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
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.