Tekahnawiiaks is from the Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation. The name is pronounced Deh-gunna-wee-yuks. Tekahnawiiaks is also known as Joyce King. She has lived her entire life at Akwesasne, a Mohawk community protected by treaties between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the United States and Canada.
Tekahnawiiaks has ample experience working with indigenous governments as well as with U.S. and Canadian officials. She has worked with all three Mohawk governments at Akwesasne: the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs mohawknation.org (the Mohawk national government as recognized by the Haudenosaunee Confederacy); the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council (a locally-elected U.S.-based Mohawk government on the southern side of Akwesasne recognized by New York State); and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (a locally-elected Canadian-based Mohawk government on the northern side of Akwesasne recognized under the Indian Act of Canada).
When Tekahnawiiaks worked for the Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, she also was responsible for managing the Akwesasne Notes Bookstore, the Akwesasne Tourist Information Center, and the overall operations of the Mohawk Nation office. During this time, she had to take on extra responsibilities as the managing editor of Indian Time newspaper. Slowly, she reduced a huge deficit incurred by Indian Time through strict fiscal controls and innovative revenue-generating initiatives. As managing editor, Tekahnawiiaks photographed and documented issues throughout the Mohawk communities as well as the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The Indian Time article,“Legendary Tadadaho Title Is Raised for the Haudenosaunee: The Confederacy of Six Nations sixnations.org (Grand Council) Condole Sid Hill of the Onondaga Nation,” Volume 20, #15, April 18, 2002, sold out entirely.
Over the years, Tekahnawiiaks worked diligently as the Director of the Haudenosaunee Environmental Task Force hetf.org. She sat on two National Committees: the National Tribal Operations Committee and, currently, the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC). On NEJAC, she represents indigenous communities concerning the effects of air quality from ports and the transportation of goods to sensitive populations. She is also the Advisor to the New York State Department of Conservation Environmental Justice Committee (NYSDECEJ). NEJAC is a nomination of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, and NYSDECEJ is a nomination through New York State.
Tekahnawiiaks currently holds a Federal appointment as a Justice of the Peace (Section 107 of the Indian Act) and has adjudicated in Kahnawake and Akwesasne. She is a Certified Mediator and a member of the Native Network that provides mediation services in areas of the environment. In July, Tekahnawiiaks will launch a small bookkeeping business that will assist community businesses with skills needed to maintain their own computerized accounting programs. She is a keynote speaker on cultural issues and the environment. The Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy published her most recent article, “The Value of Water and the Meaning of Water Law for the Native Americans Known as the Haudenosaunee.”
In 2003, Tekahnawiiaks, served as a communications facilitator in a feature-length documentary film, Cowjews and Indians, which draws on issues common to Jews and Native Americans. Currently, the film is in post-production.
Joyce Tekahnawiiaks King was presented with the Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Achievement Award at the 7th Annual Harriet Tubman Humanitarian Achievement Award Jubilee in Albany, New York on March 8, 2008.
Tekahnawiiaks appreciates her life-long learning of the Mohawk tradition and culture. She is the proud mother of four children and seven grandchildren and enjoys being a key part of their life-long education.