Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs Speak Out Against Seaway Expansion

Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs Speak Out Against Seaway Expansion

The Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs is the historical government of the Kahniakehaka (Mohawk) Nation formed as part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Council fire rests with the Kahniakehaka Nation, located at the Mohawk Territory in Akwesasne. The Kahniakehaka Nation of the Haudenosaunee is guided by the principles of the oral tradition such as those found in the Kaianerekowa (Great Law of Peace). Before the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs makes any decision, consideration must be held as to what effects this has on peace, the natural world, and the future generations.

The Chiefs, Clanmothers, Faithkeepers and the members of the Kahniakehaka Nation believe that our environment is the total integration of life’s forces and physical manifestation. It is our belief, based on the original instructions from the creator that harmony and equilibrium must be maintained within natural laws.We reiterate our connection to nature and our environment within our spiritual, cultural and social beliefs.We hold in the highest regard principles that respect and protect the integrity of our lands, water, air, wildlife, and human existence.We believe we must actively work to maintain good relationships with the natural world and recognize our responsibility to respect and cherish the gifts Mother Earth provides to us. This foresight and conviction to the welfare of our people in the environment is expressed when we speak of the “seven generations to come”.

The Kahniatarowanenne (St. Lawrence River) has always served as the bloodline of the Kahniakehaka at Akwesasne. The river is a major life source of the Kahniakehaka Nation. She provided us with a valuable food source and economy that has kept the community healthy. When the U.S. and Canadian governments decided to dredge the river in the mid part of the last century, we witnessed loss of lands, a loss of resources, and a loss of lifestyle that are irreplaceable to the Nation. We still grieve over these losses. The Seaway Project cut away areas of Butternut, Hickory, Maple, and Basswood trees. Dredge spoils piled along our shorelines remain barren and useless. The Seaway Authority infringed on our right to live in harmony with the natural world. The land, the rivers, indigenous wildlife, and the people have a special relationship.

Therefore, The Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, the traditional government of the Kahniakehaka Nation, strongly opposes any expansion of the Seaway; to deepen the river to 35 feet to accommodate ocean-going vessels to travel throughout the Great Lakes.We are committed to take a strong stance against this project because of the grave injustice that will be done to the environment and the communities along the rivers and Great Lakes and furthermore, we encourage other governments, and communities of people to stand up against this destruction as well. We also call for the restoration of damages done 50 years ago when the river was first dredged and the natural world disrupted by construction of the Seaway.

For more information, please contact the Mohawk Nation Office at 518-358-338l.

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.