In the heart of the beautiful McGill University campus in Montreal, Quebec, a project known as the New Vic stands poised for development. Proponents of this project envision a transformation of the former Royal Victoria Hospital into a new complex. However, beneath the surface of this endeavor lies a complex web of historical significance and ethical responsibility. The Mohawk Mothers have been at the forefront of a legal battle to halt this project, rooted in a profound commitment to uncover the hidden truths of our past and secure justice for our Indigenous ancestors.
Unearthing the Past: A Pioneering Mission
Since 2015, the Mohawk Mothers have been resolute in their mission to prevent construction at the New Vic site. This determination is driven by two key objectives: the search for unmarked graves and the quest to unveil evidence related to the CIA's MKULTRA medical program. Their journey of discovery has led them to the heart of this project, where a legal battle has unfolded.
In a significant victory for Indigenous rights and historical accountability, the Mohawk Mothers secured an injunction in October 2022 from the Superior Court of Quebec. This injunction effectively halted all excavation on the site, pending a thorough investigation and the formulation of a comprehensive archaeological plan. This legal triumph marks a pivotal moment in the quest to uncover and honor the past.
A Shared Struggle: Echoes from Boston
While the Mohawk Mothers' tireless efforts are indeed unique, they are not isolated. The need for Indigenous-led investigations into past wrongs resonates far beyond the borders of Quebec. Across Canada, a painful truth has come to light – the discovery of unmarked graves of Indigenous children who attended Residential Schools. This profound revelation has sparked a nationwide movement to investigate other institutions where Indigenous children were sent, including hospitals, correctional homes, reformatories, and psychiatric wards.
The connection to the ongoing land grabs happening in Boston, particularly the Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck Tribe's case against the city, is strikingly relevant. The tension between Boston and Quincy has been in court since 2018, three years after the Long Island bridge was destroyed due to safety concerns (Wintersmith, 2023). The tribe has asked for a more detailed environmental review to secure historic sites with ancestral burial grounds prior to any further construction. Indigenous communities in both Quebec and Boston share a common commitment to justice and the pursuit of truth. They are united in their efforts to seek closure, discover the full extent of past abuses against Indigenous peoples, and hold responsible institutions and individuals accountable.
A Call for Unity and Justice
The Mohawk Mothers' steadfast dedication to their cause serves as a beacon of hope for Indigenous communities worldwide. As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Final Report has shed light on the dark corners of Canadian history, Indigenous peoples rightfully demand closure and justice. We deserve the opportunity to properly honor our loved ones and grieve for them.
In a world where land grabs and historical injustices persist, the Mohawk Mothers' struggle resonates deeply with the Chaubunagungamaug Nipmuck Tribe's battle against the city of Boston. Together, these efforts illustrate the power of Indigenous unity in the quest for truth, justice, and reconciliation. It is a testament to the unwavering resilience of Indigenous communities, who continue to forge a path toward healing and recognition.
Mohawk Mothers. (2023). https://www.mohawkmothers.ca/
Mohawk Nation News. (2023). https://mohawknationnews.com/blog/2023/08/08/mohawk-mothers-unveil-ongoing-genocide-of-indigenous-people-of-canada/
Red Nation Podcast. (2023). “MKUltra and the kidnapping of Native children w/ Mohawk Mothers.” https://directory.libsyn.com/episode/index/show/therednation/id/27676161
Wintersmith, S. (2022). “Wu will fight for Boston’s right to rebuild Long Island after all.” https://www.wgbh.org/news/politics/2022-01-04/wu-will-fight-for-bostons-right-to-rebuild-on-long-island-after-all
For groups or churches looking to include Land Acknowledgements or have Native welcomes, the Native American Caucus has released guidance on how to do these events with the respect that they deserve.
For Immediate Release
As the invasion of Ukraine has unfolded, the Native American International Caucus has released a statement to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.
Ron is a member of the Committee on Native American Ministries for the Eastern PA Conference of the UMC and of Southern Ute/Apache/Mexican and Welsh heritage. Over the past several years, he and his wife Mary began a project that makes regular trips with food and other items to support families who belong to the Oglala Lakota Nation in the town of Wanblee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The town of Wanblee sits at the easternmost region The Badlands, which make up a substantial part of the northernmost region of the reservation. Wanblee supports approximately 150 housing units, with occupancies ranging from five upwards to a dozen or more. The Wanblee market, not much more than a convenience store, is the only market servicing this community of about 700 to 800. Ron took the photographs accompanying the article from an earlier trip in 2020.
I have a story to tell, and I do not know if I will be able to tell it very well, but I know that I must do the best that I can, so here it is:
JUNE 11, 2021 The Native American International Caucus of The United Methodist Church released a letter to The UMC Bishops which outlined some of the history of boarding schools in general and the Historic Methodism's involvement. Articles about the importance of knowing this history, it's impact on lives today, and The United Methodist Church's call to this work are outlined below. We will continue to post new information as it is forthcoming.
