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Trudeau refuses to stop land fraud: Press release of the Mohawks of Kanehsatake

Canadian PoliticsIndigenous Politics

Ellen Gabriel at a July 2013 demonstration against Enbridge’s Line 9 on Kanehsatake traditional territory. Photo by Tim McSorely.

On 21 August, the Kanien’kéha:ka (Mohawk) of Kanehsatà:ke held a press conference in the Pines, the site of the so-called “Oka Crisis” that took place in the summer of 1990, to address the ongoing land fraud in their homelands. They gave Justin Trudeau and the Government of Canada until 31 August to intervene in the 300-year long land dispute and to stop all illegal development in Kanehsatà:ke. Earlier this summer, Sean Carleton sat down with Ellen Gabriel to talk about the recent developments Kanehsatà:ke.

As of 29 August, Trudeau is refusing to meet with the Mohawks and declare a temporary moratorium on development so that a peaceful resolution to ongoing tensions can be negotiated. This is unacceptable.

Canadian Dimension stands with the Kanien’kéha:ka (Mohawk) of Kanehsatà:ke and proudly publishes their most recent press release below.

Seské:ha - August 29, 2019

Ónka - Who: the Rotinonhseshá:ka ne Kanehsatà:ke (People of the Longhouse) under Kaianera’kó:wa (the Great Law of Peace); part of the Iroquois Confederacy

Ne Tekanikónhare – : Prime Minister Trudeau’s refusal to meet and to declare a Temporary Moratorium to stop Land Fraud sales and development in Kanehsatà:ke

People of the Longhouse Kanehsatà:ke are inviting Prime Minister Trudeau to a traditional Kanien’kehá:ka ceremony to burn sacred tobacco to begin our relationship anew, free of past injustice.

Today, the Canadian Government refused the People of the Longhouse of Kanehsatà:ke’s request for a temporary moratorium on development so that a peaceful solution can be negotiated; their refusal suggests they will continue colonial rule and their complicity in the ongoing dispossession of Indigenous lands.

It has been 9 days since the Rotinonhseshá:ka - People of the Longhouse of Kanehsatà:ke under Kaianera’kó:wa (the Iroquois Great Law of Peace), have issued our plea to the Government of Canada to halt the land fraud that continues the land dispossession for over 300 years on Homelands of Kanehsatà:ke.

Our primary plea to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is a short term moratorium on all development in Homelands in Kanehsatà:ke so that we may begin a process of discussions to resolve our long standing historical land issues. This is a prerequisite for building an atmosphere of peace and respect so that knowledgeable discussions can begin to take place.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to meet with us although an offer to meet was given by MP Marc Miller, Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous and Crown Relations, but rejected as there was no offer of solutions to the Kanehsatà:ke land conflict, no commitment to solutions, appearing to demonstrate the status quo of government to ignore and disrespect the un-extinguished rights of the Rotinonhseshá:ka ne Kanehsatà:ke.

Prime Minister Trudeau has had 4 years to make Kanehsatà:ke an example of genuine “reconciliation” and intervene in the land dispute. Instead he chose to not intervene through ignoring our requests and remained silent thereby endangering the security, health and well-being of the people of Kanehsatà:ke.

As we have stated over many decades and centuries, the Iroquois Confederacy have never extinguished, suspended or ceded any of our rights to our homelands.

The Great Law of Peace instructs all nations under the Tree of Peace, to extend our hands out in peace and friendship, for the health and well-being of present and future generations: so they may enjoy the land and care for it for the sake of future generations. Our ultimate goal is to create a legacy of peace; for without, peace, there is no hope without hope, there is no future.

We are hoping that we have all learned from the “1990 Oka Crisis” or Kanehsatà:ke Siege, and sincerely extend our hand in peace and friendship to Prime Minister Trudeau in hopes he will accept our invitation to burn sacred tobacco, bring our minds together and to start anew.


Rotinonhseshá:ka of Kanehsatà:ke under Kaianera’kó:wa Kanien’kehá:ka of the Iroquois Confederacy


      The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
       The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services
       Mr. Simon Marcil, Member of Parliament for Mirabel
       The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Official Opposition 
       Ms. Cathy McLeod, Official Opposition Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs 
       Mr. Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the New Democratic Party 
       Mr. Charlie Angus, New Democratic Party Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs
       Ms. Vicki Tauli Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues

Sean Carleton is a coordinating editor with Canadian Dimension.


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