Mohawks of Kanesatake appeal to province as Oka tries to take down check points

‘I’m sure they will survive one season deprived of tourism, otherwise our most vulnerable may not’

For those handling the checkpoints leading into the Mohawk Territory of Kanesatake – it was busy as usual.

Grand Chief Serge Simon is calling on the province of Quebec to support the road checks that are still in place – despite a legal order and mounting pressure from the Oka mayor.

Simon says a poll conducted among residents of both areas showed the majority support the checkpoints.

“It should be giving the mayor a bit of pause over his actions before he tries to intimidate or threaten legal action for any reason,” said Simon.

Simon is now taking his concerns right to Quebec City and the seat of the provincial government.

Oka Park, a nearby attraction that has been closed because of the pandemic, is set to reopen.

Simon said no one outside Oka was consulted.

In a letter to Premier Francois Legault, Simon appealed to the province to deal with the town.

“I’m sure they will survive one season deprived of tourism, otherwise our most vulnerable may not,” wrote Simon.

So far no response.

Over the weekend, Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillion alleged one Kanesatake road worker has a criminal record.

He told APTN News that Oka residents were uneasy about the civilian patrols.

He also aired a grievance with Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller.

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.