John Kane Native American Activist and Radio Personality

John Kane

Racist Genocidal Policies Continue in US/Canada

Genocide is the most barbaric tactic for disposing of one’s enemies ever thought up by human kind. Throughout history it has been used by barbaric groups who believed they are superior or in some way “chosen” and chose to destroy those who challenge their delusional homicidal beliefs. Those who would commit genocide or their apologists must never be allowed to get away with their crimes. 

We spoke to John Kane, a well-known North American Mohawk Indian activist and radio personality on the genocide and the ongoing racism and marginalization of the indigenous peoples of North America.

Hello this is John Robles I am speaking with Mr. John Kane, a Mohawk Indian activist, a radio show host and a columnist for an indigenous people’s publication called the Two Row Times.

Robles: How does the US violate the rights of indigenous people?

Kane: I think it makes sense to make very clear that the US and Canada, they were both two of the last nations to even tepidly endorse the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.

In 2007, when the rest of the world passed it, these two countries along with Australia and New Zealand actually voted against it.

They clearly had a problem with indigenous issues being addressed globally or by international community and part of the reason they rejected that is because they didn’t want the scrutiny because they know that historically they’ve committed genocide!

There are multiple places, mostly throughout American history but through Canadian history as well, where you can see that our children… They had a policy called: "Kill the Indian. Save the man." Where they tried to cut our kids hair, change their names, Christianize them and basically tried to kill the Indian in them, and that is a federal government policy.

Robles: And institutionalized genocide has been a long-term policy of the US government.

As an indigenous person I would love to see something done about this. Is there anything that we can do about this in your opinion realistically?

Kane: I think the international community does have to step up and although I don’t hold out a great deal of hope that the UN specifically is going to ever take any firm actions against the US or Canada, but sometimes shining a light on the issue and raising the specter of scrutiny on countries that are still doing things…

They may not be a massacring Indians as had as late as a hundred years ago but we still have a significant amount of federal provincial state policy on both the US and Canada where they still keep trying to prevent us from developing economically, they try to forbid even native people to do the native commerce from native community to native community.

The fact of the matter is there is no basis in their law, even in "their" law or any part of their history where they can say at what point did any of us: When did the Mohawk nation transfer their sovereignty to the US or Canada. When did the Seneca Nation ever say now we are yours? There is no moment in US or Canadian history where they can ever say where we agreed to be subjugated, where we asked to be subjugated or where we were conquered.

The fact of the matter is, and even in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, if you look at the very beginning of it where they have this section of affirmations, where they affirm this and affirm that, the third affirmation is as clear and direct repudiation at the international level of the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, as exists in any international document!

It talks about any kind of doctrine that is developed based on race or racism or religion, that it is false and that it is unlawful! And yet the US specifically codified the Doctrine of Christian Discovery which is based Papal polls from 15th century. They codified it into law in 1823 an their whole body of Federal Indian Law is still based on this concept that because a Christian nation entered our shores, that they could claim not only our lands, but they could claim dominion over the entire land which means that they could try to claim dominion over us. But there is no legal foundation for them to do so, just the obscure reference to the Doctrine of Christian Discovery.

Robles: There is no legal basis, there was no conquest, there was no acquiescence, there was no surrender, there was so sale. So, they are squatters.

There was genocide, theft, and they are squatters. Hundred years ago was not that long. We get the second-third generation of squatters living in North America and there is nothing we can do about it.

Kane: And the crazy part is it is not just about what they did 100 years ago, it is what they are doing today.

So, when I talk about the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, a lot of people say "Yeah well that is an old law! Does it really apply?"

Let me tell you this, in 2005 the Jewish lady, Ruth Bader Ginsberg on the US Supreme Court cited the Doctrine of Discovery as her basis for throwing out land claims by the Oneida Nation. So, that was just in 2005.

In 2005 they are not just citing the case law that was built upon it! They are still citing the very Doctrine itself in their deliberation.

Robles: Are you serious? She actually cited the Doctrine of Discovery in a legal decision?

Kane: In a case where they threw out the Oneida Land Claims against the Oneidas she cited the Doctrine of Discovery as part of her rationale for throwing out the case.

The Jewish lady on the court! That is what is so absurd about this.

Just recently, 3-4 weeks ago, the US and Barack Obama hosted the French President at a state dinner and they actually publically made light and were joking about the Louisiana Purchase and what a great deal it was!

The problem that I found with that is when France sells this area that they call the Louisiana Purchase to the US, it wasn’t theirs to sell!

