The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe is mourning the loss of former-Tribal Chief Paul “Kahentase” Thompson. According to a press release from the tribe, he began his journey into the spirit world on Monday, November 1, 2021.

A highly respected leader and elder among his tribe, Thompson served four terms as tribal chief. He was first elected tribal chief in 1996 and served three consecutive terms as the tribe’s highest leadership position until 2003. Then Thompson was reelected tribal chief to an unprecedented fourth term from 2012 to 2015.  

Want more Native News? Get the free daily newsletter today.

The tribe’s press release said Thompson “will always be remembered as a passionate and devoted elder statesman for the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and the community of Akwesasne.

Prior to serving as tribal chief, Thompson was a successful entrepreneur and experienced tradesman, with numerous businesses and decades of construction experience that included work as a boilermaker, pipefitter, and more than 50 years membership with Ironworkers Local 440. 

Fortunately for the tribe, Thompson merged his business expertise and construction experience into community service by being a staunch champion of local organizations, committees, and economic projects.

His creativity, ingenuity, and ability to foster cooperative efforts between leadership and business owners served to develop revenue streams that continue to benefit the Akwesasne community today.

Serving the community was in Thompson’s lifeblood; he was constantly dedicated to strengthening the self-sustainability and economic independence of Akwesasne through the development of the tribal licensing system and construction of the Akwesasane Mohawk Casino. As a member of the Tribal Council that helped open the casino in 1999, Thompson had the honor of installing the last piece of steel that “topped off” the casino’s seven-story hotel in July 2012.

Thompson continually applied his knowledge of Kanien’kéha (Mohawk language), as well as the culture and customs of the Kanien’kéhaka (Mohawk People) to improve and strengthen relationships with external governments and stakeholders. The protocols that he exquisitely applied in government-to-government interactions was a masterful example of Mohawk diplomacy.

A staunch believer in the power of education, he was an integral figure in establishing tribal funding to support the Akwesasne Freedom School.

In observance of former-Tribal Chief Paul “Kahentase” Thompson’s passing, the tribal flag at the Ionkwakiohkwaronon Tribal Administration Building will remain lowered until the day after his funeral. We offer our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.

More Stories Like This

Tribal Business News Round Up: Sept. 26
A Year Later, Myron Dewey’s Family Waits for Justice
Two National Native American Organizations to Address International Trade for Indian Country at World Trade Organization Forum in Geneva
Native News Weekly (September 25, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola Hits the Ground Running: Her First Bill Introduced Clears Committee Two Days Later

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $20 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]