CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: What Was Oka About?

History, Social Studies
1 lesson
To identify causes, issues, individuals, events, results, and consequences of the Oka crisis of 1990
In this introductory activity, students explore the topic to learn more about the Oka crisis.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Ask students what they know about the Oka crisis of 1990, based on their study of the history of First Nations issues in Canada. Also ask them if they know of any other situations where Aboriginal Peoples and governments have come into conflict over specific issues in the last decade.

Have students explain why they think the relationship between Canada's First Nations peoples and governments has occasionally been marked by troubles and conflicts. What are the main concerns of First Nations peoples in Canada today, and how have they sought to present these concerns to governments and society as a whole? How successful have they been in having their issues addressed, and gaining a resolution to their main concerns?

Outline the Opportunity


Have students browse the topic The Oka Crisis for 15 to 30 minutes, watching and listening to the video and audio clips in any order they wish. As they explore, they should make notes about the following:


What were the main causes of the Oka crisis?

Who were the major individuals involved in it?

What were the main events of the crisis during the summer of 1990?

How was the crisis eventually ended?

What was the impact of the crisis on relations between First Nations peoples and governments in Canada?


Revisit and Reflect


Write the following questions on the board: Why did the Oka crisis receive so much attention in Canada during the summer of 1990? What was its long-term impact on relations between First Nations peoples and the Canadian government and society?

Have students discuss these questions, based on the information they obtained from their exploration of the topic. Make notes on the board to summarize their answers, or have students prepare their own point-form notes indicating their responses to the questions.


Have students view the clip "Ten years later" and prepare a summary of how the main participants in the Oka crisis remember it a decade after it took place. In what ways are their recollections of this event similar? In what ways are they different? Why would there be differences in the ways different individuals recall these events?

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