Independent Media

Email: [email protected]

Issue 01. Mohawk Land Claims

The below information and text has been written and compiled by individual Kanien’kehá:ka concerning the present day Mohawk Land Claim settlement (82-CV-0783).

Letter to ALL Kanien’kehá:ka- Akwesasne Land Claim Settlements

This letter concerns the present Akwesasne/Mohawk land claim settlement being negotiated by St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT), Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA), and the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs (MNCC), based on the 1796 Seven Nations of Canada “Treaty.” The court is directing all necessary approvals and agreements regarding the settlement to be submitted by Nov. 17th 2023; this is an urgent matter that needs your immediate attention. 


Two documents, a 2014 draft of the Memorandum of Understanding and a 2023 New York Power Authority (NYPA) Financial Report, contain clear extinguishment clauses in the present settlement that impact all Mohawk peoples (present and future)- “The St. Regis MOU would require an Act of Congress to forever extinguish all Mohawk land claims prior to such a settlement becoming effective.” In exchange for the relinquishment of all Mohawk land claims, NYPA is paying the “Tri-Council” 70 million dollars, which will be split 60% (SRMT), 20% (MCA) and 20% (MNCC). NYPA has specific interest in extinguishing land claims because they have significant hydropower facilities that sit on Barnhart Island. This extinguishment language is a pattern in numerous settlements- the elimination of past, present and future rights and claims for any and all people the tri-council claims to represent (including the future generations).


There are numerous issues not being addressed that are directly connected with this land claim, from the Tribe’s “land-into-trust” process that would require turning personal land to the US government to be allocated to the tribe in order to be tax exempt… to being confined on polluted lands and waters (while so many Akwesasnoron suffer from PCB-caused health issues such as various cancers, reproductive failure and mental health issues). None of these concerns have been addressed, clarified or included in discussions with the community. Yet, the land claim settlement continues to move forward. 


If the US government, SRMT and MCA affirm the standing of the 1796 fraudulent agreements made by individuals of the “Seven Nations,” it should not implicate all Kanien’kehá:ka or Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Land claims and settlements go against multiple elements of the Kaianerekowa (The Great Law of Peace, the foundational governance structure). This settlement is clearly a land sale that infringes upon the land rights of the faces yet to come. Certain individuals in MNCC are pushing the settlement agenda and disregarding clan-based consensus practices.The MNCC, who claim to be the “sovereign” governing body of the Longhouse People, are now willful subjects of the US court system and Tehonatonkoton (“They have alienated themselves”). Most concerning, in by participating in the court process to affirm the fraudulent Seven Nations “Treaty,” the MNCC (and thereby the “People of the Longhouse”) are agreeing to the 1796 Mohawk ceding of NYS lands- which impacts our inherent right to the over 9 million acres of traditional lands. 


Each Tri-Council party is depending on out-dated and contested forms of community consensus as their basis of authority to sign the current settlement agreement. Note: There are approximately 15,000 Akwesasne community members and 45,000 Kanien’kehá:ka that these parties claim to represent as a Tri-Council.

  1. SRMT relies on a referendum from Nov. 2004, which was passed with the vote of only 1,149 Tribal Members. 
  2. MCA also relies on a referendum from Nov. 2004.
  3. MNCC states to have reached consensus Jan. 2005. However, decision making in the longhouse requires consensus amongst all three clans of the Longhouse People across all communities. This has not happened. In addition, certain MNCC individuals say they were sanctioned by the Grand Council to partake in land claim settlements. Presently, the Grand Council claims to have never supported MNCC to participate in a settlement. 

It’s through these claims that the Tri-Council states they have the authority to sign with consent of “The People”. However, it is clear that the Tri-Council never received permission from the Akwesasne community or Kanien’kehá:ka as a whole to sign the settlement as it stands today. Tri-council leadership has failed to fulfill their duty to communicate with and take direction from the people. 

The Kanien’kehá:ka have been here long before there was a Seven Nations of Canada, and we have never ceded our lands. Demand accountability now!

Supporting Documentation