Tribal Council Responds to Land Claim March
Feb 9, 2024
AKWESASNE — (Enníska/February 9, 2024) Tekwanonhwerá:tons sewakwé:kon /Greetings to you all from the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council; we hope this message finds you well and in good spirits.
We share our thoughts regarding the peaceful march today concerning the New York State Land Claim and Settlement:
As elected leaders of a secular, inclusive Tribal government, our Council is responsible for properly representing and serving our entire, diverse community of Akwesasne.
We hear the thoughts of the community on this critical land rights matter, and we value all thoughts and opinions. We understand the emotions and concerns around this issue. We acknowledge that this settlement is not full justice for Akwesasne. We, too, are frustrated over this fact.
The actions of the Tribal Council, past and present, are guided by the Tribal referendum in 2004, which passed 748-387 in support of ratifying the land claim settlement terms.
Tribal Council now, and since our 1989 federal court filing, have taken great care to ensure we have had a unified approach with our co-plaintiffs to gain land back for our community, which we believe to be the most significant part of the settlement.
The work on the land claim by all co-plaintiffs, the Tribe, the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, carries the people's voice and vision.
It is all of our responsibility to create opportunities for the next seven generations. ‘Land Back’ remains the focus of this litigation and settlement effort.
Although there are ongoing settlement negotiations between the State of New York, St. Lawrence County, Franklin County, and all Akwesasne Mohawk plaintiffs, the Tribal Council wants to inform the community again that, at this moment, a final settlement agreement has not been fully reached as the plaintiffs continue to work with the State on language that is in the best interest of all Akwesasne Mohawks.
No land currently under tribal jurisdiction is lost in a settlement. In fact, the settlement restores recognized jurisdiction over our 1796 treaty lands and creates a path forward to add over 14,000 acres to our reservation in the coming years.
We have a responsibility to Mohawk landowners in the claim areas who have lived with threat of taxation, foreclosure and sale by Franklin County.
Kahretsiarénhtshera enkiakwátka’we/We leave you with these words and invite community members to hear regular updates on the land claim at the Tribal monthly meeting on the first Saturday of each month.
The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe.