racism, discrimination, and mohawks – oh my

You're Number One!

Fickle Finger Award

Joe Quesnel (sometime Métis, Mohawk or whatever) takes another swipe at Indigenous rights in the National Post. I would add “as usual” to that sentence but it becomes tiresome after awhile, about both. I honestly cannot remember when either the National Post or this Quesnel had anything good to say about Indians or Indigenous peoples of any kind. Oh – except that time when both developed (rather pitiful) woodies after the Git’ksan dangled the possibility of mass voluntary assimilation in front of them.

Of course, why is this news now? Why would the NatPost print an opinion piece right now about something that faded from the headlines weeks ago. What more could Quesnel or the NatPost add that would take the story that one step further to justify its printing? Well, nothing, actually. Unless one considers that it took that long for Quesnel to read what knowledgeable and informed bloggers (unlike himself) had been writing for some time already.

Only reason I can figure is that the National Post editorial board figured that it’s been too long since its last denigrating, demeaning, issuance of bilge about Indigenous peoples. Possibly, the right-wing make-work project that is Joe Quesnel came up in discussion; as in: “We ain’t heared from him in a dog’s dump, eh?” Thus, the dog dump that wound up in its proper place – on the pages of the National Post.

Long story short… this is why they are my nomination – a dual nomination – for the first-ever NEW Fickle Finger of Fate Award (aka the “You’re Number One” Award). To that monument to self-delusion and self-hatred, Joe Quesnel, and to that bastion of bile, the National Post… well done, y’all! Congrats. You both deserve it.

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7 Comments

Filed under Aboriginal peoples, Canada, Canadian politics, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous rights, journalism

7 responses to “racism, discrimination, and mohawks – oh my

  1. Joseph Quesnel

    Yes, many have written on this issue already, but the original issue here is the mass silence of most indigenous organizations on this issue, Shmohawk. Where is the AFN or even CAP on this issue? How about the band chiefs? At least the Eastern Door newspaper editor took this band council on.
    I don’t think this is about “ethnic cleansing,” as some editorialists have done. That’s extreme. However, I do think these actions need to be held to account.
    This is not about denigrating indigenous peoples at all, but demanding better from these communities, as we would any community.
    If membership codes aligned with human rights, this would protect many indigenous people on reserves who are being kicked off the island for not meeting all these strict membership qualifications.
    That would be positive for all First Nations people.
    If I have positive things to say about indigenous policy, I will sure to send to you first Shmohawk.

  2. shmohawk

    I see.

    Are you saying that all that needs to be done to settle this issue about residency and membership at Kahnawake is for the heads of CAP or the AFN to pass a resolution declaring the evictions null and void?

    Are you arguing that the band council is not following rules set down by the Indian Act?

    Or that the Minister, Chuck Strahl, holds ultimate responsibility (and power) as Cabinet minister responsible for “Indians… and lands reserved for Indians” in s. 91 of the Constitution Act.

    If memory serves… reporters tracked down Strahl who washed his hands of the affair telling them that he couldn’t do anything. (Not true by the way but not unusual when an issue raises questions about the legality of the Indian Act or the Minister’s continued role as neo-colonial overseer of Indians, Métis and Inuit).

    Seems to me that a lot of reporters did not find or trace a single line of authority from the Kahnawake band council to the AFN or CAP. And that they were quite correct in not seeking comment from those two groups as they held no responsibility, political or otherwise.

    So the question should be: On what basis do you consider them responsible or liable and therefore worthy of anything more than a general comment?

    Now, to other matters… Don’t tell me you care about my (or anyone else’s) Indigenous and human rights when your record on blogs and in the National Post as a whole convey the opposite.

    Want an example? Take your column advocating removal of northern communities from their home territories to places near or in southern cities. You raised the term “ethnic cleansing” here – not me. But how else to describe what you suggest in that column? Respect for human rights? My aunt’s petunias!

    I have to cut it off because it pains me to spend so much time on an idiot? In my opinion, you’re a fake; a faux Mohawk and a wannabe Métis, and a bogus academic or researcher.

    I’ve read your so-called reports and writings. You don’t seem to have a single original thought, in my opinion. You play for favour from whomever pays you to type to their tune. You misuse language to spread lies and distortions. Your conclusions reflect horrendous bias and presumptions based on ideology rather than research. It’s a wonder that any group would actually pay to spout such nonsense. The fact that one does is amazing until one considers that it seems to be little more than just another special interest lobby group. “Think tank,” my arse.

