Six Nations and Kahnawake sign gaming agreement

Six Nations and Mohawk community Kahnaweke are teaming up to address collective concerns on the gaming industry, which both communities view as an industry they have an inherent right to participate in on Turtle Island.

Six Nations of the Grand River (SNGR) and the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke (MCK) announced yesterday the signing of an agreement where both parties affirm their mutual commitment to defend, by any means possible, their Indigenous jurisdiction over gaming, and the socio-economic benefits the communities would derive from the industry.

A memorandum of understanding between each community’s gaming regulatory bodies creates a space where discussions on potential mutually beneficial opportunities in the internet gaming industry can occur.

Additionally, both communities will begin collaborative work on legal, political and public relation strategies to defend their respective jurisdictions and interests in the gaming industry.

They will provide opportunities for other Indigenous communities across Turtle Island to join in the collaboration, and will also begin development of a national body of Indigenous gaming regulators.

“Today’s agreement signifies an important milestone as our communities come together to address our collective concerns,” said Chief Mark Hill. “This type of partnership is the first step in demonstrating the possibilities of what we can achieve as Iroquois communities if we work together. We are much stronger not as individuals, but as a collective, and these relationships will strengthen us as we assert our rights and jurisdiction within the gaming industry and beyond.”

Both communities say they have been frustrated by recent changes to Canada’s Criminal Code that have effectively shut out First Nations by ignoring the interests of Indigenous people in the gaming industry.

“This is being clearly demonstrated by the recent actions of the government of Ontario, which has unilaterally reinterpreted the ‘conduct and manage provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada and established an ‘igaming’ initiative under its authority, iGaming Ontario,’” noted a joint press release. “This new model does not provide accommodations for, and will not benefit SNGR or Kahnawà:ke’s socio-economic business, Mohawk Online, as it closes off access to one of its largest local markets.”

Kawnawake Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer said they are, “pleased to revitalize relations and strengthen our alliance with our brothers and sisters (at Six Nations). Renewal of this longstanding relationship founded on nationhood is the first step needed to strengthen our joint efforts in defending our interests and maintaining a stronghold in the gaming industry and other key areas we identify in the future.”

In the press release, the communities said that the government’s ongoing failure to accommodate the interests of First Nations will not delay advancement for Six Nations of the Grand River and Kahnawà:ke.

“Today, together, we affirm that we will work collaboratively to take all actions necessary to protect and defend our inherent rights to gaming,” they noted in the statement. “We will continue to advocate for the advancement of our self-determination without the constant interference of the Canadian and provincial governments. It is optimal for us to achieve this through dialogue and cooperation and to date we, in good faith, have continued to keep that opportunity open.”

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