Akwesasne Hosts Meeting With Lieutenant Governor Of Ontario

Ohiari:ha /June 1, 2016

On Tuesday, May 31, 2016, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) welcomed the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell to Akwesasne. Council invited Her Honour to the territory so that she could learn more about the community, as this was her first visit to Akwesasne.

Grand Chief, Council and the MCA Environment staff welcomed the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell as she entered Kawehno:ke (Cornwall Island). After arriving at the Tri-District Elders Lodge, an Edge of the Woods ceremony was initiated for Her Honour, which highlighted the intent of her visit. During the ceremony, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell noted she would be open to learn about the community of Akwesasne with, “her eyes and ears open.”

Grand Chief Abram Benedict and representatives from the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs (MNCC) and Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) also provided words of welcome during this ceremony. Grand Chief Abram Benedict added that he was “very pleased that Her Honor came to the community to learn more about initiatives of Council and more about the people of Akwesasne.”

Following the ceremony, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell was able to have a luncheon with MCA Chiefs, Directors and staff; elders in the community; and special guests including the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, which is the traditional form of government in the community; and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which is the elected form of government in the southern (New York State) portion of Akwesasne.

Afterwards, this visit provided Council with the opportunity to highlight the growth and progression of the organization, as well as challenges in areas. In addition, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell was able to visit the AEDA Training Centre to meet students and teachers of the adult language program though AEDA and the Skawaitsira Program, which is an immersion program through the Ahkwesahsne Mohawk Board of Education.

The Day concluded with a visit to the Native North American Traveling College (NNATC) where the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell received a presentation from Darren Bonaparte, historian, regarding the Silver Covenant Chain. Afterwards, a short tour was provided of the museum and the day concluded with the NNATC Travel Troupe providing a song portion where Her Honour was able to experience some of Akwesasne’s culture and traditions. The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell noted “it has been a wonderful visit. The day started out meeting with the Mayor of Cornwall, and then with the opportunity to come to Akwesasne to meet with Grand Chief, Council, elders and members of the community.” Her Honour also added she was “provided with a wonderful feast, and then was given a chance to see some Environment, language and culture work”. This visit gave her with a “sense of a vibrant community and a wonderful feeling of the good relationship between the Mohawks of Akwesasne with the City of Cornwall and surrounding communities…and it is a wonderful lesson to learn for some of the rest of us.”

Grand Chief Benedict hopes that from this meeting, the MCA will illustrate how Akwesasne “is a model First Nation community and center of excellence in numerous areas.” He also added “this visit (by the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell) is another step forward we are taking in working with our partners to raise the positive profile of our community.”