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Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment (AFTE)

Abstract The Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment (ATFE) is a grassroots organization composed of members of the Mohawk community and organizations within Akwesasne for the purpose of collectively addressing the environmental concerns of the Mohawk Nation. ATFE works with other Haudenosaunee communities and environmental organizations to promote environmental restoration and protection based on traditional teachings about the obligation to honor the sacred web of life and guard it for future generations. The numerous programs and initiatives organized by ATFE include sustainable agriculture initiatives, environmental education programs, wild species restoration projects, scientific ecosystem monitoring, waste management and clean-up efforts, and pollution prevention projects. Sustainable, non-toxic, and alternative agriculture projects sponsored by the ATFE include aquaculture, orchards, and greenhouse initiatives. As part of its efforts to secure adequate clean-up of toxic waste sites at or near Akwesasne, ATFE has sponsored advocacy campaigns, acquired technical assistance from nearby universities, and established the Kaniattarowanen’neh (Big River) Research Institute to expand its environmental restoration and pollution prevention programs. Since its founding, the ATFE has secured stricter environmental regulations, superfund clean-ups, and scientific studies.
Religion Indigenous Tradition
Geographic Location United States of America
(New York)
Duration of Project 1987–Present

Since the 1960s, Akwesasne, which has been occupied by Mohawks for many thousands of years, has born the brunt of pollution and contamination from industries in the United States along the St. Lawrence River. Toxic substances have contaminated the water and air, causing disproportionate damage to the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation, which lies downstream from these industrial locations. Starting in the early 1970s, Mohawks noticed the harmful effects of toxic contamination on their food supplies, wildlife, soil, and community members (especially women of childbearing age and children). By the late 1980s, some species of wildlife were contaminated enough with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to be classified as hazardous waste. A result of increasing outrage on the part of Mohawks, the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment was founded in 1987 as a community-based organization dedicated to addressing the environmental problems faced by the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. In order to establish more control over research data and funding allocation, ATFE became incorporated in 1995 and is now overseen by a Board of Directors.

Mission Statement The mission of the Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment is to conserve, preserve, protect, and restore the environment, natural and cultural resources within the Mohawk territory of Akwesasne in order to promote the health and survival of the sacred web of life for future generations and to fulfill our responsibilities to the natural world as our Creator instructed.
Partner Organizations Huadenosaunee Environmental Task Force
Indigenous Environmental Network
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment
P.O. Box 992
via Hogansburg, New York 13655
Ph 1:       518.358.9607
Ph 2:       613.575.9967
Fax:         518.358.2857