Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Housing Project Breaks Ground on Reclaimed 1796 Treaty Lands

SRMT Housing Development Groundbreaking
Front row, L-R: Former Tribal Chief Eric Thompson; Tribal Chief Michael Conners; Sub-Chief Benjamin Herne; Tribal Chief Beverly Cook; Sub-Chief Derrick King; Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance; Sub-Chief Agnes “Sweets” Jacobs; Assistant Executive Director Starr Thomas; and Executive Director Tsiorasa Barreiro. Back row, L-R: Home Improvement Program Foreman Lawrence Thomas and Calvin Leaf and Home Improvement Division Director Jamie Bay.

AKWESASNE, NY – The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe announced that construction has started on the first tribal housing units on reacquired treaty lands. A groundbreaking ceremony was held and represents a major step forward in providing affordable housing for Mohawk families.

“It has been our community’s longstanding desire and Tribal Council’s ongoing goal to reacquire lands within Akwesasne’s land claim area for family housing,” said Tribal Chief Michael Conners. “I am filled with an immense sense of pride in what our team has accomplished today – to provide homes for our families.”

The tribe’s effort to provide homes was bolstered in 2018 with the purchase of 240 acres of land set aside for the Akwesasne community in the 1796 Seven Nations of Canada Treaty. Located in an area commonly known as the Hogansburg Triangle, the land is centrally positioned within Akwesasne and provided an ideal location for community housing to be developed.

“I am proud that we have been able to reacquire our lands to provide homes under our own jurisdiction for community members,” said Tribal Chief Beverly Cook. “I am appreciative and grateful for all the effort that individuals have put into making this opportunity available for our families. It is a great achievement by everyone who has been involved.” 

Beginning in the summer of 2022, the tribe’s Planning and Infrastructure Department began the initial work of clearing and constructing the main roadway leading into the site. Named Kahrhaká:ion Road (Old Forest), additional clearing and grubbing was performed in September 2022 by Iroquois Construction, with both phases providing an opportunity for community members to access free bulk materials, such as trees, wood chippings, fill, and rocks. Work was accompanied in early 2023 with placement of the tribe’s water and sewer lines, which included their extension from the main roadway along the first cul-de-sac known as Wáhta Street (Maple). The work was successfully completed in August 2023.

Two homes are being initially built along Wáhta Street, with a total of six to eight to be constructed along each cul-de-sac that are planned for the housing development. As many as 48 family homes are envisioned for the entire site when it is fully completed, with each cul-de-sac containing a combination of two, three, and four-bedroom homes for Mohawk families. 

“Our efforts to reclaim and use our lands for the benefit of community members and families have never stopped,” said Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance. “What today represents is not the end of a process, but a beginning. It is a start for two families who do not have a home right now, and as we reacquire more land we will be able to provide more homes.”

At the groundbreaking, Tribal Council, tribal division leaders and contractors involved in the housing division project turned over soil to start foundation work for the first two homes.