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Canadian army intervenes at Oka

The Story


It's a scene of hysteria, pandemonium and high tension as more than 2,500 soldiers descend upon Oka. People prepare for the worst as the army advances to the main barricade at the edge of the sacred Mohawk territory. Images of tanks and soldiers in full combat fatigue fill TV screens. A dramatic stare-off between a Canadian soldier and a Mohawk warrior comes to symbolize the gulf between the two sides.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 1, 1990
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Neil MacDonald
Duration: 3:10

Did You know?


• Mohawk warrior Ronald Cross, better known as Lasagna, got his nickname from his love of his mother's Italian cooking. He died in 1999, at age 41, of heart failure.

• Cross became the symbol of the stand-off when he was mistaken for the masked warrior standing nose-to-nose with a Canadian soldier. Although it wasn't actually Cross in the photo or in this clip, the incident gained him notoriety. The warrior in the photo and seen here face-to-face with a soldier was Brad Larocque of Saskatchewan.

• At one point there were as many as 12 native barricades in Quebec. Riots broke out three nights in a row in the nearby town of Chateauguay. Commuters were angry at the sympathy barricades, put up by Mohawks of Kahnawake. The Mohawks had blocked the Mercier bridge, a main artery in to Montreal.


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