AKWESASNE -- Steven B. Cook, “Satawenoten” a resident of 329 State Route 37, passed away on Wednesday, July 22, 2020, after a brief illness. He was in the loving care of his children, in the comfort of his own home.
Steve was born on April 28, 1956, the only son of the late Harvey and Cecelia Cook. He was a 1974 graduate of Salmon River and went on to attend Clarkson University. He graduated judiciary college and from a real estate program. A marriage to Colleen Burns ended amicably.
Steve was an ambitious and intelligent man who had a zest for work and knew how to make a difference. He was a phenomenal role model, motivating others to improve their lives and community. He took every opportunity to educate or share how beautiful Akwesasne life and culture are.
After college Steven created a cultural awareness training to Alcoa and General Motors to break stereotypes and educate the workers on their neighbors and coworkers. In the 1990s, Steve was instrumental in teaching the community about computers and technology and he was the sole proprietor of Mohawk Computers Systems that was groundbreaking at the time. He had three successful locations.
Steve worked at Parks Canada in the 80s and he was a regional director for Indian Affairs for ten years. He flew to reserves across Canada encouraging people to become self-employed. He was a former director of human resources for the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort and was the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Director of Economic Development for six years, until he retired due to illness. He was instrumental in creating the Akwesasne Employment Resource Centre and the Akwesasne Revolving Loan Fund to support local businesses. He served terms with the Land Dispute Tribunal and the Chamber of Commerce amongst other boards and committees throughout his lifetime. He was awarded numerous awards for his work in economic development and never stopped thinking of brilliant business ideas. He was working on his website to create jobs even at the end.
Steve’s most prominent career accomplishment was as the Tribal Traffic Court Judge, a position he was elected to for five consecutive terms for a total of 15 years. He enjoyed his interactions with the community and ability to use his knowledge for greater good.
Steve will be remembered as a happy and kind soul who showed caring and compassion for all who were around him. He believed everyone deserved love and second chances. He was always a person people went to when they needed help and he’d provide guidance and support without judgment, only love. He was a bright light during hard times.
Steve loved to play the piano and did so into the last months of his life, impressing others with his talent as he loved to do. He enjoyed classical music, singing, songwriting, technology, and traveling worldwide, and spending time in any way with his children and grandchildren. In his later years, he enjoyed a simple car ride around Akwesasne to admire all the beautification that was happening. He was so happy to see what the St. Regis Point had been transformed into.
Steve loved to decorate and took great pride in his home and especially his yard. His attention to detail was a talent, and he took great care in the gifts he gave and birthday parties he helped decorate. He was always the helper in anyway a person needed. His heartfelt efforts will be greatly missed.
Steve is survived by his children, Christine (Gordon) Jacobs, and Amber (Timmy) Cook, his former wife Colleen, and his grandchildren, Talon, Rayden, Mikey, Kayden, Thomas, Gunner and Raylani. He is also survived by his uncles Henry and Clark Lazore, and his brother and sister in laws; Pete (Melanie) Burns Sr., James (Kim) Burns, Jolene (Sean) Burns-Hernandez, Mary (Phillip) Gray, Anna (Charlie) Burns, Alex Burns, FloAnn Burns and Fred Thompson. He is also survived by three chosen brothers, Dan Cook, Donnie (Debbie) Smoke, and Brant Davis, a godson Austin Thompson, and his extended family Hilda Smoke, Jenny (Albert) Thompson, Sandra (Russell) Tarbell, Char Cook, Carmen (Dale) Shaver, Janet (Richard) Caldwell, and Dorothy (Simon) Cole. He will also be missed by many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Along with his parents, Steve was predeceased by his son Adrian, and his sister Suzanne.
Friends may call Friday 2-8:00 PM at the Donaldson Funeral Home, Massena. Funeral services will be held St. Joseph’s Cemetery with Rev. Hattie Taylor, officiating. Burial will be held privately in Hogansburg Methodist Cemetery.
Memories may be shared and condolences offered online at www.donaldsonfh.com.