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Kahnawake Vote Puts An End To Casino Proposal

A planned $50 million casino project which was set to be built on the Kahnawake reservation later this year was narrowly rejected by residents during a local referendum last month.

The proposal ultimately lost out by just 24 votes after 846 residents voted against the project, with 822 in favour and 29 individuals deliberately spoiling their ballot during May’s polls.

The latest set-back for casino developers in Kahnawake represents the third time in the last 18 months that locals have rejected the casino through a vote – and some were outspoken about their opposition to the long-standing project.

“A casino is not in our culture at all,” said Kahnawake student Kahteriio Goodleaf. “It’s gambling and gambling is making money off of people’s addictions. In other words, it’s simply about making more money off of people’s suffering.”

Kahnawake band leaders, meanwhile, have continued to back the project – which they said could be an important economic resource to the community – but have vowed that they will continue to respect the outcome of last month’s poll.

“We’ll listen to the community as we have in the past two referendums,” said Grand Chief Mike Delisle Jr. “But our needs will not change, so I think it’s time to add to the rafters and look at adapting and developing for the betterment of our community.”
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