Kahnawake demonstrators remain at blockade as Wet’suwet’en Nation weighs proposed agreement

Canadian Pacific (CP) rail employees were allowed to inspect tracks at a blockade on Kahnawake Mohawk Territory on Wednesday, but the Mohawk demonstrators are holding their ground due to some lingering concerns

“It’s a big decision to decide to take down the barricade or not, and they want to make sure they have everything before they have that decision,” said Kenneth Deer, secretary for the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake.

The Mohawks await word from Wet’suwet’en territory, where the hereditary chiefs have agreed to a “draft arrangement” with provincial and federal governments.

Deer told reporters on Sunday that the Mohawks were unclear about some of the terms of that agreement as well as the status of the pipeline.

The Kahnawake blockade has stood for weeks in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs that oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The Mohawks have been served an injunction but the local police force, the Kahnawake Peacekeepers, refuse to enforce it.

(A CP Rail truck backs in at a rail blockade on Kahnawake Mohawk Territory. Photo: Lindsay Richardson/APTN)

A Longhouse meeting brought community members, band council chiefs, and traditional government together. Media were not allowed in, and the meeting yielded no significant changes.

Throughout the last month, Quebecers have expressed frustration about the blockades, but support for Indigenous causes has not wavered, according to a poll conducted by the Canadian Press.

The poll was conducted between Feb. 8 and March 2 and found that 60 per cent of Quebec respondents felt that First Nations land claims were legitimate compared with just 49 per cent in Alberta. Nationally but excluding respondents in Quebec, 59 per cent felt First Nations demands were valid.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent of Quebecers felt that Ottawa should settle its differences with First Nations, a rate of response 10 points higher than the national average.

The online survey polled 1,540 respondents, 404 of them from Quebec and cannot be assigned a margin or error.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau continues to call for patience.

Addressing media in St. Jerome, Que., on Wednesday, he said that calling on the army to intervene is not something the Canadian government is currently considering.

He was responding to comments by the president of the Association of Provincial Police Officers of Quebec, Pierre Veilleux.

Veilleux recommended Premier Francois Legault call upon the army if a police intervention were to take place to dismantle the Kahnawake railway barricade.

-With files from the Canadian Press

Reporter / Montreal

Lindsay was born and raised on the unceded territory of Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), and joined APTN News as a Quebec correspondent in 2019. While in university, she collaborated on a multiplatform project about the revitalization of the Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) language to commemorate the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Before APTN Lindsay worked at the Eastern Door, CTV Montreal and the Montreal Gazette.