the oka crisis

petrichordiak  asked:

can i hear more about the class you hijacked? (this doesnt have to be private)

I actually got out of bed just so I could go full rant about this on my  computer, so y’all buckle up (thank you for giving me this opportunity lololol)

Okay, so this happened about a year, maybe a year and a half ago. I’m gonna go ahead and make this one public for the benefit of those that didn’t follow me back then, if that’s cool.

Let me preface this by saying that I had taken literally every one of the professor’s classes before then. Partly because they were the only anthropology style class the uni offered, and partly because halfway through the second class I realized that literally everything was the same, except the books, which we never used. Even the assignments were the same, and I had perfected a system of how to do those quickly, easily, and last-minute, lol. So it was pretty much the definition of an easy A, and the prof liked me bc I was nice, actually listened to her even though I’d heard it all before, and didn’t rat her ass out for not actually teaching what she was supposed to, lol.

I should’ve known right there.

So when there was an opportunity to take a Native Americans in North America class with her, I jumped on it. I needed the hours, I obviously knew a lot on the subject already, and it would be another easy a, if history was anything to go by. 

It became one of the most frustrating classes I have ever taken.

As always, the class started the same as the others. We started out learning about vocab and models. NBD, we’d get to specifics eventually, right?

Now there are about 16 to 18 weeks in your average semester.

By week 6 we had yet to learn anything about Native history. She’d assigned some reading about the moundbuilder’s archeological sites, but nothing about the modern day. Maybe she was just taking it slow, I thought, though I was bothered by her only talking about Natives in the past tense. But she’d told me in the first class I’d taken with her (years ago by now) that she was enrolled Native, so I didn’t call it out immediately. 

We get to week 8, halfway through the semester, she hadn’t covered anything. No mention of treaties, modern movements for civil rights, AIM (American Indian Movement), the illegal overthrow of Hawai’i, buffalo kill offs, smallpox blankets, Chicago museum’s bullshit, NAGPRA (a law protecting grave sites and demanding the return of remains to their Nation by museums and sites, if the Nation will accept them (sometimes they allow the remains to be housed by the museum bc they’re typically more secure there, but that’s very rare)) beyond how it affected archeologists, the different regions, the language families, ghost dance, the flooding of lands by companies illegally, human zoos, RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS, THE FUCKING TRAIL OF TEARS, NOTHING.

Like your 4th grade history segment, as racist as it probably was, probably was more informative than this bitch was being, okay? And I was getting mad. Y’all know me. Native activism is a huge part of my life, and has been for years. Students were being allowed to say really racist shit unchecked. The prof wasn’t teaching jack. Misinformation was being spread, even by the prof.

It felt like even in a class dedicated to us, we didn’t matter. Our history didn’t matter. 

I was fed up.

Then, she pissed me the absolute fuck off. She proceeded to spend the rest of the class talking about South America.

Now, our Indigenous family below the equator absolutely deserve to be discussed. They have so many issues that really, really need to be boosted and respected. We do not raise their voices often enough. But this was a class specifically about North America, and her reasoning for making it otherwise was racist in so many ways.

First, she changed the curriculum outside of its scope because she was “MORE INTERESTED IN SOUTH AMERICA, AND WOULD HAVE TO DO RESEARCH TO TALK ABOUT” the issues I was publicly demanding to know when she would cover. As if her personal interest and ignorance were more important than our lives. 

(side note, it turns out she was lying about being enrolled and Native. Her white supremacist brother (not even kidding) had said that a Cherokee woman chief in Minnesota or some shit had enrolled them. I asked her if she meant Wilma Mankiller, the first modern female Cherokee chief. She said no, it was someone else, and in the late nineties, after Wilma would’ve no longer been Chief. I publicly called her out, and even another student jumped in to help, because there was no other woman Chief then, and there was no recognized Nation that far North. Her white supremacist brother had lied bc he felt othered while working near the Din’e on a job site, bc they didn’t include his racist ass, lol. So she’d lied her way into being allowed to teach a class she didn’t even know or care about. So at this point, I was fucking done with her, lol)

She also was showing us old propaganda films, and literally every group she discussed was being painted as ignorant, warlike savages by her and the materials. She even defended a man that intentionally exposed Indigenous peoples with no immunity to certain diseases to said diseases ‘just to see what would happen.’ She recommended his books, including ‘Noble Savages’ to us. I shouldn’t have to explain why that’s racist, lmao.

