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Kahnawa:ke to end decade-long hold on applications from 'mixed race' children

The new law in effect will be enacted on July 3rd and applications are to be accepted likely in the fall. Website photo.

The new law in effect will be enacted on July 3rd and applications are to be accepted likely in the fall.

After more than ten years, the Mohawk community of Kahnawa:ke is amending a membership law that stalled mixed-race applicants.

Angelika Delormier -- a 25-year-old who has lived in the Kanien'kehá:ka community just south of Montreal her entire life -- and whose mother is from Kahnawake and her father is from Poland. Told the CBC, "It means the world."

Delormier told the CBC she has been waiting seven years to apply to become an official member of Kahnawake. "Since I was a kid, I've felt out of place in the world of politics because I never had a voice," said Delormier.

Although Delormier has federal status, she's not enrolled on the Kahnawake Kanien'kehá:ka registry. She is unable to vote in band council elections, hold office, participate in legislative hearings, receive funding for post-secondary education, or serve as a board member for several community organizations.

"If I can be on the KKR, that means I can finally be an integral part of making decisions about the place I live and called home my entire life," said Delormier.

Since 1984, Kahnawa:ke has determined its own membership outside of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, (the Federal Identity Program in Canada.)

The Canadian federal government has 11,023 people registered to Kahnawa:ke which is more than the 6,685 people the community defines as members under its own law, which was recently renamed the Kanien'kehá:ka of Kahnawà:ke Law.

"It's time for Kahnawake to reclaim our right to self-determination in determining a way of how we determine who our people are," said Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, membership portfolio chief at the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake to CBC News.

According to the Kahnawà:ke Law, applicants with one indigenous parent could only apply once they turned 18. In 2007, the deciding body to process applications was dissolved and 68 applications were put on hold.

The new law in effect will be enacted on July 3rd and applications are to be accepted likely in the fall.

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Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

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