The agreement also contains provisions for both parties to work cooperatively on rehabilitating the environment and making future improvements to the socio-economic well being of the Akwesasne Community through the creation of jobs and employment opportunities.
During a formal signing ceremony conducted at the St. Regis Recreation Center in the district of Kanatakon, MCA Grand Chief Tim Thompson noted that, "The final settlement agreement is a historic conclusion to 15-years of good faith efforts."
Grand Chief Thompson added, "We now look forward to developing a positive relationship between the Mohawks of Akwesasne and Ontario Power Generation."
The settlement agreement addresses past wrongs that began in 1954 with the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project. The aim of the project was to harness the remaining potential for hydropower of the St. Lawrence River. Three large dams were constructed to tame a 90-foot drop at the Long Sault Rapids and create a head pond for the R.H. Saunders Generating Station.
Traditional territory used by the Mohawks of Akwesasne was impacted, including the flooding of ten islands belonging to Akwesasne Mohawks. The way of life and ability to exercise certain aboriginal and treaty rights were also impacted. The settlement agreement includes provisions to address these and other impacts.
OPG's Chairman, Jake Epp said: "I want to thank those who put so much of their time and energy in developing this agreement. The settlement signed today is the result of many years of work by members of the Akwesasne community and staff from our company. We look forward to working with you on its implementation."
During the past 15 years, more than 100 Akwesasne elders and community members have been involved in an intensive process to address grievances associated with the R.H. Saunders Generating Station. Their involvement has provided information and contributed to settlement terms that have been shared and ratified by eligible voters in a community referendum on June 14.