Verna Colliver Attends the Twentieth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: APRIL 19-30, 2021.
Verna Colliver reports on her experiences at the virtual meetings of the Twentieth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues this past APRIL 19-30, 2021. She describes emotional moments and inspirational goals for the future.
The Eastern PA Conference Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) attended the 7th annual Pottstown Powwow, May 1-2, and hosted a display that featured the growing tragedy of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Read more here!
Secretary Haaland Creates New Missing & Murdered Unit to Pursue Justice for Missing or Murdered American Indians and Alaska Natives
New unit will coordinate interagency collaboration and strengthen existing law enforcement resources
As the Navajo Nation was made even more vulnerable by the global health crisis, United Methodist Women members responded. Daryl Junes-Joe, Dine and a member of United Methodist Women Board of Directors from the New Mexico Conference wrote an article outlining the challenges and successes due to the generous giving from United Methodists across the connection - especially United Methodist Women. Read the article here!
A Journey of Hope report sets forth a bold plan for GNJ to work together to end the sin of racism as we build on our past progress and go deeper in our ministry to create a more just, inclusive and equitable church. It calls us to ACT by creating compelling Aspirations to end the sin of racism, deepening Comprehension and understanding of racism and how to end racism, and Transform the church into a vital and dynamic witness of God’s grace through Jesus Christ and live out our baptismal vows.
Read more HERE! Detailed Plan HERE! Legislation template HERE!
ONONDAGA NATION STATEMENT ON COLUMBUS STATUE
In August 2020, a Syracuse Inter-Faith Commission invited the Onondaga Nation to be a part of the panel discussing the statue of Columbus in Columbus Circle in Syracuse, New York. Read the statement prepared by the Onondaga Nation Council for the panel HERE.
Rev. Dr. Holly Haile Thompson contributes a series of articles that articulate an important Native Perspective on contemporary issues to Next Church from the Presbyterian Church (USA)
Our own Rev. Dr. Holly Haile Thompson has been invited to be part of the
NEXT Church Blog Cohort between May and November. She will be writing a number of posts for preachers and laity alike from a perspective she tells us "is not widely known or heard." I think we can attest to this judgment. Her posts will be "In honor of all our Relatives, in honor of our history all in relation to the Church and society with which we live as Native People."
Her May installment is a reflection on the lectionary texts from May through the experiences of Mourning and Memorial Day in light of colonization and COVID.
June's offering is a reflection on texts including The Great Commission through a lens of ongoing colonizing policies.
In July she asks if we who are white are listening as she presents a troubling consequence of the theology of Substitutionary Atonement.
In August she presents antiracist interpretations and invites us all to come alongside her and hear the texts once again from her experience.
Keep up with her articles by subscribing to the blog and checking back often!
The refusals to remove statues of Columbus offends Indigenous Peoples see the article at the American Indian Law Alliance
Embrace Indigenous Values and Remove Iconic Fascist Memorials read more in an article by Dr. Philip P. Arnold Founding Director of the Skä·noñh—Great Law of Peace Center HERE.
On April 23, 2020 the Native American International Caucus wrote a LETTER calling upon legislators to take a stand to reverse the Department of Interior’s decision on March 27, 2020 to disestablish and revoke the Mashpee Wampanoag tribal reservation status. This would be problematic at any time considering the history of the relationship between the first colonists and later the US government, but it is incomprehensible in the midst of the fight against COVID-19. Read more about the historical and political aspects of this case in a UMNews service ARTICLE. Take Action HERE.
#MMIW #MMIWG #MMNW #MMNWG - more than just hashtags - these letters began to be used by hundreds of families who refuse to let their daughters, mothers, sisters, and aunties be forgotten!
Tuesday May 5, 2020 by Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne, excerpted from an article first published in EasternPA NewSpirit Digest May 2020.
The #MeToo movement has brought attention to the staggering number of women who have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime. The pain and emotional toll are unimaginable, not to mention the loss of income due to lifelong challenges and the generational impact on families as women struggle to survive and heal. When those numbers are placed under a statistical magnifying glass an even clearer and more sinister picture appears.
Report to NEJNAMC on attending the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Sharon Schmit UNY CoNAM & Treasurer for NEJNAMC Executive Committee
Reflecting on my experience, I now have a question. How do we help raise the voice of our native brothers and sisters’ stories to a level that those in power will hear and respond with meaningful actions? The testimonies shared brought home the need for every member of the United Methodist Church to continue raising awareness of injustices and to stand in solidarity with our Native brothers and sisters. Read more in the official report below.
The Ongoing Act of Repentance
by Patricia Parent,
With God’s grace and guidance, the NORTHEASTERN JURISDICTION NATIVE AMERICAN MINISTRIES COMMITTEE will serve as the body that gathers to listen to and support fellow Native United Methodists, partners with all Native Peoples, educates non-Natives, and advocates for Native issues with our strong Native communities in the Northeastern Jurisdiction and beyond.