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No one knows where Canadian Customs will ultimately go. In January 2014, the Federal Bridge Corporation opened a new low level bridge to replace the dreaded northern one, and will spend the next two years dismantling the old one. Yet Mohawks still must report to CBSA whenever entering or exiting their island. Hundreds have signed a petition requesting Customs move from Cornwall city closer to the New York side, south of the southern bridge, but Chief David says that even if Canada agreed, such a plan could take a decade to implement. Until then, “the situation” remains the Situation.
“So many people have dreamt of that [northern] bridge collapsing, of the water tearing it down,” says White, the pawnshop manager who is also an elder of the Turtle Clan. “Native seers came here this winter, and they said we are headed for a year of darkness because this area would be flooded. I take it with a grain of salt… but thoughts create reality. Maybe if enough people dream it, it will happen.”
Of course, it is morbid to imagine the bridge collapsing into the St. Lawrence River, hurtling cars and trucks and people into its icy current. Yet, from a Mohawk perspective, there is something deliciously anarchic about the vision as well. For if the bridge were to crumble, wouldn’t the border, too?