    Now, go away or I shall fart in your general direction.

  3. Joseph Quesnel

    For someone who calls himself a “journalist,” I would recommend you actually read what you criticize. My proposal does not call for “removal” of anyone from reserves, but for a voluntary conversation about the possibility of indigenous communities using their treaty land entitlement rights to relocate onto a satellite reserve closer to an urban centre to take advantage of economic and educational opportunities, rather than live somewhere there are very little prospects. First Nations already own land outside their traditional territories. They’re called urban reserves. Look it up.
    I think that is putting forward the interests of the community.
    Your only response to anything you disagree with is to attack people from behind a fake name.
    What’s YOUR position on the Mohawk evictions, Shmohawk? Is it right or is it wrong? In your original treatment of the issue, you did not even say where you stood. Isn’t that convenient!
    The AFN and to a lesser extent, CAP, do play a role in the policy making process regarding Aboriginal peoples. They have clout and if these organizations opposed these human rights-denying moves, they would influence other First Nations and perhaps, the government.
    The AFN has prevented bills from passing and has dilluted legislation. They influenced Paul Martin to kill the only comprehensive reform of the Indian Act– The First Nations Governance Act.
    So, yes, genius, they would influence the system. I never said their statement would make the evictions null and void.

  4. shmohawk

    This is the second time you’ve rapped me for using a well-established convention in blogging: the use of a pseudonym. I have my reasons. I don’t need to explain them to you or anyone else.

    However, given your fetish for claiming at various times and places that you’re “Mohawk” or “Métis,” I suggest you produce some proof. Otherwise, shut the fuck up.

    Your ideas aren’t original. You repeat the same tired “solutions” to the so-called Indian problem that I’ve heard all my life. It’s similar to the policies that Canadian governments have been pushing for nearly two centuries – either forced or voluntary (your latest twist) assimilation.

    Your column in the National Post (Some reserves can’t be fixed – Feb 9) suggests the voluntary route when someone (and we know it won’t be the people up there) decide it’s too expensive to keep a community where it exists. Oh, you whine throughout the piece, sometimes you just have to put a community down because it’s the humane thing to do.

    Bullshit. I don’t believe you give a rat’s ass about the people that would be affected. I don’t believe you give a shit about the dispossession, the social disruption, or the cultural damage that would result from dislocation from the land and the relationship they have with it.

    But that’s not a factor in your thinking, is it? Because you don’t think. Because you can’t think. Because you don’t know how to think. Because, in my opinion, you’re a toady and a goddam liar.

    For someone who calls himself a researcher, you don’t seem to know about the evidence that pops up in every major – reputable – study showing the links between dislocation and social dysfunction. Oh, but that might actually challenge your presumptions and your end game. Mustn’t do that.

    You conveniently avoid the “forced” relocation option – disavow it slightly – but go back to the “but if that’s what they decide…” routine as if that cleanses your hands. But the stench of that hangs about your column – and you – like 3 day old dead skunk.

    You know as well as I that government funding has NOT kept up to inflation or with the growing demands imposed upon upon these communities by governments already saddled with increasing populations, increasing demands inserted into funding arrangements, not to mention the needs and demands of the people who live in these communities.

    They are being starved financially to the point where they are becoming desperate – for no fault of their own. But that’s the plan, you see. To wean Indians off the public teat, as Flanagan likes to put it. To make them more “accountable” for the billions of dollars spent on them – as though the money was going for parties with mai tais and strippers at the chief’s house and the councillors’ backyards – instead of house repairs, roads, sewers, water, schools, teachers salaries, day care, computers – and a lot of other things that you may take for granted in your city apartment but is a luxury out there and make their communities function.

    Eventually, they won’t have a choice except to march through the gates of that cultural abattoir designed for them by idiots like you.

    You look down at these people and use phrases like “human rights” like they’re a club to bash the treaty rights and Indigenous rights of these people into oblivion. You sicken me each time you get on your high horse because it’s so clear to me that you mean the exact opposite.

    You’ve made quite the career for yourself, you preening eedjit, by pandering to those who – like you – have no comprehension, experience, or appreciation of Indigenous peoples, cultures or achievements. You tear down, insult, and condemn them for how they live. Yet, I’ll bet you’ve never lived in any native community anywhere for any length of time. Because if you had, you might actually have become educated instead of just another useless twit churned out by a Canadian university.

