Saturday, June 19, 2010

The ‘Oka Crisis’

The Oka Crisis was a fairly major event in modern Canadian history, yet to be honest I never really knew all the details about it and don’t think it was ever taught to me in any of the history courses I took in school.

For those of you who don’t know, it involved a massive, months-long armed stand-off between members of the Mohawk aboriginal nation in Quebec, and lots and lots of police and soldiers.

The stand-off began when a number of Mohawks blocked roads in order to stop the expansion of a golf course into a forested area containing a Mohawk graveyard. They weren’t doing this suddenly either, they’d already spent about a year protesting this development and attempting to get it stopped in other ways. The blockade led to armed police officers attempting to storm the barriers, firing guns and tear gas canisters at the people inside. Things only got worse from there on.

I think this comic does a pretty good job of explaining what happened during this situation. It’s clearly biased in the favour of the Mohawks, but it seems as though, for the most part, those were the people who had been wronged in this situation.

I’m not entirely comfortable supporting the Mohawks (any situation involving guns or violence sort of drives me away, and some of the later protests seemed kind of out of hand), and I wish this comic was longer to give a fuller account of the situation, but it’s definitely still worth reading if you have any interest in aboriginal rights and history or police brutality in Canada.

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