The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) is proud to announce the appointment of Heather Phillips to the position of Executive Director, effective June 24, 2019.

The Executive Director is responsible for directing day-to-day operations of the organization, providing strategic leadership to staff, improving community and external relations, assisting in governance implementation, managing risk, and promoting employee satisfaction. The Executive Director also ensures that the short and long-term goals of the organization and community are fulfilled.

Heather Phillips was born and raised in Akwesasne.  Along with her husband Darcy, she has two grown daughters, Jordan and Taylor, a granddaughter Darcie, as well as a dog and two cats that keep her company.

Ms. Heather Phillips’ educational background includes: an Electronics Engineering Diploma from St. Lawrence College, an Honours Bachelor of Commerce degree with Laurentian University and the completion of the CGA-CPA designation. She is now completing her final course for a Masters of Business Administration. 

For the past 22 years, Ms. Phillips worked for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. She has maintained various roles in the organization including: IT Technician, IT Manager, Director of Housing, an assignment as the Acting Executive Director, and a term as an Assistant Comptroller.  Ms. Phillips will leave her position as the Assistant Comptroller in order to serve the Akwesasne community in the capacity of Executive Director.

Grand Chief Abram Benedict noted, “We are pleased to welcome Heather Phillips to the position of Executive Director for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne. As the MCA continues to grow and improve, Heather’s long-term commitment to serving our community and vast experience within our organization will surely prove to be an asset in her new role. We are excited to have an Akwesasronon take on this important role and look forward to the continued great work that Heather always delivers.”

Heather Phillips noted her enthusiasm for her new position. “I am very excited to begin this new journey, and am hopeful that I can bring positive change to the services of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.”

MCA is confident that our employees and community members will join us in welcoming Heather Phillips into her new role.


OFFICE OF THE CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICER Mohawk Council of Akwesasne By Election

Vanessa Adams nominated by: Tammy David seconded by Laura David Barnes

Lloyd Benedict Jr. nominated by: Jerome White seconded by Mary White

The deadline for candidates to accept their nomination is Wednesday May 1st 2019 on or before 12p.m. If needed a By Election will be held on Saturday June 1st 2019.

Leona Benedict/Chief Electoral Officer


The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has established an Akwesasne Legislative Commission to oversee, receive community input, and provide community guidance and direction in the development of Akwesasne Laws.

A Public Comment Session was held on October 18, 2018 to provide the Akwesasne community an opportunity to bring forward and/or identify any legislative needs. The Akwesasne Legislative Commission reviewed documentation relating to forty (40) proposed legislative development areas, including community input from the Public Comment Session, and the following are the ten (10) legislative development files selected for 2019 (listed alphabetically):

  • Akwesasne Cannabis Law
  • Akwesasne Child Welfare Law
  • Building Codes/Housing Law
  • Akwesasne Election Law – Amendment
  • Akwesasne Financial Administration Law
  • Akwesasne Land Law
  • Akwesasne Landlord Tenant Law
  • Prescription Drug/Controlled Substances/Akwesasne Drug Law – Amendment
  • Akwesasne Residency Law – Amendment
  • Akwesasne Water Law

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne provided the mandate to begin the process of enacting or amending the ten (10) legislative development files prioritized by the Akwesasne Legislative Commission for 2019. This community notice is being provided to inform the community that this work is being undertaken, and to provide an opportunity for the community to provide additional comments for the Akwesasne Legislative Commission to consider as they guide the development of legislation.

For a brief description of each legislative development file prioritized for 2019, visit the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne website: 

Once draft laws or amendments have been developed and approved for community consultation, the draft document will be brought to the community for review and feedback.

If you have any questions regarding this community notice or wish to submit comments or feedback to the Akwesasne Justice Department please send them to:

Mohawk Council of Akwesasne

Attn.: Justice Coordinator/Akwesasne Legislative Commission

PO Box 90
Akwesasne QC H0M 1A1
613-575-2250 ext. 2403


On Friday, February 22 in Kana:takon, events took place that have caused concern for the safety and well-being of community members. While we continue to respect every individual’s right to peacefully demonstrate, we cannot condone aggressive behaviour, or acts of vandalism. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s top priority is the safety of our community members and the well-being of Akwesasne as a whole. We ask that all Akwesasronon embrace ska’nikónri:io and use good minds as we work through these challenging and changing times.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne approached the forecasted legalization of cannabis by initiating the development phase of a regulatory framework for the cannabis industry in Akwesasne. While we remain confident a regulatory system that our community and all stakeholders can embrace will be established, we continue to face unique challenges throughout its development.