    I stand by my statements that your reports suck. Look up how to actually use footnotes or endnotes sometimes. If I were grading your reports for a final mark, I’d have to give you a D-minus because you don’t use proper references, your insert opinion as fact, you try to mash facts to support a preconceived and predetermined outcome.

    You should consider a job with the federal department of Indian Affairs… but you’d get a fail from me.

    Now, back to my first point, you sad and pathetic creep, produce some papers that prove that you ain’t just another one those people – one of those charlatans in what Widdowson calls the Indian Industry – making money on false pretenses.

    If you’re not going to produce proof that you’re either Mohawk or Métis – then fuck off.

    And stay the fuck out of my face.

  5. shmohawk

    Quesnel decided to contact me offline, via email. I won’t copy his message here but will outline some of the content.

    He says he deals with dislocation and quotes Prof. Taiaiake Alfred in support of of his position. He asks if I can reference studies on dislocation for his consideration, and tell him where he can find them? Not full cites, mind you, just point him in the general direction.

    Remember, this guy gets paid as a “policy analyst” at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He produces a report that advocates an “honest” debate in Canada about whether – as a matter of Canadian policy – governments in this country should be able to shut down some northern and remote communities and move their populations elsewhere.

    One more thing to remember… Quesnel is referring only to status Indian reserves – not small farming towns or fishing villages. Nope. Just Indians.

    So, reader. Any comments?

  6. Joseph Quesnel

    Get your facts and interpretations straight, Daniel David!
    I quoted Alfred as someone who advocated the “dislocation causes dysfunction” thesis, not as someone who supports my position. Alfred would not support what I am saying.
    I have never seen someone who is so angry and unwilling to discuss these issues in a reasonable manner.
    I asked for these references because I wanted to see if they overlapped with the dislocation studies I have seen. I believe the studies on this issue are not as air tight as they are made out to be. That is why I asked for these studies.
    Anyways, I am through with you. You are beyond discussion and civilized discussion. I have much better things to do with my time. You can continue your angry diatribes; I will continue to advance ideas that seek to advance First Nation peoples.
    For a self-described journalist, Daniel David, you are very obstinate and averse to looking at issues from perspectives that are not your own.
    I will continue to monitor this “forum” for libel issues.

  7. shmohawk

    You decided to violate the blogging convention on pseudonyms. Feel better? As if that’s ever been a big secret, or that you’re going to make me cry or something. Get real. Get over yourself.

    You’re right about Prof. Alfred. A slip of my fingers in my rush to post before my battery ran out. Inexcusable. Not a firing offence though because I’m not paid to do this. You, on the other hand, do make mistakes and you are paid.

    I write a blog here, commenting “as a former daily journalist,” as my “About Shmohawk” tells everyone. Furthermore, it describes me as “a freelance journalist, writer and aspiring author” who adopted a personna long ago for the blogging world. When I get stuff published, I always use my real name which lately includes my Mohawk name first. Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about that since I doubt you’re a real Mohawk. Else you would’ve identified the community that recognizes you as such.

    I once worked in the States on construction crews and later with a company that had us clearing brush along telephone lines. I traveled to a lot of small towns where I got used to people in cafes, restaurants, and bars telling me that they were Indian too. Yep, they all seemed to have that one Cherokee princess as their great-great-grandmother.

    I didn’t get upset with them. In fact, I took some comfort in their connection – as unlikely as it might be – because they took pride in that connection. I liked the fact that they wanted to know more about me and my people once we began talking. I don’t detect a similar interest in you or your writings (which I’ve taken the time to read, by the way).

    My opinion of you has grown but sadly not in a way you’d like. I think you’re a know-it-all who lacks depth, experience, or knowledge but wants to dictate to people what they should think, what they should do, how they should live, and even where they should live. Granted, I’ve net met you except through your writings but what else do I need?

    As I’ve written elsewhere, instead of pride of Indigeneity, I detect within you a deep and disturbing dislike and perhaps even a self-hatred or self-loathing in that part of you that that – if genuine – is Mohawk or Métis or whatever. I get the impression, again from reading your stuff, that these feelings express themselves in a need to expunge that part within you. Failing that, you lash out at others who actually do feel comfortable in their own skin.

