Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Warrior Movement

I was reading another enlightening article by Taiaiake Alfred and stumbled on this gem concerning the chronology warrior movement. The article highlights the resistance from different groups but also shows Canada's continued onslaught into indigenous lands through the colonization process as well more importantly the indigenous methods of resistance.


1960s African-American civil rights movement in the United States.

1960s Colonized peoples’ struggles in Africa and Asia.

1968 American Indian Movement (AIM) founded in Minnesota.

1968 Mohawks blockade Seaway International Bridge at Akwesasne.

1968 Kahnawake Singing Society begins to use the term “warrior society.”

1969 Red Power activists occupy Alcatraz, gaining widespread publicity.

1970 Inspired by the occupation of Alcatraz, Kanien’kehaka people, including members of the Warrior Society, reclaim Stanley and Loon Island in the St. Lawrence River.

1971 Onondagas call in Mohawk Warrior Society to reinforce blockade of highway construction site through their territory.

1973 Mohawk Warrior Society sanctioned by Kahnawake Longhouse.

1973 Siege at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. AIM gains widespread notoriety.

1973 Mohawk Warrior Society, backed by Longhouse and joined by AIM, evicts white trespassers on Kahnawake reserve. Mainstream media takes note of Warrior Society for the first time.

1973 AIM releases Red Man's International Warrior Society, a poster composed of imagery and words by Louis Hall (Karoniaktajeh) of Kahnawake.

1974 Mohawk Warrior Society, joined by members of AIM, repossess Moss Lake Camp from New York State, with widespread and active support from indigenous communities.

1974 Ojibway Warrior Society, led by Louis Cameron, occupies Anicinabe Park in Kenora, Ontario.

1974 Ken Basil, Chief of Bonaparte Indian Band, leads a series of armed blockades of roads through his reserve to demand better housing. The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) publicly condemns blockade; Basil turns to AIM and the Ojibway Warrior Society for support.

1974 Native Peoples’ Caravan to Ottawa, led by Louis Cameron, is met by riot police and subject to FBI infiltration.

1975 Ken Basil, now an AIM Regional Director, is ordered to leave Neskonlith blockade by the band council.

1975 AIM occupies DIA office in Vancouver, B.C.

1975 “Indian Summer” in British Columbia. Roadblocks and occupations throughout the province. Media links actions to AIM.

1977 Negotiations between Mohawks and N.Y. State result in abandonment of the Moss Lake camp and the formation of a new settlement, Ganienkeh.

1978 President of UBCIC warns of army of trained Indians ready to defend rights in response to new federal fishing regulations and the arrest of Indian fishers. No further reports of this “army.”

1979-1980 Armed internal conflict at Akwesasne to prevent construction of fence ordered by band council. U.S. State Troopers invade reserve.

1980s Growth of Mohawk Warrior Society, financially supported by burgeoning cigarette trade at Akwesasne and Kahnawake.

1987 Code of Conduct for Kahnawake Warrior Society drafted according to the Great Law of Peace.

1988 200 RCMP raid Kahnawake cigarette stores using helicopter and riot squad, 17 people are arrested. Warriors seize Mercier Bridge for 29 hours.

1988 AFN National Chief warns that warrior societies are forming all over Canada due to youth experiencing widespread poverty.

1988 Mi’kmaq Warrior Society forms in Cape Breton.

1989 N.Y. State Troopers raid Akwesasne gaming businesses and cigarette trade. Warriors establish paid, armed, territorial patrol (Mohawk Sovereign Security Force—MSSF) to guard against further raids.

1990 Internal conflict over gaming and cigarette trade leads to shooting death of two Mohawks at Akwesasne. U.S. and Canadian police invade reserve. MSSF disbands.

1990 U.S. National Guard helicopter hit by ground fire over Ganienkeh. Mohawks resist police invasion and maintain an 11-day blockade.

1990 In the wake of armed confrontation between Mohawk Warrior Society and Quebec police, Mohawk communities of Kahnawake and Kanesatake face 78-day siege and resist attempted invasion by Quebec police, RCMP, and Canadian Forces.

1992 The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society protects ceremony in Big Cove, N.B.

1994 Mi’kmaq Warrior Society occupies old residential school and demands land be returned to the Mi’kmaq people.

1994 Chief Stewart Phillip leads Penticton Indian Band road blockade to stop Apex ski resort expansion.

1995 Mi’kmaq Warrior Society conducts Miramichi salmon fishery in defiance of DFO regulations.

1996 Native Youth Movement (NYM) forms in Vancouver, B.C.

1997 NYM occupies B.C. Treaty Commission Office to protest the surrender of land through the B.C. Treaty Process.

1997 Terrance Nelson, head of the Okiijida Warrior Society, advocates traditional warrior society as an alternative to youth gangs.

1998 Mi’kmaq Warriors attend barricades erected by Mi’kmaq loggers and the Listiguj reserve band council.

1999 RCMP report released to media declaring that indigenous activists are stockpiling weapons.

1999 Summoned by Chief June Quipp, NYM allies with local groups to protect Sto:lo fishers assertion of Aboriginal right to fish.

1999 R. v. Marshall Supreme Court of Canada decision sparks first battle of the “lobster wars” in Esgenoopetitj. Mi’kmaq Warrior Society keeps the peace during three days of violence and vandalism by white fishers.

2000 Formation of the West Coast Warrior Society (WCWS) out of the Native Youth Movement. WCWS supports Cheam three-month roadblock to stop plan to develop parklands on Cheam fishing camps.

2000 Burnt Church band council deputizes 12 peacekeepers to protect fishers during the fall fishery at Esgenoopetitj. Warriors blockade roads into reserve and patrol the wharf. West Coast, Okiijida, and Mohawk Warrior Societies join with the Esgenoopetitj Rangers, Listiguj Rangers, and Mi’kmaq Warriors to defend fishers and traps.

2001 Commander of the East Coast Warrior Society (ECWS) leaves Burnt Church for British Columbia, allies with the WCWS.

2002 WCWS asked by Nuu-Chah-Nulth War Council to assist in negotiations on expanding on-reserve housing.

2002 Okiijida Warrior Society assists Grassy Narrows in blockade to prevent logging trucks from entering their territory.

2003 Saanich Nation band councils request WCWS assistance in training local forces to oppose a DFO commercial fishery opening. Warriors remain in community for five weeks. Planned commercial opening cancelled.

Migwetch and Thank you.


Warrior Societies in Contemporary Indigenous Communities
Taiaiake Alfred, Ph.D. and Lana Lowe, M.A.∗

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