The author begins her exploration of the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne by visiting the many smoke shops lining the highway. After befriending a clerk at one shop, she starts to see the community’s similarities to Tejanos, particularly in regards to drug trafficking. She also learns that Mohawks do not consider their covert transferring of cigarettes from one nation to the next “smuggling,” but rather: “trading.” That is because Mohawks have been living in the St. Lawrence River Valley since time immemorial—long before white men drew arbitrary lines across it. The United States and Great Britain signed The Jay Treaty two centuries ago granting Indians the right to trade with each other. Canada, however, sharply disagrees with this reasoning, as its government loses upward of $2 billion annually to lost tax revenue.
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