Kahnawake issues 2nd eviction notice

Non-native residents in Kahnawake, Que., who have not yet responded to eviction notices asking them to leave the community will receive a second notice, CBC News has learned.

The non-natives were originally sent a notice last week ordering them to leave the Mohawk reserve southwest of Montreal.

The Mohawk council of Kahnawake said it still hasn't heard from about 12 of the 26 people who received original notices.

Out of the recipients the council has heard from: some have agreed to leave, while others have proven they don't live in Kahnawake but only spend limited time there.

The followup warning will go out in the coming days, the council said.

Those who don't respond to the second warning risk having their names publicly posted for the entire Mohawk community to see, the council said.

Until now, the names of those facing eviction haven't been made public.

Critics call ban racist

Critics have called the ban of non-natives in Kahnawake as racist.

But the band council governing the reserve defended its right to ask non-natives to leave the small community.

"While the media has had a field day with this story and some have used the word 'racist,' we will, once again, state the issue isn't about anyone's feelings towards non-natives, it is simply an issue of residency and our right to determine who can and cannot live on the 13,000 acres we call home," said Mohawk Chief Michael Delisle Jr. in a recording posted on the band website.

Many of those who received the eviction notices are in relationships with Mohawk residents and came to the council's attention after members of the community complained.

Delisle said the evictions are a matter of enforcing a long-standing custom and their purpose is to protect Mohawk blood-lines.

Critics, including Quebec Native Women president Ellen Gabriel — herself a Mohawk — said the decision contravenes a long-established First Nations tradition of welcoming non-natives to their communities.

In an open letter released this week, Gabriel said the evictions are nothing more than a Mohawk version of colonialism practised against natives for years.

Ignatieff calls for culture preservation, not expulsion

Federal politicians also weighed in on the planned evictions.

Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl said he's not comfortable with the decision but won't intervene.

Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said even if the eviction is legal, it's unacceptable.

"It's not the Canadian way," said Ignatieff. "I think it's possible to preserve one's autonomy and one's culture, whatever the group in Canada, without resorting to expulsion.

"I'm asking in a brotherly manner that the band council rethink this, because it is possible to preserve, and I'm in favour of that. It's possible to preserve one's culture and one's autonomy and ensure it is a lively culture without expelling people who have been part of the community for hundreds of years."

External Links

Mohawk Council of Kahnawake
Non-natives being evicted