[Indymedia] Mohawk Political Prisoner Challenges Jurisdiction of Colonial Courts

The following from Indymedia:

Mohawk Political Prisoner Challenges Jurisdiction of Colonial Courts

By Fiona Becker
November 30th, 2006

Over 50 people packed the Cayuga courthouse on Wednesday for Trevor Miller, a Six Nations Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, as Trevor declared to the court that the colonial Canadian system has no jurisdiction over him. When the judge walked into the courtroom for the pre-trial hearing of Trevor Miller, and the bailiff called “all rise”, only the cops and the lawyers stood up. When Trevor Miller walked in, however, the packed courthouse stood up, and they remained on their feet throughout the proceedings.

“I am a sovereign Mohawk man, you have no jurisdiction over me,” he said to the judge in tight handcuffs, with a freshly-shaven Mohawk and donning a traditional Haudenosaunee shirt.

Trevor Miller, 31, has been sitting in a Hamilton jail for over four months, after being arrested near Grassy Narrows for charges related to the Six Nations Land Reclamation adjacent to Caledonia in southern Ontario. Trevor Miller was denied bail in October, and has yet to be given a trial date. He is from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and is the father of three young children.

The court proceedings were attended by members of the Traditional Mohawk Council, who went before the judge and demanded his release. “You are holding him in custody illegally, and you’re breaking your own laws,” they said, with a Two Row Wampum in hand. The Two Row Wampum is one of the oldest treaties that exist between the Haudenosaunee and colonizing nations. It demonstrates, through beadwork, the separateness of the Iroquois to the Europeans, and allows for the collective use of the land as long and only insofar as the ways of the white man are not enforced on the ways of the Onkwehonweh. “You are keeping him only for political reasons,” continued members of the council, “we demand that you release him and hand him over to the Mohawk traditional council, who operates under the Great Law of Peace.”

The Judge, though clearly uncomfortable, told Stuart Myiow of the Mohawk Traditional Council that he had neither authority to address the court nor to speak on Trevor’s behalf. Trevor’s court supporters then proceeded to demand that the judge release him. Both his mother and sister were in tears. “They do not regard our people as human beings,” Trevor’s mother, Trudy Miller, said.

Trevor will be challenging the jurisdiction of the court via the Attorney General, and returns to court for the 20th of December, at which point it will be over 5 months in custody. His supporters and friends are urging that people send letters of support to him while he sits indefinitely behind the state’s bars.

Letters of support to Trevor Miller can be sent to:

Trevor Miller
165 Barton Street East
Hamilton, Ontario
L8L 2W6
Range 5CR


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