“The Environment Program will strive to protect and enhance the natural environment of Akwesasne”

The Environment Program within the Department of Tehotiiennawakon strives to achieve Sken:nen for all of creation by undertaking programs, projects and services that respect, protect and preserve the natural world.

Mission Statement

Humans were given the responsibility to speak for all life our Mother Earth sus-tains. As the Environment Program, we are further charged with gathering and sharing knowledge with Akwesasro:non to ensure that all life is respected, protect-ed, and preserved for the generations to come.


The Environment Program will use the Ohen:ton Karihwateh:kwen (The Words That Come Before All Else) as our Environmental framework and Sken:nen(Peace), Kasatstensera (Power) and Ka’nikonriio (Good Mind) as our guiding principles.

Environment Programs

  • Contaminants
  • Forestry
  • Environmental Education
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Fisheries
  • GIS Services
  • Emergency Measures

Special Projects

  • Agricultural advisement
  • Species at Risk
  • Invasive species control
  • Thompson Island Youth & Elders Camp
  • Naturalized Knowledge practices
  • Minnow Habitat Assessment & Conservation

Environmental History

Since the beginning of European arrival in North America, non-natives assumed everything belonged to them. This view promoted the theft and destruction of autonomous indigenous communities’ resources, which continues today.

Akwesasne was heavily impacted by environmental violence from outside communities. Akwesasne’s lands and waterways were affected, beginning in 1834 with the construction of the Beau-harnois Dam. Dams and locks flooded Akwesasne’s lands and changed the dynam-ics of the ecosystems. In later years, the Seaway installed bridg-es, more dams and eventually toll booths, which involved digging and dredging that lasted from 1949 to 1959. The Mohawk Council of Chiefs warned that these ac-tivities would cause negative environmen-tal impacts.

The resources of Akwesasne—land, trees, plants, medicines and culturally

significant sites were lost due to flooding, polluting and dredging. Due to the Seaway, enormous ships transported goods and services and intro-duced invasive species from all over the world, such as plants, fish and insects.

There were so many environmen-tal concerns that by 1972 there needed to be a specific body of people who were knowl-edgeable about as many environmental issues as possible. As a result, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne developed an Environment Department in 1976.

Some of the environmental con-cerns and issues that have been addressed by the Department of Environment include:

  • Contaminants, such as Mirex, mercury, PCBs, and fluoride and their effects on the environment;
  • St. Lawrence fish samples, animal welfare, Fisheries, and forestry;
  • Invasive species, such as trees, plants, fish and animals and their effects on native species.
  • Maintenance activities for fruit trees, seeds, bread making, corn washing, basket making, and youth experimental planting;
  • Records are made and main-tained regarding indigenous species of flora and fauna.

Ionwa’nikonri:io - Thompson Island Youth Camp

  • Council owned and operated since 1997
  • Over 400 youth participate annually
  • Culturally relevant programming
  • Life Skills on the Land
  • Medicine Trail Walks
  • Traditional Teachings
  • Traditional Songs and Dances

Culturally Based Environmental Assessments

  • Developed from Traditional Teachings - Ohen:ton Karihwahteh:kwen (The Words That Come Before All Else)
  • 3 Mohawk Environmental Assessment Officers
  • 30 environmental assessments conducted annually
  • Harmonized environmental assessment completed:
  • Three Nations Bridge Crossing North Channel Bridge
  • Port of Johnstown Redevelopment Project

Emergency Measures Goal

To assure the territory of Akwesasne is prepared to minimize threats to life, health, safety and environment in the event of uncontrolled releases of hazardous materials and natural disasters through exercises, training and public awareness

2016 Environmental Department Staff

  • Jim Ransom, Tehotiienawakon Director
  • Peggy Pyke-Thompson, Program Manager
  • Henry Lickers, Environmental Science Officer
  • Bob Stevenson, Thompson Island Camp Coordinator
  • Scott Peters, Environmental Assessment Officer
  • Waylon Cook, Environmental Assessment Officer/ Thompson Island Camp Coordinator
  • Curtis Lazore, Environmental Assessment Officer
  • Owen Mitchell, Fish Project Coordinator / Fish Technician
  • Evan Thompson, GIS Technician
  • Regina Jacobs, Emergency Measures Officer
  • Environmental Interns


For Contect Information

MCA Department of Environment Address:
PO Box 90, Akwesasne, QC H0M 1A0 or
P.O. Box 489, Akwesasne, NY 13655
Physical: 101 Tewasateni Road, Akwesasne, ON K6H 5R7


Phone: (613) 575-2250 Ext. 1038
Fax: (613) 938-6760

E-mail: peggy.pyke@akwesasne.ca



Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment