OTTAWA, ONTARIO The Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett; the Minister of Indigenous Services, Marc Miller; and the Minister of Northern Affairs, Daniel Vandal, issued the following statement today in commemoration of the tragic events (Oka Crisis) that occurred in Kanesatake in 1990:
“Thirty years ago, on this day, an armed standoff began in Kanesatà:ke and resulted in the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces to Kanesatà:ke and Kahnawà:ke.
This conflict was rooted in a centuries old land dispute and fueled by racism.
A Kanien’kehá:ka WWll veteran, elder Joe Armstrong, and Corporal Marcel Lemay lost their lives.
The 78-day confrontation that took place throughout the summer of 1990 became a symbol for the plight of Indigenous Peoples across Canada and has left a lasting mark on our history. For many Indigenous People, the pain and trauma continue to this day.
Today, we must acknowledge that progress in our relationship has been unequal, halting, and often, far too slow.
We must learn from the mistakes of the past, including those made 30 years ago.
We must resolve to never order the deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces against Indigenous Peoples, as we remain deeply committed to dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflict.
We must remain determined in confronting the harm done in the decades in which there was a lack of recognition of Indigenous rights, and under-funding of services. Governments and all Canadians must come together to address the racism that remains from colonization.
Thirty years later, we are more convinced than ever that sustained, open, and honest dialogue is the only way to renew relationships and support the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples.”