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Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 162 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 3 critic

A film account about the military 1990 siege of a Native American reserve near Oka, Quebec, Canada and its causes.

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Title: Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993)

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993) on IMDb 7.6/10

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This film documents the 1990 crisis when Native Americans of the Mohawk Nation blocked access to reserve land which was being appropriated against their will by the White community of Oka, Quebec, Canada. What this film shows is the initial incident and the resulting siege from the Mohawks point of view as an illustration how this is simply a result of resistance to 270 years of European racism pushing them around and leading up to this confrontation. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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We have to think about the future generations...there's a long trail of broken promises.

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Documentary

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28 January 2003 (Czech Republic)  »

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Pierre Mainville: It's very, very disturbing, town council makes decisions, but denies any responsability. These people by definition should be responsible... to the people for the actions they take. That's why they were elected.
[referring to why the siege started]
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Intense
16 December 2004 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a pretty intense experience, especially if you know nothing about the subject matter. A community of Mohawks form a road block to prevent local land developers from turning their ancestral burial grounds into a golf course. Incredibly, the Canadian government sends in tanks and soldiers to break them up. Negotiations fail, and events escalate to an astonishing degree. I kept assuming that things couldn't get any worse, and each time they they did. Eventually we have the Canadian Army beating up an old man and stabbing a teenage girl with a bayonet. It's incredible to watch, given that Canada has a reputation as a warm and fuzzy nation.

I guess the only problem with this film is that it's heavily slanted toward the Mohawks and their supporters. We rarely get to hear the alternative opinions from the other side, from the Quebecois who became so angry that they threw rocks at cars, and the soldiers who behaved with such brutality. Why was there so much anger? It would have been useful to know. And the filmmaker never explains who she is and why she is able to film everything on both sides of the supposedly impenetrable siege fence with good quality sound and images. I'm sure there are answers to these questions but the documentary's naive use of an omniscient narrator avoids answering them.

Still, you come out of this shaking with anger and ashamed of the Canadian government. A '10 years on' documentary would be interesting.


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