George-Kanentiio: No big loss in casino defeat

"The U.S. Department of the Interior's rejection of the application by the St. Regis Tribal Council to build a casino in the Catskills has not sparked an uprising among the Mohawks. In fact, other than a few tribal officials, no one seems to care.

Akwesasne (also known as St. Regis) is my home community, the place where I was born and attended school. I later worked there as the editor of the local newspaper and was a part of the group that established the reservation's radio station in 1984.

It is important to note that Akwesasne sits astride the international border on both banks of the St. Lawrence River. Its 12,000 residents are almost equally divided into "Canadian" and "American" sides. There are three governing agencies: the Canadian-based Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the U.S.-recognized St. Regis Tribal Council and the traditional Mohawk Nation Council.

Of these three, the St. Regis Tribal Council was the only one pressing for a casino in the Catskills, a region outside of the ancestral boundaries of the Mohawk Nation that ended at the east branch of the Delaware River. We have no business being in Monticello, rightfully the aboriginal homeland of the Lenapi.

Tribal officials also had no business teaming up with Empire Resorts, a casino-based company from Nevada. Empire has never made any attempt to communicate directly to the Mohawk people to explain how it was going to come up with the $600 million for the casino project."

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Doug George-Kanentiio : Casino defeat is not a big loss (The Albany Times-Union 1/20)