Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day- Honoring Elder Katheninetha Horn

Hey Mr Prime Minster, 'Have you paid your rent yet?' The words of a great Mohawk Warrior.

Aris Arnelle Durocher

I have written before that, "The word Warrior automatically incites the thought of one that is engaged in physical battle”. Warriors of First Nations Ancestry can also be those like Elder Kahentinetha Horn, who has spent her entire life engaged in verbal battle of wills and wits of demonstrative resistance on behalf of Mohawks and First Nations people. First let it be known that Natives through North American history have NEVER surrendered their rights, they only agreed through the treaties to share their land and resources with Euros. Through the course of history and to date, North American governments in Canada and the United States have broken every one of the treaties that they agreed to uphold. Federal Governments, broke their word through legislative racist laws, through land and resources theft  through the decades, in which North American Indians were and continue to be demoralized, demonized and vilified by successive governments in Canada and the USA. IE: Lies for land!

Elder Kahentinetha Horn was born an Aries in 1940 and is a member of the Mohawk Wolf Clan of Kahnawake. It wasn't until the 1960's to the 1970's that Elder Kathentinetha Horn became known for her in the/governments/establishments/elitists face approach, as a response to racist Indian policies of the Canadian Government.

I first heard of Elder Katheninetha Horn because my mother used to listen to her broadcasts in the 70's. I can remember my mother sitting at her kitchen table listening to Elder Horn views, thoughts that weren't designed to be thoughtful on how the establishment in government or those of entitlement felt; in turn Elder Horn's views "deeply reflected" how First Nations Indians felt as a whole, as expressed through the Mohawk Experience.

Elder Katheninetha Horn always opened her radio broadcast making a statement of reality, she always said " Hey Mr Prime Minister have you paid your rent yet? A line that would have my mother doubled over in laughter every time. At that time Elder Horn was my mother's all time favorite person to listen to; and I think that is because my mother was a resistor and a rebel her entire life for justice.

In the 1960's Elder Katheninetha Horn started carving a lifelong path, leaving a blazing trail as she persisted and expressed Native views along her path such as at the Indian Poverty Conference in Washington DC, 1962, with then President JFK/Johnson Administrations.

Elder Horn was part of the 15 Native organizations and 500 Tribal delegates who held an American Indian Poverty Conference in Washington DC,  to lobby for the INCLUSION of Indians on the "War on Poverty and the economic drive on poverty" to address the high and persistent unemployment of the 1957–1960 recessions. Then POTUS JFK thoughts on poverty were mainly derived from John Kenneth Galbraith’s book "The Affluent Society (1958)" Chapter 23, "The New Position on Poverty".

Indians were asked to prepare proposals for plans they wanted for their reservations and this act/law also permitted Indians to manage the" Office of Economic Opportunity" programs on reservations.

The outcome of that conference was the "Economic Opportunity Act" which started with Kennedy and ended with the Johnson Administration. This act included American Indians under its provisions,

Elder Horn was also part of the pioneering North American Indian resistance by the blocking of the International Bridge at Akwesasne in the sixties, where First Nations established with Non Natives,  "You are on Indian land".

Elder Horn has served many roles in her enriched life of observing many human experiences in decades of the brutal violation of Native Rights and the successes through the dedication of those that press on no matter what is thrown at them.

Elder Katheninetha has held various and vast positions in socio economic status impact in her community and in education. She is best known for her outspoken, lay it on the line truth, she tells the native truth through the North American First Nations Aboriginal Indian Experience. She is known locally and among Natives as an intelligent, before her time intellect, and a gutsy tough women.

And while she may have slowed down just a little in her well earned senior years, she still has that feisty, strong-willed, determination. And her wisdom serves as a historical guide for today's resistance against "tongue in cheek" governments who say all the right things to get votes but never act on their words of promise that turn out to be deceptive jargon. [Emphasis Added]

The fight of long ago, remains and still is being fought in modern day societies. In terms of warrior there are peace and prayer warriors and then there is the relentless warrior of Native Indian First Nations Elders like Kathenitha Horn.

Katheninetha Horn is an imperious polarizing figure that this world has come to know. She alone has forced governments to tread carefully before her, as she exposed their weakness and government dependency of Native land and resources. That governments intentionally stereotype and impoverish native peoples and they the goverments have an immature racially charged systematic view on Natives who are essentially taking care of Canada/Canadians through their land and resources. Elder Horn has been enriched by having intricate conversations with Native peoples and others in combating allotheism and nihilism.

Elder Horn's historical question remains to be asking the Federal Government of Canada." Hey Mr Prime Minister have you paid your rent yet?" In all actuality today, that question should also extend to all the provinces and cities in Canada, being that they all live on Native land.

In 1941 then president of the USA, Franklin Delano Roosevelt at his State of the Union address established that "Freedom from Want" is one of four fundamental human rights. And yet Natives are still suffering and impoverished by the INTENTIONS of Successive Governments in North America, even though much of Native reservation land are rich in resources.

And the answer to Elder Katheninetha Horn's question today as it has been in the past is,"No", the Governments in Canada on all levels have not paid their rent yet to First Nations peoples. In fact the Governments in North American in Canada and the USA have not paid their rent to First Nation/American Indians at all, in my view.

North American Indian Philosophy calls for a sense of belonging, that humans are part of every aspect of life on the earth and in spirit, that everything is with a purpose. To date the Indian has had to fight for their existence, their right to their lands and resources such as water, their sense of peaceful belonging, safety and well being in their own country, in their own communities, on their own lands on the reserves and off the reserves.

Elders like Katheninetha Horn are the footprints in the sand that leads the people by example in her trailblazing of activism and educating the multitudes through the generations.