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Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993)

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


Alanis Obomsawin
5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Jack Burning ... Chief Joseph (voice)
Herbie Barnes Herbie Barnes ... Chief Augnita (voice)
Alanis Obomsawin ... Narration (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ethel Blondin Ethel Blondin ... Self
Robert Bourassa ... Self
John Ciaccia John Ciaccia ... Self
Ellen Gabriel Ellen Gabriel ... Self
Elijah Harper Elijah Harper ... Self
Ovide Mercredi Ovide Mercredi ... Self
Frank Natawe Frank Natawe ... Self
Bill Traverse Bill Traverse ... Self


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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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




Did You Know?


Major Jean Lavigne: I can bring you the shells of the eggs!
"Mad Jap": Let's use that for breakfast.
Major Jean Lavigne: You won't be able to use the shells because I don't think you eat them.
Warrior: We'll take the camera crew over there... because we don't waste no food.
Major Jean Lavigne: Well they did. I'm sorry but they did.
"Mad Jap": No food left here. Unless it's your own men. You're own men trying to pull some shit.
[talking about pranks between soldiers and Mohawk warriors]
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User Reviews

A dark chapter in Canada's history
2 November 2009 | by GethinVanHSee all my reviews

It's been almost 20 years since the Oka Crisis happened in the fall of 1990. It was in my opinion one of the most shameful incidents in Canada's last 50 years. The incident took place when native land was taken by the white community to build a golf course. 270 years of repression finally came to a head that year.

The military is eventually called in to stop a native road block. What's most interesting to me is not the repression by the military and police but the fact that everyone is caught up in the repression. The natives are of course repressed the most but the press and French Quebecois are also caught up in the repression when the military starts to control people's freedom of movement.

It's quite startling in these documentaries how quickly things escalate. In a matter of days you're present in a military operation which controls where you go, who you can see, and whether you eat or not. Our so-called guaranteed freedoms are quickly dissolved when the government sees a challenge against its hegemony and power structure. These pockets of resistance are quickly be extinguished before they can spread and state power is questioned elsewhere. The troops on the front lines again don't care and use the ever quotable line "We're just following orders".

The Oka Crisis was a global crisis of course. It's not one which is limited to Canada. The native struggle is one being fought all over the world. The Palestinians in Israel, the aboriginals in Australia, Wounded Knee in the US, the list goes on.

A very good documentary about a dark period in Canada's history. How quickly will we forget it? Thankfully, we have this National Film Board production which has interviews with the main parties as well as lots of footage from the actual incidents in 1990.

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Release Date:

1993 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance See more »

Filming Locations:

Kanehsatake, Quebec, Canada

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