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Candidates answer community questions

Kicking back with a livestream of “meet the candidates” night – again – is not everyone’s idea of a relaxing Wednesday evening.

But that doesn’t mean the question of who should become the next Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) chief doesn’t deserve some consideration.

To this end, The Eastern Door invited the two candidates vying to replace Bart Goodleaf on Council to share a little bit about their plans, what makes them tick, and why they deserve your vote on December 3.

The following responses have been edited for style and clarity.

Bobbi Dee Kawennitake Deere

Q: What motivated you to run for the open Council seat? Kahnawake is my biggest motivator. I felt it was time to give Kahnawa’kehró:non the voice that they deserve.

Over the years I have stayed active and present in the community, being part of grassroots movements and never shying away from voicing my opinion.

I ran in the past but didn’t get in.

It wasn’t a good time in my life, but since then I’ve worked on my shortcomings.

We are all a part of this community, and when something in the system fails, it affects us all and causes turmoil.

We can’t live that way any longer.

I want to make sure the system no longer fails our people; we deserve better.

Q: What is your platform?

I don’t have a specific platform.

How could I when we have so much going on?

Everything needs amendments and special attention.

Housing scandal, the industry, taxation, our elders, education, land claims, membership and residency – the list is endless.

Whatever the needs of the people are, I will take it on with everything I’ve got.

I am a doer, and when I set my mind to something, I do it to the best of my abilities.

My one true goal is for us to start working together in a respectful way, no matter what our beliefs.

When we can work together there’s nothing that can stop us.

Q: Why are you the right person for the job?

I’m not afraid of what is thrown my way.

I’ve been down many times, and I always pulled myself back up and moved forward.

Kahnawake is our home and when there is disruption in our house, we do everything in our power to make things right.

It’s not easy to put yourself out there, but because our community means so much to me I’m willing to go the distance and take everything that comes with it.

Stephen McComber

Q: Why did you decide to run again for a Council seat after coming second in the November 5 by-election?

I’m running again because I still maintain my belief in food security.

I believe that I can bring many life skills as a foremost Native artist, a former ironworker, and I’ve been involved in Haudenosaunee traditions for over 50 years, most recently as a keeper of traditional Haudenosaunee seeds.

Additionally, I have been working as a traditional Native chaplain in Corrections Canada for the last 17 years.

I’m running not to change things, but to be part of the team, to make positive improvements based on togetherness, our elders, and our youth – the next seven generations.

I can only do my best to help facilitate and strengthen Mohawk values.

Q: What is your platform?

My platform is to enhance food security and sovereignty and to implement agriculture projects.

The world is facing food shortages, and we have the ability as a community – it is an integral part of our culture as Haudenosaunee, and for many First Nations across Turtle Island!

In addition to coming from a traditional background, I believe in the inclusion of all members of our community working together, looking forward to the next seven generations.

Q: Why are you the right person for the job?

I believe I would be good in this position.

I’ll bring 66 years of life experience in traditional values, in a holistic approach, and in Mohawk ideology.

My experience in federal corrections has me working in a team environment as well as the most confidential situations and to be able to envision bigger possibilities for the elders, youth, and external relations.

Foremost, respect for everyone.

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Marcus is a journalist and managing editor of The Eastern Door, where he has been reporting since 2021 on issues that matter to Kahnawake and Kanesatake. He was previously editor-in-chief of The Link and a contributing editor at Our Canada magazine.

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Marcus is a journalist and managing editor of The Eastern Door, where he has been reporting since 2021 on issues that matter to Kahnawake and Kanesatake. He was previously editor-in-chief of The Link and a contributing editor at Our Canada magazine.