Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe Observes Passing of Economic Development Director Christopher Thompson

 


AKWESASNE - The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe issued the following condolences in observance of the passing of Economic Development Director Christopher Thompson, whose life was celebrated by family and friends. In honor of Christopher, the tribal flag at the Tribe’s Administration Building was respectfully lowered to half-staff in recognition of contributions he made to the community of Akwesasne.

Christopher proudly served as the Director of the Office of Economic Development for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe from Ohiarí:ha/June 9, 2014 until his passing on Enniskó:wa/March 11, 2018. During that time, he was a driving force in building lasting relationships and economic partnerships that strengthened the local, neighboring and regional economies. In doing so, his passion helped improve the lives and touched the hearts of many.

Christopher continually promoted the need for increased collaboration in all the positions he served, including the January 2017 establishment of the Cross Border Partnership Program in coordination with his fiancé Lesley Lang, Executive Director for the Cornwall Futures Development Council. Together, the roundtable initiative provided an invaluable forum for municipalities to discuss community development and explore collaborative projects.

In May 2017, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo recognized Christopher’s efforts in promoting community development in his appointment to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council - one of ten regional councils created to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth. One collaborative project he became most fond of was the development of regional tourism, which contributed to the creation of the Tourism Office within the Office of Economic Development. His voice, as an advisory member of the Akwesasne Tourism Working Group, contributed to his nomination and election in September 2017 as the Eastern Region Representative for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

Christopher was always active networking with various economic agencies and served in other capacities on numerous boards and councils related to community development. He also served as Chair for the Economic Development and Entrepreneurship Committee of the United and Southern and Eastern Tribes (USET); Vice-Chair of the USET Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI); President of the Akwesasne Area Management Board (AAMB); and was a member of the St. Lawrence County Economic Development Study Advisory Board, the Community Neh-kanikonriio Council, the Strong Roots Board of Directors.

Christopher’s enthusiasm and leadership will be greatly missed at the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, as well as throughout the community of Akwesasne. He was an advocate for the Agriculture Program’s Mother Earth Eggs Pilot Project that taught entrepreneurship skills to Akwesasne youth. He was also a proud supporter of Akwesasne businesses and strong proponent of the #BuyLocal and #ShopSmall movement to encourage consumers to shop locally.

Many tribal programs closed in observance of his passing.

 

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