OKA. March 11, 1990 – September 26, 1990. ~background~. The crisis developed from a dispute between the town of Oka and the Mohawk community of Kanesatake.
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The crisis developed from a dispute between the town of Oka and the Mohawk community of Kanesatake.
The Mohawk nation had been pursuing a land claim which included a burial ground and a sacred grove of pine trees near Kanesatake. This brought them into conflict with the town of Oka, which was developing plans to expand a golf course onto the land.
March 11, 1990 -- Mohawks set up a road block at the Chemin du Mille as the municipality lifts the moratorium on the golf club expansion project. A petition is also put forward with 1276 signatures against the expansion project.
April 26, 1990 -- The superior court grants an injunction to the Municipality of Oka forbidding Mohawk demonstrators to hold up any traffic and to block access to Chemin du Mille.
July 11, 1990 -- the mayor of Oka asks the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) to intervene, citing Mohawk criminal activity around the barricade.
The situation escalates as the local Mohawks were joined by natives from across Canada and the United States.
The Canadian Federal Government agrees to spend $5.3 million to purchase the section of the pines where the expansion was to take place, to prevent any further development. This act enrages the Mohawk.
August 14, 1990 – Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa requisitions the assistance of the Canadian Forces in “aid to the civil power” by invoking the Emergencies Act.
August 29, 1990 -- at the Mercier Bridge blockade, the Mohawks negotiated an end to their protest with Lieutenant Colonel Robin Gagnon, commander responsible for monitoring the blockades along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River west of Montreal. Once traffic was flowing again on the Mercier Bridge, the Quebec government rejected all further negotiations.
September 25, 1990 -- the final engagement of the crisis took place when a Mohawk warrior walked around the perimeter with a long stick, setting off the flares the army had set up to warn them of any escapes from the area. The army turned a hose on the man, but the hose lacked enough pressure to disperse a crowd. The Mohawks taunted the soldiers and then started throwing water balloons at them.
September 26, 1990 -- the Mohawks dismantled their guns and threw them in a fire, ceremonially burned tobacco and then walked out of the pines and back to the reservation. Many were detained by the Canadian Forces and arrested by the SQ.
The Oka Crisis eventually precipitated the development of Canada's First Nations Policing Policy.
European Parliament passed a series of resolutions condemning Canada and Quebec for violating an agreement signed on August 12 by the warring parties concerning international observers and human rights.
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples is established. Its aim is to study historical relations between the Canadian government and aboriginal peoples.