From July 11-Sept 26 1990 Canadians watched the standoff which became known as the Oka Crisis play out in Quebec.
Brief history of the land which was in dispute:
The hereditary lands of the Mohawk peoples were stolen going all the way back to 1717 when King Louis XV granted the land to the Sulpicians, a Roman Catholic Order.
In 1761 after Britain conquered New France the Mohawk people wrote putting forth their claim on the land, asking for it to be recognized, describing the squalor and despicable conditions that they were living under.
The claim was denied.
For 150 years give or take they have fought to have their hereditary rights recognized.
Instead they watched as more and more of their land was stolen and sold to white men.
(Some may think that I am unfairly targeting white men as the main culprits in these insidious underhanded dealings but guess what? Look at all those pictures taken then. Look at all the pictures taken now. White. White. White.)
Dates/actions taken regarding the traditional lands:
1851-Petitioned Lord Elgin Governor General of Canada to recognize their rights to the land.
1859-Province of Canada gives the Sulpicians official title to the land.
1868-Government of the new Domain of Canada denied the Mohawk’s original land grant reserved land specifically for them.
1910-Claim heard by Quebec Supreme Court
1912-it was heard by the Court of King’s Bench and finally by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Canada’s highest appeals court at the time.
****They ruled the official title to the land was held by the Sulpicians.
By the end of WWII the Sulpicians had sold all the remaining land and the The Mohawk of Kanesatake were now confined within 6km squared compared to the 687 km squared they once had.
It was the ownership of Mohawks common area called The Pines that remained unresolved.
1975-The Mohawk people of Kahnawake, Kanesetake and Akwesasne assert their hereditary rights to their ancestral lands.
Land claim was rejected since they had not held the land continuously from time immemorial.
Which is funny when you think about it because their land was stolen from them.
They held it, their rights were ignored regarding it.
1977-The Kanestake band files a second land claim with the federal government.
1986-Rejected on the grounds it did not meet the full legal criteria.
Area known as The Pine:
1961-9 hole golf course constructed.
Land came very close to a traditional Mohawk burial ground yet their claim was rejected.
1989-Mayor of Oka announces a proposed plan to build townhouses and expand the golf course into the Pines and over the Kanesatake ancestral cemetery.
***As their land claim was rejected in 1986 they were not consulted.
Despite protests and concerns expressed by the Quebec Minister of Environment and Minister of Native Affairs construction was slated to begin in March 1990.
There were protests.
There were blockades.
There were injunctions that were ignored.
July 11-Surete du Quebec (SQ) Provincial Police upon request of the Oka town council advance using tear gas and concussion grenades to create confusion.
The tear gas blew back on them.
In the resulting confusion and gun fire SQ Corporal Marcel Lemay was killed.
***It is unclear who fired the first shot or killed Corporal Lemay.
Mid July RCMP are brought in.
Aug. 20th Canadian Army makes an appearance.
-4000 soldiers took up position in and around Kanesatake and Kahnawake along with armoured military vehicles, helicopters, artillery, police vessels on the Ottawa River and other equipment.
-Members of the Royal 22e Regiment took over from the SQ at the Kahnawake and Kanesatake barricades. Assuming positions only meters from the Mohawk warriors.
The standoff continued.
The Mohawk were under constant pressure as more and more soldiers and SQ flooded the area.
Sept. 18/90-SQ officers and army soldiers land on Tekakwitha Island on the outskirts of Kahnawake and proceed towards the community where they are met by hundreds of Mohawk.
An attempt is made to lay razor wire which is dismantled.
The Mohawk also threw rocks and assaulted the soldiers.
The soldiers fired tear gas and warning shots (i.e. bullets) and assaulted Mohawk with the butt of the rifles.
7 hours later the soldiers were airlifted out.
22 soldiers injured.
75 Mohawk injured rangining in age from 5-72.
Sept. 26/90-Resistance ends.
30 men, 16 women and 6 children suddenly left the center.
Surprising the army command who was expecting an orderly surrender (am a little confused here as all it states in the article is they left suddenly-not that they swarmed the command center or anything as such).
During the confusion a soldier stabbed 14 year old Waneek Horn-Miller in the chest with a bayonet.
She was carrying her 4 year old sister to safety after weeks behind barriers as their mother acted as negotiator.
***Front page news across the country***
Several Mohawk warriors were detained and a number later charged by the SQ.
5 were convicted of crimes.
Only 1 served jail time.
Now let us to Ottawa Jan./Feb. 2022
Freedom Convoy descends.
A small portion of Canadian society who truly feel that they are above everyone else.
Their wants and desires far outweigh the balance of the 37,000,000 other Canadians.
They can wantonly destroy propery.
They can harass people wearing masks.
They can shut down businesses.
They can swear.
They can conduct lewd behaviour.
People running to provide them with food, fuel, saunas, bouncy houses for children.
To protest their unfair treatment over the last two years of Covid.
Oh no I have to wear a mask.
Oh no I have to get a vaccine.
Oh no I have to think about someone other than myself.
Two years versus over 400+.
White vs Indigenous.
Tell me now that there is no disparity.
Yes there was violence.
Yes there was a death.
No one wanted the situation to escalate the way it did.
But it did.
So time to pay the piper folk.
If your response in 1990 to a legitimate protest against a golf course and townhouses being built on ancestral burial grounds is straight out of an occupation video where the fuck is that response to these assholes in Ottawa.
Assholes being pandered to by the conservative base.
A conservative base that aligns itself with the ideology of the likes of Trump, DeSantis, Cruz and Greene.
People, when they start championing a cause, you know that you are on the wrong end of the stick.
Picture is my own
4 thoughts on “30 years & Counting”
Colonial treatment of indigenous peoples across the world was appalling and should be recognized. We can add to that the genocide that is now carried out in a number of countries. It is important to keep bringing these situations into the public eye.
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let s break out copies of the 1619 thaing
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Nice historic blog. That’s nice !