No government funding for proposed band council

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Beverly Pyke and Nelson David White look over some charts that show the area where they'd like to see a new band created.

CORNWALL, Ontario - Akwesasne won't recognize a move by some disgruntled residents to break away and form their own band.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) issued a media release this week that details its opposition to a plan by some disaffected members of the First Nation who want to form their own band that would be headquartered on Cornwall Island.

"Should any members wish to change the manner in which the northern districts of the territory are governed, they must receive that direction and authority from the community," said in the MCA in a statement. "No information regarding plans to form a new or separate band office has been transmitted to MCA in any official manner."

A group led by Beverly Pyke, one of the chief proponents of a new band council, was thought to have held nominations and an election to choose a leadership cadre for the fledgling council.

Pyke was turned down by the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Affairs Canada in her request to have funding set aside for an off-reserve office.

The ministry has also given no indication that it plans to recognize a new band council.

Pyke has argued in the past that the division of leadership within the MCA has created headaches on this side of the provincial border.

While there are eight district chiefs representing Quebec portions of the reserve, there are only four from Ontario.

"When issues come up, the Quebec chiefs get their way," Pyke told Seaway News earlier this winter.

Among the concerns on Cornwall Island and other portions on the Ontario side of the reserve are land claims and title changes when landowners pass away.

Organizations: Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, First Nation, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Affairs Canada Seaway News

Geographic location: Cornwall Island, Ontario, Quebec

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