Tribe Provides Home Improvement Assistance in Mohawk Land Claims Area

Aug 5, 2011

Ft. Covington Assigns Responsibility to Tribe

The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe stepped up to the plate to help a family in need in Ft. Covington. When their septic system began failing, the tribal member applied for assistance through the tribe’s Home Improvement Program (HIP). “I spoke with the chiefs about this situation and a work order was signed off,” said Rod Garrow, Home Improvement Program Director. “Although the problem wasn’t that serious, any problems with a septic system can pose a health risk, so it’s important to take care of it as soon as possible.” One of the family members who is a tribal member came to the Tribal Community Building and filled out an application to have the work done. The repair work began on Friday July 29, 2011.Initially the family approached Ft. Covington town officials to see about getting some assistance to fix the system. They were told that since the residence is in a Mohawk land claims area, the family needed to see the tribe for assistance. “This is a prime example of how the tribe is a good neighbor,” noted Tribal Chief Mark Garrow. “It’s important to help families in need.”

The Ft. Covington area is a long-standing issue between the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the state of New York. “The tribe provides many services, including emergency services such as fire protection, policing and ambulance services to this area,” said Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance. “But local governments still take the position that these lands are subject to property taxes.” The Non-Intercourse Act of 1790 requires federal approval of any land transactions with Indian tribes. Federal law further states that the boundaries of an Indian reservation cannot be changed except by an act of the U.S. Congress. To date, Congress has not taken such an action concerning Mohawk Tribal lands.

For more information contact David T. Staddon, Director of Public Information at 518-358-2272, ext. 286.

Download pdf version