Under the existing Canadian law, each province is responsible for the licensing of the retail sale of cannabis, while the federal government is responsible for the licensing of growers. There are no provincially licensed sellers of cannabis in our community.

The development of our regulatory framework will take place under Akwesasne authority, and any licensed sellers in Akwesasne will be licensed by Akwesasne, and not by a province of Canada. Going forward, one of the priority requirements of our community regulatory system will be to obtain a safe, credible, and reputable supply of cannabis for our retail stores. The Mohawk Council is working to find a solution to this challenge, without compromising community integrity, or entering into any provincial system to do so.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne will continue working with community members to find solutions that will benefit, and not cause harm to, the community of Akwesasne.


The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) passed the Akwesasne Interim Cannabis Regulation (MCR 2018 #212), which governs the possession, use, cultivation, sale, and distribution of cannabis in Akwesasne under the jurisdiction of the MCA. The regulation includes the requirement for cannabis-related businesses to obtain a license from the MCA. The Akwesasne Interim Cannabis Regulation took effect on October 17, 2018 when cannabis was legalized in Canada.

The interim regulation was enacted to reassure community members that their health and safety is the top priority of the MCA.  The Mohawk Council is working diligently to ensure that an orderly transition from cannabis prohibition to a regulated cannabis market in Akwesasne will occur under Akwesasne Regulations.

Beginning on October 17, 2018, the unlicensed commercial production, distribution, possession or sale of cannabis continues to be prohibited in Akwesasne. The provisions of the Akwesasne Interim Cannabis Regulation will be enforced and violations can lead to prosecution under applicable legislation. At the current time, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has not issued any licenses under the Akwesasne Interim Cannabis Regulation.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne will continue to work diligently to ensure that an orderly transition occurs in the coming months and that a fulsome law enactment process takes place for the development of an Akwesasne Cannabis Law. The MCA is also working to ensure any licensed operations in Akwesasne have access to a safe, creditable supplier of cannabis.


File #: Respectively (A) Appellant (R) Respondent

  • 001-DSRR-12/18 (A) Scott Peters v (R ) MCA Chief Referendum Officer Leona Benedict
  • 002-DSRR-12/18 (A) Ronald M. Sunday v (R ) MCA Chief Referendum Officer Leona Benedict
  • 003-DSRR-12/18 (A) Steven Thompson v (R ) MCA Chief Referendum Officer Leona Benedict
  • 004-DSRR-12/18 (A) Virginia M. Johnson v (R ) MCA Chief Referendum Officer Leona Benedict
  • 005-DSRR-12/18 (A) Karla Ransom v (R ) MCA Chief Referendum Officer Leona Benedict

The Akwesasne Court received five (5) applications in regards to the Dundee Land Claim Settlement Agreement Special Referendum Regulation in accordance to the Regulation under section 19.1, on December 14, 2018 no later than 1:00 pm. In keeping with the Regulation Appeals section 19.1 under section 20.0 Procedure on Appeals 20.3 ‘The Akwesasne Court shall review the appeal, the reply, the response, if any and all supporting documents submitted under Article 19.0 within five (5) days of receipt from the Court Administrator to determine if the appeal meets the threshold to proceed to a full hearing.’

The Akwesasne Court Administrator, Cheryl Jacobs, noted that “Given the volume of documentation submitted with each application and the reply from the individually named respondents, our two sitting Akwesasne Court Justices have determined that as each file review has been concluded, they will make their determination, the review period identified in the Regulation will in effect go beyond that five day determination timeframe. The Court does have the authority to make the decision to effectively, review each file outside of the five day referendum regulation identified timeframe.” 

The Dundee Land Claim Settlement Agreement Special Referendum Regulation appeals are being reviewed individually at this time.  The community can be assured that the court is committed to providing a fair process and is working diligently to fulfill the court’s duties and responsibilities, while upholding and respecting the values of the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

Any full hearing determinations requires the Court Administration to administratively and effectively notify the parties involved.  As of Friday, January 25, 2019 there has been a determination reached on file #001-DSRR-12/18 Appellant Mr. Scott Peters v Respondent MCA Chief Referendum Officer Leona Benedict in which the Justices have determined the matter will proceed to a full hearing.

