London, Ontario July 10th, 2020 – On July 11th, 1990, a stand-off occurred between the Kahnesetake Mohawks and the Surete de Quebec Police and grew to involve the Canadian army. It was the beginning of a fight that lasted until September 1990, and while the struggle went on for 78 days the memory of that crisis exists today and continues in the form of widespread injustice, racism, and discrimination.
The idealized view the world holds of Canada’s multiculturalism and diversity hides a darker side of theft of land, resources, unpaid dues, residential schools, and ignorance of the plight of our Missing and Murdered Indigenous women and youth. Grand Chief Joel Abram states “The crisis at Oka will always be prevalent in the minds of First Nations people and stands alongside protests on the rails, marches with Black Lives Matter and standing against corporations and governments that think they can just take our resources like land or water without notice. Even with this conflict so many years behind us, the same legislative, policy, institutional and structural racism exists because to rebuke it means questioning the very foundation of Canada. The fact that it takes violence and angry voices for any progress to occur is heartbreaking when we are supposed to be living in a time of open minds and discussion. We will never forget what our relations have gone through on July 11th and they have helped set the bar to show that we will not be complacent or taken for granted, ever.”
The Oka Crisis began when a golf course was set to be built onto lands claimed by Kahnesetake without their consultation.