Revolution Requires the Unity of the Oppressed: On the Anti-Afrikan Racism of Mohawk Nations News

A representative of the revolutionary anti-colonial struggle in Zimbabwe speaks at a gathering of Native radicals at Pine Ridge

As a Native revolutionary driven web project The Speed of Dreams is encouraging all of its readers to join our calling out of Mohawk Nations News for their recent shocking and shameful display of anti-Afrikan racism in the article Obama, Buffalo Soldier Chief. To quote their own website, “Mohawk Nation News service began during the Mohawk/Oka crisis of 1990 by providing updates on the resistance.” From these roots MNN has grown into an internationally recognized source of critical news about not only the Mohawk people, but other Native nations as well.

However, that is not to say that MNN has been perfect. For some time while we here have been re-posting their articles, we have also been concerned with their promotion of globalist conspiracy theories which ultimately have their roots in the libertarian and neo-fascist wings of the North American far-right. However, while this has always been a concern, it has never been an insurmountable obstacle. That is why TSoD has been so shocked by the content of the article.

The article begins fine, as a criticism of the Buffalo Soldiers, Africans (mostly former slaves) who fought against Native peoples for the expanding United States settler empire in the period following the inter-settler civil war. This is a history we must be critical of, just as we must be critical of those Native nations who for this-or-that reason decided to side with the expanding settler empire. We must be critical of this history because we must be critical of all attempts by imperialist White power to set different oppressed nations against one another and be ever vigilant for any and all future attempts.

However, the Mohawk Nation News article begins muddying the water immediately. For example, the article says:

As former victims of racism, the Buffalo Soldiers became the champions of rape, genocide, brutality and mass murder of innocent people. They took pride in killing people who never did anything to them. They forgot all about the help we gave them because slavery is a violation of our Great Law. The Choctaw, Cherokee and Shawnee helped them escape from their slave masters to the north.

However, this article dishonestly forgets that the Cherokee and the Choctaw were part of the grouping of Native nations known as the “Five Civilized Tribes” to the White settlers. They were known by this title for their acceptance of a number of imperial practices, most notably the use of African slave labour by the upper echelons of their societies, and their generally good relations with the settlers in the early federal period. When of course the settlers finally turned on their Cherokee allies and pushed them along the gruelling and genocidally deadly Trail of Tears, those Cherokee who held African slaves took them with them. While we often hear of how genuinely terrible the Trail was for the Cherokee to this day an as of yet unknown number of African slaves belonging to the Cherokee died on the Trail as well. In the modern era the Cherokee are still wrestling with the ramifications of their acceptance of the enslavement of African people, having just gone through the motions to expel so-called “Freedmen” from their ranks (Cherokee nation citizens descended from their freed slaves).

To imply, as MNN does, that it was the Cherokee and the Choctaw who were so kind to African people, and by extension to imply that it was Africans who turned around and bit the hands that fed them as Buffalo Soldiers, is a disservice to history. It is also an insult to the memory of the African slaves who suffered under Cherokee masters, and also to those Native nations and confederacies who were genuine allies of escaped African slaves, such as the Seminole and the Rotinonshón:ni.

But that is not where the article by MNN ends. The article goes further, beyond talking about the campaigns waged by the Buffalo Soldiers on the behalf of the empire, to imply that all modern day African people in the United States are akin to Buffalo Soldiers. The article quite foully quotes the Mohawk Rotiskenrakete as saying that should a new “civil war” break out in North America that “the Buffalo Soldiers would join their masters.” MNN that says itself that “They always do what they’re told. The invaders and forced invaders will probably stand together. The mule and everything they were promised, they will not get!”

 This is also a shocking turn for MNN as Kahentinetha Horn, the chief personality behind MNN, has been a guest on Uhuru Radio, to speak with APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess about why not to celebrate thanksgiving! It of course is clear now that MNN and sister Horn picked up nothing from her interactions with a long-standing (and growing) African revolutionary movement that has always stood staunchly in solidarity with indigenous people, having formed alliances and close relations with Native organizations, and that even had its position of solidarity with Native people directly influence the development of its analysis of the national question in North America.

Shameful comrade Horn! Shameful indeed!

