Students from the Akwesasne Freedom School stand in a line in the snow wearing traditional Mohawk dress.
Courtesy of Akwesasne Freedom School

Akwesasne Freedom School

Friends of the Akwesasne Freedom School
Hogansburg, NY

The Akwesasne Freedom School (AFS) emerged as a center of Mohawk cultural resurgence in 1979 and continues to play a critical role in revitalizing a rich and diverse language and culture within the community of Akwesasne. It is a model of self-determination and best practices in language and cultural revitalization. AFS provides Mohawk immersion education, beginning each day with the Thanksgiving address, which forms the foundation of their culturally-rooted curriculum. The Friends of the Akwesasne Freedom School, Inc. (FOAFS), whose leadership helps the AFS through program development, fundraising, and administrative guidance, is the nonprofit arm of the school. The goal of the FOAFS is “to ensure a prosperous future for the students of the Akwesasne Freedom School.”

Ionkwawén:na tánon tsi niiokwarihò:ten
ne kwah tkaia’takwe’ní:io ne Onkwehonwehnéha.
(Our language and cultural ways are most important for Native Peoples.)

—Konwanahktotha Elvera Sargent,
Akwesasne Mohawk, FOAFS Executive Director