That too is based on the Doctrine of Discovery because that whole area, west of Mississippi was owned and occupied by native people.

There was barely any French presence there. What they really sold to the US was their "discovery title".

And so people treat it as if that was a legitimate sale, that the French legitimately sold that land and that too is Doctrine of Discovery Dogma/Manifest Destiny dogma and when you have heads of state joking about that, that is not only insulting, it goes beyond that. It shows how much light they make of their acts of genocide.

Robles: I don’t think they are human. You can’t really call them human. I have no words…

Kane: Here is the crazy part about some of this stuff. It’s been a lot of big news lately because the owner of a basketball franchise in California, a Jewish gentleman was making all of these racist comments and you would think that someone who comes from a people who have such a history of their own genocide being perpetrated against them, you would think that they would be more sensitive to racial bias and that kind of stuff but the fact of the matter is a lot of the Jewish community, specifically in the US, they really have a hard time any of us native people refer to our treatment as genocide or the American Holocaust, there is a large segment of Jewish population who gets offended and yet there were far more Native people killed intentionally with everything from Smallpox blankets to massacres that began in the 1700s, that were still going on in the late 1800s. The last major massacre was in 1890. So, that is not a whole terribly long time ago in the overall scheme of things.

Robles: No, it is not.


Robles: The research I’ve done, it is as high as (in North and South America) 400 million human beings were eradicated.

Since you brought up the Jews, we are talking about 400 million native Americans, or indigenous people of North and South America, "Turtle Island", we are talking in World War II, about 40 million Russians were killed defeating the Nazis. I am not anti-Semitic, I have nothing against Jews, but all the time we are supposed to feel sorry for them.

Kane:And again I think that what gets missed in all this stuff is that unlike a circumstance with the Jewish Holocaust, and I am not a denier by any means, but unlike the Jewish Holocaust, our Holocaust transcended centuries and it was handed off from country to country.

We had the Dutch who were massacring the Lenape Delaware on the island of Manhattan, we had the French that were doing it, we had the Spanish that were doing it, we had the British that were doing it and of course the Americans that are still doing it and the Canadians that are still doing it.

So, when I hear this stuff and when you think about it, it has become such a norm to oppress a people, and again some of the most oppressed people on the planet, then it gets out of hand in such a way...

And I hate to make this a big issue… But the fact of the matter is….

Robles: It is a big issue, it is a major issue!

Kane: Hold on, I have a specific reference that I always make.

Kane: I don’t like to make a "big deal" about mascot issues, but this is such an irony.

Robles: Okay…

Kane: An NFL franchise in the capital of the US in Washington DC uses a name that is a racial slur! To me that is not the big issue but it is emblematic of the acceptable policy

Robles: You are talking about the Redskins

Kane:The Redskins. You wouldn’t have a…

I made a joke one day: maybe they should call a football team the Aryans, and they call themselves an Aryan Nation. If that is not acceptable then why is Redskin?

It is amazing some of the things they can justify because it is borne out of racism that has became so socially acceptable in the US and Canada that nobody thinks about it.

You wouldn’t have New York (N-word) or the Long Island Jews. You wouldn’t have chinks or spics or any of these other derogatory words. And yet the word "redskin"… which is borne out of them scalping and saving our skins for bounty, that is where the word comes from.

Robles: It was the trash of British society who washed once every 10 years, who were the first scalpers. They were the scalpers.

Kane: Yes, that is a misnomer people think that we started that!

That was a British practice, the Spaniards were doing this it was a way that they could collect a bounty without having to drag an entire dead body! They could just grab a part of our scalp as evidence of a kill and that is what they got paid on.

The fact of the matter is that is something really creepy: imagine being a 7 year-old native child going to a football game and seeing 40,000 people making a mockery of your culture and a bunch of obese white people with feathers and war-paint on, imagine being a child that has to see that. It is incredibly insulting.

Robles: I was the child who had to see that.

Kane: And yet it is socially acceptable, At the college level they have the Florida State Seminoles, they have the Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians, it transcends all of their sports.

What shows is the level of acceptable racism that exists in the US and the thing is when we bring it up, when we say that it is offense, they say: "Well we don’t mean it to be offensive so it is not offensive."

Who gets to decide that? I am not saying the mascot issue is a big thing, I am more concerned about the poverty levels that exist on our territories and that is where clearly the US and Canada violate the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People because there is language in that that talks about how we have a say over the natural resources on our territories.

