Akwesasne Updates

Posted by admin on Jun 6th, 2009

– Seaway International Bridge, on the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne, remains closed
– Akwesasne community still not allowed full free movement on their own territory
– Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan states that permanently “moving the border crossing off the Akwesasne reserve” is an option

* June 6, 2009: Akwesasne band council chief Tim Thompson states that despite claims by politicians of dialogue with Akwesasne, federal politicians are not in discussion with Akwesasne leaders. The only concrete discussion was a request from CBSA to remove equipment out of the customs facility, but the Akwesasne leader rejected the request.  Full article here

* June 6, 2009: “A sense of emergency is in the air, but tensions remain cool on Cornwall Island in light of the ongoing dispute over the arming of border guards. Akwesasne residents have been chipping in to assist one another in numerous ways as the international passage that bisects their community remains closed as a result of the dispute. A food drive has been set up on the U. S. side of Akwesasne, and food, supplies and money are being dropped off and shipped to the island by boat.” Full article here

* June 5, 2009: Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan states that permanently “moving the border crossing off the Akwesasne reserve” is a serious option being evaluated. Peter Van Loan says the government is examining all options, including moving the port of entry that now links Cornwall, Ont., and Massena, N.Y. Appearing Sunday on a national political television program, he refused to say when a decision would be made. Full article here and here

* June 3, 2009: Canadian Border Services Agency states it is considering entering third-party mediation with Akwesasne Mohawk leaders. Guy Lauzon, Conservative MP for Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, said he has been told a mediation process to settle the dispute is currently “in play”. Akwesasne band council chief Larry King said, as far as he knew, the band council leadership had yet to be informed of the mediation proposal, but said they were open to more talk. Full article here

* June 2, 2009: Mayor Bob Kilger of Cornwall is calling on the federal government to resolve the current dispute in Akwesasne. Full article here

* As of 5 pm on June 1 2009, the bridge to the Akwesasne reserve is opened for residents to return home, according to Akwesasne’s Chief Tim Thompson. The border crossing to the US remains closed. Full article here.

* On June 1, 2009, the federal Minister of Public Safety, Peter Van Loan, states that the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Cornwall, Ont. won’t reopen until the Mohawk community accepts that guards at the border will be armed with handguns. Full article here

* On June 1 2009, during the afternoon, the federal Minister of Public Safety, Peter Van Loan, said the Cornwall Island crossing will not be exempted from arming because the Conservative government plans on committing to its promise to arm all 4,800 border officers at land and sea ports of entry by 2016. Full article here

* On midnight of May 30, 2009, Canadian Border Services Agency workers left their posts on Cornwall Island, citing safety concerns, in advance of the Akwesasne Mohawk demonstration. Soon after the Canadian guards left, their U.S. counterparts did the same thing and police on both sides barricaded the crossing. Vehicular traffic onto the Seaway International Bridge has been shut down by police on both sides of the border, although pedestrians were still being allowed to access the bridge. Full article here

* On May 29, 2009, over 100 Akwesasne Mohawks marched on the border and served CBSA with yet another notice and demand that the CBSA not arm the guards and that their demand be sent to officials in Ottawa. “What we are waiting for is an answer from Ottawa. We don’t get that answer, action has got to be taken by the people,” said Thomas Stacy. “We are not getting anywhere with the government. The government is going to come over here and take over everything.” Full article here

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