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Kahniakenhaka Mohawk Nation Council vs. the St. Regis Council of Akwesasne Mohawk

Updated on January 15, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

A descendant of Mohawk Nation and trained in anthropology, Patty has researched and reported on indigenous peoples for over four decades.

Traditional Longhouse replica in New York State
Traditional Longhouse replica in New York State | Source

Un-Recognized Mohawk Bands in America

The official, long-standing indigenous Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs (MNCC) represents the Sovereign Nation of the Mohawk (separate from the U.S. Federal Government) that still exists in America. The nation is called Kahniakenhaka, in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Six Nations. All these spellings are as they wish them to be, as indicated on their official website at

The Haudenosaunee peoples include the Cayuga, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. They have always functioned as a democracy, for many centuries longer than Canada or the United States have been nations.

The Mohawk Council of Chiefs existed for hundreds of years before the U,S. Federal Government imposed its 1892 St. Regis Reservation and Tribal Council of Chiefs (SRMT).

Seal of the Haudenosaunee. The people around the outside ring are the 50 tribal chiefs, men and women.
Seal of the Haudenosaunee. The people around the outside ring are the 50 tribal chiefs, men and women. | Source
The Mohawk Nation, Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, Rooseveltown NY 13683:
Massena, NY 13683, USA

get directions

Mail pickup in Rooseveltown NY

St. Regis Mohawk Reserve:
St Regis Mohawk Tribe, Hogansburg, NY 13655-3204, USA

get directions

Kahnawake Mohawk Territory in Quebec:
Quebec J0L 1B0, Canada

get directions

Only the St. Regis group became officially recognized in 1972 (even though it did not meet U.S. federal guidelines) and eligible for educational grants and other benefits given to recognized Native American groups. This group is a constitutional republic, as is the USA.

The federal government refuses to recognize the longer-standing, larger Kahniakenhaka government in New York State. This older group maintains that their democratic government is a gift from God and that America prefers a man-made substitute in the below-federal-standards government imposed on the St.Regis structure.

Canadian and New York Mohawk Reserve


Three Indigenous Councils

The separate headquarters of two Mohawk governments in New York State are close to the New York - Ontario international border, as shown on the map above.

The website of the larger, traditional goup is understated and professional looking. The website of the smaller St. Regis group is looser, multicolor, with a different seal, and splashy ads for casinos and bingo that shout, "The North Country's Favorite Playground" and "Where the Winning Never Stops."

The second website is a commercial web page. An IGA store on the commercial site advertises that it is tax-free to consumers, offers Senior discounts, and holds double-coupon sales. The grocery prices are comparable to those of Ohio Meijer stores at this moment. And there is a Beer Special! -- Interestingly, the larger American group of Mohawk speak against all drugs and alcohol as unwelcome mind-changers.

The Third Group

A third Mohawk group is located in Ontario and Quebec, Canada. Some wikis have incorrectly named it a non-partisan participatory democracy, although the non-native mainstream media and the Mohawk Nation News indicate that it is perhaps a large political group.

This entity is called The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) and is larger than the two groups on the American side of the reserve. Its Blog and website express the traditions of the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs headquartered in Hogansburg/Rooseveltown.

The St. Regis website is the opposite in flavor. The MCA and the MNN News site have political impact. The MNCC and MCA together seem to uphold the most ancient traditional values, as opposed to the smaller St. Regis band of America that advertises gambling and groceries; however, both businesses provide jobs.

This all is a lot of politics for a small group of people living on 14,000 acres (22 square miles) of land.

Dancers from Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake who performed during a lacrosse tournament in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Arthur, son of Queen Victoria; Montreal.
Dancers from Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake who performed during a lacrosse tournament in the presence of H.R.H. Prince Arthur, son of Queen Victoria; Montreal. | Source

Our communities are deliberately being made unavailable, unlivable and mismanaged to create weakness, hunger and thirst. Fierce restrictions, cutbacks, no jobs and no economy are being imposed to create hopelessness.

Resettlement is part of the strategy. Many of our people already have been removed to concentration-extermination camp conditions: Mohawk to Wahta, Innu to Labrador and Inuit to the high Arctic. Curfews and passes were imposed. Food and necessities were rationed. Many died.

— MNN Blog of Canadian First Nations' Mohawk
  • MNN - Mohawk Nation News: Mohawk Nation News service began during the Mohawk/Oka crisis of 1990 by providing updates on the resistance. MNN grew to become an internationally recognized news service providing independent indigenous commentary on Kanion'ke:Haka/Mohawk land, leg

Political Cartoon by Famous Indian Chronicler George Catlin

Wi-jun-jon (The Light), Chief's Son, going to Washington, DC, and returning home in 1832, influenced by the white government.
Wi-jun-jon (The Light), Chief's Son, going to Washington, DC, and returning home in 1832, influenced by the white government. | Source

Remembrance of Buried Conflicts

Since Ohio is close to Ontario and New York, our newspapers were filled with surprising and intriguing images in the late 1990s, 1995 - 1998, from the St. Regis Reserve. A crackdown on illicit drug use was in operation and images showed unsettling physical conflicts between the St. Regis Tribal Police and Mohawk members of the New York State Police. These included male and female officers on both sides in hand-to-hand conflicts. eventually, many drug arrests were made among tribal members, while many Mohawks moved across the Canadian Border into Ontario and Quebec.

