no urgent need for the S.Q. to move in on the morning of July 11, 1990, and that raid was unjustified…”

The Fields

The cannabis fields are deep inside and around Mohawk land. The band council had to be aware of pot growth. There were media reports of fields growing in that area as early as March 1994.

The Sureté de Quebec, Canadian military, and big media have long been making helicopter reconnaissance flights over Oka and Kanesatake. How could the fields have been missed all these years? These fields are so huge that they are easily visible by air. Helicopters were even shot at there last fall.

If a hundred warriors could hold off the Canadian army for 78 days in 1990, could one shot at a helicopter last fall scare off Southam, Thompson, Conrad Black, and the entire Provincial Police Force?

The Politics

Gerald Alfred, a Kahnawake and Political Science professor at Concordia University had this to say:

“You don’t see the Sureté de Quebec making such a big deal about pot farms elsewhere. It’s more of a political maneuver than a policing issue. It’s all related to the referendum. Everything they do is related to winning the referendum. They’re desperate to look like they can govern, and the Mohawks are a natural target for the government.”

Mr. Alfred’s thoughts are later confirmed by a series of nearby raids elsewhere which received no media attention at all.

On July 16 the S.Q. seized 453 plants in the Parish of Oka. The RCMP also took 500 plants in Shawinigan on July 26th and an additional 1,700 in Abitibi on July 27th.

Provincial seizures of cannabis, according to the S.Q., were 37,000 plants in 1992, 75,000 in 1993, 122,000 in 1994, and about 90,000 as of July this year.

Courage

“As far as most are concerned it’s not a problem to grow for personal use,” said one elderly man. “So much media, turning people into stars who maybe don’t reflect everyone’s view.

“Do you know what it is like to know someone all your life and tell them to burn their crops? Do you know?” We could smell the cannabis fields burning while we spoke.

The Unemployed

The population of Kanesatake is between 1,100 and 1,300. The unemployment rate is officially 80%. It’s important to keep this in mind. Much of the growing activity comes from trying to generate income in the face of poverty and depression.

There are one million unemployed people in Quebec. It may be that the slash and burn cost saving measures of government are creating an army waiting for a war.

A Healing

The land which was under dispute and directly led to the Oka crises of 1990 has still not been handed over to the Mohawks, even though the Feds purchased the land and set it aside some years ago. Ever since then the Warrior and Traditionalist communities have been going through a “healing”

One woman explained it to me as follows:

“It is not so simple as a split between Warriors and Traditionalists. There are 15 different factions on the reserve, just like your community. Are you all in agreement with the Mayor? Do your city councilors live better than you?”

July 27th, Thursday evening.

Twelve military choppers land at Dorval airport. The huge volume of cannabis, the fields, the busts without charges, the threats and sabre-rattling,all were reaching a high.

A newspaper editorial politely referred to the situation as “a void in law enforcement”.

July 28th Fri Aft.
Press Conference.

Billy Two Rivers says, police still want to check for remaining plants, but the natives say no. The Mayor of Oka expresses surprise and outrage at there being pot fields. He demands that law and order prevail

In addition he is upset that the Mohawks have continued to bury their dead at the Pines grave site. The Mohawks say they can’t pile more than
three coffins on top of one another and need more land.

The Situation

There is a consensus in the community that cannabis cultivation has increased significantly over the past three years. Up until 1991, most grow operations remained small scale, with the occasional garage or personal patch.

The increase has been an open secret for a long time. Last year more than one house yielded a hundred thousand loonies from its hydroponic crop.

It’s true that over the past five years fear, violence, and censorship have been an occasional part of the deal. Would there have been less tension if the money had been used to build better public institutions and small venture capitalism?

There is strong feeling among traditionalists however, that pursuit of expensive cars and houses is not the route to take.

July 29th, Saturday

Garbage trucks take away more plants grown alongside tomatoes in a raid with fifty officers, David Cliché, P.Q. Minister of Native Affairs, and Serge Menard, P.Q. Minister of Public Security.

At a news conference later that afternoon Minister Menard says, “Sometimes I have the impression that the federal government has left seeds of trouble in Kanesatake on purpose.” He was referring to federal delays in handing land over and the absence of federal officials like Solicitor General Herb Grey and Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin.