It insists that we are entitled to full priory informed consent on anytime that they are going to establish a policy that has implications to our people. And yet they still pass laws, they do it discriminatorily on purpose to affect our lifestyles. They want to keep us in a welfare state rather than seeing us have any success.

When we started gaming for instance 30-40 years ago, they fought us in every state of the US until finally the US Supreme Court said they have the right to do this!

The Supreme Court didn’t give us that right but they acknowledged what we already knew.

Then the US scrambled to pass a bunch of laws within the year that the Supreme Court ruled. The Supreme Court ruled in 1987. In 1988 the US passes a gaming act, which gives them control of our gaming. We were not even at the table.

This is the kind of stuff that goes on time and time again. So, they keep trying to criminalize us.

Right now we asserted ourselves in the tobacco industry. Tobacco was something that was ours historically, and I am not suggesting that I am a great big fan of cigarette smoking, but the fact of the matter is when they bastardized that industry and they turned tobacco and cigarettes into nicotine delivery devises, that wasn’t our idea.

We treated tobacco with a certain amount of sacredness. We did use it socially, it was something that we did as a social activity, especially to introduce ourselves to people and to rekindle old relationships, but they turned it into something ugly and when we ventured back into that business because we knew that we had the regulatory advantages of our territory, and we could sell it on our territory without the authority of the state, or the province or whatever around us, they tried to criminalize it.

They keep trying to criminalize it. They just raided Mohawk territory with 400 RCMP, SQ OPP, they came to our territories with 400 armed officers, just over the last couple of days claiming to go after our "illegal" tobacco businesses. That is just days ago!

Robles: That is the first time I heard about that.

Kane: They came in with 400 police officers and they arrested 8 of our people and then they arrested a bunch of people that are supposedly connected to the mob or to the mafia or something, the "Canadian Mafia".

That is not a law enforcement action, that is an invasion and that happened just a couple of days ago.

It is all part of a systematic approach by the US and Canada to try to criminalize whatever we do economically.

We made major headway in the tobacco industry. We developed our own brands, we have manufacturing.

The US and Canada are always complaining; "Well we are losing manufacturing jobs!"

Well we have created manufacturing jobs and what does the US and Canada do? They turn around and try to criminalize what we do because we are not paying their taxes.

We are saying; "you don’t have right to assert that on our territories, this is something we are doing here, and the sale that we do is when consumers come onto our land and purchase".

And the crazy part is you can go into duty-free shops and buy stuff without paying Canadian taxes if you are any color of the rainbow.

In the US there are some states where there is almost no tax. You can go across state lines if you are using for your own consumption.

New York State has a law that says you don’t need to have tax paid on cigarettes in New York state, if you are only purchasing or acquiring 2 cartons or less and you can get those any place in the world. But they still want to insist that they can’t get it from our territories.

So, this is the kind of racially discriminatory laws that they have and yet they don’t really have any foundation.

What they do is they pass a law, then they make this assumption that it is applied to us and so law enforcement agents, they can plead ignorance: "We are enforcing Canadian law" but you are not in Canada anymore! Or; "we are enforcing New York State law", you are not in New York any more, you are on Seneca land, you are on Mohawk land.

The Seneca Nation specifically, they have documents right up until the late 1800s where the US and New York State keep saying time and time again: their lands are not ours, they are outside of New York State, they are separate from the US and the US will never claim Seneca lands! And yet they may not claim the land but they try to claim jurisdiction over it.

Well if it is not their land and we are not their people, then how can they claim to have jurisdiction over our land? It is absurd.

As we wind down the interview, one of the things that is really important: we are coming to a place in time where the capitalist system, the specific capitalist system that the US and Canada, Great Britain and Europe rely on is failing. You’ve got failed states all over Europe.

Here is a problem: the globe isn’t getting an bigger, so how can the economy keep growing?

We have major issues associated with climate change. We have some major issues with disparity of incomes from the poorest of people to the richest of people and that is what is making this whole global economy fail. And we are not the only one. All over the global, whether you are talking about Russia, China, Pakistan or India!

At the end of the day, I don’t care if somebody is Russian or Mohawk. We are people and we are global citizens and while we may not necessarily pass each other on the street every single day, we still have the same basic interests, the same basic needs as human being, or as "life on the planet".

They want to keep us as consumers, they want to keep us as mice on the treadmill, but at the same time we’ve got to step up, we’ve got to stop letting the government specifically dictate our lives.



Last Update: 08/06/2023 03:23 +0300


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