Akwesasne Mohawks refuse presence of armed border guards on native territory

The Mohawk territory of Akwesasne straddles the jurisdictions of Ontario, Quebec and New York State. As a result, Akwesasne is a major international border crossing between Canada and the United States.

Canadian Borders Services Agency guards began arming in 2007, and there are currently more than 800 armed Canadian Borders Services Agency guards across Canada. The entire Canadian Borders Services Agency is to be armed, in stages, by 2016. The Canadian Borders Services Agency announced that their agents at the Port of Cornwall would be armed by June 1 of this year.

According to Mohawk Nation News, a Mohawk Band Council resolution forbids guns at the border. In the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, local residents have protested for months against the arming of Canadian Borders Services Agency guards on their land.

As of June 1st, the customs at the Canadian border’s port of entry has been abandoned. Earlier this week, Cornwall city cops and NYS police shut down the border. According to residents of Akwesasne, CBSA border agents abandoned their posts just before midnight, out of fear of reprisals from the community.

To get some perspective on the issue, CKUT spoke with Sakoietah, member of the Warrior’s Society, Brendan White, Sandra Cuffe of the Dominion and 11-year-old Karoniate (Galunyadeh) during the week.

This audio aired on the Friday, June 5th edition of CKUT.


Thanks to Sandra Cuffe for photos. For more photos, click here. Check the Akwesasne Counterspin blog for updates.

Updates:
– Seaway International Bridge, on the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, remains closed
– Akwesasne community still not allowed full free movement on their own territory
– Tyendinaga Mohawks shut down Skyway Bridge in support of Akwesasne without sanction of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council
– Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan states that permanently “moving the border crossing off the Akwesasne reserve” is an option

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