From: Gary Hunt at the Outpost of Freedom on the Onondaga Reservation, New York
Date: October 1, 1993 Phone: (315) xxx-xxxx
It was a sunny autumn day when I arrived in Syracuse to visit the Onondaga Reservation. I had heard that there was a dispute within the tribe as to whether, and by whom, commercial enterprises would be allowed to be conducted on the Reservation, After having spent four weeks with the Paugeesukq Indians, in Connecticut, over a similar issue, it seemed that this would be an interesting story.
Kenneth Papineau, one of the few Indians whom I was able to reach by telephone, had picked me up at the airport and we had gone to visit his diner, Smoke Signals, located on Route 11, just South of Nedrow on the Onondaga Reservation. Smoke Signals is one of three businesses that has been "blockaded", first by women, then by wrecked vehicles and now by 4,000 pound concrete blocks placed in location by cranes, and the same women. Access is not completely denied, very narrow and inconvenient points of entry have been allowed on each of the three, however, they can be difficult to find when they are located behind log cabins or over one hundred feet away through dirt and mud.
Shortly after I arrived at Smoke Signals an incident occurred out by the side of Route 11. I went out to determine what was happening when a bunch of screaming women accused me of taking sides, and violating sovereignty by being here. I explained to them that I had come to talk with both sides, but that Chief Shenandoah had not returned my call. I asked who I could speak to on their side and they thrust an orange "press release" into my hands, claiming that I could come to the cabin anytime and talk to someone.
I then address a Sheriffs Deputy (there were four on the scene) and asked him what had occurred. He said that he could not answer that question and referred me to the public relations office of the Sheriffs Department. I then asked him if he had been called to the scene, to which he responded with the same answer. Realizing the futility of getting any answers outside, I returned to Smoke Signals to talk with people who were willing to explain what had been occurring on the Reservation since April 1, 1993.
Later one of those inside reported that someone had attempted to enter the business and that the "blockaders" (all women to avoid confrontation) were pummeling their car. As I arrived at the door I saw the subject car leaving and turning onto Interstate Highway 81. Then a Deputy Sheriff followed the car in what appeared to be "hot pursuit." One of the Indians volunteered to drive me when I said that I would like to find out what was happening. We jumped in a pickup and pursued the pursued down the Interstate to where we found them stopped by the same deputy who had refused to answer questions before.
We had stopped about 40 feet behind the Deputy who was about twenty feet behind the vehicle that had been attacked at the blockade. I exited the truck and walked toward the vehicle. As I approached the Deputy’s car I noticed that he was holding a 357 magnum at his side. I continued walking toward the other car and was about 5 feet past the Deputy when I heard, in a very frightened and trembling voice, "Get back in you car and get out of here." As I turned and saw the fear in this Deputy’s eyes, his quivering body and the 357 pointed in my general direction. I decided that discretion would allow me to pursue other stories in the future. I returned to the truck and as we left we got the tag number of the victim.
On a check of the record the next day we found no entry of this stop that we had witnessed. I did, however, get a bit of a surprise welcome to the Onondaga Reservation.
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