A Mohawk police SUV was expropriated and burned by angry protesters on Friday night, after a protest against police repression in front of police HQ in Akwesasne, Kanien’kehá:ka territory.
On Friday evening, the Mohawk police raided a cannabis dispensary on Cornwall Island called Wild Flower Cannabis Dispensary for the second time in a month and reportedly arrested some of the proprietors. The store is owned by a group of traditionalists known as the Indian Way Longhouse, which does not recognize MCA authority and gave itself a cannabis-selling licence to open the store.
The raid caused those who support the longhouse to proclaim the arrested individuals political prisoners, and a call was put out for a protest in front of Mohawk police headquarters.
Dozens of people arrived, and after a tense standoff, the police agreed to meet with a few representatives from the protesters. Three women were chosen, each representing one of the community’s traditional Mohawk clans.
“They had a few demands,” explained Marlon Johnson, a traditionalist supporter. “One of them was for all non-native police, including the chief of police, to resign.”
The women re-emerged telling the crowd the police were unwilling to listen.
Charles Kader, who is associated with the Indian Way Longhouse: “The activists got very close to the police vehicles and the police had lost control of the perimeter by the time the women walked towards the protest fire. The men responded by closing with the police.”
Friday night’s defense brings to a head the political crisis that has been slowly gripping Akwesasne since a $240-million land takeover deal brokered in December.
The Dundee Land Claim Settlement, and the way the referendum was conducted to ratify it angered traditionalists in the community who do not accept the MCA as a legitimate government.
The resistance began to blossom when the Mohawk police raided two longhouse-licensed cannabis dispensaries for not having an MCA-issued licence.