Mohawk woman forced to leave home

Mohawk interracial couples harassed by signs like this

A Mohawk woman and her non-native boyfriend have been forced to leave their home in Kahnawake, Canada, after a number of residents angrily surrounded their house. Amanda Deer, her boyfriend and a young boy, had to leave town after a group of protesters formed in front of their home, some trying to break down their front door, Deer told the media.

Deer said it had to do with Kahnawake’s Mohawk residency law, which prohibits any Mohawks who marry a non-Mohawk after 1981 from living on the reserve together. But some of those on hand argued that the incident had nothing to do with Deer’s boyfriend being non-native. One man alleged the boyfriend was a violent criminal - the incident coming on the heels of other tense moments on the reserve recently.

In early May, Terri and Marvin McComber, another mixed couple, had their home vandalised. The couple’s house and car were spray-painted, and signs placed near their home said: “Marry out get out” and “Mohawk land for Mohawks.” The McCombers, like other mixed native and non-native couples who have moved in together in the community since 1981, received a letter from a group of residents informing them they were not welcome.

The law, which is largely supported by the community, is in place to prevent assimilation and protect the community’s identity and land. Last year, some residents sued the council, saying they’ve been targets of harassment and intimidation because of the law and that the council hasn’t done enough to stop it. They argued the policy violates the Canadian and Quebec charters of rights, and are asking the courts to rule it as unconstitutional.