Mohawks are organizing an international trade show for next year which will feature 250 businesses from all seven Mohawk communities.

“We want to dispell certain myths,” said organizer Dale Dione in an article in Montreal’s Hour weekly. “A trade show would be an excellent opportunity to change the image in the nonnative world that we’re all criminals and terrorists.”

The Mohawk economy has been hit hard by federal and Quebec government measures to curb the duty-free cigarette and gasoline trades. Nonnative employers are also hiring fewer Mohawks since the Oka crisis of 1990. Plus, work shortages have hit the construction and steel trades, where many Mohawks work.

Before the Oka crisis, about 300 Kahnawake families were getting welfare. Now, the number is 950. Dione said requests for funding for the trade show have been turned away by federal and provincial agencies.