All of this is to say that I was VERY fed up, she (and the class) was VERY racist, and she was going down.

Then her foolish self decided to assign a massive project where we were supposed to ‘teach the class’ about a Native subject (y i k e s, esp. since the class was full of non-Natives). Since I was Fed Up, I decided to skip the usual schooling on cultural appropriation to instead teach everyone (including her) about just a smattering of the important things she hadn’t even mentioned in passing. :)

What followed was a 33 page powerpoint.

Apologies for any inaccuracies, and blanket tw for slurs, racism, death, csa, torture, child abuse, etc etc etc

(I added all the regalia pics bc they made me happy and calmed me down, which I was gonna need. I set the presentation up as “Man, I sure had trouble deciding what to make my presentation about. Should I talk about X? Y? Z? This? That? This? And so on until I reached residential schools and Reconciliation as my discussion topic.)

I hope those gifs work. If not, they should be under my “Oka Crisis” tag, or “n i fn a history” and “n i fn a protests” tags. I also had decided early to use the Nations actual names where possible.

Oh look, a quick and easy way to make people realize THIS IS WHY YOU DON’T FUCKING REFER TO US AS SLURS, and here’s how to discuss the issue without being additionally harmful.



Getting progressively angrier at this point. The class is smart enough to stay silent.

#MMIW #NoMoreStolenSisters. Please bring them home. Whatever it takes.

Stayed on this slide juuust long enough to stare each person in class down.

Oh look, we’re finally hitting my actual topic. Again, shit’s about to get very heavy. Please read only if you can. I will not be glancing over these to check them rn, bc I can’t. I’m sharing just for y’all to see, and hopefully reblog to educate people.

I honestly wept as I worked on this part. I can’t read it again.

Calling it out.

AYUP. Canadians are so nice and their government isn’t problematic at all

There are survivors that are my age, and younger.

Not letting them forget that this isn’t just in the past. It still wounds us.

It still hurts. We’re still recovering.

I included resources for them, including the prof, to actually educate themselves, since our school sure as shit wasn’t going to do it.

A handful of my sources.

Anyways. I was done. So fucking done. She (the prof) still tried to guide the class back and pretend that it was acceptable that she hadn’t taught them anything. I didn’t let her. I reminded them all that the only reason that this was Canada focused was bc they’d just had the Truth and Reconciliation reports, whereas the US government hasn’t put any effort into assembling data on their atrocities. Go figure.

Anyways, happy #Canada150 everybody :)

OK to reblog.


1990 -  When developers and the town of Oka wanted to start building a golf course on stolen land that belonged to them and that contained a sacred grove and a burial ground, the Mohawk tribe around Kanehsatake, Quebec, rose up and occupied the area. The mayor of Oka sent in SWAT teams to make the construction possible. 

After chasing off the police and construction workers, members of the tribe use a front-end loader that was left behind to build barricades from the abandoned police vehicles, blockading a highway. Ultimately the stand-off with the police and the Canadian army lasted 78 days.

From this great documentary: [Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance]

Things in modern history we should’ve learned in school, but didn’t:

Things in modern history we should’ve learned, but didn’t:

  • The Troubles, a series of violent conflicts between the Irish and English over who would control Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years.
  • The UK’s economic slump in 1980-1 that led to riots
  • Margaret Thatcher’s policies led to unemployment and a housing crisis that persists to this day
  • The Falklands War
  • The Iran-Iraq War
  • Canada’s separation from England in 1982
  • Kwangju Massacre in South Korea following an uprising over military leader Commander General Chun Doo-Hwan declaring martial law and seizing control of the country. An estimated 600 people died.
  • Indira Gandhi’s assassination following Operation Blue Star, which lead to damage to the most sacred Sikh shrine and deaths of innocents
  • The Chechen Wars
  • The Rwandan Genocide
  • The Oka Crisis between Canada and the Mohawk nation in 1990
  • Afghanistan falling under Taliban rule in 1996
  • The LA Riots over the acquittal of four police officers by an all-white jury in the Rodney King police brutality case
  • The Somali Civil War

Feel free to add more.

