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St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, New York

St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, New York

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St. Regis Mohawk Reservation is a Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

 Indian reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

 in Franklin County
Franklin County, New York
Franklin County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 51,599. It is named in honor of American Founding Father Benjamin Franklin...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It is also known by its Mohawk name, Akwesasne
Akwesasne
The Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne is a Mohawk Nation territory that straddles the intersection of international and provincial borders on both banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Most of the land is in what is otherwise the United States...

. The population was 2,699 at the 2000 census. The reservation is adjacent to the Akwesasne
Akwesasne
The Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne is a Mohawk Nation territory that straddles the intersection of international and provincial borders on both banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Most of the land is in what is otherwise the United States...

 reserve
Indian reserve
In Canada, an Indian reserve is specified by the Indian Act as a "tract of land, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, that has been set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band." The Act also specifies that land reserved for the use and benefit of a band which is not...

 in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

. The Mohawk consider the entire community to be one unit. The reservation contains the villages of Hogansburg
Hogansburg, New York
Hogansburg is a hamlet in the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, in Franklin County, in the town of Bombay in New York state, USA. It lies on NY 37 near the Canadian-US border at the confluence of the St. Regis River with the Saint Lawrence Seaway.-History:...

 and St. Regis.

Under the terms of the Jay Treaty
Jay Treaty
Jay's Treaty, , also known as Jay's Treaty, The British Treaty, and the Treaty of London of 1794, was a treaty between the United States and Great Britain that is credited with averting war,, resolving issues remaining since the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which ended the American Revolution,, and...

 (1794), the Mohawk people may pass freely across the International Boundary. The two parts of the reservation are separated by the St. Lawrence River and the 45th parallel.

The Mohawk are one of the original Five Nations
Five Nations
Five Nations can refer to:* The original five nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, a union of Native Americans* The Five Nations Championship in rugby union, now the Rugby Union Six Nations Championship...

 of the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, historically based in present-day New York, and the "Keepers of the Eastern Door".

The reservation adopted gambling
Gambling
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 in the 1980s. It has caused deep controversy. Broadly speaking, the elected chiefs and the Warrior Society have supported gambling, while the traditional chiefs have opposed it. Today, the reservation is home to the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino
Akwesasne Mohawk Casino
The Akwesasne Mohawk Casino is a Native American gambling enterprise run by the Mohawk Nation in Hogansburg, New York. It has for 1,600 slot machines and 19 table games....

 and the Mohawk Bingo Palace.

The elected tribal governments on the New York and Canadian sides and the traditional chiefs of Akwesasne often work together as a "Tri-Council" concerning areas of shared interest, for example to negotiate land claims settlements.

The Mohawk Tribe views the reservation as a "sovereign nation," but shares jurisdiction with the State of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and the Town of Bombay
Bombay, New York
Bombay is a town in Franklin County, New York, United States. The population was 1,192 at the 2000 census. The town was named after a city in India, now known as Mumbai, by an early landowner whose wife was from Bombay....

, in which it is located.

Geography


The reservation is at the international border of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 along the St. Lawrence River.

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the Indian reservation has a total area of 21.0 mi² (54.3 km²). 19.0 mi² (49.2 km²) of it is land and 2.0 mi² (5.1 km²) of it (9.45%) is water.

Demographics


As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 2,699 people, 904 households, and 668 families residing in the Indian reservation within the US boundary. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 142.2/mi² (54.9/km²). There were 977 housing units at an average density of 51.5/mi² (19.9/km²). The racial makeup of the Indian reservation was 97.41% Native American, 2.07% White, 0.07% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.

There were 904 households out of which 44.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 23.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.0% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.97 and the average family size was 3.44.

In the Indian reservation, the population was spread out with 34.1% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.2 males.

The median income for a household in the Indian reservation was $32,664, and the median income for a family was $34,336. Males had a median income of $27,742 versus $21,774 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the Indian reservation was $12,017. About 19.4% of families and 22.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 31.3% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.

Controversies


This reservation has allegedly become a center for smuggling of many items, including liquor, cigarettes and drugs. Federal agencies of the United States and Canada and those of the New York State government are collaborating to stop this activity. These allegations have been hotly contested by Akwesasne police and government spokespersons. The chief of the Akwesasne Mohawk police has suggested that Akwesasne has been singled out for criticism when the smuggling problems stretch across the entire US-Canada border.

New York state has threatened to collect sales tax from sales of gasoline and cigarettes on the reservations but has not done so. The legislature often passes such a resolution. New York state citizens fail to report their applicable Use Tax
Use tax
A use tax is a type of excise tax levied in the United States. It is assessed upon otherwise "tax free" tangible personal property purchased by a resident of the assessing state for use, storage or consumption of goods in that state , regardless of where the purchase took place...

es; this has become a problem both here and at areas surrounding other Indian reservations across New York. Merchants near the reservations complain that the tax-free sales constitute an unfair advantage for Indian-owned businesses. People on the reservation tend to respond that this is the only advantage they have. While the government officials argue, a Zogby poll in 2006 showed that 79% of New York residents did not think sales taxes should be collected from reservation sales.

History


The original settlement was known as Saint Régis, presumably after the Catholic saint of the same name
John Francis Regis
John Francis Regis, also known as Saint Jean-François Régis, Saint François Régis, and St. Regis, , was a French priest of the Society of Jesus, recognized as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church....

 and was founded by Catholic Native American Iroquois from Caughnawaga Quebec in about 1755.

In popular culture

  • Although not directly named, the reservation is the setting for the 2008 movie Frozen River
    Frozen River
    Frozen River is a 2008 American drama film written and directed by Courtney Hunt. The screenplay focuses on two working-class women who smuggle illegal immigrants in the trunk of a car from Canada to the United States in order to make ends meet...

    . It depicts smuggling of illegal immigrants by Mohawk and associated Americans across the international border between Canada and the U.S. The film was made in Plattsburgh, New York.

  • The reservation was the setting for a Tom Swift
    Tom Swift
    Tom Swift is the name of the central character in five series of books, first appearing in 1910, totaling over 100 volumes, of American juvenile science fiction and adventure novels that emphasize science, invention and technology. The character was created by Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of...

    children's book series (1910–1941).

See also

  • You Are on Indian Land
    You Are on Indian Land
    You Are on Indian Land is a 1969 documentary film about the confrontation between police and a demonstration by Mohawks of the St. Regis Reservation on a bridge between Canada and the United States near Cornwall, Ontario that stands on Mohawk land...

    , a documentary about a 1968 protest by St. Regis Mohawks.
  • Akwesasne
    Akwesasne
    The Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne is a Mohawk Nation territory that straddles the intersection of international and provincial borders on both banks of the Saint Lawrence River. Most of the land is in what is otherwise the United States...


External links