Secret Life of Canada

Kanesatake: Let's talk about what happened long before the 'Oka Crisis'

Anniversaries are a strange thing in Canada, depending on who you are and which side you're watching from. It's been 30 years since an event you may know as the Oka Crisis; but that's not where the story begins for The Secret Life of Canada. 
Chiefs from the Six Nations reading wampum belts in Brantford, Ont., in September 1871. Joseph Snow, George Henry Martin Johnson, John Buch, John Smoke Johnson, Isaac Hill, John Seneca Johnson. (Electric Studio / Library and Archives Canada / c085137)

Anniversaries are a strange thing in Canada, depending on who you are and which side you're watching from. It's been 30 years since an event you may know as the Oka Crisis; but that's not where the story begins for The Secret Life of Canada. 

In the newest episode of the podcast — Kanesatake 300 Years Later — Leah and Falen talk about the long history leading up to what happened in Oka; a story that spans generations.

Part one. 

Anniversaries can be a strange thing in Canada, depending on who you are and which side you're watching from. It's been 30 years since an event you may know as the Oka crisis; but that's not where the story begins for this podcast. In this first part of a two part episode, Leah and Falen look at the 300 year lead up to the “crisis” on Mohawk land. 33:44

Listen for: 

  • We learn about the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Great Law that governs them
  • Falen tells Leah the story of Hochelaga (not the music festival Osheaga) 
  • Falen tries to bring back Coles Notes
  • The return of scurvy 
  • Where the word Mohawk comes from
  • How the Sulpicians, a group of priests, were put in charge of Mohawk land
  • Who wore more makeup 17th century kings or Instagram influencers? (For reference: James Charles.)  
  • We learn about the Two Dog Wampum Belt and traditional agreements 
  • Meet Joseph Onasakenrat, Leah and Falen's new historical crush
  • We learn about all the events that led up to the 1990 "crisis at Oka"  
  • Falen explains the slow chipping away of Mohawk land 
Mohawk activist Ellen Gabriel leads a group of women toward the media in the summer of 1990. She was chosen by the People of the Longhouse and her community of Kanehsatà:ke to be their spokesperson during the infamous “Oka Crisis,” a 78-day standoff to protect ancestral Kanien’kéha:ka (Mohawk) land in Québec. (The Canadian Press)

Part two. 

On July 11 1990, the so-called Oka Crisis erupted near the small resort town of Oka. The 78 day conflict between the Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk Nation) the Quebec provincial police (Sûreté du Québec) and the Canadian Army would go on to change the course of history. In this second part of a two part episode, Falen and Leah go beyond the sensational photos and headlines to find out what happened during 78 days of resistance at Kanesatake. 52:26

Listen for: 

  • What is Aboriginal Title and are we even supposed to call it that anymore? 
  • Falen and Leah almost fight about musicals ... again
  • A candid interview with Waneek Horn-Miller and Kaniehtiio Horn about their memories of 1990
  • We learn about some very old alliances between the Mi'kmaq and the Kanienʼkéha 
  • The violent tactics used by the police and the Canadian Army and how the trees at the Pines protected the Kanienʼkéha land defenders 
  • What happened after the "crisis" was over, and why so many draw parallels between what happened then and what's happening now
  • The lasting impact of the Resistance at Kanesatake
     

Key Resources:

 

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