NEWS

Oka Crisis 25th anniversary marked in Kanesatake's Pines

07/11/2015 11:30 EDT | Updated 07/11/2016 05:59 EDT
Twenty-five years after the Oka Crisis, the relationship between the Kanesatake Mohawks and the municipality of Oka remains fractured, like a wound that never quite heals.

Mohawks and their supporters marched through the land at the centre of the 1990 dispute – known by the aboriginal community as the Pines – on Saturday, the anniversary of the crisis.

In a speech before the march, a member of the Mohawk community reiterated that Mohawks believe the land is rightfully theirs and should be given to them by the federal government. 

It's one of several events taking place on Saturday to commemorate the 78-day standoff of the summer of 1990, which was triggered by the shooting death of SQ Cpl. Marcel Lemay in a botched police raid on a protest camp in the Pines.

Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon cautions against celebrating the event, saying it is a solemn anniversary. 

The Oka Crisis grew out of an argument between the Mohawks of Kanesatake and the town of Oka over the municipality's plans to expand a golf course from nine to 18 holes, on land encroaching on a Mohawk cemetery which the aboriginal community have always maintained is theirs.

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