A First Nation on a reserve that straddles the border between Canada and the United States has been shaken by the deaths of eight suspected migrants.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, the bodies were found in the St. Lawrence River.
Details are still sketchy and only two of the victims have been identified.
But the group had apparently tried to cross into the United States from Canada across the St. Lawrence River in an area where the where the Akwasasne Mohawk reserve straddles the international border.
The First Nation borders on Quebec, Ontario, and New York state.
Shawn Dulude is the chief of the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service.
He says eight bodies, including two children, have now been found after an overturned boat was found in the water late last week.
“All are believed to have been attempting illegal entry into the United States from Canada. The circumstances surrounding the deaths continue to be investigated. Akwasasne Mohawk police are working with Immigration Canada and Homeland Security to confirm their identities so that the next of kin notifications can be made.”
Officials say the boat was too small to be able to safely carry seven or eight people.
Elders at the First Nation say St. Lawrence is always a major concern, especially with spring runoff, the current is stronger and the water itself, ice cold.
Some say they wouldn’t venture out on the river until at least May.
Officials say at least 80 people have been intercepted as they tried to cross into the U.S. since January.
The eight victims are apparently from two families, one Romanian, the other Indian.
Advocates for asylum seekers say since the closing of the irregular crossing less than a week ago, desperate migrants trying to cross to either country, will try more hazardous methods of doing so.
Still missing is 30-year-old Casey Oakes, a resident of the Akawasasne First Nation.
Police would not say if his disappearance and the bodies found in the marsh along the river are linked.
A grant is expected to help student parents at a tribal college in northwestern Montana.
Eric Tegethoff has more.
The Aspen Institute has announced Blackfeet Community College and seven other institutes around the country have joined the Black and Native Family Futures Fund.
Linda Sue Racine is a counselor at the school and is overseeing the 75-thousand dollar grant. She says COVID-19 hit the Blackfeet Reservation hard and many students are grieving.
“To be able to get good grades and all that you need to have some peace in your life. And I always feel that if we’re not well mentally and emotionally and physically, then we’re not going to be able to succeed.”
The grant comes with technical assistance to implement programs as well.
Blackfeet Community College is setting up the Native Student Parent Program, which will help young mothers with child care, food and transportation.
Racine says elders also are helping with the program.
She says workshops for the young mothers include making traditional outfits for their kids.
“We just don’t want our people to lose their cultural and their traditional way of life. So it’s very important that we integrate it in everything we do.”
The eight institutions that received funding are Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Tribal Colleges and Universities.
This previous story is supported by the Lumina Foundation.
WARNING: The following story is actually an April Fool’s Joke
The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, NM is adding a health and wellness management program to its academic roster.
IAIA announced over the weekend the new Bee Well Program.
Students will soon be able to earn a degree in Bee Therapy.
Classes include Bee Hear Now Meditation, Floral Arrangement, and Ultraviolet Vibrational Spectroscopy.
The program will be housed in a building named the HIVE (Healthy Individuals Vibing Energetically).
Construction is expected to start on the building this spring and a full list of courses in the program will soon be released.
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