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Kahnawà:ke and Six Nations uphold the right to indigenous tobacco trade

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Kahnawà:ke Grand Chief Norton and Six Nations Elected Chief Hill

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke and the Elected Council of Six Nations of the Grand River are speaking out about false statements recently issued by the Sûreté du Québec.

The two councils said in a joint statement that as First Nations they uphold the legal right to produce, distribute, and trade tobacco.

The councils said any attempt to regulate or restrict a First Nation from manufacturing and participating in inter-Nation trade within the tobacco industry is an attack on this inherent Indigenous right.

The two councils said Operations, like the recent MYGALE project, often lump the legal manufacturing and trade of tobacco by Indigenous people with organized crime activities.

They say This is not only incorrect, but highly misleading.

Both Kahnawà:ke and Six Nations have deemed organized crime, and criminal activities to be illegal within their Territories.

Both Iroquois communities cooperate with neighbouring law enforcement bodies on investigations relating to illegal activities occurring within their Nations and/or involving their community members but continue to assert that Tobacco is not an illegal activity.

Six Nations Elected Chief Ava Hill said it’s disheartening to read statements attempting to criminalize the local tobacco industry.

Hill said tobacco is a historical trade that supports the growth and economic prosperity of Haudenosaunee communities.

Hill said as sovereign Nations, the federal and provincial governments have no jurisdictional right to tax and regulate tobacco on our Territories.

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