High School Project: The Oka Crisis (for Contemporary World class)


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This is my original project on the Oka Crisis, a 1990 land dispute between Canada and a group of Mohawks where Mohawks seized the city's control of expanding the golf course to over their ancestral land.

It was done while in Secondary Five at my high school as a project for Contemporary World.

This presentation can be utilized to discuss the national issue of aboriginal marginalization.

Published in: News & Politics
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High School Project: The Oka Crisis (for Contemporary World class)

  1. 1. Developed ByGregory DesrosiersThe bus shown on this picture is of property of Longueuil RTL, AMT and NovaBus Inc. This photo was takenby Gregory Desrosiers on December 30, 2010 and is for use in Gregory Desrosiers’ personalized logo only.
  2. 2. Presented toMs. YaworskiCTW 504-03May 24, 2011Heritage Regional High SchoolSt-Hubert, Quebec
  3. 3. The Oka CrisisA PowerPoint Presentation by Gregory Desrosiers© 2011 Gregory Desrosiers, Riverside School Board. All rights, includingsome visuals and text are trademarks and/or copyrighted material of theirrespectful owners. All rights reserved.Assignment created by Riverside School Board and Ms. Yaworski.Published to Heritage Regional High School by Ms. Yaworski.
  4. 4. What is the Oka Crisis?The Oka Crisis was a land dispute betweenthe following groups:-The Mohawks (First Nations people fromthe Kanesatake and the KahnawakeReserves)-The town of Oka (Quebecors, includingJean Ouelette and the Council of Oka)- Lasted between July 11, 1990 toSeptember 26, 1990
  5. 5. Who are the groups?The Mohawks (Aboriginals)• Threatened becausetheir land was taken fordevelopment• Existed in Canada forhundreds of years• Existed before theEuropeans arrived
  6. 6. Who are the groups?The Town of Oka (Quebecors)• A developed society wheredeveloping the land for thecity was to be continued
  7. 7. Where is Oka located?• West of Montreal, on the north side ofthe Ottawa River
  8. 8. What made the crisis happen?In 1717• Governor of New France granted land inpresent-day Oka• Included a cemetery and the pines for aCatholic seminary• Until the crisis, Mohawks believed the landgrant was illegal
  9. 9. What made the crisis happen?1936• Territory sold, vacated and the seminary wascleared1961• Portion of land was used to build a nine-holegolf course• Tensions started building between Mohawksand Quebecors
  10. 10. What made the crisis happen?• Mohawks launched a legal protest against the constructionteam of the golf course1976• Repetitive claims and research was rejected by the council ofOka1989• Jean Ouelette, mayor of Oka, announced expansion of thegolf course to eighteen holes and building of sixtycondominiums• Plans proceeded without consulting the Mohawks• Mohawks were provoked more because the expansion was tobe made on their ancestral burial grounds
  11. 11. What does the conflict stemfrom?Territory and Resources• The land New France granted in 1717 belonged tothe Mohawks• They believed to live in harmony with natureDesire for Political Autonomy• First Nations people are not seen by the government• Not treated very well since the Europeans arrived inCanada in the 1500s and 1600s for land claims andbuilding power
  12. 12. What happened in the crisis?March 1990• Mohawks erected twobarricades•Main one on westboundintersection of St. Michel St.and Girouard St.•Anti-tank barricade on otherside of reserved land to beused by the golf coursecalled “The Pines”
  13. 13. What happened in the crisis?June 11, 1990• 100 officers from the Surete du Quebec were sent uponorder from the mayor to storm the barricades• Tear gas was thrown onto the Mohawk side• Both groups opened fire when the gas flew back at theofficersSoon, the Mohawks were joined by other Mohawk groups acrossQuebec, Canada and upstate New York.
  14. 14. What did the supporters do?The supporting Mohawks blockedthe following:•Mercier Bridge on the KahnawakeReserve side•Quebec Route 132, 138 and 207Kahnawake Reserve is located on theSouth Shore of Montreal.The picture on the right shows theMohawk’s blockage to the MercierBridge.
  15. 15. What happened next?An offer was made by theGovernment of Canada:•Mohawks would earn $5.3 million inusing their land for the expansion ofthe golf course•Mohawks rejected the offerbecause of their resistance to losememories of their ancestors and notbeing able to be close to them whenpraying since the course would notallow the Mohawks to enter andpray
  16. 16. What happened next?SQ lost control of the situation• Marcel Lemay, one of theofficers, was killed• SQ fled when Lemay was shot• Mohawks used the leftover policecruisers and a front-end loader tobuild another barricadeThe photo on the right shows part ofthe barricade erected by theMohawks.
