TSIKARISTISERE/DUNDEE SPECIFIC LAND CLAIM REFERENDUM OFFICIALLY APPROVED
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has received official notification from the Akwesasne Court that the results of the October-December 2018 community referendum on the Tsikaristisere/Dundee Land Claim Settlement Agreement are valid.
In 2015, Canada provided the Mohawks of Akwesasne with a Land Claim Settlement Offer with an ability to regain 18,282 acres following Canada’s Additions to Reserve Process, as well as a monetary offer of $239,808,436.00. This offer was an attempt to resolve claims in the historically leased lands known as Tsikaristisere or ‘Dundee.’ In 2018, the final terms of the agreement were negotiated and brought forth to the community for a special referendum vote that included both online and ballot voting, which started on October 1, 2018 and concluded on December 8, 2018.
The referendum question asked,
“As a Voter of the Mohawks of Akwesasne, do you:
(a) approve the terms and conditions of the Tsikaristisere/Dundee Claim Settlement Agreement initialed by the negotiators for the Mohawks of Akwesasne and Canada, which settles and releases the Tsikaristisere/Dundee Claim; and
(b) authorize and direct the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne to execute all documents and do everything necessary to give effect to the Tsikaristisere/Dundee Claim Settlement Agreement?’
The total number of valid “yes” votes was: 1,749.
The total number of valid “no” votes was: 448.
Five appeals were filed to the Akwesasne Court from community members. The Akwesasne Court rendered a decision on four appeal submissions, stating that they did not meet the threshold for a full hearing under Section 20.3 of the Tsikaristisere/Dundee Claim Settlement Agreement Special Referendum Regulations.
The fifth appeal was heard by the Akwesasne Court Justices on February 7, 2019, and a decision was rendered regarding all five appeals on January 7, 2020 confirming that the referendum “was conducted in good faith,” and declared the referendum results valid.
The terms of the claim require the settlement funds to be used only for specific, financially sound and secure purposes, as defined in the agreement.
Council is currently consulting with financial managers in preparation for receiving the settlement, and a new series of educational meetings and informational campaigns will be conducted to gather the community’s feedback for the financial aspects of the claim. Decisions as to the use of the compensation amount will not be made without community input and consultation. The Tsikaristisere/Dundee Specific Land Claim was initially filed in Federal Court in 1981; negotiations with the Crown based upon mutually agreeable terms began in 2005.
For more information please contact Mohawk Government at 613-575-2348.