Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Casino Topping Off Ceremony

 

LOCAL 440 Ironworkers from Akwesasne.

On Friday July 20 the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino added the last beam to its construction project. Many gathered to sign the beam, and the beam displayed several flags and a small pine tree. Mike Swamp, a retired iron worker from local 440 and an instrumental organizer of the Iron Worker’s Festival, explained that the tree is a tradition that signifies the building materials, because in the past they were mostly wood. He said that the topping off ceremony was also a tradition done for every building. It has been done for a hundred years and it is a sign that the building is almost complete. The crowd cheered several times as the beam was lifted high above and then attached.

Retirees.

After the ceremony a lunch was held inside with David Staddon as Master of Ceremony; several speeches followed. Chief Ron Lafrance said, “the workers were doing a heck of a job here, and you couldn’t ask for a better work force.” Chief LaFrance and Mike Swamp are both proud that whenever the Tribe is involved with a big project, they are committed to hiring local union iron workers.

Randy Hart said he was excited about the beautiful project and thanked everyone involved. Bill Sears commended the beautiful job, and Encompass Representative Ron James said, “I’ve done this a long time and this is one of the best groups I’ve ever been around, I appreciate the hard work.” Grand Chief Mike Mitchell was in attendance and he said on behalf of MCA we are happy for the tribe and the casino addition.

Mike Swamp congratulated the workers and said, “This is our trademark, it’s what we do best.” He said you could go to any home in Akwesasne and 9 times out of 10 someone or someone very close to them is a union iron worker, it is a big tradition.

 

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