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Lesson Plan: For Teachers - The Oka Crisis: Expressing Resentment

Social Studies
1 to 2 lessons
To identify the causes leading to the Oka crisis.
Students present an oral analysis of the causes of, and responses to, the Oka crisis.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students to give examples of groups in society who feel that they have not been treated fairly. What do they think are the main reasons why such groups develop anger or resentment against governments or other authorities in society? Why might Canada's First Nations peoples be considered one of these groups with grievances against governments? What do they think are the main reasons for First Nations resentment? How have aboriginal groups tried to gain attention for their issues, and how successful have they been? Why might such groups sometimes practice dramatic or even illegal actions in order to seek redress for their grievances?

Outline the Opportunity


Have students browse the topic The Oka Crisis to gain background information on the causes of aboriginal resentment in Oka in 1990, and how the Mohawks expressed their grievances against the government. Students should consider the following questions:


What were the main reasons for the First Nations peoples' resentment against the government in Oka in 1990?

How did the Mohawks dramatize their anger and grievances against the government in the actions they took during the summer of 1990?

Do you think the aboriginal people of Oka were right to be so angry with the government?

Do you think the aboriginal people of Oka were right to take the steps they did to dramatize their anger and frustration? Could they have adopted any other means of protest?

Students should make notes of their views on each question and be prepared to discuss them with the class.


Revisit and Reflect


Discuss with the class the causes of First Nations resentment in Oka in 1990, and the appropriateness of the actions the Mohawks took to dramatize their grievances against the government.

Have students reflect on what they learned about the Oka crisis of 1990. How has their research affected their understanding of First Nations issues, their views regarding the causes of Aboriginal resentment in Canada, and the means which some Aboriginal groups have used to dramatize and gain redress for their grievances.


Have students write one or two paragraphs stating their views of the causes of the Oka crisis, the reasons why it became such a potentially violent standoff, and what lessons they think can be learned from it in order to prevent such a situation from occurring in the future.


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