‘The Mohawk Warrior Flag: A Legacy of Lawlessness’

“The Warrior flag is an assertion of  sovereignty — especially during illegal occupations. It is used to signify that the land in question is no longer part of Canada, that Canadian laws do not apply to the occupiers, and that the occupiers are prepared to escalate their resistance to the point of violence, if necessary.”ERBLALegacyOfLawlessness800x800“The Warrior flag is a common sight at Native protests, occupations, and other actions across North America. It is a distinct flag, featuring a Native in profile, with a golden sun behind on a red background. 

“The flag first gained prominence during the 1990 ‘Oka Crisis’ and has been dubbed the “Mohawk Warrior Flag”, as well as the “Unity Flag.”

“Some native militants have claimed the Mohawk Warrior flag is merely a benign ‘Unity Flag’ of peace, with no sinister intent or symbolism behind its use, despite a long and highly-visible association with extreme violence, intimidation and criminal activity in places like Oka, Akwesasne and Caledonia… 

“…the original ‘Unity Flag’, with its long-haired, ‘peaceful’ Mohawk imagery, was born out of the lawlessness and gun violence against non-natives and the U.S. government  during the occupation of a girl’s camp in New York state. The artist actually lived in one of the occupied buildings at the time he created it.

“The more well-known shaved-head Mohawk Warrior ‘war’ version seen in Oka, Caledonia, and more recently in  Toronto’s High Park {as well as ‘Idle no More’, and now at virtually every aboriginal protest}, was specifically created at the request of organized criminals involved in cigarette smuggling at Kahnawake, as a way to try to legitimize their greed and lawlessness under the banner of ‘aboriginal sovereignty.’ 

“The Warrior flag is an assertion of  sovereignty – especially during illegal occupations. It is used to signify that the land in question is no longer part of Canada, that Canadian laws do not apply to the occupiers, and that the occupiers are prepared to escalate their resistance to the point of violence, if necessary.

“As Horn-Miller notes from her interviews with native people, the Mohawk Warrior flag is seen by them as a fear-invoking tool of psychological warfare against non-natives.

“Indeed, the imagery of the Mohawk Warrior — with his war-ready, shaven head intentionally designed to taunt enemies (today, it is the Canadian government and non-natives generally) — is indeed intended as a call to unity as some claim, but not to peace: the Warrior flag is a call to unite in war: of occupations, of violence, of intimidation, of vandalism, of inciting hatred and fear against those they deem to be repressing native culture.”


–‘The Emergence of the Mohawk Warrior Flag: a symbol of Indigenous unification and impetus to assertion of identity and rights commencing in the Kanienkehaka community of Kahnawake’:
http://spectrum.library.concordia.ca/2296/1/MQ83836.pdf warrior-unity-flag-text“The flag was created by Louis Karoniaktajeh Hall, a Mohawk artist and writer, during the mid-1970s. The first version featured a silhouette of a long-haired Native male with a sun in the background. On a painting of this flag, entitled “Indian Flag”, Karoniaktajeh explained its meaning:

“Designed for all Indian nations. Single feather means ‘all of one mind.’ Deganawida wanted all Indians to be under the Great Law of Peace. Equality for all Indian nations.”  

“Deganawida was the peacemaker who brought the Haudenosaunee their ‘Great Law of Peace’, essentially the constitution of the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.

“The “Indian Flag” was first used at Ganienkeh, a territory in New York state “reclaimed” by armed Mohawks in 1974…

“According to the Kahnawake branch of the Haudenosaunee, this flag is also known as the “Ganienkeh Flag” and symbolized “Indigenous unity, nationalism, and resistance.”

“Later, Karoniaktajeh designed another version of the flag, featuring a warrior with a Mohawk-style haircut. According to the Kahnawake Longhouse, this version was intended for use by the ‘Mohawk Warrior Society’ and is called the “Mohawk Warrior Flag.”

“Following the 1990 ‘Oka Crisis’, Karoniaktajeh designed yet another version of the flag with both a male and female warrior, entitled the “Indigenous Flag of Unity & Resistance.”

“Karoniaktajeh passed away in December, 1993.”

–‘The Warrior/Unity Flag’

“In 1972, the Mohawk ‘Nation’ Council of Chiefs at Kahnawake authorized the formation of the ‘Kahnawake Warrior Society’… 

“In the Haudenosaunee tradition, the Rotisken’rakéhte, — often referred to as the Mohawk Warrior Society — are responsible for national defense and public security in the Territory of Kahnawake…

“The term ‘Warrior Society’ was recently adopted in the 1970’s as a result of Canadian and American ‘oppression’.  Those original young men, who resurrected the ancient fighting spirit and reinstituted the Warrior Society, adopted this…English term to inspire hope amongst Iroquoian men, and caution into the hearts of the colonial governments of Canada and United States.

“…In the simplest of definitions, the Warrior Society is an ancient order of Haudenosaunee men who gather to aid their people in time of need and act as the voluntary vanguard of the Haudenosaunee. During times of strife and danger, its purpose is to defend and protect the citizenry and territory of the Haudenosaunee ‘Six Nation Iroquois Confederacy’… 

“…the Warrior Society complement the people’s ultimate authority by upholding and enacting the Kaianere’kó:wa, which in essence, is the living Constitution of the Iroquois Confederacy. Furthermore, the Warrior Society is also responsible for upholding and enacting any political determinations made by the Confederacy’s Grand Council, individual National Councils, or territorial Longhouse Councils…”

–from http://www.kahnawakelonghouse.com/index.php?mid=1&p=3
(Kahnawake branch of the Haudenosaunee)    
deseronto_2007--Mohawk protestor Mario Batiste from the Bay of Quinte Mohawks“Certainly, many native leaders do nothing to discourage the idea that they might resort to violent gestures if their political demands are not met. So, why should we be shy about calling this tactic for what it is? 

