3Historical ContextWhile Quebec was looking into the idea of holding a new referendum on sovereignty, the Canadian First Nations were attempting to gain their own recognition as an independent people within Canada.
4Summary WHO: Mohawk Nation, Kanesatake Reserve, Quebec WHAT: Dispute over plans to expand a golf course on Native land.WHEN: April 1990 – September 1990 (standoff lasted 11 weeks)HOW: A barricade was erected at OkaWHY: The land which the mayor of Oka and other citizens of the city were eyeing for the new golf course was being claimed as long-held ancestral land by the Mohawks.
5The Stand Off BeginsOn July 11, 1990, the police attacked the barricade being guarded by Natives. Shots were fired and Marcel Lemay, police officer, was killed. – killedThe conflict took on an intirely new perspective from that moment on. The Mohawk claims were no longer strickly territorial in nature, but rather a demand for recognition of Native independence.
6Negotiations FailThe government refused to negotiate while the Mohawk barricades were up and sent in the provincial police to erect its own barricades in the roads leading to the municipality of Oka and the Kanesatake reserve.
7The ShowdownNeither group was willing to dismantle their barricades and therefore Robert Bourassa (then Premier) called in the Canadian Armed Forces.Dispite the armed presence, negotiations were slow, and it took several weeks before roads were able to reopen to regular traffic.
8ConclusionTwenty days later, on September 26, 1990, the last barricades were taken down and the Warriors gave up the fight.
9Discussion Questions What were the main causes of the crisis? Who were the major individuals involved?What were the main events of the crisis during the summer of 1990?How did the crisis eventually end - cause?What was the impact of the crisis on the relationships between First Nations peoples and the government of Canada?What were the main reasons for the First Nations peoples’ resentment against the government in Oka in 1990?How did the Mohawk dramatize their anger and grievances against the government in the actions they took during the summer of 1990?Do you think the Aboriginal people of Oka were right to be so angry with the government?Do you think the Aboriginal people of Oka were right to take the steps they did to dramatize their anger and frustration? Could they have adopted any other means of protest?