Videos from the Tyendinaga Front Lines
Here is a show case of some of the videos that Real People’s Media has produced covering the Tyendinaga actions in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people. To see all of our videos, check out our YouTube channel.
Brandie Maracle provides update on Day 2 of the Tyendinaga railway blockade
On the second day of the Wyman road railway stoppage, RPM interviewed Brandie Maracle to get her perspective on the RCMP invasion of Wet’suwet’en and the Kanienkehaka response. Maracle, heartbroken at the RCMP invasion, says that the railway stoppage is a community response, not an individual one: “Within all our people across Turtle Island, we are all forming as communities, as units, as nations—there’s not one person running anything, we’re all doing it together and that’s what makes this amazing.” She feels connected to the Wet’suwet’en and see’s the similarity between them and the Mohawks, because they both refuse to be bought. When asked if she thinks that the railway stoppage will last long, her response is that “it’s all up to them”, because the stoppage will last as long as the RCMP and Coastal Gas Link remain as invading forces in Wet’suwet’en.
76 year old George Zachariah explains why he’s on the lines at Wyman Rd. rail crossing in Tyendinaga
At a sprightly 76 years of age, George Zachariah explains how he has stood-up for the Mohawk people many times in the past, and how he is braving the cold to stand-up once more despite having cancer to come out to the stoppage: “For the people and for out there [Wet’suwet’en].”
Nathan speaks about the Tyendinaga rail shutdown
Nathan explains how spending time with people at the Unist’ot’en camp in December 2018 convinced him to be involved in the rail stoppage at Tyendinaga: “If they have title and they have won their own cases going through the Canadian judicial system…and the Federal government still thinks they can push through them and do whatever they please. This is a people that have acknowledgement that that’s their land; then what can they do to all the other nations across the country who actually have treaties?…it’s kind of a real precedent-setting maneuver they [Canada] are trying to do.” He goes on to further explain that the issue in Wet’suwet’en is about money and the rail stoppage is a tactically superior way to stop Canada from steamrolling the Wet’suwet’en.
ReconciliACTION | Before the Raid: Tour of the Wyman Rd camp, Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory
Jackie reflects on the impact of Justin Trudeau’s press conference where he demanded that the ‘blockades’ must come down. She outlines the difference between inconvenience and injustice when it comes to people complaining about the stoppage. Jackie asserts that the OPP are an unlawful force on Mohawk territory and speaks to their potential to come to a peaceful railway shutdown and escalate the situation. She describes the Wyman Rd. stoppage: “It’s become like a village here… making sure no trains come through, the hereditary chiefs when we spoke with them, they told us that was their wishes, for the RCMP to leave their territory, and for CGL and the province and the federal government to sit at the table with them for negotiations”. She stresses that “whenever the Wet’suwet’en Chiefs say it’s OK to leave, that’s when we’ll leave.” Jackie then goes on to interview some of the people taking part in what she calls the ‘ReconciliACTION’.
Kanenhariyo on the Feb 23 message from the OPP and CN Rail
On February 23rd, 2020 Kanenhariyo explains to the people at Wyman Rd. that the OPP have informed him that CN Rail’s injunction against the Mohawk rail stoppage would be carried-out by 11:59 PM on that night. According to the OPP, all people, vehicles and property must be removed from Wyman Rd. or the OPP ‘may arrest people’ and/or investigations will begin. Kanenhariyo explains that the CN Rail and all the land north of ‘Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory’ is Kanienkehaka land, which was illegally occupied by settlers in 1820 under the Simcoe Surrender. “All the land claim research and all the paperwork to initiate the land claim on this piece of property is ready…I am pretty sure this is illegal, and I am pretty sure the injunction is illegal…all the evidence was about the train being blocked…and the CN police lied, because it has never been blocked.” Kanenhariyo also asked the people at Wyman Rd. to be peaceful and to meet to talk about what to do in response, he held up water from Wet’suwet’en: “They sent us water from their river and this is what they’re fighting about, life.”
Nick Kolbasook on the OPP attack at Wyman’s Rd. in Tyendinaga
In this video, Nick Kolbasook speaks about his experiences when the OPP violently attacked Mohawk warriors who stood-up to protect their people and their lands. Nick talks about stepping-up and trying to prevent the OPP from beating and abducting his brothers on the southside of the CN rails. Nick speaks of brief moments of humanization between the OPP and the Mohawk warriors, but the OPP turned away from peaceful dialogue at Wyman Rd. and they chose to ‘follow orders’ punching and kicking Nick, beating him for “resisting arrest” while the OPP stood on his arms and legs. After beating Nick, one OPP officer began choking him, zip-tied him, and threw him into a paddy-wagon. Nick says, “I witnessed Canadian armed officers, pretty close to militarized officers, coming into Mohawk territory and brutalizing people. I don’t see myself as a victim, I see myself as upholding my responsibility, doing my duty, but that’s the plain truth of it, they came and they brutalized people and treated people like animals, simple as that.”
Jayohcee Corey Jocko on the OPP raid on Wyman Rd in Tyendinaga
Jayohcee Corey Jocko from Akwesasne speaks about what happened to him when the OPP violently attacked the encampment at Wyman Rd in Tyendinaga. Corey details waking up to the OPP attacking the Wyman Rd. stoppage. He explained his commitment: “…we all know we’re there for the right reasons, this is bigger than all of us, this is for the future of the planet, for the future generations, this is for the water, the air, this is for all of us to keep living…for the next seven generations to keep living, we have to fight.” Corey is standing up for Wet’suwet’en to get the RCMP off their land, and for all people who have to live on this earth. Corey talks about the way the OPP attacked them: “…we were held hostage today…they zip-tied each and every one of us… Then led each of us to the media like it was a show…”. Despite all of this, Corey finds strength and comfort in his fellow Onkwehón:we people: “it’s not a lonely journey when you know you’ve got your brothers by your side”.
ReconciliACTION | TYENDINAGA, Wyman Rd. Mohawk Warrior Camp, 02/24/20: Interview with David Maracle.
In this interview with David Maracle, he conveys concern for, and connection with the land and the waters. Maracle begins by reciting his poem expressing the Haudenosaunee experience of living off the land, experiencing colonization and racism, and having trust and treaties betrayed. He believes that the most important thing we have is water, which he calls the “lifeblood of mother earth”. When Maracle is asked when he began asserting his rights as an Onkwehón:we person he speaks of his father and Kanien’kéha (the Mohawk language). Furthermore, he believes that Canada’s reconciliation project has not done anything to change the relationship between indigenous nations and Canada: there are still resource extraction projects, and Canadians still fail to understand, “who we are and what we believe in”.
It Takes a Village to Stop a Genocide
Even though the OPP has forcibly removed the snowplow, fire, and tents from beside the tracks. Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte have not given up or wavered in their solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. The police have blocked Wyman Rd. with concrete blocks, preventing everyone from crossing the tracks there. Now people are building a small village on that road, erecting large tents in order to continue the fight in support of Wet’suwet’en in defiance of OPP invasion. They invite the viewers to come join them at Wyman Rd. camp and resist these injustices.