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Kahnawake Casino Defeated by 22 Votes on Moral Grounds

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The third time was not a charm over the weekend, as Kahnawake residents voted 846 to 822 against a casino on the reserve.

It was the third vote on the issue in 18 years, the Montreal Gazettereported. The previous referendum, in 2003, was defeated by 57 percent of the vote, the newspaper said.

Backers, including 10 of the 11 band council chiefs, said the project could have brought $50 million into the community and given Kahnawake financial independence. But the opposition objected to the digression from traditional values that it would have represented, and to the quick-fix nature of garnering revenue for its own sake.

"It's just absolutely wrong," 15-year-old Kahteriio Goodleaf, one of many teens who protested the project, told CBC News. "A casino is just like not our culture at all, it's gambling, and gambling is making money off of people's addictions. In other words, it's just making money off of people's suffering."

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Another dissenter, small-business owner Jeremiah Johnson, held similar views and added that jobs are the issue, not money.

“It’s a lot of money and it’s very tempting,” the carpet-cleaning-business owner told the Gazette. “But it’s shortsighted. It’s real easy to open a casino because everyone’s doing it. But we don’t need revenue, we need jobs. Something we can build on.”

Teenagers held a protest against the casino project on April 27, before the vote, as reported below by the Montreal Gazette.