Brandon Oakes is an actor, dancer and artist from the Mohawk reserve of Ahkwesahsne. It’s the most heavily monitored reserve around. Six law enforcement agencies patrol this res because it straddles the US/Canada border, the borders of Ontario and Quebec and both sides of the St. Lawrence River. That means there are several federal and provincial bodies that want their piece of anything moving in or out or through the reservation. This is all fine. These are the rules. The downside is Brandon has to cross a checkpoint in order to go home. The optics of Native people still having to check-in with the authorities every time they want to go somewhere are awful.
It gets more embarrassing (for Canadians like me)… Native people can’t own land on reservations. I did not know that. That doesn’t seem anywhere near right. There’s a lot I don’t know and we get into it in this week’s episode of In the Dark (Dans le Noir).
I’ve begun to implement change via tiny, probably inconsequential means: I’ve subscribed to the New York Times because I want to support quality journalism. And I’ve donated to Sam Harris. I’ve become so enamoured with him, his guests and their bravery. In the face of a growing intolerance at home and abroad people like Sam are at the vanguard of critical thought and the preservation of freedom of speech. I encourage you to do the same. Not that I don’t think you are, it’s just that I want all this talk to actually amount to something. I don’t want to remain irrelevant. I want to positively affect people.
That’s also why I’d like you to come over and try this new carrot cake recipe of mine. Is it political carrot cake? No, but I’ve hidden wax paper-covered loonies in it.
We’re really doin’ it,
J.B. in a sunny 416
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