The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is pleased to announce that Cactus Cook Sunday has been named the new director of the Akwesasne Justice Department. Ms. Sunday has been acting in the position since the retirement of longtime director Joyce King earlier this year.  


The Akwesasne Justice Department oversees justice administration, including law development, as well as the Akwesasne Court and Akwesasne Community Justice Program.  


Ms. Sunday brings nearly 20 years of experience at MCA alone, having joined the organization as a researcher with the Akwesasne Rights & Research Office (ARRO) in 2005.  She then served as Communications Manager briefly before becoming the ARRO manager in 2011 and serving in that role for 12 years.  


“The extensive experience Cactus has researching and defending the rights of Akwesasronon will serve the community well as she takes on this new role in justice,” said Grand Chief Abram Benedict. “Her dedicated work in land claims and other legal pursuits made her a strong candidate and we are confident she will continue to advocate passionately for the community’s best interests.” 


Ms. Sunday holds a Master’s degree in Education from St. Lawrence University, and a Bachelor’s degree (with honors) in Literature from the University of Ottawa. 


Along with her experience at MCA, she has also sat as representative on the National Claims Research Directors of Canada, and she completed a seminar on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples under Dr. Elsa Stamatopoulou – one of the original drafters and Director of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University. 


Ms. Sunday’s priorities with the Akwesasne Justice Department include working toward the full recognition and administration the Akwesasne Justice system, including the Akwesasne Court and Akwesasne laws, and to continue the efforts of those who preceded her in the pursuit of self-government and preservation of our inherent rights.