[The 90’s raw: Rick Hornung]

Raw footage for The 90's. Interview with Rick Hornung, staff writer at The Village Voice, about the Mohawk civil war.

00:00Copy video clip URL Videographer Skip Blumberg shoots New York City street scenes. Traffic. Cars at a red light.

00:40Copy video clip URL Establishing shot of The Village Voice office.

00:48Copy video clip URL Interview with Rick Hornung, staff writer at The Village Voice and author of One Nation Under the Gun, about the Mohawk civil war. He notes the dispute has been going on for a long time and that he got involved in 1989. He says Mohawks in New York State, Ontario and Quebec divided into pro-gambling and anti-gambling factions and fought about the rights to their land. The Mohawks wanted to put casinos on the New York side of their territory, but it violated New York State and Federal law. The Mohawks said they were a sovereign nation and neither Canada nor the US could tell them what to do. A further dispute was raised over Canada’s attempt to expand a private golf course over a Mohawk burial ground. This evolved into an armed confrontation.

03:56Copy video clip URL Blumberg has Hornung repeat his answer.

05:27Copy video clip URL Hornung says this happened at the time the invasion of Kuwait happened. Canada sent 2,000 troops to the Middle East to protect its interest in Saudi Arabia. It sent 4,000 troops to the Montreal area to surround the Mohawk uprising. He adds the Mohawks were media savvy and used the media to paint a picture of themselves as defenders of their rightful property and another chapter in a long history of abuse from the Canadian and US governments. In some ways, he notes, the story is as simple as the Canadian government forcing itself on Mohawk land over a gold course. As a result of this, there still is no golf course on the land, but the Mohawks have been arrested and routed. Fifty of them face charges in Quebec provincial courts. It’s red versus white. It’s a race issue. The Mohawks and the French Canadians have been feuding for three hundred and fifty years.

08:40Copy video clip URL Hornung notes that white people just aren’t allowed in Mohawk territory. He was able to enter because he happened to be in the right place at the right time. He befriended the Mohawks. He says his story became a book. He says he felt like an outsider. The circumstance was beyond his level of comprehension and it took lots of mistakes and miscommunication to fully develop. When asked if he was worthy of their trust, Hornung responds, “sometimes.” He told the Mohawks from the beginning that he was there to cover a story and that his interests was different from theirs. They appreciated that honesty. They appreciated that he didn’t pretend to be a sympathizer.

11:12Copy video clip URL The interview continues at a different location in The Village Voice office. Hornung reiterates his honesty and straight forwardness in approaching the Mohawks.

12:05Copy video clip URL Hornung talks about his story on Dhoruba al-Mujahid bin Wahad (aka Richard Earl Moore). At the time, Hornung’s job was to cover the courts. Dhoruba was one of the more infamous forgotten defendants.  His case is a great story and an important part of New York history. Any time a defendant beats the State in a murder trial it’s significant. The press painted him as a picture of a mad dog. People who stand up in dissent are always going to be characterized as a mad dog. He’s a mad dog, he’s angry as hell.

15:00Copy video clip URL Hornung says he first met Dhoruba after twenty years of prison had had its affect. He was intelligent, sharp, and angry. In this day and age there’s a place for mad dogs. That voice cannot be shut up.

16:47Copy video clip URL When asked how he, as a white man, could understand a black man or a red man, Hornung says, “I can’t. I don’t pretend to.” He adds all he tries to do as a writer is describe the conditions that make up his subject’s predicaments. How did Dhoruba get in jail for nineteen years? Why did the Mohawks revolt? That’s all I’m asking. He doesn’t agree with the idea that only black writers should cover black issues, because ultimately these issues are about justice, fundamental decency, and humanity.

18:08Copy video clip URL Hornung says he identifies with these other races because of his background. His father survived a concentration camp, his mother had to flee the Nazis and live on the run. I’ll always side with the underdog. From a storytelling perspective, the tales of the underdog are much more identifiable than the tales of the favored.

20:35Copy video clip URL Blumberg walks along Union Square and E. 14th Street in New York City letting his camera roll. B-roll of a peaceful rally, people video taping the rally, police standing by, musicians performing.

22:49Copy video clip URL Jennifer Donohue from Poughkeepsie says this rally is to stop the Hydro-Quebec, “a dam planning to be built up north. It will create a lot of energy that we really don’t need.”

24:30Copy video clip URL A speech at the rally announces a meeting for people interested in Political Street Theater on Monday 7pm, at 206 E. 4th Street.

25:15Copy video clip URL B-roll of the rally: spectators, videographers, speeches, rally cries.

26:00Copy video clip URL B-roll of a flute player busking.

26:23Copy video clip URL B-roll of signs about protecting the environment. B-roll of a  street construction site. Steam rises from a man hole. B-roll of a woman in a hair salon dancing.

27:35Copy video clip URL Show ID for The 90s recorded by a salon worker.

27:59Copy video clip URL END

 

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