COVID-19 has made it harder for communities to hold regularpublic meetings, which is forcing communication via the Internet.
A series of videos featuring grand chief Serge Otsi Simon have been shared online by the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK), addressing various ongoing issues in the community.
“It’s about straightening the record,” said Simon, as he maintains his opposition to holding a public meeting, due to COVID-19.
The first capsule was posted on MCK’s Facebook page on September 8, where Simon introduced the series with a brief history of the lands. Since then, more than seven videos have been shared to confront accusations that have been circulating the community.
“The capsules were all within MCK’s interest,” said the grand chief. “A lot of misinformation was given out recently, and you have to address it as it comes along. Otherwise, it’s left to stand on its own and people can’t make their own decision.”
The videos addressed key issues such as mismanagement of MCK finances, land claims, and also the public meeting where a motion towards a vote of non-confidence was passed by 100 community members on July 22.
According to Simon, the motion asking to remove him and vice chief Patricia Meilleur from their positions, was based on lies and personal agendas. He deemed this illegal.
The misinformation referred to in MCK capsules came from discussions spread on social media, according to Simon. He directly pointed fingers at a group from the community; the same group who issued a 17-page document earlier this summer, asking for more transparency from the MCK.
One of the group members, Barry Bonspille, said he wasn’t impressed by the online initiative.
“He uses a format that is non-interactive,” said Bonspille. “His information is not factual, but opinionated, because even when people request his documents, he never produces them or he deflects the request and attacks the person making the request.”
There were many comments left left under the videos, asking for further explanation, but they are currently unanswered by MCK.
The request Bonspille signed with six other members and served to all MCK elected officials on June 30, is also awaiting answers. As the group maintains their position pushing for transparency, the petition asking Kanehsata'kehró:non opinion on the motion that would trigger a voting process on non-confidence continues to circulate.
Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door