Doug George-Kanentiio: Peacemaking in the era of Donald Trump

Tribal citizens and allies rally in front of the Trump International Hotel as part of Native Nations Rise in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com / More on Flickr

What Would the Peacemaker Do?
By Doug George-Kanentiio

Over 875 years ago Skennenrahowi, the Peacemaker, brought his instructions to the warring Iroquois in an effort to persuade our ancestors to abandon violence and revenge as a response to disputes. He codified his message in an oral constitution by which a great abiding peace might be achieved. He also introduced rituals to initiate healing and to remove those emotions which cloud rational thinking.

But Skennenrahowi was not passive in the face of adversity. He did not become prone when confronted by threats. He did not retreat when his opponents belittled his message, ridiculed his appearance or placed him in physical danger. He responded with direct action and demonstrated that the power of his ideas would rise above the ambitions and greed of those who had profited from fear and intimidation.

The Peacemaker did not hide, he did not qualify his intent, he walked into the darkest recesses where true evil festered and dispelled it not by using violence but through persuasion, persistence and unleashing the power of hope.

That was a time of hatred, of death through murder. Every one of the Iroquois nations were ruled by merciless despots who waged war against each other and among themselves. The conditions were so bad many Iroquois fled their homelands to live in poverty as refugees in other lands. It is said the Peacemaker's family was among those who left the Iroquois homelands, paddling their canoes to find sanctuary north of Lake Ontario.

Such was the promise of the Peacemaker's message that a new era in Iroquois history began, one marked by the empowerment of governments through the Great Law of Peace. What he demonstrated was that challenging evil is an obligation, a responsibility if one is to protect the rights of other species, the earth and those yet unborn.

Such is our task in these times of trouble, when the earth begins to tremble in response to the abuses inflicted upon her by human beings. Over 60,000,000 American voters gave their permission for the advocates of destruction, to the prophets of profit, to the "sport" killers of our animal kin, to the polluters and exploiters-those people now have the power to kill our planet. Such is the seduction of material wealth that these destroyers will do anything to become wealthier.

On March 28 their leader began to remove those rules which were meant to restrict the ecological damaging extremes which the earth killers believe stand in the way of profit. This is the fulfillment of a promise made in last year's political campaign and is now becoming fact.

Who will pay the price for this assault? The waters and trees of West Virginia. The rivers of North Dakota. The air of New York City. The fish and birds along the Mississippi. The miners who will die in the deep coal mines and the Natives in the sacrifice areas in Arizona, Wyoming and Montana.

This added to hyrdofracking will lead to further destruction.

As reported in CNN those oil and coal jobs simply don't compare with the reality that over 600,000 people now work in renewable energy sectors versus less than 70,000 in coal. But there is no denying the profits which can be made by cutting through the mountains of Appalachia or pumping billions of gallons of water into the natural gas fields beneath the forests of northern Pennsylvania.

What would the Peacemaker do on the eve of this destruction?

He would not simply pray. He would not seek divine intervention. He would not stand in a pulpit and preach. He would be in front of a protest march, he would be making fiery speeches condemning the corruptors, he would use the media to blast those who would spew their vomit on the land. He would give interviews, organize local resistance, stand before public officials, use his power of persuasion and reason to try and make them aware of the consequences of their actions and to reverse their decisions.

The Peacemaker was an activist. He would seek to enact laws like the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Air Act. He would place himself in danger by stopping the murder of bears and wolves in their dens. He would somehow prevent those "hunters" from killing those animals from airplanes and helicopters. He would chain himself to a redwood or block a pipeline. He would demand a president be truthful and answer to his Russian connections. He would form alliances with other human and ecological rights groups and help build a national movement to march on Washington, the place of Ranatakaiius (the Town Destroyer) and stop him in his tracks.,

He would also use compassion, reason and music. His songs straightened the crooked body of Tadodaho, the evil dictator and could possibly work to restore sanity to the current president.

One thing is clear he would act.

Doug George-Kanentiio,Akwesasne Mohawk, is the vice-president of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge. He has served as a Trustee for the National Museum of the American Indian, is a former land claims negotiator for the Mohawk Nation and is the author of numerous books and articles about the Mohawk people. He may be reached via e-mail at: Kanentiio@aol.com or by calling 315-415-7288. His address is: 2 Elm Court, Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, Akwesasne, ON K6H 5R7.

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