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Respect Your Elders

July 27, 2020

July 27, 2020.

It is with great sadness I have to post this article about the Elder Abuse I have been tolerating at the Tyendinaga Elders Lodge. When I came to live here 3 years ago because I was told this was RGI or subsidized rent. I was already on subsidized rent in Dufferin County for 11 years so I thought it was a lateral move. Immediately upon arriving I was told that it is not subsidized if you are on ODSP although I have been subsidized in each municipality I have lived in since being injured with D.A.I. in 2001. I talked with Chief R.Don Maracle about this when I arrived and he said it is not in his budget to subsidize rent, which creates more questions than answers. So my rent went from 124$ per month for a 2bedroom townhouse to $500 / month for a 2 room apartment.

When I called back to Dufferin County; they explained I would have to go on a 3 year waiting list to get my subsidy back. If “Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte” did not falsely advertise RGI then I would have never came here to this Lodge in the first place.

Last year I was asked to do some gardening for 8 hours a week for less than minimum wage and I agreed because no one else was doing it. The superintendent asked for 3 new gardens in the front entrance of the Lodge. I worked the first 8 hours and told her that it would take until July to finish at 8 hours per week. She told me I could pay forward with my hours so I finished those 3 gardens in 48 hours. However the Superintendant reneged on her agreement and only paid me for 8 hours. Never repaying my 40 hours. 1 Month later she got very belligerent and fired me.

I spent 3 weeks and $1000 making a good garden in my yard to grow food and medicine.

It started like this, a patch of hard dirt that I had to remove a bit of grass and top soil and 12 inches of Clay. Then I had to add 2 yards of dirt, rock and plastic garden borders. Medicines are Sweetgrass, tobacco, sage and marijuana. Food is carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, squash, corn, peas and beans. The garden is now in its 2nd year and doing wonderfully.

Fast forward to springtime 2020 and I receive a phone from Tom Cring the property manager of the Lodge and he asks me about Butane. I tell him Butane is an organic solvent to extract oil from plants. Apparently the super had saved all of the butane cans in the recycling bins for a year to try and say it was all mine , although there are many people who use butane here. I explained the procedure and told him it is a safe as refilling your lighter. I thought that was the end of it but the very next day Tom Cring and another guy in masks show up at my back door and say they want to come into my apartment and check for Butane. I held open my hands in disbelief and said you want to check for butane? They both walked in and started checking around my apartment for any butane. The law states that if a landlord wants to enter your apartment they must give you a 48 hour written notice. My instinct was to protect myself and it was my right to do so. I told them I just want to live as a Mohawk Elder in my last few years here on earth.

I contacted my “Good Minds” worker and told her I was suffering from PTSD after they invaded my human rights . I filed complaints everywhere in the federal and provincial aboriginal departments but have received no relief as yet.

Today Tom Cring again came to my backdoor about butane and you can see the video on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWZQ5J1p4Vg he is young enough to be my son yet has no respect for anything I say.

All of my neighbours are welcome to and enjoy the sweetgrass I have gave them already and will have more later this year. One of the cornerstones of our people is to “Respect your Elders” who have walked on this earth for 1000s more days than the young ones. Our role in society is to continue our old ways for the coming 7 generations so we will never be extinct. Our grandchildren are watching us and one day they will be Elders so let us teach them well.

Many of my neighbours here at the Lodge have experienced disrespect and have signed a petition to express their desire to stop the Elder Abuse that is in play.

If we did things the old way whereby our Council of Women run the communities, everything would be much better for all of us and our future generations. Let us start each day with our ancient practice to give thanks to all creation.

Unity, Strength, Peace

thahoketoteh

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