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CANADA ACCIDENTALLY RECOGNIZES MOHAWK SOVEREIGNTY On June 14, 2008, two Mohawk women were peacefully crossing the illegal checkpoint in the middle of Kawenoke Island of Akwesasne. At the border crossing the Canada Border Services Agency CBSA arrested and treated them like enemy combatants with no rights as Canadian citizens. Afterwards they were fined the full costs of legal actions against them because they are living in Akwesasne and Kahnawake and are deemed “not residents of Canada”. The two women live in the Mohawk communities of Akwesasne and Kahnawake. They filed formal complaints with the RCMP, OPP, Mohawk Akwesasne Police and the CBSA to investigate. All refused. “We are being falsely labeled as insurgents, terrorists and global risks. This violates the Geneva Conventions 1949 which set the standards in international law for humanitarian treatment of civilians and the victims of conflict,” as quoted in Mohawk Nation News today. The two women took their complaint to the Federal Court of Canada, FCA T-1309-08, to address the human rights abuses. In making an order on this case, the Crown seems to also have issued orders respecting Mohawk sovereignty. On October 23, 2008, Protho-Notary Mireille Tabib ordered the two women to pay for Canada’s court costs by depositing $19,460.00 with the court plus all subsequent costs. The reason given was that the women live in Akwesasne and Kahnawake and are not residents of Canada. An appeal was filed. On January 29, 2009 Judge Francois Lemieux issued the same order. On Feb. 26, 2009 another case was filed by one of the women, T-288-09. On April 7, 2009, the same order was made because she lives in Kahnawake, making her a non-resident of Canada. In response to these claims of Mohawk sovereignty Canada removed the CBSA checkpoint from Kawenoke to the foot of the bridge in the city of Cornwall Ontario (Cornwall is part of the Mohawk North Shore claim). A CBSA supervisor stated to Mohawk elders that the former Kawenoke Customs had to be officially de-designated as a Canada port of entry however, the new one also sits on disputed Akwesasne land.
As a result of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples consultation process under the Communities First: First Nations’ Governance Initiative, CAP’s constituents identified the following concerns: Government Process with Respect to Aboriginal Initiatives: •There must be equal recognition of Aboriginal peoples and Aboriginal peoples’ governments in federal legislation, including off-reserve Aboriginal peoples’ organizations •The individual equality rights violations embedded in the Indian Status entitlement and band membership provisions must be corrected •The equality rights of Aboriginal women must be addressed in any governance or self-government legislation •Off-reserve Aboriginal peoples’ organizations should be properly resourced to meet the program and service needs of off-reserve Aboriginal people and at a level proportionate to the funding provided on-reserve Aboriginal people •Off-reserve Aboriginal peoples’ organizations should be funded at least on an equal basis with on-reserve organizations in respect to their participation in consultation processes •Equality rights with respect to political participation in elections and other forms of leadership selection must apply to all custom bands as well as bands operating under the Indian Act election system Indian Act Issues: •There is a need to ensure financial and political accountability of Indian Act Band Councils •There is a need to ensure equal rights of political participation in all aspects of Indian Act elections and leadership selection •There is a need to examine the definition of “band” under the Indian Act, as well as the government’s role and federal policy regarding new band creation
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Station 20 West Update
Station 20 West is back on track and moving forward. The support of thousands of people across Saskatoon and beyond has made the difference SUN support for Station 20 West
City of Saskatoon— land for a $1 Saskatchewan Union of Nurses— $100,000 Canadian Union of Public Employees— $100,000 Samuel and Saiyde Bronfman Family Foundation— $50,000 Anonymous Saskatoon Corporate Donor— $500,000 Anonymous Donor— $50,000 Dean Jones and Ev Burnett— $40,000 Anonymous Private Donor— $20,000 More than 600 cheques from Private Citizens and Community Organizations totaling almost $500,000.
With a renewed energy and commitment to our goal of building an integrated service centre that includes the Good Food Junction, a locally owned grocery cooperative, we will break ground in May 2010. Station 20 West remains the engine for economic renewal of Saskatoon’s Core neighborhoods— balancing financial sustainability with enhanced social and environmental outcomes.
The Building and Grounds
Plans now call for a 29,000 square foot, two storey building with a finished cost of $5 million. The grounds will include welcoming green spaces, an open air stage and places for people to gather and connect with each other as they visit the library, buy groceries or participate in one of the many programs and services that will be delivered at Station 20 West.
The Affordable Housing Development
with 55 units, immediately north of the Station 20 West site is complete with occupancy currently taking place. Contact the Saskatoon Housing Authority for more information at 668-2700. The new Branch of the Saskatoon Library is on the main floor of the housing development.
SUN support for Station 20 West Station 20 West presents the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses (SUN) with a commemorative picture in recognition of their $100,000 donation.
From left to right: Len Usiskin - Quint Manager and Station 20 West Board member, Rosalee Longmoore - SUN President, Jacqui Barclay - Station 20 West Board member, and Don Kossick, Station 20 West Board member.