A Possibility

Maybe no-one was on the take. This whole show could be the result of a political card game among the police, Feds, and the province of Quebec. The game was thrown by the unseen hand of Picard and upset citizens.

July 30th, Sunday

We return. More trails, more reserve exploration. Much better housing than most reserves. There was an opportunity
to sit and listen to local voices:

“… I’m not gonna let those fucks back … tearing up my land. I’m tired of this Hawaii Five O shit… he’s crying, I’m not, I lost everything too… except for what is buried under slabs and big boulders.”

Lots of white guys on Harleys with Quebec plates. Lots of ATV trailers.

We explored hours of trail. We found a promising one further down a steep path near some parked ATV’s. We proceeded. There was a gun shot. We discontinued.

The deep woods were busy with traffic and hurried, worried men. Cannabis journalists might be expendable, who knew?

July 31st, Monday

It is advertised that 20 people will be arrested. Lots of warning and lead time before the warrant.

An eye witness who spent a night in the cannabis fields described “Sitting in a field all night, heavily armed, in the dark, listening to the chatter on scanners. Surrounded by five foot
high plants about to flower.”

A tractor sits idly at the end of a busy day spent clearing out cannabis plants in Kanesatake.

The Plants

Many of the plants pulled for the media were three to four feet high with one inch stems. The plants and rows looked about two feet apart. A 200 by 400 foot field would yield 20,000 plants.

If fields like these were around last year on a similar scale of this year at least a hundred million dollars could have been involved at wholesale prices. Too much money and way too visible to believe that “the authorities” didn’t know. Who got a piece of the action?

August 1st, Tuesday

Chief Peltier says there are no more plants.

William Johnson, provocateur typist for the Montreal Gazette, tries to spin the idea of the Warrior Society as “essentially fascist brotherhoods,” and generally promotes this story, as many do, to demonize the
Mohawk culture.

Marcel Adam of La Presse refers to them as “confreries fascistes”. But in my opinion fascism is an S.Q. squad car firing bullets over the top of a woman’s head as she pushes a baby carriage on the shoulder of the highway, or the S.Q. throwing a woman out through the plate glass window of her own home, or the Montreal Urban Community Police shooting the back of a shoplifter’s head off after he was handcuffed and disabled, or any number of other atrocities that have taken place here in the nineties.

August 2nd, Wednesday

A Clan mother meeting denounces Grand Chief Jerry Peltier. Peltier is a 47 year old Ojibway who was at one time an administrator at Indian Affairs. He was elected to the post of Chief after a five-way vote split. He took 13% of the vote and won by about seven ballots. Another day, another time, I would meet Art Soloman, an Ojibway Elder who passed in 1997, who would advise me, “What they do to us, they will do to you next. Now is the time to announce and denounce.”

The Mohawk Clan mothers come from three clans: Turtle, Wolf, and Bear. These are three of the dozen recognized by the Iroquois Confederacy. One of their duties is to elect or dismiss a chief to head the community. This traditional matriarchal system operates on the basis of consensus. They don’t believe that freedom, liberty and the pleasure of the Great Creator will come with democracy and materialism.

Max Weber, pre-eminent sociologist, would say that the tension between the Clan Mothers and Band Council is one of irrational, traditional magic versus rational economic modernity. Over the past few years it has become clear that both the Clan Mothers and the Warriors have considerable charismatic appeal.

The Band Council is an institution imposed on reserves by the Indian Affairs Act of 1866-67. This is the body to which the Canadian government gives the most credibility. The Band Council receives its money from Canadian government bodies, and its Grand Chief is elected to office through a one person, one ballot system of voting, open to the status native members of the community.

Many Traditionalists consider Band Council as part of the same junk as Indian Affairs. The last election was boycotted by about 30%.

Peltier’s denial of additional fields in face of seizures that came directly after his announcements showed his willingness to go to the wall to defend the existence of the fields.

The Bureau

If it is difficult to understand why the Bureau of Indian Affairs and their agents are seen as antagonistic by many, let me put it another way. What would your reaction be to a Bureau of Negro Affairs, or Bureau of Jewish Affairs, or Bureau of Catholic Affairs? What if we then relegated all of these groups into their own separate camps, and didn’t give them the vote until 1966?

