Tag Archives: Mohawk

Frustration Mounts as Land Dispute Continues in Oka, Que.

A sign is erected in Kanesatake, Que., where a housing project threatens a piece of land known as The Pines. (Steve Bonspiel/Facebook)

Residents of Mohawk community call on federal government to intervene in dispute over housing development

CBC News Posted: Aug 02, 2017

Frustration continues to mount in Kanesatake, Que., where residents of the Mohawk community are once again rallying to protect a stand of trees known as The Pines from encroaching development.

A protest was held on Tuesday near a housing project, Domaines des Collines d’Oka, about 60 kilometres northwest of Montreal.

The development is on land which is part of the Kanesatake Mohawks’ decades-old unresolved land claim.

The tension comes nearly three decades after an explosive and historic conflict erupted in the same area between the community, Sûreté du Québec and the Canadian Army.

Now, the Mohawks want Canada to intervene.

“The government and all the Crown actors need to act to stop the land fraud that’s been going on for 300 years,” said Ellen Gabriel, a resident of the community who become known to many as a spokesperson during the Oka Crisis in 1990.

“Stop the development that is depriving this generation and will deprive future generations from enjoying our lands as they become privatized and urbanized.”

Minister invited to community

Gabriel said that on July 15, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett agreed to visit the community, but no date for that visit was set.

According to a news release issued by the Mohawks involved in Tuesday’s protest, “Minister Bennett also stated that she did not know what ‘they could do.'”

CBC News asked Indigenous Affairs if the department would be intervening in the situation at Kanesetake, but has yet to receive an answer.

Mohawk leader Ellen Gabriel, far left, listens to Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon during a protest on July 12 at the site of the Collines D’Oka housing development. (Matt D’Amours/CBC)

On July 12, the developer said the project is already three-quarters finished and an additional 20 homes are planned for the disputed land.

“[The federal government] is talking about reconciliation, but this is not a good example of reconciliation as far as we’re concerned,” Gabriel said.


Canada Offers Settlement For Historic Indigenous Land Dispute

Protestor Joe Taylor marches with a Mohawk flag against the government’s approval of the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline in Vancouver, BC. | Photo: Reuters

teleSUR English‎ | Published 25 May 2015

The Akwesasne would have to renounce all claims to the territory to accept the Canadian government’s land settlement offer. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne announced Monday that the Canadian government offered about US.$200 million to settle a historic land dispute over the traditional unceded Mohawk indigenous territory spanning more than 20,000 acres along the banks of Canada’s St. Lawrence River.

According to the Mohawk First nation, the lands in question, called Tsikaristisere or Dundee Lands, were never sold or surrendered and have been under ongoing occupation by the Canadian government since the 1800s. Intermittent negotiations over the land claim, a portion of the Mohawk territory located in the Canadian province of Quebec, have been ongoing since the 1980s.

RELATED: First Nations in Canada Demand End to Water Crisis

Accepting the settlement offer would require the Mohawks of Akwesasne to give up all claims to the Dundee Lands, the Mohawk Council, an elected community government, explained in a statement. The agreement is subject to a community referendum to be held in the coming months, preceded by a series of educational sessions for the community on the history of the land claims and the implications of the settlement.

 Map of the Mohawk's Dundee, or Tsikaristisere, land claim. (Government of Canada)

Map of the Mohawk’s Dundee, or Tsikaristisere, land claim. (Government of Canada)

The agreement would also make tens of thousands of acres available to the Akwesasne to turn into reserve lands.

Akwesasne is a Mohawk First Nation whose traditional territory extends across the U.S.-Canada border and across the Canadian provincial border between Ontario and Quebec. Despite their territory being separated by an international border, members of the First Nation see themselves as belonging to one community, arbitrarily divided.

In 2009, Akswesasne protested the arming of federal immigration authorities of the Canadian Border Services Agency at the U.S.-Canada border.

Mohawk people were harassed for months by local police, border control agents, and RCMP national security forces, forcing some to leave their homes.