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Akwesasne, ONTARIO —On September 1, 2009, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Grand Chief Michael Mitchell, Chief Wesley Benedict and St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief James W. Ransom met with representatives of the United States Customs and Border Protection. Akwesasne leaders met with Robert Stephenson, Director for the Massena-Rooseveltown Port of Entry; Alan Whitcomb, Area Port Director; Tim Walker, Assistant Area Port Director; and Ray Purser, Chief, Massena-Rooseveltown Port of Entry; to discuss local concerns regarding the operation of the U.S. customs facility. Chief Ransom noted that, “We expressed our frustration with the lack of response from the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection to our requests that they address Mohawk concerns.” He added, “We are encouraged that the U.S. Customs staff present at the meeting indicated that they were aware of our concern and that they share our desire to build a better relationship going forward.” Mohawks gather near the Seaway International Bridge to protest the arming of border guards The first Mohawk concern that Akwesasne leaders raised was why all traffic to (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC) Canada is being funneled into the seventh lane at U.S. Customs. U.S. Customs representatives indicated there were some major issues that led to the northbound road being closed and traffic being re-routed.
U.S. Customs representatives stated that the safety of workers was put at risk from vehicles speeding and passing in the northbound roadway. There were other times when individuals evaded Customs when coming south from Canada using the northbound road. This resulted in evaders driving in the opposite direction of the traffic. In addition, during the summer months some four wheelers were coming from Cornwall Island and going through the fields to evade Customs. Having people evade the Port presented a major problem and security risk that U.S. Customs needed to address. Akwesasne leaders also expressed concerns with delaying the response time of emergency vehicles by routing them through the checkpoint. A bottleneck is often created as vehicles slow down for the speed bumps and it is making it difficult for fire, ambulance, and the police to do their jobs effectively. Mohawk leaders indicated that emergency vehicles respond to calls throughout Akwesasne and require special arrangements so they can better serve the community. U.S. Customs representatives made it clear that they have no desire to restrict emergency vehicle access. Developing protocols for emergency vehicle to have quick access through the Port was a solution that everyone was interested in pursuing. Mohawk leadership expressed their willingness to work with U.S. Customs on these protocols. In addition, Akwesasne leaders discussed the usage of lights at the seventh lane. They noted that it was causing a glare for drivers and creates a safety hazard. The U.S. Customs staff agreed to make adjustments to the light placement, but indicated that the lights are to help the cameras to record travelers through the checkpoint. The presence of cameras was another concern; however customs staff noted that the decision to use them is made by senior officials. Akwesasne leaders and the U.S. Customs staff expressed their willingness to work cooperatively and develop an operational plan that would address local concerns and provide for the reopening of the northbound road. It would also provide for public safety and the ability of U.S Customs to do their job of ensuring that a safe and secure border crossing is maintained. An immediate measure that was agreed to was reducing the number of speed bumps at the checkpoint. Grand Chief Mitchell stated, “We briefly discussed the idea of developing an educational plan to share measures with the community before the temporary checkpoint can be removed.” He added, “We are working to have it removed as soon as possible, but once it is gone there will be things that individuals can do to avoid a repeat of the checkpoint, such as maintaining the speed limit. We also discussed the idea of planning more cultural and community information sessions that would better inform customs officials, as well as when Akwesasne would be hosting events that would bring other Native people together; such as the Nations Cup, the Pow Wow celebration, or a Native leadership conference.” The meeting ended on a positive note with the recommendation from the U.S. Customs representatives that Mohawk leadership consider having a regular meeting with them as a way to improve communication. The Mohawk leadership supported that idea.
David Gonczol/Canwest News Service Debbie Zion, of the Canadian Border Services Agency, listens to an ultimatum read by a Akwesasne leader
Akwesasne Grand Chief Tim thompson reads an ultimatum to Debbie Zion (R), and Lance Markell (L), Associate Director of the border crossing at the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve, on May 30, 2009.
