Indian Time - A Voice from the Eastern Door

Petitions Circulating Akwesasne Cause Quite the Controversy


Eleven petitions are circulating Akwesasne in an effort to remove the elected council members of MCA.

By: Jaclyn Hall

Many community members in Akwesasne have become more active ever since the close of the referendum for the Dundee Settlement Agreement. One community member, Marlon Johnson, decided to put together petitions for each current MCA district chief. Each petition has the name of the district chief and how many signatures it needs to remove that particular council member. According to Johnson, he is going by MCA's rules and the MCA election law which states there needs to be one more signature than the number of people that voted that district chief in. The turning point for many were the raids on AK420 and the Wildflower Dispensary. And many community members witnessed how simple it is to remove a district chief; becoming obvious that community members could do it once again, times twelve.

According to statements made at the meeting, the Justice Department informed community members that the Election Law does not allow for all of the MCA district chiefs to be removed at the same time. Many at the meeting asked where in the Election Law does it state that all MCA District Chiefs and Grand Chief cannot be removed at the same time and they are awaiting clarification from the Justice Department. Some voiced their concern over forcing the community to pick and choose who should be removed from council, instead of cleaning house and starting fresh, and for those at the Peoples Meeting – this does not sit well with many who have gotten on board with the petitions.

During the most recent Akwesasne Peoples Meeting on Wednesday, February 20, 2019, community members wanted to know more about the petitions. One of the more important questions: what will the community do if the petitions are successful? Community members present at the meeting gave their input and ideas on how they would like to see change in the MCA Council. While many still believe in the system that was imposed on Akwesasne, several individuals are suggesting ideas that would seem drastic to most. As one community member put it, 'MCA is a train and its moving fast, we need to be able to slow it down', referring mostly to all the land deals, and new laws being implemented.

Some voiced their concerns that everything seems to be happening at once, distracting active community members from what they were previously focused on. While others see it as slowing down the 'train' and others still see it as an opportunity to remove themselves from the 'train' completely; suggesting community members have a desire to get back to our original instructions and government. During the meeting, it was suggested that the clan system needs to be put in place, even within the MCA Chiefs. One person suggested there should one representative from each clan, simulating the way our traditional government is conducted. Community members present at the meeting felt that doing so would be a small step in the right direction ultimately bringing back the values and ideas our leaders and representatives once had. Whether or not the petitions are a success, the effect of it will be felt by many.


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