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Akwesasne Mohawk Standoff Continues into Third Day

seawayYou think we have border issues?

The Seaway International Bridge, or the Three Nations Crossing between Rooseveltown, New York and Cornwall, Ontario, Canada has been closed since midnight, May 31, when Canadian border officials left their posts after a confrontation with 400 Akwesasne Mohawks.

The Native Americans are protesting the arming of Canadian border guards with handguns. The new rule was to begin June 1. In keeping with international law, the American side of the bridge has closed as well.

Cornwall Island is sovereign territory located in the St. Lawrence Seaway between the two nations. Several accounts in both Canadian and US media are tracking the story.

At least one Canadian anti-terrorism expert recommends ignoring “threats from Mohawk militants.”

All sides are hoping for a peaceful resolution, but judging by the comments to these stories, tensions are high.

Here is a handy Web site showing few delays at US—Canada border crossings from sea to shining sea today, except for the conspicuously closed Cornwall Canadian Border Services Agency office.

  • Citizen

    What do you mean by “Cornwall Island is sovereign territory”?

    Cornwall Island is part of Canada, held in trust by Her Majesty the Queen, for the use and benefits of the Indians of the reservation.

    The Mohawks of Akwesasne are Indians under the Indian Act, receiving numerous services paid for by the taxpayers of Canada.

  • Here is a Web site communicating Akwesasne concerns:

  • Fact Finder

    Good morning, Citizen. Could you inform us how and when Cornwall Island became part of Canada? As I recall the history, Mohawks have their own direct relationship with the Imperial Crown.

    As for the taxpayer thing, Canada’s appropriation of Mohawk lands, waters, and resources should more than cover any accounts owing to the taxpayers. And of course, “taxpayers” includes Mohawks themselves, who pay every tax other than income tax.

    But there’s no need to even get into this discussion. Here you have a historically highly tense situation, on an island, with a tiny plot of land surrounded by 3,000 Mohawks, many of whom have to drive daily through that customs check-point to get to other parts of the reserve located across the river, and now the feds want to arm customs officers? Doesn’t take much imagination to write the next events. As the head of the border services said stupidly, “Our policy is our policy” to which the reply was, “Then what happens happens.”

    Think about it.

  • Citizen

    From the relevant surrender document:

    “February 16 1888

    KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS THAT WE, the undersigned Chief and Principal men of The Iroquois of St. Regis Indians resident on our Reserve in the County of Huntingdon in the Province of Quebec and Dominion of Canada, for and acting on behalf of the whole people of our said band in Council assembled, Do hereby release, remise, surrender, quit claim and yield up unto OUR SOVEREIGN LADY THE QUEEN, her Heirs and Successors forever, ALL AND SINGULAR, that certain parcel or tract of land and premises, situate, lying and neing in the Township of Dundee in the County of Huntingdon and Province of Quebec containing the admeasurement Twenty Thousand Acres be the same more or less and being composed of certain lots or parts of lots some of which have been and others of which are now under lease to parties other than Indians,

    TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the same unto Her Majesty the Queen, her Heirs and Successors forever, in trust to sell the same to such person or persons, and upon such terms as the Government of the Dominion of Canada may deem most conducive to our welfare and that of our people.”

    The Reserve is part of Canada in that HMQ has assigned it to Canada, as is her right.

    Are you trying to make some argument that it was surrendered to Britain?

  • The first intelligent use of tactics in years.

    Block the Trans-Canada next.

    Can a Native rep contact me to post their side of the argument on my discussion site?

    annadavich AT ymail DOT com