In recognition of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Akwesasne Rights and Research Office (ARRO) would like to honour the late Salli M. K. Benedict. Salli started ARRO at the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne in 1991, and it is because of her hard work and commitment that our community’s land claims are being negotiated and settled today.  

During her career, Salli worked for Parks Canada and served as Director at the Native North American Traveling College before transitioning to Salmon River Central School, where she taught in the Title 4 Culture Program. After leaving Salmon River, she went to work at the Akwesasne Museum and was instrumental in the creation of the Akwesasne Communications Society, of which she was a founding member. Salli worked at CKON Radio at the beginning, securing the funding needed for the Akwesasne Communications Society’s current building. She was proud to be honoured as the Educator and Writer in Residence in the community of Iqaluit, Baffin Island, Nunavut (formerly the Northwest Territories). Salli also served as an editor and writer for Akwesasne Notes and Indian Time community newspapers. Salli co-founded ARRO to dedicate herself to advancing our inherent rights, land claims research, and negotiations as way of ensuring our community was educated on all historical aspects that may affect them.  

Not only did Salli have an amazing career working on behalf of her community, but she was also an illustrator of children’s books, a published poet and author, as well as having been cited and acknowledged in many books, articles and documents regarding Haudenosaunee and Native American culture.  

Salli had a passion for history, archaeology, anthropology, and her community, which was evident through all her career endeavours. Most of all, Salli loved her family and the many, many friends she made throughout her life.  She served as a mentor and an inspiration to many Akwesasronon who have carried forth her legacy in our community and beyond. We celebrate Salli’s achievements and resilience and the countless hours she spent towards the advancement of the social, economic, and overall betterment of the Akwesasne community.