MONTREAL -- The Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) communities of Kahnawake and Kanesatake will hold elections for the Mohawk Councils in July, and at least one of the two will see a new face at the head of the table.


After long-time Council Grand Chief Joe Norton died in August last year, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake council of chiefs opted not to hold a by-election and the seat has remained vacant.

On Saturday, six community members were nominated for the post, and they will have until Tuesday to submit documentation and decide whether they want to run for the position.

Three of the six candidates - Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Frankie McComber and Tonya Perron (all incumbent council chiefs) - were also nominated to run for council chief and must choose one or the other.

Community members can only run for either grand chief or council chief in MCK elections.

With former-grand chief Mike Delisle one of 25 people nominated to run for council chief, Kahnawake will have its first new council grand chief since 2002 after the July 3 election.

Delisle said he was not interested in running for the top post again.

"Family has always been first, and it's someone else's time, to be honest," said Delisle.

Current council chief Gina Deer is one of those running for grand chief and spoke about the void Norton's passing has left.

"There's a very big hole left with the passing of the grand chief," said Deer. "Joe had a great deal of knowledge not only politically, but historically as a people who we are and where we've come from."

Norton's predecessor Andrew Delisle Sr. was the grand chief before Norton was first elected in 1982, and died just over a year before Norton in July 2019.

"Between the two of them passing within the year, it was a big loss to our community," said Deer.

The MCK includes 11 council chiefs and one council grand chief.


The Mohawk Council of Kanesatake issued a release this week saying its council elections will be held July 31.

Nominations for the grand chief and six council chiefs will take place from June 16 to 18.