Letter - Stop referencing Martin Luther King

The Regional

June 17, 2009

While many of CANACE's objectives are probably necessary and the actions of various Six Nations groups / individuals beyond reprehensible including the use of violence, I take objection with the continual invoking of Doctor Martin Luther King's name and legacy, now taken to the point of quoting large portions of speeches and letter by him.

The Martin Luther King Foundation in Washington and The King Center in Atlanta, just two of many bodies devoted to maintaining King's legacy have expressed concerns about groups using King's message for their own purposes and devote time and money to expose those who would besmirch his memory. Among these is something called the Heritage Foundation which with a grand flourish of arrogance "says it is time for conservatives to claim the legacy of Martin Luther King. Despite decades of appropriation by liberals, King;s message was fundamentally conservative" except for one thing! It was the liberals that put their bodies on the line and their lives on hold on the line when it was needed.

While most native American groups do not, nor are as likely to have it ever as good as our Six Nations, King spoke to and his messages resonated with historically maligned and oppressed groups including native peoples. Eco-hawk, a member of the Pawnee tribe and executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, said at a Michigan Union College audience, 'when I got into law school in 1967, I saw the implications of what was happening in the Civil Rights Movement led by Dr. King, for our native American people." An examination of King's spoken and written words will uncover references to the plight of Native American peoples.

I challenge the Caledonia Five or whatever they choose to call themselves to prove that their anguish and that of Caledonians they purport to represent, at not being able to plant a flag across from DCE is commensurate to the black Birmingham population on the very day April 16, 1963 King wrote his letter, so lovingly reiterated by Mr. Vandermaas. The entire black population in the south was galvanized by the words and actions of Doctor King. If they didn't all participate in his marches and sitdowns, it was the very real threat to their lives and livelihood that prevented it. Apathy, on the part of white racists and oppressed blacks did not exist.

Is it apathy, the time-proven affliction of the white moderate that produces the meagre turnouts for CANADE's flag raising? Caledonians yawn because their basic rights to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness have not been unduly impinged, relative to the black population of Birmingham circa 1963 or Selma 1955, the occasion of King's debut on the stage of history. Simply put, if we all in the Haldimand tract were on the verge of losing titles to our property, unable to vote, beleaguered by hostile native groups at every turn in our daily lives and terrorized by a vicious uncaring police force, then we could rightfully lay claim to Martin Luther King's legacy.

If CANACE truly honors the message and spirit of Doctor Martin Luther they will cease and desist their direct referencing to him. they may even draw one more person to their flag raisings.

Joachim Brouwer


Mcl RHLI (released)