Felling of the Pines
Written by Paul Graif on November 18, 2020
Members of Kahnesatà:ke showed their discontent this morning by protesting following the cutting of hundred-year-old trees bordering route 344 in the Pines at Oka. Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon was on hand:
“The community needs to start making it’s own land laws, we’ve been trying to do that for years but again it always winds up…they think we’re going to municipalize our community which isn’t the case. We make laws not bylaws, so no municipalization involved and I’ve always wanted all of our community members to do well, not just a few. So, taking lands like this also hurts us when it comes to repatriation of land.”
The Grand Chief saying that numerous trees in the pines have been cut down in recent years making way for tobacco and cannabis shops as well as other businesses:
“Right now I have around 800 acres on the table that could come back to our band, but when people keep doing this, the Mayor of Oka throws it in our face: look what you are doing to the lands and you want the government to repatriate more land, you can even manage the lands you’ve got. Well that leads to the Federal Government, again the Federal Government is in breach of it’s fiduciary duty. Kahnawà:ke has a police service, Kahnawà:ke has it’s own laws, it has environmental officers, we don’t; we have none of that. And then we get blamed because we can’t take care of the problems when they pop up.”
Ellen Gabriel announced the protest this morning via Twitter, reminding those who risked their lives to protect the pines during the 1990 Oka crisis.