The truth is that the revolutionary overthrow of imperialist White power and the parasitic capitalist world economy will require the unity of all oppressed nations, both between those within North America and between those in North America and those throughout the rest of the world, most especially those in the so-called “Third World.” MNN’s anti-Afrikan screed works directly against this unity, using a doctored history as its primary blunt instrument. In doing this MNN is directly servicing the agenda of imperialism.

This is why The Speed of Dreams is calling on all of its readers to call-out Mohawk Nation News for their anti-African writing. You can contact MNN at kahentinetha2@yahoo.com.

In the Spirit of Crazy Horse!

Call Out Mohawk Nation News!

Build Revolutionary Afrikan & Native Unity!

Death to Imperialism!

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Posted on August 27, 2012, in African Struggles, Imperialism & Colonialism, Indigenous Struggles, Radical History and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Awesome.

  2. Great article. This has truly hurt my heart 4 i am a Nu-Afrikan male and my family never has celibrated thankgiving because of how YT has treated my native brudda’s & sista’s and to this day i continue the same tradition with my children. I will be the 1st to admit that the Buffalo Soliderz screwwed up by fighting 4 YT yet at the same time so did many of my native bruddaz, i just chalk it up as some people got fooled and in turn they payed 4 their mistake dearly. As people of colour we should be standing together in unity and fighting oppression and imperialism side by side.

  3. I am so happy to see you calling out MNN on this. I read the article last week and was taken aback by the horrible politics behind it. I don’t think MNN has ever been nearly this harsh with regards to Indian scouts or even Native veterans today, who are involved in wanton murder of brown peoples abroad in the service of imperialism. Where are the strong denunciations of Indian scouts and their modern-day counterparts?

  4. Posoh Osceola & Moorbey

    Sorry for the long response times to your comments, but as I have mentioned I have been incredibly busy lately and have not had the time I would like to put into this site.

    Anyway, I’m glad this article resonated so much with you two. When I read the MNN article in question I was incensed, but I held off on writing something right away. After thinking about for a while though I decided that I just couldn’t let it lay and let MNN get away without anyone calling them on peddling such racist, ahistorical bullshit.

    Specifically regarding your point Osceola about “Indian scouts”, both modern and historical, it is something that really must be discussed, but which there is a strong culture of silence on around Indian Country, though it is much more pronounced within some nations. Speaking as a non-Kanien’kehá:ka/Mohawk (myself being Omāēqnomenew/Menominee) it has been my experience that this is very strong, and hence very troubling, within the Kanien’kehá:ka nation, most especially within that branch that resides on the Canada side of the fake settler border.

    Living for many years in the lands of my Anishinabe cousins and the Rotinonshón:ni Confederacy I observed this first hand. For example, I met and got to know two Kanien’kehá:ka comrades who despite being politically anti-colonial had served in the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. They saw no contradiction of posting on Facebook, practically right next to each other, pictures of themselves fighting for White power over there and posts about the evils of Canadian colonialism!

    Even big time Kanien’kehá:ka radicals such as Gerald/Taiaiake Alfred (author of such “radical” books as “Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto” and “Wasáse: Indigenous Pathways of Action and Freedom”) do not like to discuss this issue. Alfred himself served in the US Marine Corps in the 1980s and has, to my knowledge, not produced any kind of substantive critique of his reasons behind joining the army of imperialism or his experience within it.

    In fact, a couple of years ago during a discussion on this very site around a posting of Kwakwaka’wakw anarchist Gord Hill/Zig-Zag’s highly critical review of “Wasáse” Alfred, who was directly taking part in the conversation, was called out by myself for having joined the army of imperialism. At this Alfred, who was already acting less than impressive for a supposedly radical Native academic by being childishly dismissive of Hill’s piece and refusing to engage any of the points raised by it, proceeded to fuck me off for even raising the point (his response to me on this was a curt one-liner of “fuck you!”).

    So there you have a supposedly radical anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist (though decidedly pacifistic) Native personality just straight up fucking off a fellow Native radical for even bringing up the point of his own service as a modern-day Indian scout. And Alfred is just a microcosm of a much larger problem facing Indian Country.

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