The Oka Crisis

Topics: Pages: 15 (3529 words) / Published: Feb 7th, 2013
The Oka CrisisNovember 20, 2012ANS.1000- Introduction to Aboriginal Studies 1|
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The "Oka Crisis" often brings to mind the often published, somewhat famous image of the Mohawk warrior whose face is covered with a bandana, dressed head to toe in camouflage equipped with a large gun on his back, nose to nose with a military soldier. It is an image that is used to symbolize the sense of tension that existed far preceding the 78 day standoff. Not only was there tension between the Mohawk people and the federal government but it had a strong theme of racial tension that thread itself through the dispute. Misrepresentation on behalf of a large proportion of media coverage and the actions of the federal governments would act to perpetually vilify the Mohawk people. So how did this come to such a dramatic and violent point? I hope to highlight the events that happened with the Oka Crisis just a few decades ago that sparked a controversy that has been going on over land disputes since the arrival of Europeans many years ago. It all begins with a Mohawk reserve near the Town of Oka called Kanehsatake and the town of Oka itself. Tension arouse after plans of a “luxury housing expansion that included the expansion of a preexisting private golf course from 9 holes to 18, into the Pines in 1961” (Obomsawin, 1993), these commons were claimed as long-held ancestral land by the Mohawks and would ignite protest in the Mohawk people. In anger and frustration they promised if plans proceeded there would be resistance. This was the tip of the ice burg for “land disputes and frustration that had been going on for over 300 years.” (Swan , 2010)
The history of this land claim dates back to the 1717 when “the governor of New France granted the priests of

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