Akwesasne Mohawks, Ontario and Quebec

Staff Reports
6/28/00

Provincial Mohawks, whose ancestors were traders, insist they have a right to bring goods into Canada over the U.S. border, without paying customs duties. Lawyers for the Mohawks from a reserve near Cornwall, Ontario, told the Supreme Court of Canada June 16 that the right they seek would not threaten Canada's sovereignty. The case went to the High Court after Grand Chief Michael Mitchell won his case at two lower courts that agreed the Akwesasne should have the right to continue trading traditions that existed before Europeans arrived in the area. The federal government challenged those rulings, arguing that extending the right to Mohawks would threaten Canadian sovereignty. The high court reserved decision.

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