Mohawks Stage Peaceful March Over Bridge

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It was a peaceful call for action as close to 300 native peoples marched through Mohawk Territory and over the International bridge to Canadian Customs in Cornwall.
 
The bridge was closed to all vehicular traffic for nearly five hours as the marchers slowly made their way across.

Motorists on both sides of the river were told to use the Ogdensburg-Prescott Bridge as an alternate route.
 
The march was organized by the Mohawk National Council of Chiefs as a show of unity calling on the Canadian government to honor age-old treaties and put an end to what some natives describe as an ongoing infringement of their sovereign rights.

"Indigenous people are fed up with how the Canadian government treats its true citizens of Canada," said Mohawk Tribal Chief Paul Thompson.

Since the Canadian Border Service Agency relocated its customs from Cornwall Island to the foot of the bridge in Cornwall four years ago, Mohawks say they have endured racial harassment, intimidation, vehicle seizures and profiling by CBSA agents.

"I was harassed for 30 days straight just based on my name. I was accused of smuggling," said demonstrator Gerald Laughing.
 
A list of grievances were presented to Canadian officials once the demonstrators arrived at the Port of Entry in Cornwall.
 
Mohawk leaders also formally requested a meeting with Canadian Government officials to improve relations with native groups.

Canada Border Services Agency officials did not respond to our calls for comment.
 

Friday, November 21, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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