The Pulse of the Community: Port of Entry dividing Cornwall & Akwesasne – by Don Smith

Some Akwesasne Residents and others who came to study the situation pose outside The People's Fire on Cornwall Island
Some Akwesasne residents and others who came to study the situation
stand in solidarity outside The People’s Fire on Cornwall Island

CFN -Upon completion of the new low-level bridge connecting Cornwall Ontario with Cornwall Island,where should the new Canadian Port of Entry be located, asks Atahontsison. This young Akwesasne resident, with the support of community leaders such as District Chief Brian David (far right in above photo), is seeking to read the pulse of the community.

The People's Fire on Cornwall Island
The People’s Fire on Cornwall Island

Saturday afternoon saw one in a series of opportunities for all affected parties to communicate a wide range of perspectives and insights. Adjacent to and just west of the abandoned Port of Entry on Cornwall Island is a rented, moderate size building known as The People’s Fire. The People’s Fire is a gathering place where two petitions were made available for Akwesasne residents and non-natives alike to have their preferences recorded.

District Chief Brian David signed both petitions
District Chief Brian David signed both petitions

Petition #1 Reads, in part:  “We the undersigned concerned citizens … urge the Canadian Government to work out an agreement whereas the current Canadian border [Port of Entry] is moved back to the original Port of Entry on Cornwall Island or it moves to the American Customs.”

Petition #2 Reads:  “We the undersigned do not want CBSA to come back to Kahwenoke [Cornwall Island.]

From inside The People’s Fire we chatted with Atahontsison about his goals concerning these petitions.  The building is currently without electricity, which is why we shot this clip in the natural sunlight streaming through a window. With the heat of a woodstove and the warmth of community members who greeted us, the place was plenty warm in spite of the brisk wind that day.

In our second video clip, we encounter differing points of view from two residents of Akwesasne (Stacey Boots a.k.a. Tehaweron  and Jose Verdugo) and a non-native couple (Pat and Jack White ) from the Cornwall area.

Atahontsison continues to invite dialogue among the people of Akwesasne as well as non-natives affected by the location of the Port of Entry, currently located in Cornwall, a checkpoint within Canada that is separating Canadians from other Canadians.

In our recent news report on the criss crossing borders that dissect Akwesasne, we included an informal survey for our viewers.  CFN viewers are still welcome to “cast your vote” on whether or not the Canadian Port of Entry would best serve the larger community by returning to Cornwall Island.

This is an ongoing issue and CFN anticipates bringing you additional coverage as events unfold.

Don Smith reports on a variety of topics, notably good news items as well as social justice issues.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)


1 Comment

  1. Don this is a good story and Jose and Stacy make some valid points but I would also like to know who said rent is paid on the building and to who collects it. You should expand on the issues Jose was talking about.

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