Nestled along the beautiful Raquette River which flows along the St. Regis Mohawk Territory and Canada, you’ll find the home of the Thompson family. Inside and out of those newly constructed walls, you will see and hear the laughter and bustling activity of a young and growing family. Most precious and preserved, you will hear this family speaking in their native Mohawk language.
USDA Rural Development’s (RD) newest homeowner, Mrs. Tsionatiio Thompson, is an educator at the Akwesasne Freedom School, where she teaches children in this close knit community to also speak in their native Iroquoian tongue. A visit to this newest homeowner in Akwesasne gives you a sense of her family's proud Mohawk history and future in the making.
It was important for Tsionatiio and Travis Thompson to have a home that could accommodate them and their children. Before constructing this house, the Thompson’s were living in an older model single-wide manufactured home. With the added space of this 1,545 square foot house, which includes a full basement, each of their children Tehanonsakahnion (10 years old), Tehawennahkwa (8 years old), Tehorahkoion (4 years old) and daughter Tsiokwason (2 years old) have a bedroom and play space. Equally important to the Thompson children, they had space to add a rambunctious puppy named Bucky to the family.
“Through RD’s 502 Direct program I can say that this is a home we can afford; a place where we are able to have family and friends visit, as well as a place we can call home,” Mrs. Thompson said. Family includes Tsionatiio’s older brother, Taylor, who was the first member of the St. Regis Mohawk Community to construct and finance a home eight years ago on the reservation with Section 502 Direct Loan assistance. Since that time, in partnership with the Akwesasne Housing Authority, RD has financed 20 homes on St. Regis Mohawk tribal lands; a financing investment of over $3.3 million dollars.
“This is another tremendous example of the USDA working collaboratively with our First Nation partners of the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe,” said USDA Rural Development New York State Director Brian Murray. “We have been working with the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe for well over a decade, bringing all USDA program assistance to the people of this community so they can further grow and proposer with the support of grants, technical assistance and affordable financing.”