“It was Warrior Society members from the Kanesatake reserve south of Montreal who led the violent 78-day standoff at Oka, Que., in the summer of 1990. Masked and camouflaged Warriors shot and killed a Quebec provincial police officer, Marcel Lemay, in a dispute over the construction of a golf course and homes on land claimed by the Mohawks. The uniforms, language {weapons} and militant postures they adopted were entirely in keeping with the conceit of an actual insurgency movement. oka-warrior-with-flag-1990“In the spring of 2006, it was allegedly Warriors who incited violence when Mohawks from the Six Nations reserve occupied a residential subdivision under construction near Caledonia, Ont. in 2006. As Christie Blatchford documents in great detail in her new book, “Helpless”, these are not people who see themselves as bound by Canadian law. barricade“And just in 2009, on the Mohawk reserve at Akwesasne — west of Kanesatake — masked aboriginals claiming to be Warriors encircled a Canada Customs border crossing, which is situated on Akwesasne land. Nearly 200 band members built bonfires, banged drums and uttered threats to the border agents inside until the agents agreed to abandon their post. (Customs officers insist the Warriors were armed; they claim they were not.) A Mohawk Warrior flag flies in front of a Canadian border crossing station“The Warriors explain they are “just a militia,” not an insurgency. But what communities in Canada — including peaceful self-governing native bands — have the right to their own “militias?” This is Canada, not the Panjshir Valley. 

“While the Kahnawake longhouse website carries a picture of its Warrior Society that looks more like a slow-pitch softball team than a group of armed rebels, they claim to be in charge of “national defence” of tribal lands. Following the outbreak of violence at Caledonia, the Kahnawake Warriors — officially dubbed the Rotisken’rakéhte or “duty of men to carry peace” — sent a message of solidarity to their Six Nations brothers and sisters demanding that the governments of Canada and Ontario cease “any further plans to invade our territories.”  

–‘ No apology for the Mohawk Warrior Society’,
National Post editorial board, December 23, 2010  

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/national-post-editorial-board-no-apology-for-the-mohawk-warrior-societySusanne Patles“(Warrior societies) are the boots on the ground to emancipate people, to have the people rise up. We are a nation. We are above Canada. We are above it all, because we are a nation. Canada is a corporation, we are a nation, and when we signed on to our pre-Confederation treaties it was on a nation-to-nation basis, and we signed it with the British nation, not Canada.”

–Susanne Patles, Mi’kmaq ‘Warrior’ Susanne Patles, Mi’kmaq ‘Warrior’“They block roads, stop trains and fight the cops. Men and women dressed in camouflage, boots and bandanas. They come from reserves, wave red flags, set fires, tear up roads and declare sovereignty for their tribes. They are the so-called ‘Warrior Societies’ and they mean business.  

“They even award themselves ranks such as general and lieutenant, insisting a military wing is a part of any sovereign nation. Many aboriginal rights activists consider themselves as members of a sovereign people, separate from Canada…”


(Rebecca Zandbergen-CBC)
(Rebecca Zandbergen-CBC)

And finally…this nonsense, from the creator of the ‘Mohawk Warrior’ flag. If this isn’t  an ignorant, racist {albeit humourous} diatribe, then nothing is…:

“The white man says Indians came from Asia by way of the Bering Strait. If they were Indians, maybe — an Indian being a native of India. The particular Indian we’re talking about is the ‘Onkwehonwe’ — you know, the Native American.

“They say the red man crossed over from Asia on a “land bridge”, or stepping islands (like stepping stones). Our mighty ancestors took mighty strides. The master storytellers say the time of this migration was 12,000 years ago. Since it’s a scientific estimation, therefore, it’s impressive. They came to this conclusion by “reading the rocks”.

“Now, you guys, you wanna watch out and avoid rocks. They can betray your passage, even if you passed 12,000 years ago. The scientists can even detect, if slightly, your ancient fragrance that you left behind as you passed the rocks…

“As far as we’re concerned, our ancestors made their debut into this valley of happiness right here on this land of Onkwehonwekeh (America), just as the white man originated in southern Europe, the blacks in Africa and the Asiatics in Asia.

“The Bering Strait theory is a tongue-in-cheek propaganda to make the Onkwehonwe think that they, also, are aliens in their own land and that they, the Europeans, have just as much right to be in America. The scientists are trying to justify in the white people’s minds their presence on Red Man’s land.

“It is a deplorable state of affairs. There is a remedy for it. The situation was caused by people from Europe who somehow prevailed on the native Onkwehonwe to live on reservations, while the Europeans developed the country. It was a great mistake for our ancestors to fall for the promises of the European that reservation life would be free from worry, fear, trouble, poverty — and that reservation life would pass like a pleasant dream.

“The natives of America never should have permitted the Europeans to get a foothold in Onkwehonwekeh. But they did, and paid for it with their lives and liberty. It is now up to the present generations to make the best of it and to fight to regain areas of their land where they may live in freedom from the great white father. It can be done. There are ways and means. Many Onkwehonwe are too afraid to fight for their rights. They have been browbeaten to a state of hopelessness. They shall have to be inspired to stand on their hind legs and fight for their future and for the future of seven generations ahead.” 

“Again there are ways and means to turn the meek and humble into courageous and resolute people. Then, there are those who can fight and are ready to put their nation in its rightful place among the nations of mankind. They are the leaders of the present and the future.”

–‘Who Made You?’ or ‘How Scientists Created the Red Race’,
from the ‘Warrior’s Handbook’, Louis Hall



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