By Danielle Rochette
APTN National News
MONTREAL--A grassroots group mailed eviction notices to about 40 people living in Kahnawake as part of a campaign to drive out mixed-couples from homes in the community.
Jeremiah Johnson, one of the spokespeople for the group, said it was the will of the people to enforce the Kahnawake membership law which states that non-Indigenous people are not permitted to live within the territory of Kahnawake.
Johnson said they should leave the territory by May 1, 2015.
Johnson’s group also held a rally in the community Tuesday in support of the evictions.
Kahnawake’s membership law was enacted in 1981 and put a moratorium on mixed marriages. It can be boiled down to the slogan, “if you marry out, you stay out.”
Kahnawake’s council supports Johnson’s group.
“People have the right to demonstrate,” said Grand Chief Michael Ahrihron Delisle Jr.
The band council has also been holding forums to open up dialogue and discussions on the issue that has caused divisions within Kahnawake.
Cheryl Diabo, a spokesperson for Skawatsi:rak (one family) group, said the membership law is breaking up families in Kahnawake and causing an extreme amount of anxiety and turmoil. She said she hoped alternative solutions such as residency permit options could be included as amendments to the law.
This past August, a Mohawk teacher and mother of two was forced by Johnson’s group to stop building a new house in Kahnawake because her partner wasn’t Mohawk.
In 2010, the membership burst to the surface when the band council moved to evict thirty non-Indigenous people living in the community.
Kahnawake sits just south of Montreal.