To people raised in colonized society this may seem like a minor story, but I assure you it is not. The US and Canada have long sought(illegally) to rule over those First Nations with whom they have treaties of equality. They have proven themselves completely incapable of taking care of the land for hundreds of years-and yet still they seek to rule over those whose Nations were long established before they ever arrived?
Tho I can do little, aside from prayer, to support the people involved in this case, I publish this to show that I stand in solidarity with their truth.
All those who seek to overthrow the rule of the 1%, of the US Corporation and the rest of the cabals making such a mess of our world would be wise to also stand in solidarity with the First Nations people who are standing up for their legal rights under valid legally agreed upon treaties such as the Two Row Wampum.
( Karenahtiio, shortly after US federal court hearing held at Clinton County Jail. APTN/Photo)
By Jorge Barrera
ATPN National News
Moments after the U.S. Magistrate Judge tossed the Akwesasne Longhouses lawyers from the casino case, Karenahtiio, wielding a Two-Row wampum belt, stood and delivered a stark warning to a makeshift courtroom in a New York State county jail.
We dont want war, we want respect, said Karenahtiio, during Tuesdays hearing. You are making it very hard to remain peaceful; its crossing the line now.
Karenahtiio, known as Roger Jock to the authorities, is one of five people indicted by a federal Grand Jury on two counts related to the operation of a casino outside of New York State and federal laws. The counts include operation of an illegal gambling business and transportation, possession and use of gambling devices within Indian country.
The five defendants face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the first charge and up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted on the second charge.
The case revolves around the now shuttered Three Feathers Casino which still stands along Hwy 37 that cuts through the U.S. side of the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation, about 120 km east of Montreal. Part of the case was heard in a boardroom at the Clinton County Jail in Plattsburgh, NY, for security reasons on the recommendation from the U.S. Marshals.
The casino was launched by the Mens Council of the Kanienekehaka Longhouse, one of two Longhouses in Akwesasne. The casino was raided by federal authorities, including investigators with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, this past December. The raid has spawned a case with a myriad of twists and turns with links extending all the way to Six Nations of the Grand River, the reserve with the largest population in Canada. which sits south of Hamilton, Ont.
One of the indicted men, Sakoieta, known to authorities as James Gray, is on the run and is believed by investigators to be in Canada.
Sakoieta, Karenahtiio, and a third man, Rarahkwisere, known as Thomas Square to the authorities, are members of the Longhouses Mens Council. The Longhouse hired a New York City lawyer named Scott Moore to represent all three who were initially tasked with running the casino.
A conflict of interest
The move triggered two hearings this month at the Clinton County Jail into whether Moore was in conflict trying to represent three clients on the same case. The first hearing was held last week.
The hearings were handled by U.S. Magistrate Larry Kudrle but the case is being tried by a separate judge in Albany, NY.
Heading into Tuesdays hearing, Moore was facing a number of potential conflicts raised by the Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Horsman, who is prosecuting the case. One of the main issues stemmed from a letter Moore wrote in 2010 advising the Longhouse it had a legal right to set up the casino. The letter essentially drew in Moore as a potential part of the case.
Kudrle, however, focused on whether Rarahkwisere, who has chosen to represent himself in the case, would waive any confidentiality and conflict-of-interest-issues around his client-lawyer discussions with Moore, who still planned to represent Karenahtiio.
Rarahkwisere, who has been imprisoned since his arrest in December and is the only one of the five defendants still in custody, refused to acknowledge any of Kudrles questions throughout the hearing. He instead repeatedly stated that he took exception, that the judge lacked jurisdiction and referred to himself as a public servant and lord of the soil.
Kudrle ruled Moore couldnt represent Karenahtiio because Rarahkwisere refused to verbally waive any conflict over confidentiality.
He is not willing to waive that any conflict exists, said Kudrle. Mr. Square is not willing to.
Kudrle was then interrupted by Rarahkwisere.
I am not Mr. Square I am the claimant, he said.
The ruling also knocked out co-council Brian Barrett, a lawyer from Lake Placid, NY, who represented Karenahtiio in the past and acted for Rarahkwisere during his arraignment this past December.
Moore said he would appeal the decision.
Corporation sole for Akwesasne
Rarahkwisere, also known as Salt in Akwesasne, has chosen to challenge the indictment through tactics echoing those used by those involved in the Freeman and Sovereign Citizen movements. Those helping Rarahkwisere with his case, however, say that he is actually following original ideas that were eventually distorted by Freeman and Sovereign Citizen followers.
These movements employ elaborate theories using terms like the strawman and claims that birth certificates register humans as corporations which are later traded on the stock exchange.
They also essentially espouse the belief that the authorities, which they say are employed by corporations disguised as governments, can only control their subjects if the subjects submit to their control.
Rarahkwisere has taken the position that he is a corporation sole for Akwesasne and an Embassador (sic) for Akwesasne. He also claims that New York State does not exist in the territory where the casino sits. He has also taken the position that the name under which he was indicted, Thomas Square, is a strawman fiction. He has filed a claim against the court and the county for 4,490,384 one ounce American gold Eagles for the over 2,712 hours of false imprisonment.
A separate filing has also been issued with the US Supreme Court claiming it is the only court with jurisdiction over Embassadors.
This may be the first time anyone has ever tried this type of defense in a U.S. federal court case.
A wrinkle in the case
Adding another wrinkle to the proceedings, four individuals claiming to be part of the Longhouse filed statements on Monday revoking Moores standing as the lawyer on the case.
Ihave just recently been informed of a document assumed to be filed with court pretending to give Power of Attorney to the People of the Longhouse at Akwesasne. I am part of the assembly of People of the Kanienkehaka Longhouse and have not been notified through my Clan or my Clan Mother of the attached document. I, revoke signature and power of Attorney, whether assumed or real as it applies to myself and my household, say the statements, which were signed by symbols, including one that resembled a tear-drop and another that resembled an eye.
APTN National News reached one of the individuals who submitted a statement. They would only identify themselves as Coming at You.
Coming at You said they submitted the document over the way that the document (which authorized Moore to represent the Longhouse) appeared to include all the people and that wasnt the case.
The filing, however, had little impact on Kudrles decision, which left the Longhouse, which was paying for Moore, and Karenahtiio without any lawyers.
I would die for this
The ruling triggered Karenahtiios impassioned speech. As he grabbed the purple and white Two Row wampum belt with three white stripes and two purple stripes representing the ship and the canoe Â Kudrle protested.
You cant take that belt, said Kudrle.
But Karenahtiio, holding the belt made of wampum shells, continued.
(The wampum belt represents the original relationship between the Iroquois and the Europeans, with the former staying in their canoe and the latter remaining in their ships heading in the same direction.)
This here is not a figment of our imagination. This here is the very foundation of our very existence on our land, said Karenahtiio. This here represents us and the United States. We do not mingle, we support one anotherThis is what is being jeopardized todayI would die for this.
The boardroom-turned-federal courtroom, with the jail guards, U.S. Marshals and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent posted around the room for security, remained silent.
This is real, as real as you looking at me, he said, with the wampum belt in his hand. This is what allows you to travel on our land.have you ever seen such a thing, Your Honour?
Kudrle responded, In court, judges dont answer questions.
Karenahtiio pushed on.
This isnt a game for us, nor should it be a game for you, he said.
After he finished, Karenahtiio sat down and held the belt out toward Rarahkwisere, who was sitting next to him in striped prison garb and shackles. Rarahkwisere reached out and squeezed the belt lightly with his right hand.
The case now moves to Albany, NY, for trial on May 13.
The two other individuals indicted in the case have been handled separately.