Office of Vital Statistics
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Office of Vital Statistics, is comprised of three components; Lands & Estates, Membership, and Leasing. The Office of Vital Statistics is responsible for maintaining correct information about our people and land. The administration of the Akwesasne Membership Board is part of our structure.
The Office of Vital Statistics provides services to the Community of Akwesasne, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and outside governments/agencies. As of December 31, 2011, there are approximately 11,466 people registered with the Mohawks of Akwesasne, 3,142 registered land holdings, and 257 leases of varying times and lengths. The Mohawk Territory of Akwesasne has a total land base of 11,711 acres.
To ensure the Kahniakehaka traditions, customs and beliefs are reflected in the areas, of Lands, Membership, and Estates.
To ensure the integrity of Vital Statistical information in the areas of Lands, Estates, and Membership.
To clearly identify and provide the resources needed to operate an efficient and productive Office of Vital Statistics.
To improve the working relationship between the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne and outside Governments in the areas of Lands, Membership, and Estates.
Tina Mitchell, A/Manager
Carol Lafrance, Membership Officer
Tina Mitchell, Leasing Officer
Karakwentha Lazore, Lands Manager
Sarahlee Skidders, Estates Facilitator
Courtney Angus, Administrative Assistant/Indian Registry Administrator
There is a distinct difference between Membership and Indian Registration in Akwesasne. The Community in accordance with the Akwesasne Membership Code determines membership. Indian Status is still determined by the Federal Government of Canada in accordance with the Indian Act.
The Mohawks of Akwesasne assumed control of its own Membership when the “Akwesasne Membership Code” was enacted on June 26, 1987. This Code determines who is a member and who will receive all the rights and benefits that members are entitled to. It states:”A person is a member of the Mohawk Community of Akwesasne if that person:
a) Was on the Membership Rolls on April 15, 1985 or is entitled to be on the rolls;
b) Is a child born of two members of the Mohawk Nation in Akwesasne, or is the “Adopted Child” of two members of the Mohawk Nation in Akwesasne;
c) Has been granted Membership according to the provisions of Part Two of the Akwesasne Membership Code;
The Akwesasne Membership Board has the authority to make decisions concerning Membership and Residency applications, which are received under the Membership Code. The Office of Vital Statistics does the administrative work of the Akwesasne Membership Code.
The Office of Vital Statistics also does the administrative work for status under the Indian Act, which includes issuing Certificates of Indian Status (status cards). Individuals can renew or replace their status cards by making an appointment with OVS. The Office of Vital Statistics also provides assistance with applications for the Machine Readable Zone (MRZ) Secure Certificate of Indian Status cards.
The Office of Vital Statistics documents births, marriages, divorces, paternity statements, and deaths. We are also consulted for verification of membership, population statistics, and residency permits.
Only Members of the Mohawks of Akwesasne are entitled to hold title to land. The Office of Vital Statistics, Land Component has documentation such as land transfers, certificates of possession, land sketches, and registered surveys. The Office of Vital Statistics can provide a historical chronology of events concerning a registered parcel of land. Community Members have the option to resolve land disputes through Mediation and Tribunal Hearings offered through the Akwesasne Justice Department.
The Office of Vital Statistics, Estates Component requires proof of death for a Member of the Mohawks of Akwesasne. The Office of Vital Statistics provides verification of membership, residency, list of heirs, beneficiaries, address of the deceased, land holdings and if applicable, an original Will. The Office of Vital Statistics assists Community Members to complete the necessary Estate Forms. As a service to the Community of Akwesasne, OVS conducts workshops and assists Community Members who wish to do a Last Will and Testament.
The Office of Vital Statistics strives to ensure that traditional beliefs and protocols are respected in the areas of Lands, Membership, and Estates.
In June 2003, the Office of Vital Statistics assumed responsibility for the Administration of the seasonal recreational cottage leases of lots located on 14 islands in Akwesasne. Lease terms are usually for 15 years with rent reviews conducted every three years. All rents charged are based on Fair Market rent which is determined by an independent appraiser on a tri-annual basis.
This office keeps up-to-date listings of cottages for sale, as well as vacant lots that are available to lease. Any individual interested in purchasing an existing cottage and assuming the remaining term of the lease or leasing a vacant lot, must be approved to lease prior to entering into lease. An Application to Lease must be completed for each party whose name will appear on the lease. It requires a criminal background check, a credit check, two character references, and a non-refundable $20.00 application fee. No incomplete applications will be considered. The process for approval takes approximately 4 – 6 weeks after receipt of a completed application. No money should exchange hands in any purchase until approval to lease has been granted.
Cornwall Island Administration (CIA) Building 3