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Plenty of work ahead for Tyendinaga chief

By Sam Normand

R. Don Maracle has been re-elected for his 19th year as chief of the Tyendinaga Mohawks.

The December 4th election saw Maracle win with what he calls a “healthy 211 vote lead.” Maracle won with a total of 569 votes, defeating Carla Barnhardt, who polled 368 votes.

Maracle says that being in the position of chief for 19 years is not unusual. His predecessor, Chief Earl Hill, was in office for 20.

There’s plenty of work ahead for Maracle as chief of the First Nations reserve, from water quality concerns, to ensuring that younger generations receive adequate education.

“There has been a lot accomplished already,” said Maracle. “But there’s still work to do. The water treatment plant, the band office, the new fire hall, and getting sufficient funding for post-secondary education.”

Among one of the main concerns is a sensitive land deal.

A 923- acre plot of land that that is currently occupied by the town of Desoronto, as well as part of the Tyendinaga township is disputed.

Maracle said that the land was occupied without ever having been officially surrendered by the Mohawk people to the crown. He says that, as a result, the land has been illegally alienated since 1837.