Kaniatarowanen'neh Research Institute
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The Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment has many goals to improve environmental quality in the Mohawk community of Akwesasne. These goals include developing training, education and advocacy programs; addressing community concerns about industrial pollution from nearby ALCOA, General Motors and Reynolds Aluminum; implementing strategies to restore environmental and community health; supporting culturally appropriate sustainable development projects; conducting and supporting scientific research including sampling and testing for toxicants; and networking with other Native communities, environmental and legal professionals. Click here for a complete list of ATFE goals.
ATFE founded the Kaniatarowanen'neh (Big River) Research Institute as part of its continuing efforts to conduct environmental research and develop programs to protect and restore the environmental and cultural resources within Akwesasne. In creating this research insitution, ATFE hopes to support and expand upon more than 10 years of successful research, restoration and educational projects that have been conducted to date in the community of Akwesasne.
The Akwesasne Task Force on the Environment (ATFE) has been actively advocating the permanent clean-up of toxic waste sites bordering the community. We have worked to educate the community about the impacts of toxic substances on the environment and human health and have sought the assistance of technical experts from surrounding universities.
The ATFE works to develop sustainable economic alternatives so that the culture and environment of Akwesasne can be preserved. Ongoing projects include such things as developing small and large scale aquaculture projects, establishing black ash, fruit and nut tree plantations and utilizing greenhouses to safely grow food in a polluted environment.
An increased number of universities have proposed conducting research at Akwesasne. However, projects do not always have the best interest of the community in mind and researchers are not always culturally competent or sensitive. In response to this situation, the ATFE became incorporated in 1995 to be able to apply for our own grants, to conduct our own research, to have control over the use of our own data and to ensure that money which is received on behalf of Akwesasne is spent to benefit the community. Protocols for Review of Scientific and Environmental Research were developed so that research at Akwesasne was done only with the input and consent of the community. ATFE, Inc. is the corporate body responsible for administering funds and is overseen by a Board of Directors.