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Sonia Bonspille-Boileau in the PinesThe Oka Legacy director, Sonia Bonspille-Boileau in the Pines

In the summer of 1990, all eyes were on the small town of Oka for a standoff between the Mohawk people of Kanehsatake, Quebec police, and eventually the Canadian army. The town of Oka’s plans to expand a golf course onto un-ceded Mohawk land triggered the violent clash. The Oka Crisis, which lasted 78 days, drew worldwide attention, catapulting Indigenous land rights into the spotlight. The events of that summer in Oka had a profound impact on Indigenous peoples in Canada. It set the tone for Indigenous resistance throughout the ‘90s, and inspired many people & communities to take action. Oka was an awakening for an entire generation and helped change the course of Canadian history.

The Oka Legacy is a POV documentary that explores how the Oka Crisis has transformed contemporary Indigenous identity in Canada. Through Mohawk filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s own personal journey, The Oka Legacy retraces the events that took place in her hometown in 1990 by talking with people who lived through the events firsthand, like Clifton Nicholas and Waneek Horn Miller, as well as with those who overcame grief like Francine Lemay and those like Melissa Mollen Dupuis and Johnny Jones who, even hundreds of kilometers away, were inspired to do great things. These compelling characters recount their own personal Oka Crisis stories and reflect on what its legacy is and what it should be.

Scene from the film: Melissa Mollen Dupuis talks about how the the Oka Crisis inspired her.

The documentary is developed and produced by Rezolution Pictures’ Catherine Bainbridge, Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick and Lisa Roth. Executive Produced by Catherine Bainbridge Christina Fon, Linda Ludwick and Ernest Webb of Rezolution Pictures, an Aboriginal-owned TV and film production company , the same team that produced the multiple-Gemini and Peabody Award-winning film, Reel Injun, as well as several award-winning documentaries and television series, including Mohawk Girls, Smoke Traders, Club Native and Down The Mighty River.

Credits (Click to expand)

The Oka Legacy

written & directed by
Sonia Bonspille-Boileau

executive producers
Catherine Bainbridge
Christina Fon
Linda Ludwick
Ernest Webb

produced by
Catherine Bainbridge
Christina Fon
Linda Ludwick
Lisa M. Roth

Jake Kent

Howard Goldberg

director of photography
Patrick Kaplin

original music composed by
Daniel Toussaint

line producer
Lisa M. Roth

associate producers
Anne-Marie Belhadj
Claire MacKinnon

production coordinators
Vanessa Corkal
Amanda Roy

assistants to the producers
Mark Ouimet
Van Nguyen

additional camera
Edith Labbé
Jean-Claude Caprara

sound recordists
Brian Maier
Cameron Sinclair
Jesse Dubé-Smith

camera assistants
Jessie Turner
Diego Dias

post-production coordinator

Rebecca Lessard
assistant editor
Ana-Paula Castillo Méndez

visual research & clearances
Sonja Carr
Rebecca Lessard

dialogue & sfx editor
Mona Laviolette

Daniel Toussaint

narration recording
Paul-Etienne Côté

online technical director
Frédéric Sauvé

online editor and colourist
Serge Verreault

video description & closed captioning
Sas Harris

The Leisa Lee Group

Linda Ludwick

accounting assistant
Van Nguyen

Anne-Marie Belhadj

bookkeeping assistant
Anne Kent

B.F. Lorenzetti & Associates


David Langis and Rémy Khouzam,
Lussier & Khouzam

interim financing

stock & archival material
APTN National News
Archives / Journal de Québec
Canadian Press
CBC Archive Sales/Archives Radio Canada
Francine Lemay
Getty Images
Groupe TVA inc.
Headlines permissioned from The Globe and Mail
Ina Fichman
Library & Archives Canada
National Film Board of Canada
Robert J. Galbraith
Shingwauk Residential Schools Centre
Spencer Mann, Idle No More
Sun Media
The United Church of Canada Archives
Waneek Horn-Miller
Wapikoni Mobile
Montreal Gazette, September 27, 1990
Time Magazine Canada, September 11, 2000
music credits
“Cissy (Fish/Smoke Dance)”
Written by Sheldon Sundown
Performed by Sheldon and Frazer Sundown
“Great Grampah’s Banjo”
Written by Pura Fe
Performed by Pura Fe,
Rhiannon Giddens, and Jennifer Kreisberg
The Bonspille Family
Ava Gabriel
Alanis O’Bomsawin
Janet Torge
Michel Rochon
Beesum Communications
Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake, Quebec
Mohawk Nation of Kanehsatake, Quebec
Lil’wat First Nation, BC

for the CBC
director of production
Alexandra Lane

director of finance
Julie Lawlor

executive in charge of production
Charlotte Engel

executive director
Documentary Programming
Mark Starowicz

executive director
Unscripted Content
Jennifer Dettman

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