Kanesatake elects new Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief for first time in 10 years

Newly elected Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief Victor Bonspille.

Incumbent Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon was looking to surpase a decade in office Saturday as the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) community 45 minutes north of Montreal holds elections.

Council Chief Victor Bonspille, however, had other plans. 

The challenger defeated Simon for the grand chief position in an election that was delayed by over a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The count lasted from Saturday night into Sunday morning with Bonspille winding up with 368 votes to Simon's 283.

"It feels great that Kanesatake will be moving forward in a community effort," said Bonspille after an exhausting night of waiting.

Simon was first elected grand chief in 2011.

Fourteen candidates ran for six council chief positions that were won by Amy Beauvais, Jeremy Tomlinson, Denise David, John Canatonquin, Brant Etienne and Valerie Bonspille, Victor's sister.

Kanesatake has made news in recent months after a series of criminal incidents have raised calls for the creation of a local police force.

A clandestine party in June in defiance of the community's health measures that drew hundreds of partiers and killing at a local cannabis dispensary also drew attention to the large number of unsanctioned cannabis dispensaries on the territory.

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