August 3rd,
Thursday

Another Clan Mother meeting, and some Peltier supporters are excluded for reportedly intimidating people coming to the meeting.

Police seize another 3,500 plants in another seven fields. It turns out that six of the fields are currently owned by Public Works Canada.

The Bloc Quebecois announce a plan to bill the Feds $250,000 to burn and trash the plants. By this point there has still been no federal intervention, even though federal land, natives, and a federal crime are involved.

This is now being spun by the players into a plot by the feds to drop a lobster into the summer separatiste pot. Meanwhile the First Nations remain under attack from coast to coast.

Five Points.

1. This situation will affect Native Self Rule.
2. This was not sponsored by the Mohawk Nation.
3. The Government and Big Media demand a state of perfection, grace, and
enlightenment from the natives that exists nowhere else.
4. Last year’s income was no less than $5,000,000.
5. Cannabis prohibition leads to national embarrassment and influences geo-politics.

The Blame

Robert Gabriel says, “No one got killed.” Robert is right. I don’t know who to credit for this affair not escalating to immense and threatening proportions.

Robert is right, the worst didn’t happen and perhaps all can share equal credit and blame. With seven hospitals closing in Montreal it’s a good thing this hasn’t gotten out of hand.

The End?

Cannabis plants found again in the Parish of Oka. Mayor has no comment. No arrests yet. Official plant count on the reserve is about 30,000.

Part Two A Warrior Speaks Out

A Warrior Speaks Out, A Mohawk’s Look Behind the Scenes At Oka
as told to Spanner McNeil 1995

In writing the Grass Cage I spent a lot of time waiting for the phone to ring and going to places where nobody was.

Just prior to filing, I was taken to meet a Warrior who wanted to speak on behalf of the Warrior Society to Cannabis Canada, in response to the “vilification” and “distortion” that was apparent in the general media.

What follows are his words.

The Technique

Everybody planted their own way. People used a wide variety of methods and lots of experimentation.

The breed being used was ‘First Lady’ which is a hybrid developed in Oka. There was also ‘Freeze Land’ and ‘Super Skunk’.

RootTone was used for cloning. Jiffy Pots and Rockwool were the most often used medium. Some indoor growers used a bunk bed system with 400 watt sodium and metal halide. Twisted neon lights turned out to be quite good for the cloning period.

People were generally on a small budget. Only a few used major equipment like tractors. I would say that there were about 60 to 70 thousand plants.

The Community

This started because of the decline in the cigarette trade, which was due to the government not recognizing the Jay Treaty.

We weren’t selling to the Mafia. We weren’t selling to the Hell’s Angels. We weren’t selling the entire crop to one guy at the top. If you wanted it and you knew people, you could buy it. Anyone could buy it.

People got jobs out of it. It gave people an opportunity to work in a community of 95% unemployment. The federal government cut money for development projects in half two years ago. Oka Park, which is our land, doesn’t even hire Mohawks.

People got jobs guarding, trimming, pruning, and planting. It’s a lot of work to get one pound per plant. Some planted small patches just for the sake of it. Lots of people were learning. There were some thirteen year olds working but only a few hired them. Most made sure that the guards were over eighteen.

It didn’t rain for 22 days. People had to carry buckets of water a long way. A lot of water is required for a field. Fifty gallon barrels of water were being transported by A.T.V.’s. Those that didn’t water lost their plants, especially the young ones. We prayed for rain and did a rain dance.

The Plan

There was a plan to save enough money to buy the machinery necessary to convert hemp to cloth on a big scale. The plan has not been shelved, maybe next year. Now we are very interested in communicating with hemp advocates in the legal profession. If farmers in Ontario have the right to grow hemp under license from the government then so do we.

Our ancestors grew hemp and tobacco. The 1760 Jay Treaty gives us the right to trade in it.

The S.Q. came in because they were forced to and because some people were jealous about the money, even though some of those same people had smaller patches of their own. There were also some who made pressure because they were against the Band Office.

The Media

There were journalists here sneaking around our backyards all week. We got sick of it. Yeah, we wanted them out. We respect the press, but knock on the front door.

The Resolve

When the S.Q. started raiding and began gathering plants some were ready to fight. Fight for the right to grow marijuana. Yes, it was a revolutionary act. There were others willing to fight too, but band office didn’t want to.

