Mohawk police station, site of 2004 standoff, burns down
CTV News, October 12, 2015
A former police station in Quebec where dozens of Aboriginal officers were held hostage more than a decade ago has burned to the ground.
The blaze in the Mohawk settlement of Kanesatake injured no one, but brought up bad memories and raised questions about youth joblessness.
It was the building where Grand Chief James Gabriel’s Aboriginal police force — brought in to fight growing organized crime — was held hostage in 2004. The chief’s family home was famously torched by vandals during that standoff, which ended with the provincial force taking over policing.
Provincial police are now investigating Monday’s early morning blaze and have not yet said what they believe caused it.
Community members suspect young vandals.
“This is violence,” said resident Cheryl McDonald “This is a reflection of what is in the hearts of our youth who are out at night.”
Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon said he too believes young people were behind the fire.
“They are frustrated youth,” he said. “I know that there’s no opportunities in the community.”
Simon said funding is needed to create jobs.
“Band councils are very limited in what they can do, because let’s face it, Ottawa holds the purse strings.”
Simon said community members already have trouble getting insurance, and that this fire could make things worse.