Doug George-Kanentiio: Mohawk firm on member rules
"Native people, like all Canadians, have been, in this generation, caught up in a whirl of social, economic, ecological and political changes over which we have only marginal influence.

We have lost critical elements of our former status as nation states and as a result become dependent upon federal and provincial governments for our health, schooling, housing and employment, all of which are subject to the whims, plans and objectives of bureaucrats and politicians who are, in Mohawk terminology, "faceless ones" detached from us and to be feared.

But what we retain in the way of culture and land we embrace with, some would say, suffocating intensity.

Membership in a Native community is one thing we can control and we do so in defiance of contemporary Canadian social standards, perhaps even at the risk of being labelled racist.

At Akwesasne, as is true on other Mohawk territories, having "status" is as precious as it is precarious.

Precisely who is considered a Mohawk is a four-step process involving blood quantum, family relations, quality of character and communal standing. At Akwesasne a person may be 100-per-cent Native genetically but if they do not adhere to the social standards of the community they may be excluded or expelled."

Get the Story:
Doug George-Kanentiio: Why Mohawks evict non-Natives (The Ottawa Citizen 2/11)

Related Stories:
Mohawk First Nation evicts non-members from reserve (2/2)