Pair of high level meeting with federal and provincial ministers marks first for Kahnawá:ke  

By Marc Lalonde,

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A pair of official Mohawk Council of Kahnawake meetings with federal and provincial ministers last Friday marks the first time in the

Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer

said the meetings were important, and that headway was made, especially with the feds.

Efforts to place discussions on a nation-to-nation basis with both levels of government have been slower than local officials would have liked, Sky-Deer said, but that the relationship with the federal government appears to progressing the best.

“There is more optimism in terms of our relationship with Canada right now,” she said. “We’re trying to get that relationship formally re-started, but things have definitely been slower with the provincial government.”

In the fall, Sky-Deer met with Quebec Indigenous Affairs minister Ian Lafreniere in an effort to hammer out the relationship framework between the two governments, and on Friday, MCK Quebec-Kahnawake relations lead Mike Delisle did the same, except this time in person.

“I won’t say the relationship (with the Quebec government) is on stable footing, because it’s been up in the air for too long,” he said, but the meeting was “productive,” and that a follow-up meeting is expected in coming days with the government and special negotiator Geoff Kelley, he said. That meeting will be far more revelatory, Delisle said.

“We should have more information by the end of (yesterday) or today,” Delisle said.

On the agenda were the MOU of the relationship framework for the relationship between Quebec and Kahnawake, the Mercier Bridge, transport, the cannabis industry, and addressing feelings of being left to the side.

“Interaction with each other and engagement in the process were major topics of discussion as well,” Delisle said.

In the meeting with federal officials, Delisle, Ross Montour and Sky-Deer were all on hand, with the Seigneury of Sault St. Louis, gaming and other governmental issues on the agenda.

“I was pleased that (Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Marc) Miller was able to put such a high-level meeting together so quickly,” just two weeks after the request for such a meeting was made, Montour said. “I’d say it was a good meeting and we expect to have another one in about two weeks.”

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