In 2014, the Tsilhqot’in Nation became the first First Nation to win title to its historic territory in a landmark Supreme court decision to recognize the Indigenous land claim to about 680 square miles in the interior of the western Canadian province of British Colombia.


Kahnawake Home Of ‘Mixed Couple’ Target Of ‘Marry Out, Stay Out’ Protest

By Red Power Media Staff

A group of about 40 protesters spent Saturday demonstrating in front of Marvin and Terry McComber’s house in Kahnawake, Que.

Marvin’s wife Terri is not Native, so according to Kahnawake’s membership law, the McComber’s are not allowed to live in Kahnawake.

Terri moved to Kahnawake 26 years ago, when she married Marvin, who grew up there and their three children are all Mohawk.

The protesters say the couple is breaking a law that has been on the books in Kahnawake since 1981. It states that any Mohawk resident who marries or lives with a non-native must move away from Kahnawake.

The law also states that people cannot be evicted between Nov. 1 and May 1, which led a grassroots organization in Kahnawake to declare May 1st to be “Moving Day” for non-Native people living in the community.

Protesters say the couple is breaking a law that has been on the books in Kahnawake since 1981.

Nineteen-year-old resident Keisha Goodleaf was among the protesters outside the McComber home.

“Well I am here because I was raised [knowing that] you marry out, you get out. We all knew that. Everyone in town grew up knowing that,” Goodleaf says.

She says she is worried about losing native land, language and culture.

Also taking part were three Mohawk Council of Kahnawake chiefs. Chief Carl Horn said that the law was put in place for the good of the community and to protect Mohawk lineage for generations to come.“We might end up as a municipality. I wanna make sure Kahnawake stays Mohawk land forever,” said Horn.

“I grew up with Marvin,” said Timmy Montour whose brother-in-law was protesting 30 metres away. “Me being here today is going to cause problems for me later on, but I choose to be here because it’s (evictions) wrong. Anytime you’re hurting somebody, you’re doing something wrong.” The McComber’s are being targeted for other reasons are well said protester Ohontsakate Montour .

“The person who is illegally living here (Terri and Marvin McComber) is also in a lawsuit against the community that threatens our rights to self-governance, and threatens to take community funds from all aspects of the community,” said Montour.

Seven mixed-race couples, including the McCombers, are taking the band council to court over the membership law, in a case that is not expected to be settled until 2017.

The home Terri and Marvin McComber in Kahnawake was vandalized on Friday, May 1, 2015.

The home Terri and Marvin McComber in Kahnawake was vandalized on Friday, May 1, 2015.

But as the May 1st deadline passed, what had been billed as a peaceful protest outside the McComber’s home was overshadowed by vandalism that occurred overnight.

The McComber’s woke up Saturday morning to spray-painted graffiti on the front of their two-storey yellow house, and on their daughter’s car.

Around 11 p.m. Saturday night, Terri McComber said two young boys attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail at her home.

“You can only imagine the pain and the tears,” McComber, whose children, age 24, 18 and 8, also live in the house.

Signs placed at the home said: “Marry out get out” and “Mohawk land for Mohawks.”

Signs placed at the McComber’s home said: “Marry out get out” and “Mohawk land for Mohawks.”

However, Waneek Horn-Miller, who is part of the group that launched legal action against the council to strike down the residency law, said the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake isn’t backing up its words.

“I’m calling out the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake for not doing their job of creating a harassment-free, bullying-free environment,” said Horn-Miller, who is currently living in Ottawa, where her non-native partner, Keith Morgan, is finishing a medical residency. “They failed because this is not the first time it happened that someone vandalizes or leaves signs on property.”

Horn-Miller said while she was building a house in Kahnawake, someone left a sign on the property saying: “Go back to LaSalle, white man” — directed at her partner.

The anonymous nature of the acts of intimidation, such as the vandalism at the McCombers’ home on the weekend, creates an environment of terror, Horn-Miller said.

“Freedom of speech is really important,” she said, “but anonymous terrorizing is not freedom of speech.”

Band council spokesman Joe Delaronde says he does not condone the vandalism, but the protesters have a right to demand the law be respected.