Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Clash of cultures: Uprising at Akwesasne


This dissertation proposes a new premise for the increasing conflict that led to the uprising and death in 1990 on the Akwesasne (St. Regis Indian) Reservation. The author argues that it was how the governments of United States, Canada, Ontario and Québec provinces, and especially New York State communicated and interacted culturally with each other and the Mohawks of Akwesasne that led to the violence. The long-held explanation for the hostility on the reservation is that the bureaucratic differences and lack of cooperation between the two countries were responsible. This document explains that the root causes of the conflict were subtler and that the United States and Canadian jurisdictional communications with the Mohawks were culturally insensitive and confusing, and that the New York State government acted too late to stem the escalating conflict. The writer used historical methodology and reviewed twelve hundred written sources, including newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts; of these, approximately seven hundred sources satisfied historical research criteria. These sources show that during 1989, the governments of United States, Canada, Ontario and Québec provinces, and particularly New York State, ignored repeated requests from the elected tribal governments for assistance to address the intensifying conflict on the United States' side of the reservation. By 1990, the various governments recognized the seriousness of the situation, but New York State, which had the greatest ability to act, did not do so until after the exacerbation of violence led to deaths. New York State ignored the tribal government's pleas for help in curbing and stopping the violence at Akwesasne until it was too late. It was the lack of culturally appropriate communication that caused the uprising and deaths.

Rugenstein, Ernest Richard, IV, Ph.D., Union Institute and University, 2009, 227 pages; AAT 3395015

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