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Fractured Family

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Illegal gambling casinos flourished on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation in the 1980s. But the issue of gambling and how it fit into Mohawk traditions and laws, and state and federal law, deeply divided the community there.
Two hundred New York State Police officers raided the casinos in mid-July 1989. They blockaded the reservation, restricting traffic on and off the reserve.
An armed ad hoc Mohawk security force, the Warrior Society, emerged.
Gunfire became common, directed at the power supply of a casino, or at the patrol car of police known to oppose gambling. Within months, most of the gambling halls were open again. Under an agreement worked out between tribal leaders, the Warriors and Gov. Mario Cuomo, state police didn't venture onto Mohawk territory without checking in with the Warrior Society.
The bitter dispute continued. It came to a head in May of 1990, when gunfire killed two Mohawks, bringing New York and Canadian police onto the territory en masse.
In early 1990, North Country Public Radio aired an hour long documentary we called "The Fractured Family: Gambling at Akwesasne," after extensive interviews and research inside and outside the Mohawk community, and its traditional and non-traditional factions. The Fractured Family was written and produced by Pat McKeown and Martha Foley. Production engineer was Beverly Hickman.

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