  • In 2000, St. Regis Reserve had about 5,600 Mohawks.
  • In 2010, St. Regis Reserve had only 3,320 Mohawks, a 40.7% decrease. Evidence suggests that Mohawk members migrated north across the border.

The traditional group may still outnumber the US-recognized group, but both are down to very few, making them an endangered Indigenous People. The traditional group in the 2010s is concerned about US investigations throughout the reservation in search of smuggling operations of alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and illegal immigrants. The MNCC has stated that these issues involve all of the US-Canadian border, but that they are being singled out to take the blame. All of the Mohawks are free to travel back and forth across the international border that lies in the middle of their reservation (see the Mohawk Nation News links above).

In the late 1990s, our newspapers here told us that Mohawks were leaving the US side of the reservation and crossing over to the Ontario-Quebec side in order to escape the turmoil created by drug investigations. There is some suggestion that in the 2010s, remaining members of the traditional group may feel that authorities in New York are attempting to force the rest of them over the border as well, with persistent investigations into smuggling that may or may not be operating on the reservation.

It is the traditional group's Lacrosse players who are members of the Iroquois Nationals team that were not able to attend the World Lacrosse Championships of 2010, because of Tribal passport issues (see links above).

This flag includes the symbol of the Hiawatha Belt, a wampum belt of the original Five- and Six Nation Confederacy. The Peace Tree is in the center.
This flag includes the symbol of the Hiawatha Belt, a wampum belt of the original Five- and Six Nation Confederacy. The Peace Tree is in the center.


  • Mohawk Council of Kahnaw:ke: The Mohawk Council of Kahnaw:ke is part of the Iroquois Caucus, made up of different Elected governments throughout the Confederacy.
  • The Eastern Door: The Eastern Door serves the Mohawks of Kahnawake regardless of birth, sex, age, language, politics or religion. The paper and website strive to be a factual, balanced, authoritative source of information with access to all segments of the community.
  • The History of Kahnaw:ke: The Mohawks of Kahnaw:ke (Kahnawker:non) are an ancient people with a vibrant culture and rich history. We are one of the eight communities that make up the Mohawk (Kanien:keha'ka) Nation.
  • World People's Blog Kenneth Deer Mohawk Nation, Canada

© 2011 Patty Inglish MS


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    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from Central Oregon

      Well written as usual, thank you for writing on this meaningful topic. Thanks for spreading awareness of how well the Tribes have done without interference from those who would "manage" them as a People.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Immartin - without hindrance is true; only in New York, they are helped too much by being driven northward across the line (threats of drug related searches, etc.) They're tired of it, so they go.

      Hello, hello -- I'll post more if anything else comes to light. I really need to go and visit.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Aren't people fools? They could have learned so much from all these people and especially in a way of life and definitely would have prospered better. These people have so much wisdom and it is naturally wisdom. Thank you, Patty, for giving me a treat with your wonderful hub. I hope there are more.

    • lmmartin profile image


      8 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      According to the Jay Treaty of 1774, still in effect, all members of the First Nations are entitled to cross the border without hindrance in recognition of the fact their own nations have nothing to do with later imposed boundaries. So in theory (if not necessarily practice) movement between the two sides of this nation should be unhindered. I know this is so of the Dakota/Ojibway of Manitoba/North Dakota. One would think the same treaty, federally ratified by both governments would be in effect. Of course, neither government has what one would call a sterling reputation in dealing with the First Nations, so .... Interesting.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      All this is intriguing, given the small numbers of Mohaek on the American side. It is difficult to find information about the political activites and pressures; even the map was buried in the middle of an EPA document. Some might wonder if there is oil or gold on the property...?

    • chspublish profile image


      8 years ago from Ireland

      A great hub, full of information to learn about these groups in the US and Canada. The problem and difficulty these groups experience was something was unknown tp me, as living in another country it's not something the world media picks up on. I will defifintely watch out for further information from now on. I wonder what it will take for their sovereignty to be recognised on a world scale. Great hub.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, this is fascinating! You've opened my eyes to a world to which I was completely unaware. Excellent Hub.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      8 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      I'm glad you said that, because it is sometimes easy to be inflammatory in these matters. I think the MNCC may move completely north of the border eventually. Before I make up my mind completely about St. Regis, I need to go there and have a look.

      Thanks for your great comments on so many Hubber's threads.

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      8 years ago

      Continued blessings to you Patty for shedding light on deeply meaningful topics so many of us in other parts of the country have little clue about!

      I clearly had no idea our loving and gifted indigenous peoples were still being controlled and unfairly persecuted by our own government!

      Thank you for bringing these issues to light in a fair, balanced and non-inflammatory way, although a way that will get much needed attention!

      You are indeed a light-worker in the world! Blessings dear one! EarthAngel!


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