KAHNAWÀ:KE — The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke is partnering with the Government of Canada to participate in a pilot project and test a new maritime awareness information system. On March 8, 2019, the federal government announced over $166,000 to go toward the council to start the project within a number of coastal Indigenous communities in Eastern Canada.
The federal government stated that this pilot project, the awareness information system to monitor and review vessel activity along eastern coasts, is an integral part of the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness initiative. The initiative is part of the Ocean Protection Plan.
“The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke is pleased to participate in the Maritime Awareness Information System pilot project,” Chief Ross Montour said. “The platform will be an important tool to improve safety, emergency response and access to the St. Lawrence River by allowing monitoring of vessel movements by community members, first responders and decision makers. We look forward to working with the Government of Canada to advance this important initiative.”
The council will have the funds to bring on local Indigenous people to test and find new ways to improve the current system. The project funding will also support community engagement, which will include educating members of emergency planning and safety for traditional ways of fishing.
The Mohawk council isn’t the only Indigenous organization to participate in the pilot project, however. 10 Indigenous Organizations across the country will also take part in the project. These organizations will provide input on local coastal priorities to the federal government.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller stated that every “participating pilot partner, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, has specific and unique expertise that they bring to this project.”
The pilot system is set to launch this spring, which will mean real-time maritime information, data on vessel traffic, weather, and marine protected areas. The project is expected to last for about a year.
“This system is an important step in collecting maritime information, and sharing it with those who use it for local decision making. We are proud to work with our Indigenous partners, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, to develop and test this new maritime awareness information system,” Minister of Transport Marc Garneau said.
The federal government earmarked $62.5 million for the Enhanced Maritime Situational Awareness Initiative, which was announced in November 2017.