The Mohawk Nation decided that a golf course was not going to expand onto their traditional lands, lands that held tombstones erected to honor their elders. This land had been in dispute in one forum or another since 1717, a full two generations before the birth of the United States.
To make a long story short, on July 11, 1990 a small group of the aboriginals erected a barricade to stop access to the area. The police opened fire on the protesters with flash bang grenades and tear gas and then a fifteen minute gun battle ensued resulting in one death. The tear gas blew back on the police and they abandoned their attack leaving six police cruisers and a bulldozer. Read on....
Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors: Kahnawake Mohawk Politics and the Rise of Native Nationalism
Word spread quickly and soon the First Nation was being assisted by natives from across Canada and the US. The situation escalated for two and a half months and in the process other Mohawks at Kahnawake, in support of Kanesatake took control of the Mercier Bridge that connects the Island of Montreal to the South Shore suburbs resulting in horrific traffic jams and an inestimable loss of commerce.
The Army was called in and on August 29 the Kahnawake negotiated a settlement for their part leaving the Mohawks at Oka without a bargaining chip in what had become a national crisis. On September 25 the Mohawks parsed the line of demarcation and when harried responded by throwing water balloons at the troops. The next day they dismantled their guns, burned them in a fire, and burned tobacco in a ceremony before walking out of the woods. Many were detained by the military and eventually arrested by the police.
Kahnawake Chief John Dee Delormier is counting on the Canadian government's memory of that incident as well as the time they shut down the Mercier Bridge in 2007 for almost an hour and a half as he pursues the gambling interests of the Tribe, or more specifically; Mohawk Internet Technologies (MIT) and its brethren Continent 8 Technologies.
You see, for some reason even though other aboriginals and Canadian citizens are arrested for gambling violations, the Kahnawake seem immune. Perhaps more than immune. It couldn't possibly be that the Canadian Government is afraid of these guys, but words have been spoken that seem to indicate they should be.
According to a story in the Montreal Gazette, Chief Delormier is quoted as saying,
"Highway 30 runs through our land claim. ... They really need that Highway 30 ... as another artery around the city, but they need to talk to us about it and they know they need to talk to us." SOURCE
At least we can see what's going on on his side of the dispute. Many online gamblers are aware of the Kahnawake licensing 'authority' as at least 60% of online gambling happens through their licensees. And even though they have agreements with so called regulators in Malta and Antigua, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission may never be on the UK "whitelist" as an accepted licensing jurisdiction. That distinction would simply allow them to advertise in Great Britain. Their application was denied in late 2007 or early 2008 along with Antigua's.
We can't really know what is going on in the minds of Loto‑Québec, the agency that doesn't want these guys offering casino games to People-in-Province.
Some well placed industry people have been convinced by actions after the rejection that the KGC (Kahnawake Gaming Commission) wants to be taken seriously in this multibillion dollar industry by anyone other than themselves. But it won't be easy to live down the UltimateBet/Absolute Poker cheating scandal wherein millions of dollars were stolen and how it was handled. The fact that Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker were owned by Tokwiro Enterprises and that private company was owned by Joe Norton, the former Grand Chief of the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, don't really factor much into their cry for credibility. The Kahnawake Gaming Commission is an independent Licensing authority for crying out loud.
To be fair there has been a great deal of improvement. Their regulations were updated as recently as last month and a cursory glance at the casinos and poker rooms licensed by them doesn't show too many rogues. Sure you can find ultimate bet and absolute poker (why weren't they virtually burnt to the ground?) and a couple of long time troubled casinos like sci-fi and breakaway.
But the list is not terribly littered with unsavory characters. And in May it was announced that the KGC had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Alderney to "provide an efficient and reasonable channel for the exchange of information and material with respect to past, existing and prospective licensees for the purpose of ensuring effective regulation between both jurisdictions." It's just too bad that MOU is a top secret document so we can't determine anything about it.
What we can know is that the Tribe has been openly operating three poker dens in Kahnawake since 2007 and it doesn't seem that they will close any time soon, legal or not.
The Gambling Guru