    I am not a trained psychologist nor do I play one on TV. It’s strictly a grunt sizing up someone from afar. But I don’t charge for the service. It’s for my own use in my own affairs and you’re completely at liberty to disagree. In fact, you already did. Read on.

    When I wrote that post so long ago, describing my take on your personality, you didn’t comment on my blog. You didn’t engage me in a dialogue, as you keep accusing me. You hit back at me by slamming me a column in the Winnipeg Free Press. I stumbled upon that column months later, too late to answer or retort. (Later, you slammed me for failing to notify you about another post that criticized another bit of you and your work – a demand to be notified actually.)

    If my opinion about your character is accurate, then I consider you a petty little man who seems to want to hurt others to feel adequate. I also detect an ego that can’t take criticism.

    However, what if your claim as “Mohawk” or “Métis” is false. What if you really are one of those people, and I know of quite a few, who claim to be Aboriginal – but aren’t – so they can get work? Well, that raised whole other dimensions to my opinions about you.

    I’ve also considered the possibility that you may be exactly what you say you are – a genuine, thoughtful, intelligent, caring individual who wants to improve Aboriginal communities. But then I read your stuff. And I don’t see that in there.

    For example, you usually spout some awful statistics, then propose a paternalistic approach that has been tried in the past with disastrous consequences for Aboriginal peoples, but put in quasi-academic tones to give the impression that it’s a new idea and makes sense. Of course, in my opinion, it’s complete nonsense and merely perpetuates stereotypes in order to continue the same paternalistic approaches that have resulted in so much damage already.

    So, why does he keep doing so? Because, I finally had to conclude, I don’t think he gives a shit about those people at all. It’s all about him. His career. His ego.

    You might disagree with my opinions about your writings, about your character, about your motivations. It’s a free country.

    But keep in mind that I’m not the one foisting myself into the arena of public discourse, seeking attention for my ideas, wanting to direct and change Canadian Indian policy to suit my ideology. I’m not the one flogging my writings to national media with news releases, hoping to get onto APTN, or in the Op-Ed pages of the National Post. You are – Joe. You.

    As for the tenor of my criticism of you and your writings, I cannot stand what I view as your complete lack of intellectual honesty as a “policy analyst.”

    I read your governance audits and think to myself: My god, the methodology is so flawed that – if I didn’t know better – it seems as though it were designed to skew the results.

    I read your paper calling for “an honest debate” on the viability of some reserves and find the research superficial and almost laughable. You can read my post (it could have been much longer) elsewhere on this blog.

    Then, I google the title of that report (and previous ones too) and am appalled that people in the media take your news releases, maybe (if even) give a quick glance at that report of yours, then send the story to print seemingly without questioning the validity of the research methods. Christ, I think to myself. This is bollocks.

    So I get on my computer, logon onto my blog/diary, write about how appalled I am that this type of stuff gets published, and – worse – gets the news media’s apparent and uncritical stamp of approval even if the premise is ludicrous, even dangerous… before I hit send.

    I’d like to think I am open to the ideas of others, even from people or directions that I dislike if only to test my own ideas. But I won’t get sucked into a debate with someone who I consider extremely narrow-minded, shallow and facile. Why? I feel that I could probably get just as much satisfaction by getting into a debate with a cab driver about the Budget or foreign affairs policy in Timor L’Este. (and I don’t mean to insult cab drivers)

    My blog isn’t big. I don’t seek a spotlight. This is a personal place for me to ruminate or fulminate about things such as family, travel, community, the media, and (because I AM a real Mohawk) Mohawk and Indigenous affairs.

    If people stumble across my blog, fine. If not, I don’t go about whining or trying to raise my numbers, exposure or profile. It doesn’t matter to me. Not on Shmohawk.

    So there you have it, Joseph Quesnel. I’ve written before that I consider your ideas as expressed in your writings and in your comments here disgusting crap, little more than right-wing farts in the wind.

    You had a choice to be someone with credibility. You chose something else instead.

    Now then, I told you before to piss off unless you could show proof that any Mohawk community anywhere recognized you as a Mohawk. Failing that, I wanted proof or confirmation from a legit Métis group that you are a card-carrying member, recognized by any of a number of Métis communities.

    You keep trying to change that subject though.

    So I repeat. Produce… or piss off.

    As for monitoring Shmohawk for libel, go right ahead. I retain the right to continue to monitor for idiocy in publishing and vapid intellect.

    I have a feeling my search is going to a lot more productive than yours.

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