Front Burner

30 years later, a Mohawk filmmaker reflects on the Oka Crisis

It’s now been 30 years since the Oka Crisis. Today on Front Burner, Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer — who was just 12 years old during the standoff — explores how it has deeply impacted her life.
Tracey Deer recalls the moment that changed her life, on August 28, 1990, when she was in a convoy of cars leaving Kahnawake that was pelted with rocks by an angry mob as they drove into Montreal. (Carrie Haber/CBC)

It's been 30 years since an explosion of violence and the death of a Quebec provincial police officer on an early July morning marked the beginning of the Oka Crisis. In the summer of 1990, thousands of Canadian soldiers surrounded two Mohawk communities, just outside Montreal, that were trying to protect a forest and burial ground from the expansion of a golf course. Today on Front Burner, we speak to Mohawk filmmaker Tracey Deer, who grew up in Kahnawake, Que. She shares what it was like living through a standoff that came to be a defining conflict in Canadian history.