Canada | Opinion

Opinion: Mohawk First Nation bars mixed-race couples on land

Waneek Horn-Miller can't live on the Kahnawake Reserve in Quebec because her husband is non-Native. Photo from Facebook

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake is facing a challenge to a law that requires Mohawk women whose partners are non-Native to leave the Quebec reserve:
A Canadian woman falls in love and joins her life with that of a man of a different race. As a direct result of this union, she is harassed, receives notice of eviction, and is told she must leave her home.

What century are we talking about? This one, I’m afraid; and the culprit is not some errant racist landlord trying to throw one tenant out of a building. It’s the Kahnawake Mohawk council, which has a law that bans all “mixed race” couples from living anywhere in its Montreal-area territory.

Waneek Horn-Miller is half of one of those “mixed race” couples who has been told to get out. Horn-Miller may be a Mohawk, but because her common-law husband (and the father or her two children) is white, the aboriginal activist and former Olympian is no longer welcome or permitted to live on Kahnawake territory.

This is happening in 2014. Which, to put things in context, is 47 years after the United States Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation (or race-mixing) laws unconstitutional in that country. Related

Now a Canadian court will have to decide if this blatant punishment (eviction, cutting off of benefits) because of inter-racial mixing is a violation of members of the Mohawk nation’s contemporary Charter rights; Horn-Miller and six other plaintiffs who are suing the Kahnawake Council are arguing that it is.

Get the Story:
Marni Soupcoff: A law that bans ‘mixed race’ couples? Yes. In 2014. In Canada (The National Post 11/6)

Another Opinion:
Barbara Kay: First Nations territorial policy is none of our business (The National Post 11/6)

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