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Tribal Council Postpones Referendum on Name Change

May 29, 2020

AKWESASNE – On Enniskó:wa/March 11, 2020, the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council adopted TCR 2020-16 to hold a tribal referendum on an official name change for the Tribe during the 2020 Tribal Election. The Resolution posed the official referendum question: “Do you support the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe changing its name to the Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe?” After much thought, the Tribal Council adopted a Tribal Council Resolution (TCR 2020-34) today rescinding TCR 2020-16 and effectively postponing the referendum, due to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic as public meetings are required, but not advisable at this time.

In 2019, the Tribal Council began preparing for the referendum on the name change with community presentations on the history of the Tribe’s Settlement in Akwesasne at monthly Tribal meetings, as well as on CKON Tetewatharen. In addition, Darren Bonaparte, Tribal Historic Preservation Director released articles in the Indian Time Newspaper titled “Is it Time to Change the Name of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe?” (July 25, 2019) and “The Kanienkeha name of Akwesasne in Early Historical Record” (August 15, 2019).

In September 2019, the Tribal Council conducted an opinion poll to gauge support for a name change. In a second opinion poll, the 15 unique names suggested by community members were voted on in December 2019. The most-selected name was the “Akwesasne Mohawk Tribe,” which the Tribal Council agreed was a favorable choice for the Tribe.

“Although the Election Board has announced a safe plan to hold a Special Election in July, we have decided to postpone the referendum due to the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic. Niá:wen to the community for its feedback and continued support in our efforts to portray Akwesasne for what it is—beautiful, diverse and rich in culture. When appropriate, we will announce the new referendum date to the community—which we very much look forward to,” stated the Tribal Council.

The Tribal Council’s objective remains to keep our families and community safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. Please visit and the Tribe’s social media for up to date information on COVID-19 prevention and guidance from public health officials.

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