Charles Kader: Mohawk man charged for 'stealing' homeland

"Kanaretiio, identified in New York court documents as 51-year old William Roger Jock, serves as the Bear Clan representative of the Men’s Council of the Akwesasne Kanienkehaka Kaianerehkowa Kanonhsesne, or, The People of the Way of the Longhouse. This ironworker and grandfather was arrested on December 6, 2011 by Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police at the behest of the Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne by sealed indictment, on the charge of stealing 240 acres of wooded property located in the middle of Akwesasne, which are deeded to Horst Wuersching of Mount Vernon, New York. Wuersching purchased the clouded deed in 1981 from a Massachusetts family at that time for $17,500. Kanaretiio disagreed with all of it, buying or selling, for he considers this land, the birthright of the unborn children of his family, and all indigenous families in Akwesasne, his homeland.

When the Men’s Council became aware of Wuersching putting the parcel up for sale in 2009, the action was seen as a tripwire to action. If “land recovery” was not done “now,” then “when” would a stop be put in place to prevent the further loss of the original Kanienkehaka homeland. The hand-painted “For Sale” sign erected on the property by Wuersching soon read “Not For Sale.” A red Unity flag was raised over the site as members of the Turtle and Wolf Clans contributed to the land recovery effort. A plan to offer the land for free to Kanienkehaka families willing to build homes and make use of the property was publicized. The land is strategically placed, at the top of a feature-defining hill, on the approaches of the expanding Class III tribally owned Akwesasne Mohawk Casino property. The value to land speculators would increase as the casino grew; to the Men’s Council, it was already priceless."

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Charles Kader : Bear Clan Representative Arrested for “Stealing” What He Considers His Homeland (Indian Country Today 1/16)

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