The Courage of Jan Longboat vs. the Radicals

by Gary McHale - The Regional

March 2, 2011

No one believed that one rally to bring about Truth and Reconciliation was suddenly going to cause everyone to start respecting each other. However, our first rally provided ample evidence why it is time to start the process.

While radicals were bussed in from Toronto, Guelph and various other cities in order to create a confrontational settling, Jan Longboat, a 74 year old elder from Six Nations, said, "I had to come today because I wanted to speak directly to you [McHale]."

She told me a story she heard when she was young about a family that was poor. She stated she thought it was because they didn't have money or land but as she grew older she knew it wasn't about money or land. She stated, "they were poor because they didn't listen." She turned and glanced at DCE and said, "these young men and young women, they never listen so they never learn... I didn't realize until I was grown up that wealth is not money. We don't need to fight for the land or about money... what the old people taught us was that wealth was knowledge. We need to listen so we can go back to our children and tell them that it is not about money, it is not about fighting for land."

I then told her that has not been the message for five years. The message has been about money and land to which she replied, "I know, but my message today, McHale, is to go back just like we can go back and educate the people so we do not have to stand here like this and to show our young people and future generation what is not good."

The conversation ends with me saying to her that "we'll respect your rights and you'll respect our rights." She stated, "Can we start now?" and I replied "Absolutely" and we shook hands.

The CTV news report showed the video clip of us shaking hands and the Spectator reported some of the details of the conversation.

Throughout our conversation the radicals repeatedly interrupted or made snide remarks but Ms. Longboat and I stayed focused on her message of peace and that knowledge is true wealth.

The whole point of the Truth and Reconciliation rallies is to be able to start speaking to people about the truth of what happened while being willing to move forward to bring about reconciliation. We have far too many of our leaders on both sides wanting people to forget and move on as if injustice can been quickly glossed over.

There are two main problems in moving forward. First, modern leadership refuses to admit to wrong doing while believing in endless appeasement as the solution to all problems.

Second, radicals have hijacked the Six Nations Land Claim for their own agenda. Tom Keefer and the extreme left union leaders are using the occupation on DCE for their agenda. In fact, few Six Nations people have been permitted to speak in the past 18 months since Keefer has been bussing people in from the various Universities in the area.

It is so bad that Six Nations' people are speaking out against Keefer at his own events. On Jan. 16, 2011 Keefer posted a series of YouTube videos where he had Missy Elliott of Six Nations speak. During her presentation she was very critical of how he uses native people.

She states, "As young women who come from different places in our community, this community you [Keefer's Group] talk about it in a blatant way that Six Nations Solidarity  or Solidarity with Native People but there is so many different types. I see this all the time where you bring out a Native person, as long as you have a Native person here to speak for you then it doesn't matter if they have been called out as abusing Native women, our women in our communities. It doesn't matter what the history is as long as they are Native, they have brown skin, as long as they can come and speak and tell you what you want to hear. We are fighting the system... we are going to march and f*@#ing take over the development site. I know that's what you want to hear... but this is reality and life..."

Tom Keefer works at York University and is a self-proclaimed anti-capitalist and an anarchist. Many within his group have hi-jacked the occupation on DCE to further their agenda of hatred towards anything Western. They do not renounce the use of violence or the use of terrorism to further their cause.

One professor from Mount Royal University in Calgary described Keefer's group this way, "the people that you are dealing with are not left-wing, but right-wing.  They are right-wing because they advocate a return to tribal politics, where entitlements are determined by kinship (blood and marriage), not laws that apply universally to the citizenry.  Accepting the views of the Anarchists would make Canada more unequal than it is right now (and inequality is the essence of right-wing ideologies).  In fact, I think that aboriginal self-government has more in common with Nazi Germany than it does with left-wing ideas.  Unfortunately, there are a number of hotheads at York University (ironically, I was a member of CUPE 3903 in 1997-2003 when I was completing my PhD at York University, but soon became disenchanted by the irresponsible activities, not to mention craziness, of a number of members) who think that aboriginal organizations represent socialist ideals.  Therefore, they will support whatever is argued by an aboriginal person, without considering the implications that this has for working class people in towns like Caledonia."

Six Nations' march this past Monday had 30 people in it. Clearly Six Nations people are no longer supporting the ongoing occupation. By Keefer bussing in hundreds of people he has, in effect, hi-jacked the land claim and turned it into an anti-capitalist, anti-Western movement.

This makes it increasingly difficult to bring about Reconciliation with Six Nations because the Anarchists have invaded and now control so much.

However, we will continue to reach out to Native people and to demand apologizes from Six Nation Band Council, the OPP and the McGuinty Government.