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Edited Statement : Mohawk Nation News MNN. Sep. 20 2009. The Everett Report of March 17, 1922*, found that, no attempt has ever been made to control the Indians on the St. Regis Reservation [Akwesasne] residing within the boundaries of Canada. The Chairman firmly believes that the St. Regis reservation lying within the boundaries of the State of New York is a separate and distinct territory from the control of the United States or State of New York as is the Canadian reservation. [p. 317]. This pertains to all of Great Turtle Island. Just what are the rights of the aliens? Only what we gave them under the Great Law. Aliens are temporary. Should they cause loss, wrong, suffering or endanger the peace, the War Chiefs reprimand and expel them. [Wampum 74]. They have no voice in council. [Wampum 76]. Canada, US, Mexico or any foreigners cannot interfere with us. The invaders washed up here with nothing. They stole, created money and intend to take everything from us. Their puppet Cornwall Police maintain a roadblock of the Seaway International Bridge and the border crossing to the U.S. band and tribal councils are more than willing to help them. Red Jacket, Corn Planter and other Iroquois told Washington that they are fighting over something that does not belong to them - our lands, resources and waters. We own all the beds of all the waters of Great Turtle Island. [p. 186-7] Their judicial and military hocus pocus shows they know that we never gave up anything. Canada, US, Ontario, Quebec and New York State promised to protect us from them. International law provides that title to land is never taken away from the lawful, legal owner except in a legal and lawful manner. If it is stolen and used for twenty years or a million years, they never get title. • At Akwesasne CSIS customs agents are desperately grabbing cars and demanding $1000. •CSIS mans the shack at Akwesasne Canada Customs which illegally stops us. •Canada, give it up. That imaginary line [border] does not belong here. We never renounced our Rotinshonnion:we birthright. The three recent Federal Court of Canada rulings found that, because we live in Akwesasne and Kahnawake, we are not residents of Canada, and are not entitled to an investigation of brutal attacks and human rights violations by their agents. It is impossible for us to renounce our Ongwehonwe birthright. We cannot be citizens [another fancy word for slave] of Canada or the US. Who would want to be anyhow? Two party deals for our land signed between foreigners are illegal. The squatters of Canada and the US are afraid of being defined and giving an accounting. Hey! Show us a deed for one acre of land anywhere on Great Turtle Island that you got legally. Everybody in the world knows you can’t do it! To help contact Akwesasne Peoples Fire 613-937-1813 email@example.com Kahentinetha MNN Mohawk Nation News www.mohawknationnews.com firstname.lastname@example.org * Report of New York State Indian Commission to Investigate the Status of the American Indian Residing in the State of New York transmitted to the Legislators, March 17, 1922, also known as the Everett Report]. Helen Upton. The Everett Report Historical Perspective. Albany Library
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(Whitecap Dakota First Nation, SK., August 26, 2009) FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph recently announced the creation of the Saskatchewan First Nations Gaming Commission. The commission will have similar powers and responsibilities that other FSIN Commissions hold and will be made up of Chiefs and members of the FSIN Senate. This new commission will be responsible for First Nation Gaming Jurisdiction; the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority; First Nations Trust Fund; First Nations Addictions Rehabilitation Foundation: Community Development Corporations. The FSIN Gaming Commission and the FSIN Justice Commission will share responsibilities for the Indigenous Gaming Regulators. “Since the opening of the Bear Claw Casino on the Whitebear First Nation in 1993 we have been making the assertion that First Nations have jurisdiction over gaming,” says Chief Joseph. “Notice has been sent out to Tribal Councils and Independent Bands to appoint members to this new commission but in the meantime we will create a jurisdictional focus group made up of Chiefs from across Saskatchewan to continue work on the FSIN Gaming Commission Act.” The FSIN Gaming Commission Act received first reading at the FSIN Legislative Assembly in February 2005. An FSIN Legislative Act needs three readings at a legislative assembly before it can be ratified by the 74 Chiefs of the FSIN. “In the original gaming agreement the Province agreed to go shoulder to shoulder with First Nations to jointly lobby Ottawa to amend the Criminal Code to recognize First Nation jurisdiction over gaming,” says Chief Joseph. “Ideally it would be nice to have the support of the Province. But the FSIN and the Chiefs of Saskatchewan are prepared to go alone on this journey if we have to.” The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. The Federation is committed to honouring the spirit and intent of the Treaties, as well as the promotion, protection and implementation of the Treaty promises that were made more than a century ago.
Photo Credit: Liam Richards, The StarPhoenix
FSIN Chief Lawrence Joseph recently announced the creation of the Saskatchewan First Nations Gaming Commission.
The Minister of Registry, Registrar, and Genealogist are currently initiating community consultations throughout Saskatchewan to relay information and gain input on how an objectively verifiable Metis Nation - Saskatchewan Citizenship Registry process should unfold. In January 2009, the MN-S welcomed Deb Donaldson (Director of Registry), Tammy Valley (Genealogist), Tammy Mah (File Maintenance Officer), Breen Ouellette (I.T. Manager), and Julie Wriston (Director of Communications) to the Registry Department. The objective for the Registry department is to register eligible Métis citizens in Saskatchewan through a secure, efficient, standardized, and objectively verifiable process.
Front(L-R): Brian Kembel (CEO), Robert Doucette (Minister), Breen Ouellette Back(L-R): Julie Nolin-Wriston, Tammy Valley, Tammy Mah, Deb Donaldson
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During the largest "Take it to the Streets" United Way Kick-Off event ever, nearly 250 citizens of Saskatoon and area jointed the United Way in announcing the $4.3 Million goal for the 2009 Community Campaign. This year the United Way of Saskatoon and Area is celebrating 50 years of caring in our community. Money raised through the United Way is invested back into our community through human-service agencies providing over 500 programs and services addressing the community's priority areas. More than 50,000 people in Saskatoon and area utilize United Way funded programs and services each year. United Way believes that a safe supportive community is everyone's responsibility and urges the citizens of Saskatoon and area to think about how they can support this year's community campaign as we strive to reach $4.3M.