On May 22nd, 2011, Native youth in the village of Oshweken in the Six Nations of the Grand River reservation territory, near Brantford, Ontario, Klanada, began staging a reclamation of an old police station after decades of petitioning the comprador Band Council to no avail.
The reclamation began after a public rally by youth throughout the village. The youth, hoping to found the ‘Onkwehon:we Youth Centre,’ describe their motives and intent as thus:
“By reclaiming this site, we are calling attention to the fact that still, after twenty years of campaigning, asking, pleading, there is NO YOUTH CENTRE on Six Nations , even after many attempts to work with Band Council. That process has taught us that to work with Band Council is to work under Band Council, and the Youth (and our Youth Centre) will no longer be controlled by that colonial system. We are creating a Youth Centre FOR the people and BY the people. We are not interested in collaborating with any colonial structures: Band Council, Police, CAS or corporations.”
“We recognize the effects of colonization: trauma, suicide, abuse and violence against our people. We, the Youth, will no longer be tools of oppression against ourselves and our people: merely victims and statistics. From this day on, we will take up our responsibilities, move forward and carry on this struggle. We will not be silenced!”
Native youth in Oshweken are currently camping in front of the building, restricting outside access to it, demanding the building’s keys from the Band Council and working with various local tribal groups to fulfill this demand.
In their struggle, the youth of Oshweken have run up against the tribal puppet government, a neo-colonial front line of continued Settler rule in Occupied America. For decades, the Band Council refused to build a youth center even though it has recently funded a new bingo hall and a police station. Since the reclamation began, tribal police have harassed the occupants.
Local support will go a long way in contributing to this particular struggle. However, the struggle for real Native sovereignty on Turtle Island requires bigger allies and is part of a larger struggle. As part of global anti-imperialism revolution, Native peoples of Occupied America will liberate themselves from Amerika and Klanada.
– Nick Brown