So this happened half an hour from where I now type, 25 years ago.

Despite its occurrence at the start of the decade. It’s perhaps the most iconic photo of the 1990′s in Canada.  In brief, when additional land on an already contested golf course sitting on a Mohawk burial site was expropriated to add another 9 holes over the graves and history of many Mohawk ancestors, their community near Montreal decided to fight back, blocking the bridge leading into the city while facing off with federal troops and local police. The extra holes were never built and looking back, it seemed like one of many events that led to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the history of government sponsored persecution of native peoples in Canada.


1990 -  When developers and the town of Oka wanted to start building a golf course on stolen land that belonged to them and that contained a sacred grove and a burial ground, the Mohawk tribe around Kanehsatake, Quebec, rose up and occupied the area. The mayor of Oka sent in SWAT teams to make the construction possible.

After chasing off the police and construction workers, members of the tribe use a front-end loader that was left behind to build barricades from the abandoned police vehicles, blockading a highway. Ultimately the stand-off with the police and the Canadian army lasted 78 days, with supporters gathering at the site from all over the Americas.

From this great documentary: [Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance]

Hey, why stop there?

While we’re at it, what’s JK Rowling’s magical explanation behind Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women? Are they getting kidnapped by Death Eaters?

Oh wait! Were there Residential Schools for Witchcraft and Wizardry too?

Did Voldemort order the sterilization of Native Muggles to prevent Native Mudbloods?

Are the Malfoys behind the Oka Crisis all along? Did Lucius stab Waneek Horn Miller while she was carrying a four year old?

Do you realize how fucking gross and offensive this is now?

Watching that documentary about the Oka Crisis really did something to me

I have completely lost any bit of respect I had left for the Canadian military. Fucking scums, tools of the bourgeois elites. 

I can’t fucking believe that the government would even think that a golf course was more important than these people's livelihood!

And the Quebecois… fuck man I was appalled to see such fucking racism. Calling them savages when THEY are the ones throwing rocks at children, elders, women everybody. One of these rock throwers actually hit a 70 year old man through the windshield of a car and that man died of a heart attack!

These white Quebecois are rallying against the Mohawks, saying shit like “since they blocked the bridge now it takes me 30 minutes to get to work instead of 5” Well sooorry Mr. privileged asshole! These people were not trying to make the citizen’s life hell they were just trying not to get kicked out of their home so that the fucking rich white people could go golfing on their graves!

I have never been so fucking mad at white people in my life…

I wonder, why did they not show this to us in school? Why did they instead show us a fiction film from 1920 or so about racism in the southern United States? The Oka Crisis happened right here in Canada in fucking 1990! 

I think that the “officials” are trying to downplay what is happening to the natives still to this very day. If we do not think they are important, if we are not told that to call them “savages” is fucking offensive and blatant racism, then THEY can continue to exploit them without anybody even caring. This is sick and wrong and we need to wake the fuck up already! 

What happened in Oka WAS important, just as what happened in Kouchibouguac and other areas that the Canadian government just decided was suddenly theirs so they displaced the tribes that were living there. 

Enough is enough. I refuse to be willingly ignorant. Everyone should educate themselves about the injustices going on in this very country. If people just turn their heads and pretend like this isn’t happening, the government will just continue doing what profits them the most no matter the cost.


1990 -  When developers and the town of Oka wanted to start building a golf course on stolen land that belonged to them and that contained a sacred grove and a burial ground, the Mohawk tribe around Kanehsatake, Quebec, rose up and occupied the area. 

Ultimately the stand-off with the police and the Canadian army lasted 78 days before the warriors gave up the occupation. The building of the golf course was cancelled. 

