(Kahnawake – 10, Onerahtókha/May 2023) The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) wishes to update the community on the recent developments in the Seigneury of Sault St. Louis (SSSL) Land Grievance, specifically, the continued assertion of interest in a parcel of land approximately one (1) acre in size, within the municipality of Delson.
Currently known as “The Old Mill Site,” the lot exists within the eastern boundary of the SSSL adjacent to the Turtle River and has been recognized to belong to Kahnawà:ke under the SSSL. In 1774, a mill was built at the site, which was later torn down in 1897. The land was leased to a neighbor by Kahnawà:ke Chiefs from the 1850s to 1897. Indian Affairs requested a surrender twice but was refused on both occasions. In 1897, Indian Affairs leased the lot until the early 1900s, then the MCK leased to a neighbor up to the 2000s, to which the MCK was receiving a symbolic $1 per year amount from the lease, a move that shows Kahnawà:ke’s long-standing tie to the lot. To this day, the land is for the exclusive use of Kahnawa’kehró:non, and the MCK intends to improve accessibility for community members to continually assert the use of the lot.
“Due to the land being completely surrounded by Delson, we’re looking to have the land usage be based on respect and cooperation with the community of Delson and neighboring residents to the lot,” said Portfolio Chief Michael Delisle, Jr. “We’re hoping to see families hold gatherings, pick medicines or fish, and carry out any other leisurely activities.”
Presently, the MCK is engaging with Delson representatives on the continued assertion of use to the lot. This includes greater accessibility to the lot (widening of the road), the installation of signage, and an environmental site assessment to ensure the soil, vegetation, and water are safe for recreational activities. Once complete, the community will be invited to a ceremonial opening.
To hear more about the Old Mill Site, please tune in to the K1037 Tetewathá:ren talk show on Thursday, May 18th, where Ratsénhaienhs Delisle Jr. and File Technician Rose-Ann Morris will go into further detail.