Akwesasne Bridge Crisis Update – Monday October 12, 2009 SEAWAY INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE – Cornwall Ontario – EDITORIAL

tentnbuild The trusses are up at the winter base being built  next to the CBSA post on the Island.   I stopped by early Saturday morning.   Everything was wet and mucky, but moving forward.

There was a turkey dinner served today, and a fundraiser as people are digging in and preparing for the winter.    There’s also been a media freeze which I can understand.  One person mentioned an internal house cleaning as various factions come to common ground.

Governing by consensus is never easy, and I was a bit saddened as I’d come to feel quite comfortable inside the tent and learned quite a bit.  I think if more people; especially politicians were exposed to what I was for awhile there’d be much more understanding between all parties.

Right now things are tense.   The MCA is suggesting a native customs crossing;  there’s supposed to be a plebiscite about the CBSA returning to the Island, but most people I’ve spoken with on the Island seem to be against that; with or without guns.   Meanwhile public opinion is turning against the residents of Akwesasne as time ticks by.

There also seem to be a faction in Akwesasne that doesn’t want non-native Media on the Island which I personally find very sad and odd as one of them allegedly isn’t even native?    A bit racist too, but you have to respect what people wish.

And I think that’s what this crisis will come down to.

If the people of Akwesasne really don’t want CBSA on the Island then it’s up to them and the Canadian Government (or the Queen’s rep) to negotiate the terms and conditions that residents of the Island have to observe regarding the temporary (or permanent) Border crossing.

It’s time to end pressure tactics and get this resolved before the snow sticks and it’s going to start falling this week.

Jamie Gilcig – Editor – The Cornwall Free News


  1. I’m Native myself and i’m 13 years old and I live in Akwesasne. It bugs me alot, right now there is currently a 3 hour lineup on the bridge. And it’s getting longer and longer as every second ticks by.
    CBSA’S are idiots. Natives have a right what to say goes on in our terriotory. And I agree with whoever else said that CBSA doesn’t need to come to the island, with or without guns.

    This is going completely off topic but the government had no right to send Indegneous people across the globe bodybags. We are just as important as the non-natives! IT’S RACIST.

    Ohkay back on Topic.
    Maybe instead of getting only you’re opinion, maybe get some natives opinions too. See what we have to say about this big mess. As if the public is turning against us. If I were non-native I would still give a damn about other cultures! And for your ending, I know for a fact that the problem will NOT be resolved by this week. I think it may last most of the Winter, maybe ever longer. You never know.

    P.S I’m very defensive against racism especially to my own culture, so if you think i’m being a little harsh, i’m not, it’s who I am.

  2. Author

    Cheyenne hopefully calmer heads will prevail and this will be resolved soon. I think people speaking with each other; listening, and respecting each other can lead to better understanding, and maybe even some solutions. It doesn’t mean we’re always going to agree, but people need to stand up for what they believe in.

    I’ve listened to a lot of natives on the Island and in the tent, and am always willing to have an open door here on this paper. And as someone that has dealt with racism in their own lives I can 100% understand how you feel.

    Do kids your age talk a lot about this at school? What would you do if you were in charge? What solutions do you think are needed to make things better?

    Why do you think CBSA are idiots? Most of them are young people doing their job. I know that there have been some issues with some CBSA people, but do you really think most are bad people?

  3. Just shut down this POE so the healing can begin.

  4. Author

    There is absolutely no reason to close down this Point of Entry. All that would do is cause hardship for all of the area communities and stall growth and economic recovery. What possible good could come out of that Glassbowl?

  5. If you close down the POE everybody gets what they want most. The residents of the island don’t have armed CBSA agents (or any agents for that matter) and the government has armed guards at all points of entry. It is about compromise. It is about getting what each side wants most.

  6. What a silly comment Glassbowl and shows a very punitive attitude. Nobody on the Island has suggested they want to be isolated and cut off.

    You sound like a child that when they don’t get what they want lash out and have a tantrum.

    Maybe you need a time out in the corner?

  7. What are you talking about?
    Where did I say that they would be isolated?
    I said the best way is to close the POE.
    You don’t believe in compromise?

  8. Author

    Glassbowl, I think that the impact of closing the point of entry for all those involved is much greater than if the government did their job and acted in good faith and resolving the issue. I can’t think if a single reason not to sit down and get a deal done. Can you?

  9. Sure I can think of a reason why they can’t get a deal done. The two positions are totally and completely imcompatible. Closing down the POE is the closest thing to middle ground. It all comes down to sovereignty. The islanders don’t want armed CBSA agents because it infringes on their sovereignty. The Canadian government wants armed CBSA agents to maintain its sovereignty. The natives want their sovereignty recognized, but are unwilling to do the same for the Canadian government. This is the direction we are heading. It doesn’t even mean that the US has to close its POE. Traffic can be limited to one direction only.

    How is the goverment not doing their job? Just because they aren’t caving into demands?

  10. I would take a closure of the port over the return of CBSA to The Island, Akwesasne will adapt. Do I think that is optimal? No. Many people do enjoy doing business in Cornwall, as do I, and hold no animosity towards the people there. I know a shut down of this POE would impact them greatly, probably more than Akwesasne in the long term. Also, a good many Akwesasro:non reside in Cornwall and would be cut off from the rest of our community without bridge access. A closure would also not bring closure, for we do have many longstanding land disputes within what is now the city of Cornwall and on the outskirts, as well as ongoing border issues.

    I would accept a new CBSA facilty on Brookdale Ave, and an acknowledgment of our treaty understanding: The border does not apply to Mohawks and is 10 feet above our heads. We flash our ID, the ID we standardized on, and we do not get harassed, no matter what we have with us. We are not asked our citizenship nor in which part of Akwesasne we reside. We are not searched and and are not detained.

    As for funding, I think taxation is a euphemism for theft and do not wish to be the recipient of stolen funds. Were Canada to accept what I have proposed for this section of the imaginary line, which is unlikely, I would not be upset if the tax derived funding that MCA receives was eliminated. This does not include monies from rents and leases.

  11. Author

    Glassbowl, while this may be a sovereignty issue that’s not on the table. And frankly it has nothing to do with the government punitively treating all area residents, not just those of Akwesasne when it comes to the conditions they are imposing at this crossing. There are precedents of other solutions which I believe they purposefully are not choosing.

    This to me and I’m sure many others is petty and punitive.

  12. How can they do anything else given the historical problems in the area?

    Some might say they don’t want the CBSA armed in order to give some organized crime elements the upper hand.

  13. so called canada has no place having cbsa on the island that is Kanienkehaka Land Not canadas. the kanienkehaka are part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Which we as a confederacy is a Nation in its self we are not canadians nor americans and how can we be when our nation was here first. Indigenous people should not have to stop and go thru these harassment points as i call them.

    so called canada needs to back off and not even try to put cbsa back on the island. i dont know how many times i have been harassed by them. the government needs to treat this as a Nation to nation issue.
    the border is there for non indigenous people not the Indigenous people.

    HONOR the two row wampum canada.

    O:nen ki wahi

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