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Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs critical of land claims settlement

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AKWESASNE - The Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs has issued a statement critical of the recent land claims settlement between the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council and New York state.

“As titleholders and leaders of our Mohawk nation clan families, we wish to share our position concerning the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s announcement that it has achieved a land claim settlement Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with New York state and St. Lawrence County,” the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs said in a statement.

“Firstly, we were extremely surprised and dismayed to discover that the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council announced that the Mohawk Council of Chiefs has supported this MOU. The tribal council does not speak for the Mohawk Nation. We would like to take this time to point out that the MOU was never made available for review by the Nation and was never presented at any session of the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, nor has the Mohawk Nation leadership agreed in council to support any version of the MOU. Our political system is based upon consensus and no consensus decision has been made to support the MOU.”

Thestatementsaid that both ancestral history and future generations will be negatively affected by the proposed settlement.

“As the custodians of Haudenosaunee sovereignty in Mohawk Nation Territory, we must consider the territorial integrity of our overall ancestral homeland and protect our historic claim to the 9 million acres of traditional Kanien’keha’:ka territory,” the release said. “The MOU signed by the Tribe fails to provide the protections necessary to ensure that the rights of future generations are not lost. It also fails to ensure that the benefits of a settlement would come to all of Akwesasne.”

The document was signed by leaders of the turtle, bear and wolf clans.

The tribal council is the government recognized by the state and federal government on the so-call American side of the transborder reservation. The Mohawk Nation Council of Akwesasne is a traditional government entity. The third government on the reservation, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, is the officially recognized government on the so-called Canadian side of the reserve.

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