People still remember having their arms burnt with cigarettes by the S.Q. while in holding cells in order to make them talk in 1990. It’s on record with the United Nation Human Rights commission. It also became clear that we didn’t have popular support for mass action. The raid was a political act by the P.Q. against the Mohawks.

The Report

Did you see the coroner’s report on Oka? They said the S.Q. weren’t justified in coming in in 1990. I believe that Cpl. LeMay was running guns to the Anti’s in Akwasasne. He was seen working there. One man was killed and had his body clothing changed into that of a Warrior’s then, in order to increase tension between the Warriors and the Antis, he was killed with the same round that the S.Q. uses, a 223.

The mayor of Valleyfield shot himself in the head. Rumours of the S.Q. dealing in cigarettes. LeMay gets shot. A lot of people say LeMay was smuggling guns.

We’ve heard strong rumours of a September raid.

The Raids

The S.Q. goons were nervous. They were practically running in the fields. They were gathering all kinds of plants, constantly looking around to see if anyone was coming and jumping every time we broke a branch from where we were watching. Everyone seen watching had their picture taken.

They didn’t bust us in the past because they were afraid. They turned a blind eye. I believe it was a U.S. military chopper that was shot down in 1989 or 1990 over Kanien Keh in New York State.

Four of the choppers on this raid had a large bell jar attached to the bottom. We thought they were thermal or infra-red imaging cameras of some kind. They had fully automatic AT15-223’s in each chopper.

During the raid there were about 10 Bell Telephone trucks on the reserve or circulating on the roads around the reserve. We could hear them on the scanners communicating with the S.Q. helicopters.

There’s always a bunch of Bell Telephone trucks on and around the reserve, even though we only have about a thousand people. When the raids came they knew exactly where to go. They were very well informed.

Some feel that there are plenty of spies at Public Works Canada. They rent us homes on our own land but they won’t even fix a leaky roof.

The S.Q. were stopping all kinds of people on the highway checking inside their trunks and cars. Several were busted.

The Economy

We need an economy to build a nation. You can’t build a nation on bingo halls and that money doesn’t get spread around much. People lose a lot of money on bingo.

The Problem

We do have a problem that I would like to address. Cocaine. Speaking on behalf of the Warrior Society. We don’t want it. We don’t sell it. We want it out. It’s a big problem. It’s hard to deal with. We can’t deal with it in the same fashion as the I.R.A.. by bombing the coke dealers, because our communities are so small. You can’t rat on a cousin.

The Future

This enterprise is not over. We learned a great deal. The first rule in Ed Rosenthal’s book is, don’t talk. We broke that rule. About 5% of the community will probably be charged.

I have to go. It’s very difficult for me to be here long or at all.

Milton Born With A Tooth July 11, 1991 Kanesatake

Part Two:

A Warrior Speaks Out, A Mohawk’s Look Behind the Scenes At Oka
as told to Spanner McNeil 1995

In writing the Grass Cage I spent a lot of time waiting for the phone to ring and going to places where nobody was.

Just prior to filing, I was taken to meet a Warrior who wanted to speak on behalf of the Warrior Society to Cannabis Canada, in response to the “vilification” and “distortion” that was apparent in the general media.

What follows are his words.

The Technique

Everybody planted their own way. People used a wide variety of methods and lots of experimentation.

The breed being used was ‘First Lady’ which is a hybrid developed in Oka. There was also ‘Freeze Land’ and ‘Super Skunk’.

RootTone was used for cloning. Jiffy Pots and Rockwool were the most often used medium. Some indoor growers used a bunk bed system with 400 watt sodium and metal halide. Twisted neon lights turned out to be quite good for the cloning period.

People were generally on a small budget. Only a few used major equipment like tractors. I would say that there were about 60 to 70 thousand plants.

The Community

This started because of the decline in the cigarette trade, which was due to the government not recognizing the Jay Treaty.

We weren’t selling to the Mafia. We weren’t selling to the Hell’s Angels. We weren’t selling the entire crop to one guy at the top. If you wanted it and you knew people, you could buy it. Anyone could buy it.

People got jobs out of it. It gave people an opportunity to work in a community of 95% unemployment. The federal government cut money for development projects in half two years ago. Oka Park, which is our land, doesn’t even hire Mohawks.

