Paul Thompson Memorial 1200X1200
Paul Thompson Memorial 1200X1200

Tribe Observes Passing of former-Tribal Chief Paul Thompson

Nov 2, 2021

AKWESASNE -- It is with a sad heart that the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe learned about the loss of former-Tribal Chief Paul “Kahentase” Thompson. Paul began his journey into the spirit world on Monday, Kentenhkó:wa/November 1, 2021.

Paul will always be remembered as a passionate and devoted elder statesman for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the community of Akwesasne -- having served four (4) terms as Tribal Chief, including three (3) consecutive terms from 1996 to 2003. More recently, he was reelected to serve an impressive fourth term from 2012 to 2015.

Prior to seeking elected office, Paul was a successful entrepreneur and experienced tradesman, with numerous businesses and decades of construction experience that included work as a boilermaker, pipefitter, and more than 50 years membership with Ironworkers Local 440. As an elected leader, Paul merged his business expertise and construction experience into community service by being a staunch champion of local organizations, committees, and economic projects.

He continually applied his knowledge of Kanien’kéha (Mohawk language), as well as the culture and customs of the Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk People) to improve and strengthen relationships with external governments and stakeholders. The protocols that he exquisitely applied in government-to-government interactions was a masterful example of Mohawk diplomacy.

Serving the community was Paul’s lifeblood; as he was constantly dedicated to strengthening the self-sustainability and economic independence of Akwesasne through development of the tribal licensing system and construction of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort. As a member of the Tribal Council that helped open the casino in 1999, Paul had the honor of installing the last piece of steel that “topped off” the casino’s seven-story hotel in July 2012.

Paul utilized his creativity, ingenuity, and ability to foster cooperative efforts between leadership and business owners to develop a revenue stream that continues to benefit the Akwesasne community. Through the development of a regulatory and licensing system, a cooperative agreement that entails the remittance of fees continues to exercise tribal sovereignty and support community programs and critical services.

Paul’s dedication to the betterment of the overall community also contributed to construction of the Akwesasne Boys and Girls Club, Seniors Center, Transfer Station, Head Start, a new fire station, and installation of the Tribe’s waterline; to name a few community projects. He was an integral figure in establishing tribal funding to support the Akwesasne Freedom School.

In observance former-Tribal Chief Paul “Kahentase” Thompson’s passing, the tribal flag at the Ionkwakiohkwaronon Tribal Administration Building will remain lowered until the day after his funeral. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.


The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.