MCA Warns Community of Potential Disruption on Kawehno:ke this Saturday

Ennisko:wa/March 19, 2014

TERRITORY OF AKWESASNE - The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has learned of potential plans by community members to claim ownership of the abandoned Canada Border Services Agency’s former Port of Entry building on Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island) this coming Saturday, March 22, 2014.

At this time, MCA's Emergency Measures Program is preparing for this event with public safety as it first priority.  Therefore, the community should prepare for a possible disruption to traffic and/or a possible bridge closure through Kawehno:ke . In an article published in the Two Row Times (Six Nations), Akwesasne community member Mr. Stacey Boots publicly stated his intentions to enter the CBSA building this Saturday.  Mr. Boots also shared this information via Facebook.  In an effort to receive information that can be passed on to the community, MCA scheduled a meeting with Mr. Boots, which he later cancelled.  MCA is continuing to reach out to him for confirmation of his plans and additional information. 

The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) has a policy to close down the Three Nations Bridge Crossing should any situation put the travelling public at risk.  If Mr. Boots and any others involved have plans to impede traffic or create a non-peaceful disturbance, they are obligated to provide ample notification to the public.  Individuals who illegally enter the building will be subject to criminal charges. In addition, the building has been deemed unsafe and unsanitary due to lack of plumbing and asbestos contamination.  MCA has been in contact with Public Works, the owners of the building (leased to CBSA), to determine its status and condition.  The building should be considered a health risk.

This Saturday many events are taking place in and around the community, from activities at our homes for the elderly to lacrosse tryouts both in Cornwall and on Kawehno:ke. Painting classes, mukluk making, bingo and hockey practices are just some of the other planned activities in Akwesasne on Saturday.  Community members involved in the planning of this event to claim the abandoned port are urged to be considerate of their neighbors and the daily lives of Akwesasne people and those in the surrounding communities.  It's imperative that our most vulnerable, such as our elders and children, are able to access the walk-in clinics in Kawehno:ke and Kana:takon (St. Regis) when and where the need arises.

The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will be activated on Saturday with headquarters at the Peace Tree Trade Centre. MCA staff will operate the center and be available should any activity take place or in the event of a bridge closure.  MCA is also working with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe to make emergency plans.

Ambulance and fire personnel will be on stand-by to ensure the safety and security of Kawehno:ke should any event take place this Saturday.   

When activated, the MCA EOC can be reached by calling (613) 575-5005, Ext. #3700.