From: Gary Hunt at the Outpost of Freedom on the Onondaga Reservation, New York
Date: October 9,1993 Phone: (315) xxx-xxxx
It is difficult to count sides on the Reservation. There are just over eight hundred residents, some of which are not Onondaga. There are just over three hundred homes. But, how many are there on each side of this issue?
We can find nearly one hundred supporters of the "illegal existing businesses," many who come through the blockade daily, or at least weekly. They make purchases, and otherwise go about their business, as usual. Sometimes, however, they are stopped at the blockade to Smoke Signals and intimidated in one way or another. For example, today an Onondaga woman that lives off the Reservation came by. As she drove by the log cabin one blockader, with video camera in hand, stopped here by standing in front of her. He told her that the businesses were closed. She said she was visiting. He said, You donít live on the Reservation." She said, "I am Onondaga and I can visit if I wish." Well, this battle of words continued for a few more minutes and finally the blockader said, "You hit me three times with your car." She replied, it would have only been once if you were smart enough to get out of the way of a car, and then she proceeded in to Smoke Signals.
The blockaders, supporters of the Council of Chiefs, appear to number about 150. However on looking into who, exactly, they are, we find that nearly 120 of them are Cook family It appears that more than 50 are on the payroll of the Council of Chiefs. These are the ones paid to man the blockade, or drive patrols. Patrols and blockade last 24 hours per day, except the more than four days of religious observance of what is called Gai Whi Yoh, a relatively new religion that is intended to emulate the old religion, whether it does, or not.
Anyway, when we start looking at these numbers we find that about 30% have taken active sides Of those about 12% are supporters of business and 18% are supporters of the Council. This leaves 70% uncounted. There are many of those 550 individuals who have expressed support for business, however, must do so quietly under threat of banishment from the Reservation. It seems that the same apathy, fear and apprehension that permeates the American society also permeates the Onondaga Nation.
Is it possible that those 70% could resolve this issue in just a few days if they were willing to stand up and be counted? I would venture that the business owners would close their doors forever if a significant majority stood in support of the Council of Chiefs. So, why donít they?
Perhaps, deep inside, each of them understands what is right and what is wrong. Knowing the good that has come to the community once the business owners took distribution of taxes into their own hands, good came in many ways. Respect, however, for government is something that is difficult to overcome. After years of acceptance, it is perplexing to admit that your support has been misdirected for so long. The answer, however, lies in these people. Until they are willing to stand up for what they believe is right they will have to continue to suffer the inconvenience, intimidation and fear that has become so common place on the Reservation.
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