  17. 17. What did Canada do?Robert Bourassa, premier of Quebec, called:• the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) because neither group waswilling to dismantle their barrcades• Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to have 4000 troops on standby forreinforcement on August 8SQ called the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP)• Arrived on August 14, 1990• Not allowed to use force• Soon overwhelmed by the Mohawks and the mobs created by theblocked traffic
  18. 18. What did Canada do?The CAF:• rolled into the scene in tanks abouttwo weeks after standby• part of the army was the Royal 22ndRegiment a.k.a Van Doos• stormed the three barricades andreduced the rebellion to one smallperimeter on August 20• marked the perimeter with razor wireThe picture on the right shows oneMohawk and one CAF soldier comeface-to-face
  19. 19. What happened in the last days of the crisis?August 29• Mohawks blocking the Mercier Bridge negotiated an end to their protestwith CAF Lieutenant Colonel Robin Gagnon• Gagnon also monitored the blockades on the South Shore• Mohawks felt betrayed as the the Government of Quebec rejected allfurther negotiationsSeptember 25• Mohawks taunted the soldiers and threw water balloonsSeptember 26• Last barricade was taken down
  20. 20. September 26, 1990Mohawks were defeated• 50 Mohawks dropped their weapons and walked to thesoldiers• Some threw their guns onto a fire• Ceremonially burned tobacco• Walked back to their reserves• Many were arrested by the SQ and taken into custody by theCAF
  21. 21. Was the conflict resolved?The conflict has been resolved.What caused it to end?• Quebecors earned enough backup to break the barricades and bring theMohawks into custody• Took weeks after the SQ withdrew from the battle when Marcel Lemaywas shot• Chiefs were gathered during the crisis• Some accomplishment was made by the roadblocks and RCMP’srestriction to use force, but did not last very long• CAF can overcome the setbacks because they are part of modern Canadawhich overpowers Aboriginal traditions
  22. 22. Extra ContentIf you want to know what was the experience during the Oka Crisis and/orwhat happened the day the CAF pushes the Mohawk territory, watch thisvideo:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61ldZTjlfgEThis video is 3 minutes 11 seconds long. It is the recording of a news reportby CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) that went across to the peoplewho became aware of the crisis and even the people who faced theroadblocks on the Mercier Bridge and Quebec Routes 132, 138 and 207 aswell as Mohawk supporters, the CAF, the inhabitants of Oka and thesurrounding towns that experienced the Oka Crisis.This video is for educational purposes only.
  23. 23. Oka Crisis CreditsDevelopment and Presentation byGregory DesrosiersDeveloped usingMicrosoft Office PowerPoint 2007Assignment Created byMs. Yaworski of Heritage Regional High SchoolRiverside School Board (Consulting Services for Contemporary World)Published byMs. Yaworski
  24. 24. Oka Crisis CreditsLegal InformationAll information is not owned by Gregory Desrosiers. It has been written in thedeveloper’s own words from original sources. Original sources can be found in the“Contemporary World – Conflict Research Notes” document.All photos are not owned by Gregory Desrosiers except the “NovaBUS owned by RTL”photo. They have been saved from original sources. The “NovaBUS owned by RTL”photo is owned and taken by Gregory Desrosiers, but the bus is of trademarksand/or copyrighted material of Reseau de Transport de Longueuil, Agencemetropolitaine de transport and NovaBUS Inc.The “Riverside School Board” photo was saved by Gregory Desrosiers originally onAugust 12, 2007, but at the time of production of this PowerPoint Presentation, itwas no longer on the school board’s website.
  25. 25. Oka Crisis CreditsLegal InformationPhotos are saved from the following websites:• http://concordia.ewb.ca/sisterschools/?p=332• http://www.archivefire.net/2010/08/kanesetake-mohawks-resisting.html• http://www.montrealgazette.com/opinion/editorial-cartoons/Video+Remembering+Kanesatake+July+1990/32592• http://www.museevirtuel-virtualmuseum.ca/edu/ViewLoitDa.do%3Bjsessionid=D3302A808E15C41876FBCCB63104009D?method=preview&lang=EN&id=1072• http://www.cyberarts.ca/site/studentgallery/multimedia/history/queeniechow/picpages/oka_all.htm• http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2010/07/06/montreal-oka-crisis-south-shore-anniversary.html• http://bermudaradical.wordpress.com/2010/07/11/twenty-years-after-the-oka-crisis-injustice-continues/(Need Google Image Search for full resolution picture)• http://www.radio-canada.ca/regions/Montreal/2010/07/28/004-OKA-reserve-fonciere.shtml• http://caledoniawakeupcall.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/is-oka-round-2-about-to-erupt/• http://pages.slic.com/mohawkna/mnprel.htm• http://www.traverseoka.qc.ca/carte.html
  26. 26. A PowerPoint Presentation by Gregory Desrosiers© 2011 Gregory Desrosiers, Riverside School Board. All rights,including some visuals and text are trademarks and/orcopyrighted material of their respectful owners. All rightsreserved.Assignment created by Riverside School Board and Ms. Yaworski.Published to Heritage Regional High School by Ms. Yaworski.