news | Monday July 12, 2010

20th Anniversary of the Oka Crisis

On the weekend, more than 400 Mohawks and their supporters marched through Oka, Quebec to mark the 20th anniversary of the Oka crisis, a land claims standoff between First Nations people and the Canadian army. Provincial police raided the barrier on July 11 in 1990, sparking a 78-day standoff between protesters and authorities.

A new chief federal negotiator has been appointed to settle the Mohawks of Kanesatake’s Seigneury of Lake of Two Mountains land claim. The Mohawk community of Kahnawake held a powwow on the weekend, with native leaders billing the event as an opportunity to heal scars from the crisis.

More about the Oka crisis can be learned from Lasagna: The Man Behind the Mask, the story of Ronald Cross, the Mohawk with Italian heritage whose image became a symbol of this confrontation in the media, even as the events of that summer etched themselves indelibly into the minds of North Americans as the latest episode in the continuing 500-year history of “Indian wars” in the Americas.

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