CORNWALL, Ontario – At Cornwall’s Council meeting on Monday, June 24, Councillor Elaine MacDonald put forward a motion that she hopes will build reconciliation, and closer ties with the City’s neighbours in Akwesasne.
MacDonald proposed that the Mohawk greeting of “shé: kon” be added to the City of Cornwall’s welcome signs alongside the English “Welcome” and the French “Bienvenue”.
At a joint Council meeting and dinner between Cornwall City Council and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne on Wednesday, June 19, Mayor Bernadette Clement relayed the message to the MCA from the Cornwall and Area Chamber of Commerce that the City appreciates their business.
“Let us make that appreciation explicit by greeting the people of Akwesasne in their own language,” MacDonald’s motion reads. “Let us say “shé: kon” alongside Welcome and Bienvenue at our city entrances.”
The border crossing from Canada to the USA that spans from Cornwall through Akwesasne is the tenth busiest in the country, but 70 per cent of the traffic are the same people everyday.
In addition to the signage, the motion also called on Council to consult with the MCA to further move toward reconciliation with First Nations peoples and to build closer ties between the two communities.
Also, MacDonald asked City administration in her motion to petition the government of Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to add Akwesasne as a destination on the Hwy 138 exit sign alongside Cornwall, Hawkesbury and the USA. To reach the USA, motorists must drive through Akwesasne.
MacDonad said that it was incumbent on Cornwall to get Akwesasne recognized by the provincial government.
“Anytime we see a map of Ontario that doesn’t show a reservation where there should be one, I think it is incumbent on us to petition or representatives in the provincial government to do so,” she said.
MacDonald’s motion was seconded by Councillor Todd Bennett and was passed by Council.