According to the Montreal Gazette, the Kahnawake almost recognized the tribe's right to control gambling operations in a series of 1999 meetings.

Former Kahnawake Grand Chief Joe Norton told a standing-room only session on aboriginal gaming that a draft document between Quebec and Kahnawake was reluctantly rejected by the province just as the Mohawks were launching Mohawk Internet Technologies.

"We offered both Canada and Quebec an opportunity to be a partner with us (in the venture) but they wouldn't," said Norton, who described MIT's computer servers that host gambling sites as "the jewel" of the community's gambling operations.

While both governments contend that only Quebec has jurisdiction over gambling within the province, MIT has operated, unchallenged for almost a decade.

But pressure is growing in Canada to either stamp out online gambling - and those critics cite MIT - or change legislation that would allow other players, such as horse-racing tracks, to have access to its profits.

Yesterday, Norton and lawyer Morden (Cookie) Lazarus, who has acted for Kahnawake, urged that legislation "or a mechanism" be enacted to recognize gambling as a legitimate aboriginal activity under the Canadian constitution.
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