Further updates will be provided as each determination has been delivered to the Appellants and Respondent in the above noted cases.

Callout for Akwesasne Health Board Representatives

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s Department of Health is seeking three (3) community representatives to sit on the Akwesasne Health Board 2019-2020 FY; one (1) member from Kana:takon District; One (1) member from the Kawehno:ke District and One (1) member from the Tsi Snaihne District.

To qualify for appointment to the Akwesasne Advisory Health Board a person must:

  • Be a registered member of Akwesasne or immediately eligible to be registered as a member under the Akwesasne Membership code (does not include probationary members);
  • have knowledge of Mohawk cultures and traditions;
  • have good character, credibility and reputation in the Akwesasne community;
  • Not be convicted of an indictable offense in Canada or a felony in the United States within 5 years prior to their appointment;
  • Reside in the District for which they were appointed, unless otherwise approved by the Board;
  • Have an adequate educational background or experience in the health field and possess an interest in health issues. For the youth representative, an interest in health issues satisfies this criterion;
  • Must not be an employee of the Department of Health.

Honorarium set by MCR guidelines for appointed Akwesasne Health Board members.

If interested please submit a letter of interest, outlining your qualifications and interest to or by dropping off your letter at the Kanonhkwat’sheri:io Health Facility, Attention: Department of Health Administration.

For more information or to pick up a Terms of Reference package, please contact Department of Health Administration office at 613-575-2341 ext. 3300.

DEADLINE: January 31, 2019 before 5:00 p.m.


The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is currently filling vacant seats on the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Commission (AMPC), for the district of Kawehno:ke and Tsi Snaihne, with a term of three (3) years.

To qualify for appointment to the AMPC, a candidate must:

be enrolled as a member of Akwesasne pursuant to the Akwesasne Membership Code (does not include probationary members);
be twenty-one (21) years of age or older; possess good character, credibility and reputation in the Akwesasne community;
must not be a member of Council, except for the District Chief appointed under section 3.2;
not have a criminal record relating to an indictable offence in Canada or a felony in the United States upon taking oath of office and must consent to a Level 1 Criminal Record Check through the SRMT Police Service and the AMPS and shall, with their application provide a sworn declaration that they have not been convicted of offences described under subsection 3.4 (e) of the Charter;
not have been removed from office pursuant to Section 16 of the AMPC Charter within the past five (5) years;
reside in the District from which they are appointed;
and must not be an officer or civilian employee nor have an immediate family member who is an officer or civilian staff of the AMPS and in the case of former employees of the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service that person must have been removed for at least two (2) years prior to their appointment to the AMPC.

Interested candidates are required to state in letter form:

  • that they fulfill the above listed qualifications;
  • a brief description of your previous involvement in community affairs;
  • a summary of reasons you wish to become an Akwesasne Mohawk Police Commissioner;
  • and provide a Criminal Record Check from AMPS and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police.

In accordance with the Akwesasne Mohawk Policing Agreement and the AMPC Charter, all interested residents of Kawehno:ke and Tsi Snaihne are asked to submit completed package, no later than Thursday, January 31st, 2019.

Please submit packages to:
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne
Mohawk Government ATTN: Chelsea Francis
29 Third St, Akwesasne,
QC H0M 1A0
(G & L Building II in Kana:takon)


The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne invites the community to attend the following sessions to learn more of the amendments and offer comments on Bill S-3.

Bill S-3 legislation is an act to amend the Indian Act in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux versus Canada. The Bill (which deals with Indian registration & membership) received Royal Assent on December 12, 2017, and some parts took effect on December 22, 2017.

The amendments introduced addresses specific inequities identified in Descheneaux as well as other sex-based inequities. This included:

  • Flexibility in the types of evidence provided by applicants with an unknown or unstated parent, grandparent or other ancestor.

Bill S-3 also introduced provisions with a delayed implementation (since 2017), they include:

  • 1951 cut-off;
  • Second generation cut-off;
  • Issues related to adoption;
  • Continued federal role in determining Indian status.
  • Other areas open for discussion include categories in Indian registration, border crossing, impacts on language and culture, self-government, and the overall impacts of Bill S-3 will have on the community.


  • Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | A’nowara’ko:wa Arena (Turtle Room) | 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

For more information on the meetings, please contact Rachel Lazare (613-575-2250) or Dr. Dolly McDonald (

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