Akwesasne – On September 16th, 2013, the Standard Freeholder ran an article that used derogatory language towards the Mohawks of Akwesasne. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) received numerous complaints from community members and a request for Council to respond. In very clear terms, Council issued a Letter to the Editor that articulated the ignorance and offensive terms the paper chose to describe a resident of Kana:takon (Saint Regis), and our demand for the Standard Freeholder to issue an apology.
Although the Standard Freeholder never ran our Letter to the Editor in the subsequent paper, they did issue a rather small apology regarding the distasteful article that “may have caused some people to take offense to what was written.” Technically and legally they did issue an apology, however small, but the fact remains that they have fulfilled their legal requirement. Some members of Akwesasne have chosen to file their own complaints while others have suggested cancelling their subscription. MCA will leave it to individual community members to decide how they wish to address the issue.
(There have been requests for MCA to share the letter that was sent to the Standard Freeholder. That letter is attached, as well as the response from the Standard Freeholder.)
Letter to the Editor: Insulting Remarks On Police Blotter
On Monday, September 16th, the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder ran a police blotter that referred to a resident of Kana:takon (Saint Regis) as a “St. Regis drunk.” In the same article, they refer to a resident that was charged for impaired driving as a “South Glengarry man,” not, “A South Glengarry Drunk.” When they discuss a resident faced with a domestic criminal harassment charge in the same blotter, they refer to the suspect as “a 49-year-old city man,” not a “Cornwall woman-beater”. So, it is interesting as to why the resident of Kana:takon was referred to in such a negative manner. Especially when there are frequently derogatory comments and an informed and inaccurate stigma that oftentimes is attributed to Native Americans as “drunks.”
Although we are not condoning the actions of any resident that was acting inappropriately in public and could be seen as a nuisance, we are asking for the same respect that is given to residents outside of Akwesasne facing similar circumstances.
When we contacted the paper for comment, they responded that they should not have run the article the way it was presented. There were no indications of an apology of the negative manner that the article was run. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is formally asking for an apology on behalf of the residents of Akwesasne with assurance that this will not happen again.
Skennen, – Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell
Below is the police blotter that originally ran on September 16, 2013 in the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder:
Below is the apology that ran on September 18, 2013 by the Cornwall Standard-Freeholder: