More Updates from the Rotinonshón:ni Youth Centre Reclamation at “Oshweken”

UPDATE MAY 24TH: We did our presentation at Band Council yesterday after coming to consensus among the Youth. The Youth here decided to stick to our statement that we were NOT working with Band Council nor asking their permission to use the building. Instead, we were respectfully giving them the option to give us the keys to the building. We were giving them till FRIDAY MAY 27th to give us the keys to the building.

All of us Youth spoke from the heart about why we were doing this – about the suicides of their friends, their attempts at suicide and why that was. However, as soon as we finished and did the closing the Band Councilors started calling down what we were doing. We were told we were too traditional and leavin the christian kids out – so they have to build 1 building for the ‘traditionals’ and one building for the ‘christians’. As they were trying to denounce our actions, we just all shook their hands and left (we didn’t stay or listen to hear wat they were saying – we weren’t there to have a ‘discussion’ with them).

We were shortly after informed that their plan was to have each councilor hold a youth mtg on ‘what they want’ and then bring all of that together by July. They then told us that they WERENT GOING TO GIVE US THE KEYS TO THE BUILDING because the issue of liability.

That night there was personal conflict among the Youth but we sat around the sacred fire and talked. It was realized that all we have is each other – and that we have to respect and love each other in order to keep unified. It was discussed that conflict is not a bad thing – that it allows our friendships and relationships to grow and that was wat we were all going to do.

UPDATE MAY 25TH: A few Youth went out around Ohsweken early this afternoon to collect donations for the Site (WE DONT HAVE SUPPLIES, HEALTHY MEALS, COFFEE, GAS 2 GET/DRIVE YOUTH HOME, etc.). As they were doing this, there was only around 5 or 6 of us still at the site, cleaning and keeping the fire. Then the Six Nations Police pulled up.

They started telling us that we have to move the “barricade” aside because we were blocking the ambulance fr getting by (although they have an exit other than the front of the police station). (Side note: we are blocking the driveway in front of the police station for the safety of the Youth. Since we arent using the building yet, we have barely any space while mtg and keeping fire in front of building) As we were discussing it the Cops started moving the “barricade”. Then 4 of the cops went over to the side door of the Police Station and went in (the door was already open – we dont know how).

I ran after them and went inside telling them to get out, this was OUR building and they have no right or jurisdiction to be there. I was then told if i dont move then they would arrest me. I ran outside and told the few ppl there to GET HELP – we need more ppl.

The Police said that someone came into the building and cut the wires that controlled communication in building last night. Because the Police Station is connected to the Fire Hall, it interrupted some of the Fire Halls communication. We have been at the site 24hrs/day keeping the fire and did not see anyone go in at any time.

I ran back inside and made the split decision to ‘escort’ them through the building. One of them was insulting me the entire time. They said that they were going to put cameras in the building. I told them that according to their Canadian Law, since this was an occupation/reclamation, they had to give us 24hrs notice before raiding. They said they didn’t care about their laws. They were locking doors back up the whole time. They were constantly telling me that this was THEIR building. I was telling them that in order to keep the peace and if they didn’t want a fight, they needed to leave. Because ppl were gathering outside and it could easily turn bad. They said I was threatening them.

However, i put up with it n stayed until the last cop left. People were showing up the whole time I was in the building with the cops (Mens Fire, Mohawks and other youth). I went jus outside the side door where the cops were and they started to try and push their way in with the Mens Fire besides them. The Men told me that they were getting the Police to “show” them what damage was done. I told them they HAVE TO LEAVE, NO ONE GOES INTO THE BUILDING – that was the decision made by the Youth and solidified through ceremony (we burned tobacco). But first the Police have to leave so we can all talk. So after some debate, the Men started getting the Police to leave.

I then heard someone inside. I went in and it was the Building Maintenance worker for Band Council. I told him he had to leave the building. But he was there to check the lines that had been cut. So instead of fighting, I escorted him. He then let in another worker through the back of the building. They went into the basement and tried to fix the communication lines. They couldn’t completely fix it without a few parts. So I told them that when they get those parts to come back to the sacred fire and we will escort them in to fix it.

While I was walking up fr the basement a few of the Mens Fire came barging in. They said they need to look at the damage to the building if we want their support. After some arguing, we got them to leave the building so we could all talk and not disrespect each other. All of us Youth there meet and decided to not let the Men ‘inspect’ the building at that time. We asked them to meet as “three sides of the fire” first, talk about all of this, and get back to us with their collective concerns, views etc. We would then take their words, meet and get back to them with a decision.

It was history in the making for these Men to actually listen to the Youth and respect what we were requesting of them. The Unity this is creating is incredible.

Finally, we set the “Barricades” back up because it was jus decided by the Youth that we need to keep that road clear for the safety of the Youth present.

Don’t know what the reaction will be but we are enhancing our security and pulling the Youth together – this is OUR Youth Centre.

We are safe and keeping the Youth present safe. We are still laughin, cooking, singing, making drums, keeping the fire, even with everything that has happened today.

WE NEED YOU TO COME DOWN N SUPPORT – the Police and the Band Council are not keeping the peace. We still need FOOD and many other supplies.


Posted on May 26, 2011, in Indigenous Struggles, Youth Struggles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on More Updates from the Rotinonshón:ni Youth Centre Reclamation at “Oshweken”.

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