For a number of years I was active as a post-secondary student in the field of Native Studies,both in the U.S. and Canada. I hold a B.A. in Native Studies and have done graduate studiestowards an M.A. I also have practical experience, having worked as an Aboriginal PolicyAdvisor to various First Nation communities and organizations, including the Assembly of FirstNations on several occasions.I have taken the liberty of writing this short summary of impacts from the proposedCanada/Kahnawake Relations Act (C/KRA) because I am concerned about the future of Kahnawakero:non. As a non-resident member of the community I believe I can offer aperspective as an “outside” observer not aligned with any particular faction or group.First of all, I am not personally aware of any population projections, or community and/orregional social/economic studies, if any, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) has done,to determine if the governing model these draft agreements provide for, is economically viableand socially and culturally acceptable to the people.At first glance, it seems to me that the MCK, before asking Kahnawakero:non to support theC/KRA, should have provided the people with some evidence of how this will improve the socialand economic conditions of individuals and households in the community. What are the long-term benefits of the C/KRA versus the “status quo” under the Indian Act?Moreover, not all related documents that are referred to in the draft Umbrella Agreement havebeen released to the people. (i.e. draft Kahnawake Charter, draft Rules and Procedures forRatification of Umbrella Agreement, draft Financial Transfer Agreement, draft Own SourceRevenue Capacity Agreement)In any case, my summary of impacts is based upon 1.) a working knowledge and review of thecurrent federal policy and legal/constitutional framework; and 2.) a review of the text of the draftagreements the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake has released to the Kahnawakero:non fordiscussion and presumably ratification.
The C/KRA Umbrella Agreement in clause 7 says:
Kahnawake . . . affirms that it is engaged in a movement towards a traditionalgovernment based on the custom, traditions and traditional laws of the IroquoisConfederacy.
However, it is still my belief that the C/KRA if ratified by the people, will not lead to a renewalof a traditional form of government, but will change the pre-1982 legal and constitutional statusof Kahnawake into that of a federally created municipality.