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Non-local man removed from Mohawk Territory by Kahnawake Peacekeepers.

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Peacekeepers stand outside Amanda Deer’s home. (photo, Jerimiah Johnson)

Community members say they were concerned for their safety. Tensions were high as the Kahnawake Peacekeepers removed a non-local man from the community after a group of Kahnawake residents voiced their disapproval of his presence at a local woman’s home, Amanda Deer, this past Sunday, May 17th.

The group rallied outside the home and demanded Deer’s boyfriend, Denis Thauvette, leave the community first and foremost because of his recent altercation with a Kahnawake family who live in the same neighborhood, and his lengthy criminal record. According to Kahnawake Peacekeepers, Thauvette has a history of violent crimes and armed robbery. Further to this, according to several group members, they were trying to enforce Mohawk Law, in which any Mohawk who ‘marries’ or ‘lives with’ a non-native after 1981 must move away.

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake issued the following statement on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 regarding the situation. “Chief and Council wish to clarify that, on Wednesday, May 13, Denis Thauvette was arrested and charged with criminal harassment of a Kahnawà:ke resident and his family, possession of a controlled substance and several breaches of conditions.

According to the Kahnawake Peacekeepers, the Provincial Court released Mr. Thauvette on Friday, May 15 with certain conditions, including that he “remain in Kahnawake.” It was the Peacekeepers understanding that the individual would be held until Tuesday, May 19 (today) for a formal bail hearing, at which time the Court would be informed about the Peacekeepers objection to the conditions.

“It’s very unfortunate, but this lack of information was a major cause of the incident that took place on Sunday, May 17,” said Grand Chief Michael Ahríhron Delisle, Jr. “The Peacekeepers did their job and took Mr. Thauvette to a location off Territory in order to calm the situation. According to the Peacekeepers, Mr. Thauvette will not be returning to the community.”

“While we understand that community members are frustrated – as are we – we have to maintain our composure,” he continued. “There is no excuse to engage in violent behavior.

The community is being portrayed as something it isn’t, and we all have a responsibility to remain peaceful and respectful.”

Amanda Deer was quoted in non-local media saying that she and her family decided to temporarily leave their home, fearing for their safety. “People were on the side of my porch in the back where the pool is. I had the back door gate locked by the pool, they’re trying to kick it in. ‘Get the f–k out of here, get the hell out of here. We want him out!’ And the police are standing there doing nothing.” However, some members of the group deny these allegations.

Grand Chief Delisle says he doesn’t believe the group was targeting the family. “This is a situation where a community is upset that an individual with a lengthy criminal record who uttered threats against a family was released with unacceptable conditions,” he concluded. “While the Membership situation is brought up in every media report, this incident should be more truthfully reported for what it is: an issue of safety and security. The fact that Mr. Thauvette is neither a member nor a non-member resident compounded the situation.”

Mohawk Law as many residents have referred to it, is the Kahnawake Mohawk Law and Moratorium on Mixed Marriages of May 22, 1981. Kahnawake Mohawks who have married or lived in common law with a non-native, after 1981, would not be allowed residency, land allotment, land rights and voting privileges.

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