Thursday, April 23, 2015

Local Mohawk governing authority in Canada bans weekly newspaper editor from its council meetings

To download a PDF of the editorial, click here.
A rural newspaper that serves the 8,000 residents in the Mohawk community in Kahnawake, Que., is showing that size doesn't matter when it comes to reporting the stories that matter most to readers. Five years ago The Eastern Door "exposed a controversial plan by the local Mohawk council to evict non-native people—work that earned the paper the prestigious Michener Award and international praise," Rosemary Westwood reports for Canada's Metro News. Eastern Door editor Steve Bonspiel told Westwood, “You don’t get into this job to make money, that’s for sure. It is my dream job; it is what I love to do."

The plan to issue 26 eviction notices was dropped, but tensions between the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake and The Eastern Door have remain high, with the Mohawk Council last month sending a letter to Bonspiel saying his attendance at community meetings had been revoked for not following reporting guidelines created by the tribe.

In the letter, the Mohawk Council wrote: "We became aware that you posted the entire March 10, 2015, Winter Community Meeting via 'Twitter.' You have many followers on your Twitter feed, including numerous external contacts. While the Kahnawake Community Meeting is for the purposes of updating the community of Kahnawake, you have failed to respect the guidelines for media coverage regarding the consultations. For this reason, your attendance at Kahnawake Community Meetings is no longer permitted." The Mohawk Council did say the newspaper could send another community member to cover meetings.

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