Akwesasne Pow Wow 2013 wrap-up.

The 13th Annual Akwesasne Pow Wow was held September 7 and 8, 2013 on Kawehnoke (Cornwall Island). Event organizers declared the event a success. The Remesha Drum Group, from Burundi, opened the cultural exchange celebration with a performance of dance and song. Pow Wow participants and visitors came from as far away as British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, as well as Europe.

Categories for dance competition included: Girls Traditional, Girls Jingle, Girls Smoke, Boys Traditional, Boys Grass, Boys Fancy, Boys Smoke, Teen Women’s Traditional, Teen Women’s Jingle, Teen Women’s Fancy, Teen Women’s Smoke, Teen Men’s Traditional, Teen Men’s Grass, Teen Men’s Fancy, teen men’s Smoke, Women’s Traditional, Women’s Jingle, Women’s Fancy, Women’s Smoke, Men’s Traditional, Men’s Grass, Men’s Fancy, men’s Smoke, Women Golden Age, Men’s Golden Age, Women’s Golden Smoke, Men’s Golden Smoke, Drums.

A complete listing of participants and category winners is available at http://goo.gl/qM42rI

National Grid Continues Akwesasne electrical shutoffs.

The National Grid electrical utility company is advertising new dates for Akwesasne community members to set up payment arrangements to avoid termination of their electrical service.

Customer outreach sessions are being held at the Kateri Hall, located on Route 37, near the Four Corners intersection in Hogansburg. An advertisement was taken out by National Grid in Akwesasne publications pertaining to the ongoing field collections for all customers that have received a termination notice. The ad states: “Tribal members that have any past due balances with National Grid are encouraged to contact them to set up payment arrangements to avoid termination of their electrical service.”

The National Grid Consumer Advocate Team may be reached at 1-800-443-1837 Monday through Friday from 7AM to 9PM and Saturdays from 7AM to 5PM. The customer service department assists low income and special needs customers.

Generator sales in surrounding communities have been reported as higher than seasonal averages as Akwesasne residents scrambled to compensate the loss of electrical service after National Grid allowed billing statements and accounts receivable collections to commonly exceed amounts of $10,000. Certain Akwesasne community members expressed outrage at the loss of power, both at the scene of the shutoffs as well as at a special meeting held at the St. Regis Tribe office.

In an unrelated event to these meetings, criminal charges were pressed against St. Lawrence County residents involving National Grid field collection efforts there, as electrical service was discontinued over past due accounts. Edward Charleson of Winthrop, New York was charged with second degree harassment in an incident which took place in Buckton on September 4, 2013 involving a National Grid employee. Two other members of the Charleson family were also charged with menacing, and four arrests in total were made from the incident.

The individuals who were charged reportedly came out of the residence where electrical service was being disconnected and threatened the National Grid worker, in addition to responding New York State troopers. The outstanding balance of the residential bill exceeded $10,000 according to published reports.

The increased National Grid collection efforts in Akwesasne are a change from past practice that saw more than 20% of Akwesasne residents receiving service from National Grid without making regular payments or having received disconnection notices, according to findings by the St. Regis Tribe while researching their own electrical utility operation to replace National Grid as an energy supplier. National Grid at that time planned to turn over all delinquent electrical utility accounts to the new electrical network system owners, had the plan gone ahead. A referendum held on the issue was passed by tribal voters in 2009.

Akwesasne Update
Charles Kader (week ending 9-15-2013)

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