Canada Post Allows Outsiders To Use Mailboxes In Kahnawà:ke

Written by on July 21, 2020

There have been growing concerns on-line about the local Kahnawà:ke Canada Post post office with regard to community mailboxes that belong to non-Kahnawa’kehró:non. Linda Benwell is the Interim Post Master at the Canada Post branch in town and she says there are indeed outsiders who do possess mailboxes here:

“Paying boxes, yes there are some. The thing is, that mainly it is just for the community members, however, any Post Office you go to you are able to rent a mailbox, so you know we do have that if we have spare boxes, but they do pay the price and they also pay the tax on them if they’re non-native.”

According to the Post Master, box space is available:

“We just moved, we moved here in the beginning of December, and we’ve actually almost doubled in size of boxes. We’re just in the same parking lot, but in the other building, in the Tewa building. So, whereas we had 2,500 before, we have almost 5 thousand boxes now. So basically, we have more, about half that are empty right now.”

The Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke is aware of the issue. This is Chief Mike Delisle:

“We’ve been aware for many years and it’s a constant irritant. They have been approached, Canada Post, the name says it all. Years past on this issue as well as the postage stamp packs of years back, which still exists obviously. Canada, I don’t want to say dictates, but because it is Canada Post, at this point it is what it is, they’ve threatened to leave if we do not comply – so to speak – and/or allow them to continue that practice. So, it’s either have a post office or not at this point, there’s been no recent communication, that’s my understanding.”

As to why people from outside of Kahnawà:ke have boxes here to begin with, Chief Delisle is not sure what are the actual reasons:

“People speculate that it’s about tax exemption and people who have packages delivered. But I know and especially during these times, many people who have had that type of issue in Kahnawà:ke residents to order online and still have taxes attached. That’s not a consistent issue, I’m not sure if that’s part of it, but again, Revenue Canada is also in tune with what happens in terms of those types of things as well, so if we do it’s not an issue, but if someone else does it, they’d better be careful.”

Benwell does recognize people might take issue with the box distribution, but if a box is required by anyone from community, it’s a simple procedure to get one:

“If they are going to get their own box and they don’t have what we require to give them a free box, as long as they have their band card, they will not pay the tax on the box.”


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