Told from a Native perspective, "Smoke Traders" looks at the controversy ignited by the Mohawk Nation's involvement in the tobacco trade, raising issues of sovereignty, economic independence and entrepreneurship versus what some see as illegal contraband activity. The multi-million dollar cigarette industry that Mohawks have built has pulled their communities out of third world poverty, but the Canadian government is determined to shut it down. "Smoke Traders" follows Brian, a former tobacco runner from Akwesasne trying to go legit by starting a sustainable energy business, and Robbie, who runs a federally licensed cigarette factory in Kahnawake. But is the tobacco trade a road to independence or criminality for Native people?
Indigenous Governance Database
In this CBC Television news report from 1988, reporter Bruce Garvey takes a long look at the selling -- some call smuggling -- of tax-free cigarettes at the Akwesasne Indian Reserve. Garvey presents this report on the difficulties created by the unique situation of the Akwesasne Indian Reserve,…