The Kahnawake Amerindian reservation in Quebec categorically refuses to allow a casino to be built on its land. After 1994 and 2003, the population voted and just won by 846 to 822 votes. This community wants to preserve its culture and gambling goes against this. The Mokawk Traditional council has explained that besides the cultural aspect there are also political aspects.
The Group Council did everything to have this project accepted. Large sums of money were invested to encourage the construction of the casino which would revitalise the local economy. Many jobs would have been created within the reservation and that would have attracted tourists. All of this would have brought about the construction of hotels and new infrastructure. However the population has clearly let its refusal of such a large project be know. They believe that some members of the Kahnawake people already suffer from alcohol and drug problems, from gambling addiction and also that the crime rate is rising. Building a casino would only worsen their situation. Younger people are in complete agreement with this ban; they didn’t hesitate to organise themselves and to take to the streets to protest against this casino project. They put forward several ideas for developing their reserve such as increasing the status of agriculture.
The Kahnawake people hope that this time their discontent will be listened to and respected. In fact, the other two referendums that they won were against the building of a casino, however that didn’t stop the Group Council from building gaming venues such as Bingo halls, poker rooms… The Group Council is directly in the opposition’s firing line. The latter will not hesitate to have the referendum validated and to try to close the gambling establishments which were opened against the Kahnawake’s wishes. They are also counting on Quebec to back up their refusal since the construction of a casino in Kahnawake would have quite a harmful effect on the Montreal Casino.