Kahnawake rail blockade remains in place after draft agreement reached

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Blockades in Kahnawake continue despite agreement
Despite the agreement between government officials and the Wet’suwet’en nation in northwestern British Columbia, Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports that the solidarity rail blockade in Kahnawake is continuing for now – Mar 2, 2020

A railway blockade in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, south of Montreal, is still standing on Monday after Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and government ministers struck a tentative agreement on land rights.

The rail barricade will remain in place for the time being until the community learns more about the details of the agreement, which still requires the approval of the Wet’suwet’en people.

Kenneth Deer, the secretary of the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake, said there is a meeting scheduled for Monday night where residents are asked to gather and discuss their next steps.

“It is a big decision whether or not to dismantle a barricade,” he said on Sunday. “They want to make sure they have all the details of the deal before making this decision.”

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The details of the draft accord, which centres on Indigenous rights and land titles, were not disclosed after the parties came to an arrangement after three days of negotiations.

In a joint statement, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the federal and British Columbia governments acknowledged they did not reach an agreement on the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The contentious project on unceded territory has sparked nationwide protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. Railway blockades have halted both commuter and freight trains along large swaths of the country.

In Kahnawake, the blockade is stretching into its fourth week. The barricade has forced the cancellation of service on the Candiac train line, which brings commuters to and from Montreal, since Feb. 10.

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Mohawk activists have told Global News they planned to stay as long as it took to protect their lands and rights.

In the Gaspé, the president of a regional rail line said protesters were still maintaining their blockade as of 9 a.m. in the Mi’kmaq community of Listuguj.

Eric Dubé said the company was able to get two trains through the blockade area on Friday but had to stop the following day due to the presence of protesters near the tracks.

With files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines, Sean Boynton and the Canadian Press

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