People got jobs guarding, trimming, pruning, and planting. It’s a lot of work to get one pound per plant. Some planted small patches just for the sake of it. Lots of people were learning. There were some thirteen year olds working but only a few hired them. Most made sure that the guards were over eighteen.

It didn’t rain for 22 days. People had to carry buckets of water a long way. A lot of water is required for a field. Fifty gallon barrels of water were being transported by A.T.V.’s. Those that didn’t water lost their plants, especially the young ones. We prayed for rain and did a rain dance.

The Plan

There was a plan to save enough money to buy the machinery necessary to convert hemp to cloth on a big scale. The plan has not been shelved, maybe next year. Now we are very interested in communicating with hemp advocates in the legal profession. If farmers in Ontario have the right to grow hemp under license from the government then so do we.

Our ancestors grew hemp and tobacco. The 1760 Jay Treaty gives us the right to trade in it.

The S.Q. came in because they were forced to and because some people were jealous about the money, even though some of those same people had smaller patches of their own. There were also some who made pressure because they were against the Band Office.

The Media

There were journalists here sneaking around our backyards all week. We got sick of it. Yeah, we wanted them out. We respect the press, but knock on the front door.

The Resolve

When the S.Q. started raiding and began gathering plants some were ready to fight. Fight for the right to grow marijuana. Yes, it was a revolutionary act. There were others willing to fight too, but band office didn’t want to.

People still remember having their arms burnt with cigarettes by the S.Q. while in holding cells in order to make them talk in 1990. It’s on record with the United Nation Human Rights commission. It also became clear that we didn’t have popular support for mass action. The raid was a political act by the P.Q. against the Mohawks.

The Report

Did you see the coroner’s report on Oka? They said the S.Q. weren’t justified in coming in in 1990. I believe that Cpl. LeMay was running guns to the Anti’s in Akwasasne. He was seen working there. One man was killed and had his body clothing changed into that of a Warrior’s then, in order to increase tension between the Warriors and the Antis, he was killed with the same round that the S.Q. uses, a 223.

The mayor of Valleyfield shot himself in the head. Rumours of the S.Q. dealing in cigarettes. LeMay gets shot. A lot of people say LeMay was smuggling guns.

We’ve heard strong rumours of a September raid.

The Raids

The S.Q. goons were nervous. They were practically running in the fields. They were gathering all kinds of plants, constantly looking around to see if anyone was coming and jumping every time we broke a branch from where we were watching. Everyone seen watching had their picture taken.

They didn’t bust us in the past because they were afraid. They turned a blind eye. I believe it was a U.S. military chopper that was shot down in 1989 or 1990 over Kanien Keh in New York State.

Four of the choppers on this raid had a large bell jar attached to the bottom. We thought they were thermal or infra-red imaging cameras of some kind. They had fully automatic AT15-223’s in each chopper.

During the raid there were about 10 Bell Telephone trucks on the reserve or circulating on the roads around the reserve. We could hear them on the scanners communicating with the S.Q. helicopters.

There’s always a bunch of Bell Telephone trucks on and around the reserve, even though we only have about a thousand people. When the raids came they knew exactly where to go. They were very well informed.

Some feel that there are plenty of spies at Public Works Canada. They rent us homes on our own land but they won’t even fix a leaky roof.

The S.Q. were stopping all kinds of people on the highway checking inside their trunks and cars. Several were busted.

The Economy

We need an economy to build a nation. You can’t build a nation on bingo halls and that money doesn’t get spread around much. People lose a lot of money on bingo.

The Problem

We do have a problem that I would like to address. Cocaine. Speaking on behalf of the Warrior Society. We don’t want it. We don’t sell it. We want it out. It’s a big problem. It’s hard to deal with. We can’t deal with it in the same fashion as the I.R.A.. by bombing the coke dealers, because our communities are so small. You can’t rat on a cousin.

The Future

This enterprise is not over. We learned a great deal. The first rule in Ed Rosenthal’s book is, don’t talk. We broke that rule. About 5% of the community will probably be charged.

I have to go. It’s very difficult for me to be here long or at all.

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Island Ink Jet

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Police storm into areas all over Canada looking for the weed, that is not new. Until the law changes and a decent roadside detector device, like a breathalizer for alcohol, is in use, things will remain this way.