MCA calls for Akwesasne to unite in defence of self-governance

MCA calls for Akwesasne to unite in defence of self-governance
A look at the new port of entry while under construction in Cornwall. Photo by Doug Petepiece.

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – The Mohawk territory’s ongoing saga with mobility rights is back in court on Monday.

A pair of Akwesasne residents who have been charged with failing to report directly to the Canada Border Service Agency in Cornwall are set to stand trial, according to the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.

The two women will be in alternating courtrooms in Cornwall, Morrisburg, and Alexandria, from Dec. 1 through to Dec. 19.

MCA is encouraging Akwesasne, which straddles both the Canada-U.S. and Ontario-Quebec borders, to rally at what it’s calling “a criminal test case.”

The council claims that their “proposed alternative reporting methods, which would allow community members to report from within the community” are falling on def ears.

Akwesasne and the CBSA butted heads in summer 2009, because officers posted at the former U.S.-Canada customs and immigration building on Cornwall Island were going to be armed with handguns by June 1, in compliance with a 2006 decision by the Ministry of Public Safety.

But minutes before the deadline, while hundreds of Mohawks camped-out near the building, CBSA staff officially left their post due to safety concerns.

A “temporary” makeshift border facility was erected at the foot of the Seaway International Bridge in mid-July. Mohawks who travelled through the U.S. were required to cross the bridge to inform CBSA officers of their return to Canadian soil. The reaction: high tension reached new heights and vehicles were being confiscated and tagged with $1,000 repossession fees.

Fast forward to Jan. 2014, the new low-level North Channel Bridge and the CBSA facility that the MCA refused to endorse, finally opens in Cornwall.

The council says the results of the upcoming case will impact the Akwesasne community in what they hope will be a positive manner.

For a list of court dates, click here.

Share this article