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July 13, 2016
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne has been informed that a newly formed group named the “Mikinak Tribe,” is fighting for the recognition of their members as Status Indians. This self-identified group, which is based out of Beauharnois, Quebec, seems to have ulterior motives that are money driven, and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne does not recognize or support this group as a First Nation Community.
During a radio interview on July 8, 2016 with the K103 Partyline Talkshow, Guillaume Carle, who identifies himself as the National Grand Chief and National Spiritual Elder of the Confederation of Aboriginal People of Canada, noted that he was “a warrior from Akwesasne,” and that he had “approached Akwesasne,” and is “working together (with Akwesasne).” Additionally, in a June 29, 2016 interview with APTN, there is a nameplate that clearly displays Grand Chief of Akwesasne during a “Mikinak Tribe” meeting.
Grand Chief of Akwesasne Abram Benedict notes that “the Mikinak tribe has not approached the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne nor do we have any affiliation with them. This self-identified group seems to be claiming to be a Status Indian in order for tax exemption and money-driven motives.”
Lise Brisebois, a “Chief” of the “Mikinak Tribe,” has threatened businesses in Candiac, Quebec that if their members are refused to honour the Mikinak ID Cards, they could potentially blockade the highways, according to an article that was printed by the National Post on July 7, 2016.
Dennis Chaussi, District Chief of Kawehno:ke for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, articulates that this identifies how the group “is attempting to benefit themselves by utilizing Indian Status. Members of Akwesasne are very passionate about our background and heritage, and the ‘Mikinak Tribe’ is making a mockery out of First Nations Groups that have fought for their people, their culture and their inherent rights for hundreds of years.”
In order for an individual to become a member of the “Mikinak Tribe,” they have to pay $80 and show proof of their “Indian Gene,” regardless of how far back it is in their ancestry, according to Carle.
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada noted in the APTN interview “while these cards convey membership to an organization, they do not convey Indian Status.”
Grand Chief Abram Benedict also added, “While Council appreciates the support of any organization or individuals that backs First Nations Inherent Rights, this group is only trying to benefit themselves -not true First Nations people.”