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Kanesatake grand chief welcomes Quebec's openness in creating local police force

Last Updated Jun 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm PDT

A Mohawk warrior flag flies in front of the Kanesatake Mohawk band council office in Kanesatake, Que., on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 as Kanesatake Mohawks protest after comments by their grand chief regarding rail blockades. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

KANESATAKE — The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake says it is pleased that Quebec is open to discussing the possibility of re-establishing an Indigenous police force to patrol the community northwest of Montreal.

The community has been without its own police force since 2004 and Quebec provincial police have patrolled the territory since 2005, but rarely venture within its boundaries.

Talk of re-establishing the force comes after a massive party in Kanesatake attracted thousands of people last weekend despite COVID-19 public health measures in place on gatherings. 

Premier François Legault told a news conference over the weekend he was open to honouring a longtime request from the Kanesatake grand chief for a local police unit.

Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon says today that last weekend’s event was only one example of an incident that needed a police response, and the priority is now to re-establish trust, stability and calm in the community.  

Kanesatake’s police force was dismantled in 2004 following internal disputes that escalated into violence as the residence of then-grand chief James Gabriel was burnt down. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 16, 2021. 

The Canadian Press