Oka crisis (American Indians Ready Reference)
Article abstract: A conflict over Mohawk land claims leads to an armed confrontation between Indians and the Surreté du Québec.
The conflict that erupted in early July, 1990, at Oka in Quebec was the result of long-standing problems both within the Mohawk community in Canada and between that community and various other, mainly governmental, bodies. It was brought on in large measure by disputes regarding the ownership of the relevant lands at Oka that dated back to the early eighteenth century.
The lands at Oka do not fit the usual pattern of disputed territory, and for this reason, a 1975 land claim presented to the federal government was rejected outright. The Mohawk community nonetheless continued to make a claim based on territorial sovereignty, treaty rights, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, unextinguished aboriginal title under common law, and land rights from obligations imposed by order of the King of France in the eighteenth century.
More recent origins of the conflict date back to 1987 and pertain both to internal conflicts in the Mohawk community over issues of governance and legitimacy of leadership in the community and to external conflicts with various governments, chiefly local, about disputed land known as “the Pines.” By the late 1980's, the Municipality of Oka had proposed to allow expansion of a local golf course onto the disputed lands and followed the lead of the federal government in...
(The entire section is 534 words.)
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