The Akwesasne would have to renounce all claims to the territory to accept the Canadian government's land settlement offer.
The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne announced Monday that the Canadian government offered about US$200 million to settle a historic land dispute over the traditional unceded Mohawk indigenous territory spanning more than 20,000 acres along the banks of Canada's St. Lawrence River.
According to the Mohawk First nation, the lands in question, called Tsikaristisere or Dundee Lands, were never sold or surrendered and have been under ongoing occupation by the Canadian government since the 1800s. Intermittent negotiations over the land claim, a portion of the Mohawk territory located in the Canadian province of Quebec, have been ongoing since the 1980s.
Accepting the settlement offer would require the Mohawks of Akwesasne to give up all claims to the Dundee Lands, the Mohawk Council, an elected community government, explained in a statement.
The agreement would also make tens of thousands of acres available to the Akwesasne to turn into reserve lands.
Akwesasne is a Mohawk First Nation whose traditional territory extends across the U.S.-Canada border and across the Canadian provincial border between Ontario and Quebec. Despite their territory being separated by an international border, members of the First Nation see themselves as belonging to one community, arbitrarily divided.
In 2009, Akswesasne protested the arming of federal immigration authorities of the Canadian Border Services Agency at the U.S.-Canada border.
Mohawk people were harassed for months by local police, border control agents, and RCMP national security forces, forcing some to leave their homes.
In 2014, the Tsilhqot'in Nation became the first First Nation to win title to its historic territory in a landmark Supreme court decision to recognize the Indigenous land claim to about 680 square miles in the interior of the western Canadian province of British Colombia.