From this great documentary: [Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance]


for my new followers, a repost:

“On a July day in 1990, a confrontation propelled Native issues in Kanehsatake and the village of Oka, Quebec, into the international spotlight. Director Alanis Obomsawin spent 78 nerve-wracking days and nights filming the armed stand-off between the Mohawks, the Quebec police and the Canadian army. This powerful documentary takes you right into the action of an age-old Aboriginal struggle. The result is a portrait of the people behind the barricades.

Directed by Alanis Obomsawin - 1993”


To promote the 2000 Sydney Olympics,  Waneek Horn-Miller, a member of the Mohawk tribe of Kahnawake, posed for the cover of the Canadian version of Time Magazine.  One of the world’s top Water Polo athletes, she was a contender for a gold medal having already won one with her team the previous year during the Pan American Games. This was not the first time she appeared in print however. During the Oka Crisis of 1990, the then 14 year old was photographed by Ryan Remiorz as she clutched her 4 year old sister after having been stabbed by a soldier’s bayonet.  Had it entered her chest only a centimetre to the left or right, she likely would have died, as many of the Mohawks were denied immediate medical attention during the standoff.  Horn-Miller now hosts a health and wellness show on the ATPN network and tours the country as a motivational speaker. Despite her brush with death she understood that the Oka crisis brought an awareness of Aboriginal issues, especially land claims, to the Canadian consciousness.

 “It was almost like Canada needed to be shaken awake … because really, before Oka not many people knew about native issues. And for 78 days, it made the front page of every newspaper and it was front-lining every newscast. So Canadians couldn’t say, ‘What is that?’ 

The Oka Crisis was a land dispute between a group of Mohawk people and the town of Oka, Quebec, Canada, which began on July 11, 1990, and lasted 78 days until September 26, 1990 with one fatality. The dispute was the first well-publicized violent conflict between First Nations and the Canadian government in the late 20th century.

Private Patrick Cloutier and Anishinaabe Warrior Brad Larocque, a University of Saskatchewan economics student, facing off.

I’ve noticed that Canadian media and historians are almost intentionally mute about uprisings, riots and mass violence in this country post-1900, save for the Oka Crisis to play the bleeding heart native angle.

I mean, 150+ people were killed during a biker war for drug rights in Quebec during the 1990s and this is a fucking piss-poor article for something that was a massive deal at the time. Or that in the 1920s, there was massive riots by coal miners in Cape Breton that did millions of dollars in damage (in 1920s dollars mind you) and caused the deployment of 2000 soldiers to suppress but there’s not a fucking peep mentioned about it unless you drive around the area and see the monuments and the like. 

Mentally flouridating the masses by ignoring history that even mentions there was anger and violence against the establishment or between groups of people in this country.

Racist asshole: *says some racist ass shit about Native Americans*

Me: *immediately reminded Wounded Knee, of the Oka Crisis, of ethnic cleansing, cultural assimilation, residential schools, women and children being hunted down and murdered for their scalps, people dressing up in war paint and war bonnets while they run around screaming and dancing, every single racist teacher who tried to deny that colonialism and imperialism in this country was founded on the slaughter and attempted annihilation of entire people, how Disney took a film about a raped, abused young girl and turned her into a Disney princess who falls in love with her captors while they sing about killing her people and throw around racial slurs, of racist stereotypes in the media, of degrading sports mascots, of people trying to dismiss my experiences and feelings because I don’t look “Indian enough” or because “that was long ago and they’re all gone now,” of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada and the United States, of Water Protectors being brutalized at Standing Rock, about Native children STILL being kidnapped by the government, and how I will STILL have to fight to belong in this world and will have to explain myself, all while knowing I still have it so much better than previous generations of my family because my skin is lighter than theirs* 

Racist asshole: Well actually @underbree is racist because she called me a cracker.



Waneek Horn Miller, Olympic athlete and Pan Am Games leader, talks about her painful, personal memories of the Oka Crisis.

A very powerful interview.