Mohawk chief responds to smuggling comments
efit to the Akwesasne community. As a re- sult, Homeland Security has assured us that proper consultation will be done with the Mohawks of Akwesasne before any deci- sion is made on possibly moving the CBSA to the United States. We are also engaged in discussions with them on the develop- ment of proper border identification card for the Mohawks of Akwesasne, which will address our need to cross the border to travel within and outside of our commu- nity. On the Canadian side, we have been completely ignored in discussions about a possible relocation of the CBSA. Would it not have been better if all parties concerned were at the table talking about a solution? Canadian politicians have not been very helpful in their comments about Akwe- sasne, other than to criminalize the commu- nity in the media. Akwesasne has suffered greatly when CBSA voluntarily left their is- land post just minutes before midnight on May 31, 2009. The unreasonable reporting requirement and vehicle seizures that they have imposed since then has not helped us to resolve our differences. It was our local MP who chooses not to consult with Akwesasne and whom initi- ated the recent discussion on the possibility of moving CBSA to the States. He was in at- tendance, as well as Cornwall and Massena leaders, at an April 9, 2010 meeting in Massena, New York with U.S. Congress- man Bill Owens where relocation plans were initially proposed. Akwesasne, which according to CBSA accounts for nearly 80 percent of travelers that utilize this border crossing, was not invited. What is not being taken into consideration by leadership from Cornwall is that hard- working families in Akwesasne contribute greatly to the city’s economy--something that the business community in Cornwall has always enjoyed. Therefore, I encourage the business community to caution their leaders to be mindful of their statements and the impact it may have on their busi- nesses, as our people are getting really pissed off at the negative comments and opinions begin made about Akwesasne. It’s no secret that the recent statements have greatly alarmed Akwesasne residents and have generated discussions on possibly boycotting Cornwall—an option that we should not be forced to entertain. Our peo- ples have too much at stake to risk going down the road of negativity. We have en- joyed centuries of friendship and support between our two communities. ECONOMY IS THE KEY As leaders, one must explore all options to turn around a negative economy and seek a lasting and positive one. They will find that Akwesasne leadership has been meet- ing with provincial and federal leaders to address this matter and develop a plan to correct the negative perception that has been generated. These plans include long- term economic development initiatives that will provide positive employment for our people, with continued spin-off effects for the business community of Cornwall. So, as we embark on a new year, I ask MP Guy Lauzon and other leaders to put their animosity aside and to work in partnership with us, as others are from various provin- cial ministries, to create an Akwesasne economy that will benefit the region. With that, we wish our neighbors peaceful coexistence and a prosperous New Year. Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
To the editor:
Over the past few months, there have been statements made by the leadership in Cornwall about not being consulted on the potential move of Canada Customs to an area adjacent to the U.S. Port-of- Entry in Massena, New York, which they claim may have a disastrous effect on the region. They state that should this relo- cation occur it would open wide the route to contraband smugglers coming from the Akwesasne community. These are reckless and irresponsible state- ments that paint Akwesasne with one brush to give the impression that our Mo- hawk population is a criminal community. It is a sad reality that there is some illicit border activity that occurs in Akwesasne, as there also is all along the international bor- der stretching across the country, but more attention is given to our community be- cause our people live on both sides of the border. It is a fact, however, that Akwe- sasne residents are living in a geographical and jurisdictional nightmare that our com- munity has never consented to live under. Canada’s target concern in regards to smuggling is about contraband cigarettes, which is a potential loss of tax revenue by not being able to regulate it. In response, one part of our proposed solution is to le- galize the tobacco industry in Akwesasne and use the revenue to address non-funded programs needed in the community, such as a detox treatment center and other forms of health care. We should also be develop- ing career opportunities for our youth com- ing home after finishing college or university. On the question of contraband, we should stress that it is other forms of in- ternational smuggling that are of greater concern to us—those being drugs, guns and illegal aliens, which we don’t hear much about in the media or from the government. ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM The ‘big elephant’ in the room that nobody acknowledges is that there are non-Native people involved in the smuggling trade— including neighboring residents from across the river and more down towards Montreal. Neighboring residents are in- cluded in police blotters and arrests made by the Cornwall Regional Task Force and other joint investigations. As a result, it is apparent that smuggling has been an ongo- ing activity for many Native and non-Na- tives, but it’s easy to deflect any notion of criminal wrongdoing by pointing the finger at your Mohawk neighbors. The fact is that many individuals throughout the region have been unable to find meaningful em- ployment or career opportunities. For years, Akwesasne has had to endure the negative image that others have perpet- uated about us, yet in spite of the negative publicity our community continues to exer- cise good judgment in providing law and order for our residents. And, our peace- keepers in Akwesasne will continue to work in partnership with external policing agencies to prevent criminal organizations from taking advantage of our multijurisdic- tional community. To voice the concerns of our community, Akwesasne leadership (Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Coun- cil and Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs) has met with senior-level officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to discuss border issues that directly impact us. Our discussions included proposed bor- der-related measures that might be of ben-
Special photo Visitors check out the wares at the Cornwall Farmer’s Market in this press photo re- leased by the market. A meeting for market vendors will be held Monday evening at the Cornwall Public Library. Farmers market meeting Monday
it!” The 2012 season will be even better with many new ingredients being added to the mix, he promised in a release to media. Organizers are inviting all past and inter- ested vendors to attend an information ses- sion on Monday, at 7 p.m. at the Cornwall Public Library at 45 Second St. E. in the Pro- gram room #2, 2nd floor. Organizers will discuss last season and give attendees a sneak peek into the 2012 season. The farmers market is a seasonal attraction operating along George Assaly Lane George Assaly Lane located beside Jay-Gee Shoes & Clothing along Pitt Street between Second Street and Third Street.
The Cornwall Farmers’ Market will hold a vendor meeting on Monday at 7 p.m. There might still be snow on the ground and the gardens are in hibernation mode but the representatives have already started to plan the 2012 season of the Cornwall Farmers’ Market. “Last season was a great success, we saw our attendance go up and saw the birth not- to-be-missed event of the week from June to October,” wrote Tony Lacroix, co-odina- tor of Centretown Cornwall. “Every Saturday you would find meats, veggies, gourmet foods, baked goods, flow- ers, preserves and more --name it we had
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